An Almighty Shove in The Thinking Department


Yes, I said I wasn’t going to, but… The Dragon Tree cannot be beta read and given it’s final edits, until I have the first draft of the next book in the series sorted out, so…

…I signed up for NaNoWriMo… I do need the push to get going and focus.

So, that means that this blog will be completely dormant and I will be inactive on social media, all through November. The ten days of NaNoPrep I did, clearly taught me that writing plus blogging and the other necessities that go with that, are not in any way, compatible. I unplugged when I wrote The Dragon Tree. I need to do it again. I also have to allow for unpredictable, bad pain day time losses. This is going to be really difficult, but worth it.

I just wanted to let you all know why I have suddenly gone all anti-social. Every year my blog stats take a dive in November thanks to NaNo, Memorial Day and Thanksgiving in the U.S., so it’s not such a bad time to go missing in action again.

In the meantime, there are over one hundred posts of writing resources, wisdom and inspiration for you to browse through. Please use the search facility. Old, less popular and irrelevant posts have recently been removed, and other posts have been spruced up, so you only have the best content to enjoy.

Good luck to all of you who are doing this with me.





Characterization: Hierarchy of Needs

Cate Russell-Cole:

I have been meaning to blog on this for two years! The only problem with Maslow’s theory is people can skip up to compensate for unmet needs. Other than that, it’s a golden writer’s tool.


Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

I was reading a book the other day, and was amused (and bemused) by the number of things the hero noticed during an intense fight.

Greece has a conscription service, and I spent 23 months in the Navy, namely at a Navy helicopter base. During that time, I met a lot of pilots undergoing their training. One of them told me how instructors knew when the trainees had reached their maximum capacity for learning. It was when they could not answer a simple question: “What’s your name?”

I have been lucky enough to have participated in only one fistfight as a grownup. One thing I remember is that I experienced tunnel vision big time. Fighting is no different than that.

I believe that my experience ties in nicely with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Abraham Maslow was a psychologist who came up in 1943 with a theory to describe the pattern that human…

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Written Acts of Kindness: Sir Seumas Gallacher

WrittenActsofKindnessAwardbycateartiosLife online was pretty dull until I found Seumas. Who else blows kisses at me on Twitter? (Just seeing how often my husband reads my posts.) When it comes to role models on how to network in a manner which does not alienate people, look greedy or seem forced, you won’t get better than Seumas. He is the personification of everything the books tell you to do with marketing: be yourself, genuinely care about people and build a community. His approach is one of the most original I have ever seen and he’s got a devoted band of followers.

Seumas frequently and I mean OFTEN showcases, promotes and highlights the work of other authors. His generosity is bigger than his sense of humour… and that’s really saying something! If you love crime writing, are also seeking a better alternative to Follow Friday that everyone notices, love bloggers who are humorous, or just need a buddy, stalk Sir Seumas, my kilted friend. You’ll never go wrong.

Thank you for being there for me, Seumas. You don’t know how much I appreciate you.



Seumas, the rules for passing this Award on are very simple:

  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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#Horror Writing with Dean Koontz

dean-koontz“But once an idea for a novel seizes a writer…well, it’s like an inner fire that at first warms you and makes you feel good but then begins to eat you alive, burn you up from within. You can’t just walk away from the fire; it keeps burning. The only way to put it out is to write the book.”

“Fear is a poison produced by the mind, and courage is the antidote stored always ready in the soul”

“From time to time, I do consider that I might be mad. Like any self-respecting lunatic, however, I am always quick to dismiss any doubts about my sanity.”

“…at it’s best fiction is medicine.”

“Bunny slippers remind me of who I am.You can’t get a swelled head if you wear bunny slippers. You can’t lose your sense of perspective and start acting like a star or a rich lady if you keep on wearing bunny slippers. Besides, bunny slippers give me confidence because they’re so jaunty. They make a statement; they say, ‘Nothing the world does to me can ever get me so far down that I can’t be silly and frivolous.”

P.S. sorry, but comments are off for the rest of the week as I prepare for NaNoWriMo. I have a huge pile of research and planning I need to get through – I think I’ve reached panic stage. :-)


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.

Resources for Writers… Come and Take Advantage of Them



Pinterest contacted me the other week, and let me know that my account had been compromised by hackers and spammers. It sure had! One of my main community boards was a mess, and it was easier to hit delete and start again… so I did.

