January 2 2016

Pull Up a Chair

Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - April 29, 2016 @huckfinn76

April 29, 2016

 

Guest Post

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Patricia has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog Danny—Danny the Dog—to toot it for me. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny.

Danny on CouchAndrew took me away from watching reruns of Lassie to help him out here. For a person who works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about my girlfriend who came to visit me last week.

Her name is Lisa and she and I had a lot fun together. Of course, we had to let Andrew tag along, but enough about him. I want to talk about Lisa and all the fun we had.

First of all, she took me to the park and walked with me. I was so proud to be seen with her. All the other dogs were jealous. Then we went to a place that gives you sandwiches. How cool is that! Lisa and I had something called a sub sandwich. Andrew had a salad; he is such a wuss.

That night we went to my friends’ boat, Mike and Beth. They cooked for us and everyone enjoyed themselves except Andrew. He was put out that I was spending all my time with Lisa. But hey, I live with him. Lisa was going to be here for a few days only.

Of course, I was the star of the party. There were many humans there. Some guy called Gonzo rubbed my fur. And another human named Crabby Mike gave me a bone to chew on. And Beth hugged me and told me I was beautiful. I already knew that, but I let her say it anyway.

After the party, I was sad. Lisa walked me back to our boat and said goodnight. They don’t let dogs in where she was staying. Something called a hotel. So Andrew and I went to bed. I don’t know what he was thinking about. But I went to sleep thinking of Lisa. She smelled so nice—a pleasant change from Andrew.

Beth has a brother; his name is Lloyd. He’s not too bad as far as humans go. And he happens to be a great cook, and, of course, he’s my friend. Anyway, he took one look at Lisa and invited her and me to his house for dinner. We tried to leave Andrew behind, but somehow he got in the car. It didn’t matter. Once at Lloyd’s place Lisa and I communed, and I’ve got to say for a human she’s alright.

Then the next day she went home. I wanted to go with her so badly. But she told me she has a dog of her own. I told her . . . no problem . . . just let me at the little monster. For some reason she didn’t take to that idea.

So here I sit with Andrew, missing my friend Lisa.

That’s about it for now. Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book and make the old guy happy.

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank Patricia for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

 

About the Book

Resolution-800 Cover reveal and PromotionalIt is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

Purchase Links

Amazon ~~ Smashwords

B&N ~~ iTunes ~~ Kobo

 

Meet the Author

Andrew

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

Connect With the Author

Website ~~ Blog

Facebook ~~ Twitter


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - April 23, 2016 @_BookMistress

April 23, 2016

 

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What's in a Name?

The naming of characters is a serious business. Usually, genre plays a huge part in determining how wacky, weird or wonderful your names can be... Or how historically accurate. After all, you're unlikely to have a Britney or a Kandi (with a K and an I if you please) in London in 1753!
With romance, you find that names become even more important because a name can set your character as the lead or the backup very quickly. Now, it could just be me, but over the past few years of writing, I've been taking notes while reading and I have to say... Some names just aren't "sexy".
For example, Damian, Michael, Sean, Joe, James, etc are your leading men. Eugene, Theodore, Barry, etc are the best friends, secondary characters. They might be great men, but clearly Eugene isn't the romantic lead. It's true of women too... Bella, Claire, Madison, Sarah, Danielle, etc are the desirable women... Norah, Gladys, Mary, etc are not.
The reality is that in the real world there are some incredibly sexy Eugene's and Norah's... But when it comes to romance, it seems that we just don't "buy" it. Of course, it also depends when your story is set... After all, in the 1920s, Gladys and Pierre would be amazing!
Last names are important too. No good having a hunky Damian and then saddling him with Baddlesnit as a last name... She isn't going to say yes to happily ever after with THAT in her future!
image1This means that as an author, the chances are that you will spend far more time naming your characters than you probably did / would spend naming a child. You'll agonize over the "hotness" of the name, desirability of a surname and the musical rhythm of the two together... You'll search for names that compliment each other and that have cute nickname potential so that your characters can be all adorable with each other.
You may pore over baby name books or have a browser history filled with sites offering insight into the meanings or origins of names and eventually, you'll find the perfect combo.
An effort that your average reader will neither notice not even appreciate.
But God help you if your lead characters in a modern romance are Eugene and Ethel!
Until next time...
Domino xx

Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - April 20, 2016 @Modernize

APRIL 20, 2016

Create a Writing Room That Invigorates Creativity

We all wish writer’s block was a one-time occurrence—something we became invincible to after the first run-in. But that’s unfortunately not true, and we at Modernize understand the struggle of not being able to focus or find inspiration. Your writing room can go a long way to inspire you and kick-start your creativity. Here are a few ways to design the perfect space to create your next masterpiece.

via Design Sponge graphic

via Design Sponge

 

Establish Peace and Quiet

If you’re having trouble staying focused or inspired, it may be due to a number of distractions. Family members and roommates, while we’re fond of them, can disrupt us right in the middle of a breakthrough or surge of inspiration. Noises around the house or even outside can pull us away from the task at hand. The first step in creating your writing room is to find a private space. A spare bedroom with a door is ideal. Communicate with loved ones that you should only be interrupted for emergencies during your writing hours.

As for outside noises, we recommend noise-canceling headphones or a speaker system to play soft, inspiring music. Sometimes listening to movie soundtracks or any of the focus stations on Spotify or other streaming music apps can boost your productivity and mood. You can also set up a fountain to enjoy the soft flow of water, which is relaxing and may reduce your creative stress.

via Residence Magazine graphic

via Residence Magazine

 

Decorate for Motivation

What inspires you? Every writer is different. Some are motivated by quotes from their favorite authors, like Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and Harper Lee. Some are more motivated by art pieces that channel their aesthetic, or set them in a scene from their work in progress.

For example, if you are writing a novel set in France, you would probably benefit from a French country-chic decor, or at least a few photographs of the country. If you decide to decorate according to what you’re working on, make sure these elements can be switched out when you change projects. That’s why we recommend wall art and accessories, rather than major purchases. You can also create an inspiration board and change it monthly to revive your passion.

Use a vinyl decal or a framed piece of art for inspiring quotes, or hang pictures of your family and friends, especially if they influence your work. Flesh out your writing room’s design with accessories like a rug, lamps, knick knacks, bookshelves, and more. Make sure you have a desk large enough to house all of your reference materials, journals, and computer accessories.

via Skona Hem graphic

via Skona Hem

 

Let Light Shine

Natural light can boost your mood and productivity, so make sure you have plenty of windows in your writing space. Position your desk near natural light to stay focused and inspired. It’s also nice to rest your eyes after a writing sprint and gaze at nature, which may further feed your inspiration.

In the evenings and at night, you’ll want to rely on soft light from reading and floor lamps. A well-lit space will fight off gloom and improve your mood. You can play up this concept even more with bright colors, like crisp white, yellow, cyan, and even a vibrant green. Colors that perk you up will keep you energized throughout the creative process.

Don’t let writer’s block defeat you. Attack it head-on with the perfect writing room as your army, and enjoy the inspiration your newly design space provides. Remember, no one can write your story but you!


Prescott Lane's Charity Donation from Layers of Her Novella @prescottlane1

April 12, 2016

A Letter from Prescott Lane to her Readers at the end of her Layers of Her Novella

Author Pic

A Letter to my Readers

Rape. Just typing that word makes my gut tie up in knots. And that’s part of the problem. Because it’s so uncomfortable, we don’t want to talk about it. So it gets buried at the bottom of the newsfeed or forgotten altogether, like the backlog of untested rape kits.

Last March, I released Quiet Angel in which the heroine is a survivor of childhood sexual assault. A few weeks later, my husband became gravely ill, and we spent the rest of the year (5 long hospital stays and 4 long surgeries) fighting to regain his health. As I sat in the hospital chair next to his bed night after night, I got messages from women about how my book touched them. Some shared their reasons, and others didn’t.

