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.


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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.

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!

#inspiringspacesbloghop

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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!

Your First Novel Will Stink! True or False?

Dragon Tree Cover5aaMonths ago I wrote a post talking about why I deliberately stayed away from how-to-write advice, until I got the first draft of my novel written. It was an advantageous decision, as I was able to write without doubts, shoulds and too much technique being stuck in my head. Since then, I have been reading the advice which is available and it’s been a buzzkill.

It’s incredibly hard to finish the last edits on The Dragon Tree, with people yelling “first novels always stink, shelve them and forget it.” Isn’t it funny how you never notice advice like that, until you are in the position where it may apply to you? Then the words appear to be attacking you from all directions.

As much as I love these coaches, I am surprised that I am being told that I’ll be useless at mastering the craft of fiction, until I’ve written a million words, or a few more books. Of course our writing improves over time. Authors should not presume that they will be perfect on their first trip around the sun. However, there is no written rule that first time novelists are inevitably destined to be utter failures, or mediocre shelf-fillers. Leave us with some sense of hope!

I’ve conceived ten books, seven courses, many appalling pieces of poetry, a number of short stories and many articles. I’ve been published and plagiarised all over the globe. Does that count? Apparently not. They are non-fiction. This will be my first novel. The words are jammed in my head. #1 novel = garbage!

Being me, I decided to rebel and look at the other side of the argument. There are many successful first novels which are best sellers, Pulitzer Prize winners and have been made into movies. Here’s a short list:

  • Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights
  • Ian Caldwell and Dustin Thomason’s The Rule of Four.
  • Agatha Christie’s The Mysterious Affair at Styles
  • Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man
  • Janet Fitch’s White Oleander
  • F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise
  • Fannie Flagg’s Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe
  • Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain
  • Do I bother or not?
    To bother or not to bother? That is my question.

    David Guterson’s Snow Fall on Cedars

  • Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • Melinda Hayes’s Mother of Pearl
  • Marjorie Kellogg’s Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon
  • Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees
  • Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Interpreter of Maladies
  • Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Jay McInernay’s Bright Lights, Big City
  • Brad Meltzer’s The Tenth Justice
  • Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind
  • Laurie Notaro’s Idiot Girls Action Adventure Club
  • Boris Pasternak’s Dr. Zhivago
  • Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar
  • Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things
  • Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones
  • Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty
  • Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep
  • Nicholas Sparks’s The Notebook
  • John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces
  • Lauren Weisberger’s The Devil Wears Prada
  • Rebecca Well’s Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
  • Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Catcher in the Rye
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Wuthering Heights
  • The Help
  • The Devil Wears Prada

So what’s your stand on the issue? What success did you have with your first novel? I’d like to hear your answers.


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The book lists in this post come from several sources, including Book Market.com and Stylist Magazine.

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.

Support an Author: Grab that Book You’ve Been Wanting

There is a pie shop near here that has the slogan, “Buy one so we both don’t go hungry.” It is one of the best advertising slogans I’ve seen. Books feed both the reader’s and the writer’s soul in so many ways. So, you know you’ve been meaning to… this week, your love task for Support an Author Month is to go buy that book you’ve planned to get, but didn’t get around to.

Don’t forget, wherever you buy your books from, leave some love!

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Support an Author: How to Write a Book Review

To sell books, we all need reviews… as much as we sometimes dread them! One of the best ways to support any author is to write a well-crafted review. I had to do a lot of searching online to find out how. Most of the information you get off the Internet is about F.o.r.m.a.l. college-type reviews, technical journals and things that scare my hair off. So to save us all, I have “borrowed,” and slightly modified these awesome tips. They are user-friendly. So please, write a book review this week… unless you hate the book. In that case, just walk away quietly and leave the world a more peaceful place.

The source of the wisdom below is http://slashdot.org/faq/bookreviews.shtml I took out the negative parts of writing a critique, as this is support, not tear apart, month!