Looking on the bright side, it means you can enjoy a visual way to browse the best content on this blog, plus find many more great resources for memoir, fantasy and Steampunk writers… Go to my Pinterest account.

There is also a brand new Resources for #Writers Video Playlist on Youtube. All the old videos on this site have been removed and placed onto it. There is over eight hours of stuff and as I surf Youtube and find more, it will be updated.

Thanks for your patience everyone, especially those of you who follow my Pinterest account and just got a bucket load of pins! Sorry. I am not happy about it either. I am supposed to be finishing preparatory research for NaNoWriMo. *sigh*

Comments are off on this post, as I try and get some work done!


A Warning on Image Copyright and Wikimedia Commons


Trying to get free, or affordable images for blog posts is a giant pain in the derriere. Kristen Lamb started using Wikimedia Commons images on her site, so I followed along very happily and made sure I double checked copyright. All was dandy.

Then I sent an image to my husband as an idea for a project he was working on. Now my husband is a savvy dude, (I am not being bribed or coerced to say that.) He works in IT, likes gadgets and needless to say, he used his favourite whatsit to check the image. You don’t need a drumroll, you already know it was someone’s stock photo, (purchase required), that had been illegally placed on Wikimedia Commons. *sigh*

How did he check? It’s a very simple, free web site called Tin Eye.


You upload your image and it sees where else it lives on the Internet, enabling you to find the original source and save your hide.

Now don’t be put off. Wikimedia Commons has masses of useful images, so don’t shy away from using it. Just be careful. You see Copyright notices on every post I put out, and they always include image notices. I never want to get a nasty email from iStockphoto or Canstock telling me I am in breach of $$$$$$$$. It pays to look after yourself.

Now there are some images which are placed online as Public Domain or Creative Commons, but then the owner changes their mind about copyright. Where that happens, Wikimedia Commons will place a notice on that images page which states:

Info non-talk.svg
When this file was uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, it was available from Flickr under the stated license. The Flickr user has since stopped distributing the file under this license. As Creative Commons licenses cannot be revoked in this manner, the file is still free to use under the terms of the license specified. See the Creative Commons FAQ on revoking licensing.

Oh and by the way… read Creative Commons codes carefully. They have differing requirements and one logo isn’t just a free for all. I vary between ‘do what you like,’ and ‘no adaption, but free to share,’ which is what this post is coming under today. Face it, never put anything online you’re not prepare to lose or have hijacked. It will happen one day.

P.S. sorry, but comments are off for the rest of the week as I prepare for NaNoWriMo.



Creative Commons License
This work, created and Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2015 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Wikimedia Commons and Tin Eye logos are their property.


An Organisation Helping Support #Writers and #Authors: Please Pass On

bfblogoEvery day, one in three authors will prepare to work, just to discover that they have run out of coffee. Medically, this leads to a short-term, debilitative state known as cafea ademptus. Long term, it creates a serious cultural vacuum in literature. Beans for Books is a non-profit initiative, which aims to stop this loss by providing community awareness, prevention strategies and research into eliminating cafea ademptus.

The effects of cafea ademptus aren’t limited to physical impairment, it also causes distress and is responsible for great losses to the International literary community. For example, it is a little known fact that Mahatma Gandhi, despite the encouragement of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy, never got to write his thriller, “Dark Nights in Natal.” Historians have linked this loss to a voluntary lack of coffee consumption. [Ref] We have to ask ourselves how many other great treasures have been lost, as a result of coffee deprivation.

Know the Symptoms of Cafea Ademptus:

  • Weakness in the extremities.
  • Ability to sit steadily and upright in a chair.
  • Nausea
  • Confusion and an inability to concentrate, or focus.
  • Dizziness
  • Chewing on empty coffee packets, chewing on used spoons, or licking the inside of used cups.
  • Irritability
  • Feeling hopeless or depressed.
  • Reduced productivity and decreased in goal seeking behaviour.
  • Aggression or argumentative behaviour; sometimes leading to theft, violence and the abandonment of all morals to obtain a ‘hit.’
  • Loitering around coffee retailers, or being known by name, by their employees. This is especially serious, if Starbucks employees spell clients names correctly on cups.
  • Excessive need for sleep or other sedentary activity.

Cafea ademptus can become worse around peak periods of coffee use, such as days after public holidays or weekends, when suppliers have been closed for business; during November (which in many literary circles is related to NaNoWriMo phenomena), and April (A-Z Challenge); or late at night when deadlines are approaching.