I came to learn that April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. How could I not know that? I’d just released a book on the very topic. Yet I didn’t see one post about it on any of my social media accounts.

Early this year, I began writing Layers of Her with the intent to spread awareness and donate all of April's profits to charity. I was nervous when I started, and I still am. I mean, how much will the profits be? Will readers assume I’m a survivor or I know one? Will I do the topic justice? Why am I doing this? It’s a whole lot easier to stay silent. But that’s the whole problem, isn’t it?

I work in a field, in the genre of fiction, that is mostly comprised of women, where sexual assault is one of the most common tropes. And with each passing page, we pull for our broken heroes and heroines to heal, find love, forge a new path. That's all we want for them. We need to do the same for the real life heroes and heroines, those brave souls who fight the real fight every single day. So join me this April in making some noise to raise awareness, not only for the survivors but for those who love them.

Prescott Lane

 

LayersOfHer_FrontCover

 

Campbell

People always say it’s what’s on the inside that matters.  If that’s the case, I’m screwed.  On the outside, everything looks put together — blonde hair, blue eyes, tall and lean.  By society’s standards, I’d be considered attractive.  But f*ck society, I know what I am.  I know what I’m made of.  The recessive genes that reared their heads and created a decent looking package on the outside don’t make me who I am.  What about all the evil lurking inside?  What about all the other parts of me that aren’t so easy to see?  Some of the most beautiful animals are also the deadliest.  Take the polar bear, for example.  Cute and cuddly on the outside, but it’s really a predator that will bite your f*cking head off.  That’s a dangerous combination.

And that’s exactly like me, exactly who I am.  Bad — and once you go bad, you can never go back.

WARNING:  This book deals with the harsh reality of rape that could be upsetting for some readers.

Purchase Link

AMAZON


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books – April 9, 2016

April 9, 2016

 

Books, books everywhere!

Hi, my name is Domino and I'm a book addict. It's been about 39 minutes since my last bout of reading and with your help... Oh, who am I kidding? I have no intention of quitting :-)

I will confess though that I recently fell off the book buying wagon. Badly! I haven't bought brand new books in a few years - not since I discovered I could feed my reading habit by supporting charity book sales - but then I caved in and bought the first book in the Outlander series. In my defense, I had eventually watched season one of the TV series and was hooked and since the show was so well done, it seemed only right that I should read the books. The only problem was that I couldn't find any 2nd hand copies... So, I decided that I  would buy book 1 and just hope that it was poorly written or not really that great.

image1No prizes for guessing that I was wrong!

Well, I didn't get more than a quarter of the way into book 1 before I realised that I was in deep trouble and before I knew it, I had placed an order for the next 5 books in the series. It cost more than I care to admit, but I had a reassuring pile of reading material to see me through for a while... Wrong again!

Less than two weeks and was at the end of book 6. Disaster and depression loomed before me. Then - a miracle - book 7 landed in my hands via a friend, but that only added 4 days of carefully rationed reading to my week.

Tonight, as I write this, I find myself hovering dangerously on the edge of buying book 8 in Kindle format because - Lord help me - I simply MUST know what happens next!

After that, I swear, I'll be a good girl. Really!!

(And no, I really don't want to know about all the other, smaller books in the series!)

Until next time...

Domino xx


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books – March 26, 2016 @_BookMistress

March 26, 2016

Books and Coffee and Chocolate – Oh My!

This weekend is Easter and because of that, we have 4 blissful days of weekend. Can you hear it?  That is the sound of my body unwinding and settling in for sleeping late, relaxing and ignoring my work emails until Tuesday!