  • Did you like previous works from the same author or series?writing spines
  • Where and when does the story take place?
  • Is this book part of a series?
  • Is there an identifiable central conflict, or a complex of conflicts?
  • What is the tone and style? Is it frightening? Clinical? Amusing? Scattered?
  • Do you like the characters? What about them makes them believable, dynamic or static?
  • From whose viewpoint is the story told, and how does that affect the narrative?
  • Does the book remind you of others by the same author, or in the same genre?
  • Do any twists particularly inspire? (Don’t give away too much, of course.)
  • If you really have to, don’t ‘pan’ a book without specifying your context and expectations. I did ask you nicely not to though, so please, walk away…

If you can add more suggestions, please do in the comments below. Plus, as one commenter pointed out, if someone asks you to write a review, don’t say that in the review! It looks rigged.


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Please do not reblog this post.

The suggestions in this blog post are Copyright Slashdot.org. Only a very small part of their entire page has been reproduced here. (It is massive.)

“Slashdot welcomes readers’ book reviews. In particular, we’re interested in reviews of books on programming, computer security, the history of technology and anything else (including Science Fiction, cyberpunk, etc.) that fits under the “News for Nerds” umbrella.” http://slashdot.org

Support an Author Month: Love a Blogger!

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This month is Support an Author Month here on CommuniCATE. The aim is to spread the love… It’s a time to put away competition and give each other a hand onwards and upwards! We are stronger as a unified community.

Most posts this month will be geared towards that goal, with call to action posts every Friday.

This week, your call to action is to visit a favourite blog; locate a post that inspired you and leave a comment saying, “This is my favourite post or blog. Thank you!” Be sure to Tweet, Facebook or share it on G+ so the author knows you’ve spread the word.

#bestpostever or #bestblogever

You are also welcome to leave a link in the comments here and recommend a blog, if not a specific post.

Cheers everyone!

Writing Historically Based Books: Author Philippa Gregory

The-Other-Boleyn-Girl-by-Philippa-Gregory“Philippa Gregory was an established historian and writer when she discovered her interest in the Tudor period and wrote the novel The Other Boleyn Girl which was made into a tv drama, and a major film. Now, six novels later, she is looking at the family that preceded the Tudors: the magnificent Plantaganets, a family of complex rivalries, loves, and hatreds.” Sourced from her web site, http://www.philippagregory.com

These videos are on how she researches her books and is drawn to work on the main characters. It’s a fascinating process, which I enjoyed hearing about. If you are a lover of research or historical fiction, you’ll be inspired by watching these clips.

Don’t “Write” Yourself Off: I Don’t Care How Old You Are!

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One of my memoir classes was attended by an eighty year old lady who had little education; had never written a poem, story or anything else in her life – and discovered she could write with absolute perfection! What if she’d opted for the rocking chair and never tried? Obviously, she had been a life-long reader and that had taught her a great deal, but she never knew the talent was there… until she picked up a pen and started to write!

When this came out on Pinterest, I applauded. Take it to heart. It’s not too late until you’re *a week dead.

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(*Survival Tip: be buried with a mobile phone in case it’s not really over. No, really, people do still opt for this.)


REBLOGS WELCOMED

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.

Blogging Survival: Get Ahead

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Click to go to post.

With blogs, there are times when you have to hit the pause switch for the sake of sanity. But how? Around Thanksgiving last year, a fellow blogger put up a post asking, “should you blog through the holidays?” It was interesting to read how many people said yes, said no… or said no and then gave into temptation and pressure and blogged anyway! There are weeks when my husband has to refer to our family photos to remember what I look like, as I can’t be separated from the computer.

There is one technique which I have been using for the past two years to save my sanity and cater for those disruptions life puts in your way: scheduling. Writing ahead, even by a week or two, saves last minute “what will I post” panic attacks; stops multiple posts being sent out on one day; ensures you DO have time to go back and edit that dodgy bit you’re unsure about and gives you planning space. As I work in WordPress, here is how you do it.