Warning Signs of the Approach of Cafea Ademptus:

  • The level of coffee in the bag, or tin, is less than one third of the package weight.
  • Rationing coffee in a panic, as supplies are getting low.
  • Fighting over how many cups other members of the household or office, have consumed.

Medical authorities and sociologists have presented a number of draft strategies for bringing the problem under control. While these still require formal study, the suggestions for avoiding cafea ademptus involve simple tasks such as buying double quantities; socially focussed solutions such as being aware when friends are about to hit peak periods and checking their supplies; and in providing counsellors who can tailor organisational strategies to individual needs, to ensure all coffee related needs are met in a timely manner. Door to door rescue services are also being considered.

At this time, the only cure is a measured, regular coffee intake. No substitutions or medications have been able to replicate the effects of coffee, though chocolate has been tried with some hopeful outcomes. More research needs to be undertaken.

You can help cover the costs of research.

Donate by calling 1700-GIVE-A-BEAN to stop literary loss today.


The factual information in this post is provided by idiotsRus, as part of a non-profit initiative to take the woe out of Mondays.

Warning: if you try and ring that number to donate, your telco will probably laugh at you. Or you will donate to, I have no idea who. Don’t do it.

Disclaimer: I think Ghandi was awesome. No harm or offence was intended. He did meet with writers and adopt a severe diet for spiritual purity. Oh and Cafea Ademptus is Latin for coffee deprive. (Loosely)

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.

All images used in this post (except the logo), are sourced from and are suitable for non-commercial use.

The Writer’s [Inner] Journey

Merr-pensiveThe Writer’s Inner Journey is an essential confidence-boosting blog by Meredith Resnick. She describes herself as: “I’m an artist and writer; a right-handed right-brain type who responds beautifully to deadlines… Creativity PRN is the intuitive work I do to help creatives and writers unblock. And always seeking ways to prove, see and understand that “the process” is different for everyone.”

Blog posts I have enjoyed include:

“Pull up a chair. You’re here because you’re fascinated by the creative process. Showed up because you’re intrigued by the breadth of originality of contemporary writers. And mostly because you, too, have a voice that is original and pure. You’ve got a pocket (or drawer, safe, trunk, notebook, mind) full of stories you want to write (tell, share, draw, paint, collage, or sing). And, yes, you want those stories to be heard. 

On The Writer’s [Inner] Journey, we relate. My hypothesis was simple: There is no one way—one right way—to create, to write.”


P.S. Sorry, comments are off on this post, as I prepare for NaNoWriMo


morale boost


Aussie-isms and Novel Writing: It Gets Tricky!

20g Koala Unit 3D2When my Canadian husband first came to Australia, he had to learn the language. It sounds odd, doesn’t it? Canada and Australia are both English-speaking, Commonwealth countries. However, whenever the Census comes around, I am now tempted to put myself down as bi-lingual. We took a walk through a supermarket picking up fruit and vegetables and comparing the names. You have no idea how many differences there are, in that area alone!

In Australia, we have a lot in input from other countries. I should be classed as tri-lingual as I was bought up watching American shows, British programmes and at that time, the Australian tv industry was much smaller, so there was less Aussie content. (Note the three changes in language, in just that sentence.) I had heard about Twinkies, long before I ever saw an image of one. But do you know what a Tim Tam is? If not, I feel bad for you, because they are one of the most awesome biscuits known to mankind! Ask any Aussie ex-pat. I know who Barack Obama is, but can you tell me who the Australian Prime Minister is? We’re oddly isolated down here.

product_timtam_classicdark_5845_largeI can read American and British novels without any hassle and love them, but in writing The Dragon Tree, I had to often stop and review whether phrases I used in dialogue, would be understood outside our borders. Except for Steve Irwin’s tendency to say it, the word ‘crikey’ went out of fashion about eighty years ago. There is a great deal of misinformation about our country and culture and there are many Australian names and phrases, that would have you scratching your head and reaching for Google. They are so common to me, I wouldn’t even notice I’d put them in the book. I have a glossary of terms, but I never think I need everyday sayings in it.