The other great thing about the Easter weekend is the almost childlike delight I take in knowing that I can overindulge in chocolate to my hearts' content and there's nothing anyone can really say about it... after all, it's the one holiday largely devoted to the worship of the cocoa bean. In the interest of not being flogged by my Momma, I do actually celebrate the traditional Christian side of the holiday, but it's not really relevant to this blog post, so I'm focusing instead on my absolute delight in all things chocolatey!

So, naturally being too... mature... for the Easter Bunny to still visit my home (despite copious quantities of carrots and even good whiskey as a potential bribe), I now have to buy my own chocolate supplies. This year, I decided to treat myself to 2 small "slabs" from a handmade chocolate shop and I can't wait for Sunday to enjoy them, but while chatting to a friend about the problems associated with being abandoned by the bunny, she mentioned that this year she has a different plan.

IMG_4360Don't panic, she is still having chocolate, but she suggested something different to members of her book club.  This year, they have decided to do "Secret Bunny" and instead of buying chocolate for the person that they've picked, they will give the gift of a book.  Not just any book.  The idea is to give the recipient a copy of your favourite book.  This is a great way for someone to find out more about you and for you to share something that you love with a friend.

I really like this idea a lot! It's not original, by any stretch, but I like how they've adopted it for this celebration.  Made me wish I was part of her book club *grin*.  Since I'm not, I've planned out my Sunday... Choc chip pancakes with maple syrup and coffee, followed by a blanket and the sofa and a book. After lunch, I'll indulge in some chocolate and if it's cold enough, some minty hot chocolate and then after dinner, I'll have a chocolate choc chip cupcake in a mug before bed and the rest of my book.  If any carrots come calling, I'll be available on Monday for healthy foods *wink*

I'd love to know if you could pick a favourite book to give to someone... what would yours be?

Have a great weekend!

Until next time...

Domino


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books – March 19, 2016 @_BookMistress

March 19, 2016

"Life Happens"

 

Hi Everyone,

It's been a crazy few weeks. You won't know this about me, but I work as an event manager in my day job and I had a huge charity fundraiser last weekend. As is the way of the world, all my best laid plans to juggle that and blogs fell apart in a whirlwind of deliveries, confirmations and last minute troubleshooting.

That brings us to this week. The week after the event... it's finally starting to calm down and now the voices in my head are starting to sulkily make their feelings known. To put it politely, they do not like being ignored and after 2 weeks of me steadfastly refusing to take their calls, they're not shy about letting me know.

The truth is that no matter what you planned, life has a funny way of stepping right into your path and uprooting those plans. The important thing is to realise that it's not only happening to you and to forgive yourself. No one is perfect. I promise... not one, single person. The only thing that you can do is try to stay on top of the important stuff and when you can, you pick up all the pieces of your plans and start again.

It's the same when it comes to trying to write while holding down a full time job or being a full time parent. You won't always be able to write when you plan to. Life happens.  The trick is to not quit. That is how every book eventually gets written... the author didn't quit.

Now, it's time for you to listen to your voices and write. Capture that great sentence that doesn't have a paragraph yet or that monologue that doesn't have a book yet. Grab a notebook, laptop, napkin... whatever is nearest to you and just begin.

Here's to the week ahead. Let's hope it's a productive one.

Until next time...

Domino x


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books – February 27, 2016 @_BookMistress

February 27, 2016

 

Procrastinailing

nailsYes, you read that correctly. I was supposed to be working on this blog post amongst other things and instead of doing that... I decided to paint my nails. I was procrastinailing.  I haven't painted them in more than two years so I reckoned it was far more important to follow my desire to play with nail polish than it was to do the work on my "to do" list. Oops!

The truth is that writers are experts at finding other things to do when they should be writing. Sometimes it's because our characters are refusing to play ball... they're sulking or sleeping or just freezing the author out and so writing feels like "work". It's hard to be creative when you feel like you're battling uphill with something, so we do something else.