2013-12-02_13-31-29While you are editing your post, on your right you will see the Publish box. On a new post it will come up as Publish Immediately. Click on Edit and you get this box where you can control exactly when your post will come out. The post I am writing now was written on the 2nd December last year. I am not bragging. As a migraine sufferer, I lose too many days on heavy painkillers and being forced into scheduling has been a great bonus! It does improve the quality of your blog as you have time to think.

If, like me, you are in an inconvenient time zone, scheduling also allows you to post in the zone where you get the best readership. With Twitter, Facebook, Triberr and Networked Blogs automatically sending out new post promotion live, I get the luxury of being asleep when my posts go out: between 1am and 2am my time. It’s bliss! No racing around multiple social media to spread the word. I love it! Use that Publicize feature and pre-hashtag post promo… it works.

Also be aware: I ran a weekly series in 2013 which I planned ahead, then added other periodic features plus my usual write-ahead posts. When I reached 100 scheduled posts, WordPress sent me an email saying STOP! They need you to save posts as drafts if there are a large number.

Keeping a blog running is a mammoth task: particularly if you like to post more than a few times per week. To stay productive you need to take time out. Like any muscle in your body, creativity needs to be rested so you can refresh. Without that you run out of ideas, enthusiasm and your blog becomes a major pain! Try scheduling as a painkiller. You have earned your time off and it will save you agony!


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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.

Is Your Blog Trapping You or Helping You Fly?

BlogTamingMonthCommuniCATE2I’ve been looking at this debate for some time, as I see more and more bloggers talking of burnout and writers starting to rebel against the endless demands of what you must do to succeed! To settle the matter, I took a few hours out to read and properly absorb both sides of the argument. It is complex when it comes to the publishing industry. At the end, all I could do was make up my own mind about what was right for me. I have placed as many of the arguments here as I can (without this post being novel sized) so you can also make up your own mind. Don’t follow the herd: do what works for you!

  • When you find yourself filling in posts with anything, as you just want it done and are tired, drained and over it!
  • Having no direction: which is sometimes apparent in writers with multiple blogs, unless they are for multiple purposes… but watch how much time that takes up!
  • Letting your self-esteem be dictated by reader statistics.
  • If it is an excuse for social media interaction which may be a sign you need to find a better answer to loneliness, or other tasks you are avoiding.
  • When you are investing too much time, and other higher priority tasks are going begging as a result.
  • Getting involved in blog challenges which run you into the ground with time demands and leave you wrecked.
  • When you have made such a hash of a blog that is screams lack of quality, poor commitment to your writing, or stands as testimony to an attitude that makes you cringe!
  • When your content is too personal and can do you damage in the future with potential relationships, employers or contacts in publishing and promotion.
  • Taking on guest bloggers, cover reveals and other sharing initiatives where you are used and not supported or thanked.
  • When the amount of effort invested is not getting you the results you need long term. If you are losing followers, not growing and this has been going on for at least six months, maybe it’s just not the medium for you…

… and you know something? That’s alright: you don’t H.A.V.E. to be a blogger. Do what is right for you. Write what you have in your heart and be true to yourself. Follower numbers aren’t everything.


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This article / blog post is Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. 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.

And on the Nth Day, God Created a Writer

guest series logoWriting has never been hard for me. I loved English when in school and took every English elective there was available. Even Greek Mythology. I know, I’m probably not making many friends by making this statement. There are those out there who work very hard every day to learn how to write.

I applaud you and wish you tonnes of good luck.

God gave me the gift of writing. He probably looked down on me after He created me and said, “what the heck is she going to do with her life?”

Because He didn’t think I’d have a clue what to do, and He was right, He gave me the gift of writing. I thank Him every day.