When my husband started work in Australia, he’d text me questions like, “what’s a sanger?” It’s a sandwich. “What’s arvo mean?” It means afternoon. “Someone said Woop Woop was near us, let’s go there.” *sigh* No, there is no Woop Woop. It just means somewhere out the back of nowhere, that is really boring. You know, like the Canadians refer to Dodge. That got me in trouble. Apparently, Dodge is a real place and he thought I was having a go at him – ha, there is another Aussie-ism “having a go” at someone, which means, teasing or telling off. That is how easy Aussie-isms are to write in and I never notice I’ve done it. To end my tale, my husband pointed out that Australia has a Woy Woy and a Wagga Wagga (yes, we do,) so why not a Woop Woop? How do you argue with that? (Enterprising souls have been smart enough to name their winery Woop Woop, so now you can go somewhere. People like me owe them thanks.)

So in pre-emptive self-defence (Aussie spelling there folks), my novel has a place in it named Wollongong. I wrote it in, as it is entirely appropriate and then realised, people will think I made a name like that up. I didn’t, truly. Just click on this link.

Do you have any writing challenges like this? What are your localised ___isms?

P.S. Sorry, comments are now off on this post, as I prepare for NaNoWriMo



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.

Book of the Month: How I Overcame My Writer’s Block

uycs3dI researched and wrote a course on creativity, to overcome my writer’s block. I could argue over whether it was actually writer’s block or a complete lack of motivation, however, to overcome the problem, I wound up researching and writing a complete course on how creativity works! That course is now being taught to Seniors Australia wide, and I have had the pleasure of teaching it locally. As the course was so helpful to both myself and the students, it became an ebook. It’s enjoyed great reviews.

“Thanks, I enjoyed opening up to my creativity interesting that when I started looking into my own creativity I found a dearth of information and help just kind of flowed to me.”

“Very enjoyable course; inspiring and motivating.”

This e-book will help you turn your dreams into reality. It explores the process and practical aspects of creativity: the mental processing; philosophies that drive how we think about and assess our creative worth; creative character traits; historical role models; an extensive bibliography and web link list and more. The content is practical, not just analytical. It will give you ideas on how to move forward in your creative life.

Topics covered include:

  • Capturing the Muse
  • Quieting the Internal Censor
  • Building A Creative Space
  • Working With Failure
  • Finding Direction
  • Techniques To Use

To order in pdf or Amazon Kindle format, please visit this link.


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.

Free #NaNoWriMo Motivational Badges for Your Blog

Everyone uses the NaNoWriMo badge, which is great, but if you’d like something additional to give yourself a motivational boost, you are welcome to use these. They are for social media, web sites and blogs and can be shared, adapted, whatever you’d like.

Click on them to get the full size copy, or right click on the image to save to your computer.

Good luck Nano’s! We’re all cheering you on.





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.

Computer Use: Minimizing the Strain

This ebook is free and has been approved by a Spinal Surgeon with a Master’s Degree in Spinal Biomechanics. Please click on the cover to get your pdf copy.

I can spend fifty hours a week at my desk easily. My work depends on it; then when work is done, there are the usual tasks such as paying bills online and keeping in touch with distant friends and family. Quite often a day has flown by and I haven’t moved position much. That not only strains my eyes, but it is a risk factor for back and neck problems.

In an office setting ergonomics has become a buzz word we have developed an immunity to. There are policies, handbooks and sets of rules which have been put together so we don’t hurt ourselves. We know they are there, but may not be using them. It is easier to rely on our subconscious habits. Being aware of and breaking out of those habits can save you chronic pain, or potentially more serious long-term problems.

To cut a very complex science down to a few basics, below are useful tips to remember when using a desktop computer, laptop or tablet device. These only cover neck and back strain. More information is available online on keyboard heights and other body strain issues.

  • Keep alignment in mind. Your back, neck and head should be as straight as possible, at all times. If you stay aligned, you are not fatiguing and stressing your spine. If your shoulders aren’t relaxed, your position is wrong.
  • Have lumbar support on chairs. Make sure your chair is the correct height for your desk.
  • The top third of your computer screen should be level with your eyes. iMacs have screens which adjust up and down easily. Similar set-ups make it simple to move the screen whatever your height, or if you need to stand up. That will save you crouching down to read the screen.
  • If you need to repeat tasks over and over, make sure you take frequent breaks or alternate tasks, so you can get up and move without feeling you are wasting time.
  • Don’t sit in awkward postures for more than a very, very short time.
  • Use laptop risers and iPad stands which conform to the rules above. If you are unable to, or still find your neck aches when using mobile devices, minimize their use and/or take frequent breaks.
  • If you need to use paper documents as you work, a document holder which is attached to your monitor, or free-standing, may decrease neck strain as you aren’t looking up and down repeatedly. Even slightly bending your back and neck can create pain at the end of the day. It is repetition which creates the strain.
  • Learn to touch type so you need to look at the keyboard less.
  • Software companies make programs which will pop up on your screen, reminding you it is time to stretch, move and give your eyes a break. That will also help your spinal joints.