You can generally tell if my characters are being well behaved or not by how much housework I've done or if I'm baking up a storm. For some of my favourite authors, procrastination takes many interesting forms. One likes to grab her camera and go for a walk. Another paints, two sew and another makes jewellery. Many read.  Finding another creative outlet allows your mind to wander away from the tangle that has happened in the manuscript and invariably you will come back to the computer rejuvenated and energised and then you can carry on with your writing.

Nails 1For me though, this week, it was procrastinailing and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It took hours for the various layers of polish to dry and so I had to sit down and watch a movie while I waited.  It was the first time in months that I've taken so many hours away from any kind of work and I have to say that it was arguably the best thing I could've done.

If you don't take care of yourself, you won't be able to take care of business.

Until next week.

Domino x

 

 


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books – February 20, 2016 @_BookMistress

February 20, 2016

Being more social

Hi everyone,

Hope you've had a stunning week? Mine was great, but there was something that came up in conversation that I felt like I should share.

image1At lunch yesterday, a friend and I were talking over the most sublime pasta and a bottle of wine and she complained that she's exhausted from trying to keep up with Social Media. She's an author and with all the various avenues of promotion available to her, she's struggling more and more to make time to write.  In fact, she confessed that it had taken almost 2 days last week to update her website, schedule blog posts and sort out social media posts for the week. She felt tired and demoralised. By our second glass of wine we'd covered how much a PA would cost and whether or not she could afford it and by our third glass I realised that one of the biggest problems that authors face is the sheer volume of marketing opportunities that are available to them.

The truth is that you aren't expected to be able to do everything.  It's perfectly ok to let go of some of the social media avenues that are available to you. The best advice is to figure out what works best for you. What do I mean?

Which social media platform do you find easiest to understand and work on? Experiment if necessary and then stick with what you enjoy. If you don't enjoy it, it's going to feel like work and it's not supposed to be work.

How do you know if a platform is "working" for you? Well, it depends on interaction with fans and followers, potential increase in sales, reach. It really isn't a "one size fits all" kind of situation. Some authors are better at Twitter than Facebook, Google + vs Tsu, Instagram over Pinterest.  Ideally, you should try to focus on managing two or three profiles.  That will be easier to manage than trying to do all of them.

My advice to my friend – and something that works for me – is this... Pick something informative (eg Facebook), something visual (eg Pinterest) and if you can fit it in, something interactive like YouTube. The reason you're on social media is to be able to tell people about your books, show them your covers and other artwork and possibly even share promotional videos etc.

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At the end of the day, marketing via social media presents us with the chance to talk directly to our readers and potential readers and it should feel fun and conversational. That is what your readers will pick up from your posts. But more on that another time *grin*

Chat soon,

Domino X


Pull Up A Chair on Room With Books - Feb 13, 2016

February 13, 2016

Hi there,

I want to start by apologising for being absent for a few weeks. I swear, it was not my intention, but that pesky little thing called "life" got together with that other pesky little blighter called "day job" and totally derailed all my plans for productivity.  I've been working on a few projects when I can but there's not much to report really.

It's been a whirlwind of activity and yet, as any writer will tell you, the characters never let up. They're constantly brainstorming their next adventures or trying to prod me into stopping what I'm doing so that I can write something down "quickly", but as any writer will tell you though, there is no "quickly" about writing when characters have other plans for you.  So they're sulking in a corner at the moment and arguing amongst themselves.  Who knows which one of them will win the argument. I learned a long time ago that they tend to do what they want regardless of what my plans are and so I simply set myself at my laptop, decide on which story is speaking loudest to me and then let my fingers go.

This week though, I've been trying to navigate the sea of pink that is Valentine's Day. The shops are packed with cards, overpriced flowers and cute bears. It seems as though this is the only time of year when it's ok for a man to openly buy flowers for a woman without there being some suspicion that he's done something wrong.  Which is sad really because I would personally love to get flowers on a random Thursday in April, for no other reason than that someone thought I'd like flowers.

Hopefully you have some wonderful plans for the weekend. I am looking forward to birthday celebrations (mine), reading and perhaps some writing even.

Until next week...

D xx