  • I’m not physically fit.
  • I am not a mathematical genius.
  • I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler and a pencil.
  • I got a D in Home Economics.
  • Sports or games of any sort evade me.
  • I even got a degree in Computer Science and instead of programming I became a Technical Writer.

How about that?

2014-01-25_13-59-47I love to write. I love how to make words fit together to create sentences and then paragraphs and then stories. I adore creating stores. So much so, that I published nine novels and novellas.

I could have written more, however I ended up with a silly disease. It wrecked my ability to create novels. I have four 4-inch binders full of story ideas. Maybe I should donate them to a writer I know who will use them. But, then, maybe they won’t see the same idea for a story that I did.

What is the disease, you ask?

**Bipolar Disorder. Not only that, but medication resistant Depression. Along with Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, OCD, and PTSD, and XYZ. I threw in the last one just to fool you. There’s no disease titled, “XYZ,” but if there was, I’m sure I’d get it. (Links for more information and help with the disease are below.)

I give back to the world the only way I know how. To help other aspiring writers become authors. Great writers. I give so they can become more than they ever thought possible. I coach writers. I enjoy coaching writers for the fun of it. Although, getting paid is fun too!

I love to see them improve their writing skills and learn to write faster, and better, and stronger. I absolutely go into giggle spasms when a writing client taps into their own creativity and realizes they have what it takes to make it as a writer.

When I watch a timid, insecure writer become strong and confident, it makes me proud. I was a part of that change. I helped make it happen. And my awkward little caterpillar flies off into the world to become a beautiful writer.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? The circle of life. God created me, a writer. I help create authors from writers who never knew they had the ability inside them. And the circle continues.

I love writing. I hope you do as well.


2014-01-25_14-00-16Vicki M. Taylor is a writing coach for Your Writing Coach, at http://vmt-yourwritingcoach.blogspot.com

She is also an author and workshop presenter. She’s been writing for twenty-five years professionally, and for nearly fifty years as an amateur. She thanks God for her gift, and her grandmother for helping her discover it. She lives in Florida with her husband and pets: a dog and a parrot.

Follow Vicki on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Google Plus

**For information on bipolar disorder, please go to: SANE Australia or the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

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This post is Copyright Vicki M Taylor 2014. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without Vicki’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 his work if it is for a commercial venture. 

Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Vicki M Taylor is the attributed Author.

Please Help a Fellow Author Who Has Suffered a Serious Stroke

1527836_10151884844036127_532640268_nThe greatest gift blogging and social networking has given me is the people I have met, some of whom are very dear to my heart. This post is an appeal to help Rags Daniels, a fellow Author who has suffered a stroke. He is in his early seventies and has a long road to recovery ahead. Obviously, he is offline, so I am asking all of you to help out by sharing / tweeting about Rags’ books and/or buy some to help him with the medical costs his family are undoubtably inundated with.

Rags is one of the few proper gentlemen left! He has the heart of a lion and has become very special to me in the months I have known him. He has given generously to charity work over many years and has also taken a child into his home to care for. If anyone I know deserves the help, he does. You just have to look at the love left on his Facebook wall to see that he’s gained a special spot in more hearts than mine… and he is an awesome writer with incredible life experience from which to draw his novels!

Please share his books on your social media accounts and/or buy a book… or two! For those of you so inclined, I am sure prayer would be welcomed. Please go to Amazon in your country and search for Rags Daniels. His book descriptions are below with links to the United Kingdom site. They come in Kindle and paperback and are perfect for crime lovers.

51oYw8O9BSL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_Lallapaloosa: October 8, 1967, ‘Che’ Ernesto Guevara was executed… Or so the world believed. Inspired by a true sequence of events, ’Lallapaloosa’ tells in flashback the story leading up to the betrayal and ‘capture’ of the worlds most famous revolutionary and master of disguise. Original, fast moving, and atmospheric to the last whiff of a Partagas cigar, it begins thirty years after the event with a series of sinister murders against a fraternity of retired mercenaries who, having fought alongside ‘Che’ in the Congo, grouped for one last mission in the jungles of Bolivia. For thirty years, Richard Strang, thought he shared the worlds best kept secret with no one. Then one summer evening, the tap of a blind man’s cane, and a nose for the toasted Cuban leaf, changed all that.