Get Your Free Copy of the Book

Woman Working With a Sore BackBack pain affects more of us than any other complaint, including heart disease and asthma. It is an epidemic which is largely avoidable, but rarely addressed in public health education. The information in this book is quite diverse. Taking care of your spine is an issue for everyone, including mothers; athletes; military personnel; the aged; computer users and office workers who battle with back ache due to posture; builders; manual laborers; and anyone who regularly lifts, bends and twists their spine to get tasks done whether at home, work or recreationally.

Contents Include:

  • Back Health Essentials: A Simple Overview
  • Basic Guidelines on How to Lift Anything
  • Conditions Caused by Repetitive Back Strain
  • What Type of Bag Do You Carry?
  • Back and Neck Friendly Computer Use
  • Household Maintenance and Back Strain
  • Lifting and Caring for Children
  • Spine Safe Sport and Recreation
  • Back Saving Water-Wise Gardening
  • Avoiding Back Strain While Packing and Moving
  • Taking Care of Your Back After Corrective Surgery: A Cautionary Tale
  • Back Care for Carers
  • Back Care for Wheelchair Users
  • A Special Chapter for Young Carers
  • Online Back Care Resources


This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2012. 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.

Internet #Marketing Terms #Writers Need to Know

social-media-assorted-icons_freevector 95167If you watch my Twitter feed, you know that I frequently pass on blog posts which contain words that you may not think are relevant to writers. Have you seen these?

  • Content / Content Marketing
  • Business
  • Branding
  • Engagement
  • Sales
  • Web Design
  • SEO
  • Platform

I wouldn’t blame you for tuning out to those posts, however, if you are an author or blogger marketing your work, you need those posts and an understanding of the terms. Those posts are passed on to help you.

May I demonstrate?

  • Content: your book, your blog posts and what you place on social media. Content marketing means you gear what goes into those elements to make people want to read your work and buy from you.
  • Business: if you sell anything, you are a business. You are liable for taxation. Even if you are a small time Indie author, you are still a micro-business and it helps to be organised and think like one: without getting bogged down!
  • Branding: whatever image of you that is placed online in pictures, web design and your “voice” in your work, makes a brand that is YOU! Wherever you see my online presences, you see my teacup logo and Macbook desk image. They are part of my brand and make me recognisable. If you build a strong brand, people will recognise you.
  • Engagement: how you interact with followers, other authors etc. that sells and promotes your work.
  • Sales: we all hope for them! If you don’t sell books, your “sales” could be likened to your blog stats and followers.


Find these posts on Twitter:
  • Web Design: necessary for everyone with a site, whether it is a blog or independent web site.
  • SEO: Search Engine Optimisation which dictates how far up the search list your name, web site, books, blogs etc. are found.
  • Platform: speakers stand on a platform to be heard. It raises you high enough that others notice you. Your platform is your blog, web site, social media presences and whatever you do online to be noticed.

You will also find me passing along posts relevant to the main social media including Pinterest, Facebook, Google Plus, Twitter; email list services, plus varied other technical topics… it is all relevant believe it or not. Have a read, stretch your view of your value a little further and see what new tips and tricks you can discover.

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.

The 10 Social Media Commandments for Authors

Cate Russell-Cole:

The reminder we all KEEP needing. Do not feed the trolls… live in peace with everyone… but there is much more in this post to inspire, than just those points. Really – the Internet is a small world. Not only will that troll notice your negative actions, but so will others. Faithful followers can lose their respect for you.


Originally posted on Nicholas C. Rossis:

10 commandments
Photo found on

Anne R. Allen has published a great list with The 10 Commandments of Social Media Etiquette for Writers on her blog. Here’s a brief summary: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.

Not enough?  Alright then, here are her ten tips for online behavior for people planning a writing career, summarized for your convenience:

1) Thou shalt not spam.

What is spam?  Here’s the short version: if you’d ignore it in your own inbox, FB page, or Twitter stream, it’s probably spam.

2) Thou shalt support other authors.

Your fellow authors are not “rivals”. The number one thing a beginner should be doing on social media is getting to know other authors in your genre and subgenre and making friends.

One of the hottest sales tools in the business right now is the multi-author bargain boxed set with several titles by different authors. These…

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