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Click on image to go to Rags’ Amazon Author page.

Foxy Lady:Lady Carolyne Dryden is a brilliant and gifted young woman operating a policy auction house in London for her father. Late one evening she is brutally assaulted, robbed, and left to die. A few days later two bodies are found in the same house the assault took place. Others follow, and a sewer of corruption contained beneath the razzamatazz of a General Election leads to shattering revelations and murderous passions; causing her well-organised world to turn into an arena of pursuit and terror, and where the only certainty is that nothing is certain. Bursting with insight into the seedy, sleazy world of political funding, Foxy Lady leads the reader totally believing through all its unbelievable twists and turns until its astonishing climax. Optima corrupta pessima. ‘The best things corrupted become the worst.’

51HAqZGFfbL._SY445_Groomed to Kill: Group 13 aka Pegasus, the Government’s assassination and dirty tricks squad some say still exist. Others vehemently deny its existence.‘Groomed To Kill’ is a well crafted high velocity tale of intrigue, sex and betrayal. Dialogue driven, it is a story taken from the journals of James Sutherland and spans over fifty years of one mans life, a life dedicated to serving without question those whose responsibility it is to defend the realm by any means at their disposal. Jimmy Sutherlands’ story begins in post war ravaged Salford and tells of his schooling in weaponry by Owen Kelly, a WW2 veteran sniper. Throughout his distinguished career, Jimmy carries out numerous assassinations for his taskmaster and controller Frank Steadman. Then on retirement, Jimmy gets news of the release from prison of crime lord Hector Cicero, brutal murderer of his brother, Billy. The scene is now set for what becomes a searing quest for vengeance, culminating in a vicious gangland battle for supremacy in England’s northwest. Aided by Andy Cassin, his old and trusted childhood friend and whose brother was also murdered by Hector Cicero, Jimmy Sutherland takes on both the Cicero and McGuire crime cartels with devastating consequences…

30sex Hours: ‘Operation Spanner’ was the codename of an undercover investigation carried out by Manchester City Police, in 1988. The police had obtained a video which they believed depicted acts of sadistic torture. Convinced the people in the video were being tortured and killed, a murder investigation was launched, a number of properties were raided and several arrests were made. Now meet the voluptuous and delectable, PC Koral Devine. Dark, sultry and according to her superiors, a bit of a handful, she had been tipped by her Commanding Officer to win the prestigious award of undercover policewoman of the year. But first she had to infiltrate a ring of local luminaries lead by amateur film maker ‘Uncle Albert’ and resident Magistrate Hilda Carstairs, who were believed to operate a lucrative business catering for the slaves of ‘leather and steel’. Her assignment is both a perilous and intimate initiation into the world of sado masochism; and PC Koral Devine will do absolutely anything to get ‘her man’.

51YeTX3qqLL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_SX342_SY445_CR,0,0,342,445_SH20_OU02_Salford Sunrise: Salford Sunrise is a well-crafted, brilliantly witty, high velocity tale of intrigue, sex and betrayal. Dialogue driven, the story has been taken and adapted from the chronicles of James Sutherland and spans over fifty years of one man’s life, a life dedicated to serving without question those whose responsibility it is to defend the realm by any means at their disposal.


Meet Rags

Rags_croppedRags Daniels aka Trevor Timbs, was born into a working class family, the second of four children,  Salford 1944.  He migrated South 1956. Wild and curious, he ran off to London, where he met the majority of the characters he writes about.

The swinging sixties and early seventies played a major roll in his insatiable thirst for adventure, and against a backdrop of mini-skirts, mod’s, rockers and Muhammad Ali, bore witness to an era of crazy fads, culminating in  Britain’s first ever woman Prime Minister in 1979. And of whom Lord Acton said, ‘Absolute power corrupts absolutely, ’ and by the end of her era, Thatcher was case in point. And while the Nation paddled through rubbish, bodies unburied, strikes, power cuts, spiralling inflation, limited working weeks, abysmal production, etc, etc, the real money was going into the pockets of fraudulent corporate boards and City Yuppies. (Groomed to Kill), his first book was written against a backdrop of inner city poverty and tells of lad who  became a government assassin.

Rags worked in Norway on timber frame construction, where he met John Millen, a naval architect who designed Pearl Harbour after the war. He became a ‘minder’ for his mother-in-law, both on and off his motor yacht in which he and his wife toured the world. Returning home,  he then attended Brunel University and passed I.O.C.W.(GB)inc,  exams. Rags started working with Borough Architects Dept.; resigned; got married and built his own house in South Devon while running several companies. He has also constructed a steel mill in India  and a tiger compound in Nepal for the World Wildlife Trust.

When widowed, he returned to writing and investigative journalism… It is from his diaries of the 60’s and 70’s he wrote ‘Foxy Lady’, creating a fictional account of one such tale of political intrigue, and one for which he was interviewed by MI6. His latest book ‘Salford Sunrise’, is available in Amazon Kindle and ‘Lallapaloosa’ is currently being scripted for the silver screen. He resides with his son, an A level English teacher, and Roxzan, his 13 year old adopted Granddaughter.


Follow Rags

Myths, Mists and Magical Tales… Arthurian, Mediaeval and Celtic Information Sources

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Earlier this year I started to study the history of Ireland and the Celtic people, including Wales, Scotland, Basques and the Picts. The more I studied, the more I became intrigued by the rich cultural heritage, strong characteristics of the people and their legends and beliefs. Then I found myself engrossed in Mediaeval history, castles, weapons… It’s been fun!

If you are a fantasy, paranormal, romance or historical writers, you will find a generous helping of inspiration on these pages. Please also explore the sites these pages belong to for more information.

Arthur: http://www.uiweb.uidaho.edu/student_orgs/arthurian_legend/celtic/celtic.html

Druids: http://www.celtic-twilight.com/otherworld/druidism/bonwick/index.htm

Seers: http://homepage.eircom.net/~shae/chapter16.htm

Faeries: http://www.timelessmyths.com/celtic/faeries.html

Animals: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/rac/rac17.htm  and http://www.celticheritage.co.uk/articles_animals.cfm

Nature Worship: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_nature_worship

Celtic Religion: http://www.celtic-twilight.com/otherworld/celtic_religion_overview.htm

Bards: http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/articles/onbards.html

Other Worlds: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/ffcc/ffcc260.htm

The Pale: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pale

Sexual Equality: http://www.examiner.com/article/new-age-101-brief-history-of-the-celts-major-precursors-to-new-age-beliefs-part-2

Sacred Groves: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sacred_grove

War: http://www.applewarrior.com/celticwell/ejournal/beltane/warfare.htm and planned warfare: http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/gafm/gafm07.htm

Cult of the Severed Head: http://www.celticheritage.co.uk/articles_headcult.cfm

Invaders: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/middle_ages/ireland_invasion_01.shtml

The Tuatha de Danaan: http://www.greatdreams.com/reptlan/Tuatha_de_Danaan.htm ;
http://www.danann.org/library/arch/irishmyth.html and
http://www.danann.org/library/arch/chronol.html

Resources on Castles

From http://www.flickr.com/photos/finefella/ Creative Commons Licence.
From http://www.flickr.com/photos/finefella/ Creative Commons Licence.

These links will will assist you in designing and writing about your own. Some of the information is introductory level. The free Project Gutenberg books should be very helpful.

What you are up against when storming a castle, thanks to Horrible Histories.


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.

Lessons I Learned from Writing My First Book, by Sandra Nikolai

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Bio-234x300The leap into publishing can be an unnerving journey marked with a steep learning curve. Not only do writers have to understand the specifics of the trade, but they also need to wear a variety of hats when handling the different aspects of the business as it evolves.

Some of the lessons I learned while writing and promoting my first mystery novel came from how-to books that still line my shelf. The other lessons I learned came from hands-on experience. From these lessons, I set up five guidelines that would come in handy the second time around. I’d like to share them with you now:

1. Above all, be true to yourself. Write in a genre that is familiar to you. Don’t attempt to write stories about vampires and wizards just because they’re trendy. Write what you know best and write to please yourself—not everybody else. Use a style of writing that comes naturally. It will help you find your author’s voice. Accept who you are as a writer. Trust your instincts and make choices that you won’t regret later on.

2. Organize your time. Most writers agree that writing is a priority, but so many other things begging for attention can be a drain on your time and energy. Writing calls for discipline. Reinforce good writing habits by maintaining a schedule, even if it’s only a couple of hours a day. It’s surprising how much you can accomplish when you’re under pressure! If you encounter a setback one day, keep on going the next. Tomorrow offers a chance to get things back on track. Reward your progress with a good book, a movie or more family fun time in the evening.

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Click on cover to order book.

3. Understand the give and take of social networking. The more time you spend online, the more it takes away from your writing schedule. Try to limit your daily visits online to three sessions of twenty minutes each. Use this time to build up your network, promote your work, and support fellow writers. Walking away from your writing helps to refresh your mind, so these short breaks play a dual role.

4. Hire a professional editor. Your software program might not spot the distinction between there and they’re in a sentence, but a copyeditor will. Feedback is important, and an editor who has expertise in structural or developmental content can be an invaluable asset. If you’re on a tight budget but happen to belong to a writers’ group, you can ask another member to review your manuscript in return for the same service. At the very least, get someone with an excellent knowledge of grammar and punctuation to proofread your work.

5. Promote early. Don’t wait until your book is published. Ask one or more authors to read an advance copy of your book and provide reviews for promotional purposes. Offer to read and review their work in return. Create a buzz about your book months before the release date. Once you have a final book cover design, promote it through social media. Many sites offer free or inexpensive services that help promote authors. Do your research and choose sites that work best for you. If you’re publishing paperback copies, bookmarks with a link to your website or retailer is an economical way to spread the word about your book. Find out which bookstores support local authors and sponsor book-signing events. Some coffee shops hold author events too. It pays to ask around.


1174793_518133394929463_11253479_nFollow Sandra

Website and blog: http://sandranikolai.com

Twitter: @sandranikolai

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SandraNikolaiAuthor

False Impressions on Amazon US

Fatal Whispers on Amazon US

Bio

Sandra Nikolai graduated from McGill University in Montreal and worked in sales, finance, and high tech before devoting her days to writing. She is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and has published a dozen short stories online and in print, earning Honourable Mentions along the way.

Fatal Whispers follows False Impressions in a mystery series featuring ghostwriter Megan Scott and investigative reporter Michael Elliott. When not plotting mysteries, Sandra shares her thoughts and experiences about the writing world on her blog and has been a frequent guest writer on other blogs. She lives with her husband near Ottawa, where she is currently at work on her next novel in the series.

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This blog post is Copyright Sandra Nikolai 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without the author’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-use if it is for a commercial venture.

Recapturing Your Creative Flow, by Andra Watkins

Digital Detox. Two little words that, when placed side-by-side, sound like something that might happen at a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Yet, for the past couple of months, I have been experimenting with a version of digital detox, my own release of the shackles of constant connectivity. I embarked upon this journey because, as a writer, I found my creativity zapped by the glowing screen. When my mind should have been wandering to find the next epiphany or chewing on the next plot point, I was lazy. I opted to text/e-mail/blog/Google+/Facebook/Twitter/Tumblr.

mouse n padDigital detox was my way to try to recapture my creative flow. It isn’t a complete divorce from social media or the internet. Instead, it is a structured schedule that rations my use of the online world. Once in the morning and once in the evening, I’ve given myself time to be online.

My plan might not work for everyone, because the key to my digital detox is control of my schedule.

I work for myself. Therefore, I have more control of my schedule than some readers. I also don’t have children, which may prohibit a few readers from adapting some of these techniques. Still, even for a long weekend, I think almost anyone could do what I did, because………

I went somewhere without access to the internet.

A friend has access to a family cabin in the mountains of North Carolina, and she graciously reserved a week for me. It was built, Swiss-chalet style, in the early 1970′s, and the family opted to keep it rustic. Hence, no internet connection.

Because it was on the back-side of a mountain, I also had practically no phone signal. It drifted in and out, leaving me little choice but to put the thing away and focus on what I went up there to do, which was:

  1. Walk aimlessly without being mowed down by a car; and
  2. Write.

Because it rained three of my five writing days, I had even more time to write.

to do clipsHow I changed my habits at home:

  1. I have scheduled one hour in the morning and one in the evening to deal with all things internet, except on Mondays, when I have commitments that keep me online for several hours in the afternoon.
  2. I made a timed checklist of tasks that I must complete online during each hour. You can download a copy of it by following this link: Andra’s Digital Detox Lite Checklist.
  3. At all other times, the internet will be turned off at its source, and my phone will be set to silent to focus on offline tasks. I thought about simply disabling my wifi on my computer, but it is too easy to turn back on.
  4. In the past, I worked at my desk with multiple online tabs open at once. I probably lose an hour a day just going back and forth between tabs every time something new shows up. No more. I now work with one tab open at a time, and I finish what I was doing before checking anything else.
  5. Other than Foodspotting (to which I am horribly addicted but only share food pics there), I will not take my phone out at the table. More often than not, I now leave it in the car.

My Digital Detox Lite is a work-in-progress. It requires me to be kind to myself as I stumble. Still, my mind is much less cluttered than it was before I started. I write more and make better creative connections. I don’t feel the crush of stress that I once did. My program has reintroduced balance to my life.

Perhaps, it will do the same for someone else. Good luck!

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419857_391651470846996_1187025248_nAndraʼs Digital Detox Lite Checklist

Every Morning: 1 Hour

• Respond to blog comments (10 minutes)
• Post blog to Google+ (with photo, not link) (2 minutes)
• Post blog to Pinterest shared boards (2 minutes)
• Share out Triberr posts for day (5 minutes)
• Post daily quote on Google+, Tumblr, LinkedIn and Twitter (2 minutes)
• Read and respond to emails (10 – 15 minutes)
• Read blogs, comment and like (20 minutes)
• Miscellaneous wild time (4 minutes)

Every Evening: 30 Minutes – 1 Hour, depending upon volume

• Respond to blog comments (10 minutes)
• Respond to social media comments (10 minutes)
• Thank social media folks for shares (10 minutes)
• Read and respond to email (10 minutes)
• Read blogs, comment and like (20 minutes)

Other than the times designated, the internet will be turned off at its source. The phone will also be set to silent, except during the above-outlined times.

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Follow Andra

Please visit Andra’s blog: The Accidental Cootchie Mama

You can follow her via: https://twitter.com/andrawatkins and http://www.facebook.com/andrawatkinsauthor


Copyright Andra Watkins 2013. All rights are reserved Internationally. You may not reproduce it in any form, in part of whole, without 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 this work if it is for a commercial venture. Link sharing and Pinterest pins are most welcome as long as Andra Watkins is the attributed Author.

Except for Andra’s photo and blog header, the images on this post are Copyright Cate Russell-Cole 2013. No images on this blog may be copied, captured, or altered for your own purpose without Cate’s prior, written consent.