Life Cycle of a Writer – Sue Fortin

Since my last Life Cycle of a Writer post where I talked about how I plot my novels with Post-It Notes (click HERE for link), and how I was aiming to finish the first draft of my WIP, I’m delighted to say that I typed THE END! Yay! That novel had been put to one side for quite some time while I worked on other projects, so having finally completed it and sent it out, I’m now waiting for feedback.

In an effort to stop myself constantly refreshing my inbox for any news, I’ve been keeping myself busy by writing a novella. It’s a romance with a mystery set in France called The French Effect, which I’m aiming to publish around the end of October.

Breton flag

As a family, we have a great love for France and have a second home in Southern Brittany. I’ve wanted to use the location for a long time and finally had time to work on this project. I’ve enjoyed writing The French Effect so much, I plan to do a few more novellas based in the different areas of France we’ve visited over the years.

I’m self-publishing this time, under the Romaniac Press banner, and the list of things to do has been a bit longer than usual, including:-

Cover design

Formatting for Kindle and Smashwords

Uploading to Amazon

Arranging paperbacks

Of course, there’s still the usual editing, revising and proofreading to add to the list, together with organising the promo and reviews but I’ve enjoyed the whole process. It’s certainly kept me busy. I look forward to sharing the cover and blurb very soon but, in the meantime, will leave you with a picture of our cottage in France. The door and windows are usually a lovely deep Breton red but they are currently in the middle of a facelift.

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À bientôt!

Sue

x

 

Magical Weddings

MagicalWeddings3D

About Magical Weddings-

15 Stories by USA Today, best-selling, and award-winning authors.

From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.

Hi!

I’m Tamara Ferguson, award-winning author of the Tales of the Dragonfly Series, and top-ten bestseller, That Unforgettable Kiss.  I can’t tell you how excited I am to be included with this group of authors from all across the globe!

Our Magical Weddings headliner is Leigh Michaels, a national bestselling author who’s written over 100 novels.   Leigh’s story is a lovely historical romance – Her Wedding Wager – about a heroine whose future is dependent on a bet.  Aileen Harkwood’s contribution is The Last Wedding At Drayhome – an enchanting story about a witch and warlock – and a love too long denied.

Eve Devon’s captivating love story , The Dress, spans time – through a dress weaved with magic, while USA Today bestselling author Raine English has written Second Chance Bride, a charming story about a bride who might’ve chosen the wrong groom – as communicated by a telepathic rescue dog!

In Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Lynda Haviland’s heroine has a wedding to crash, before love gets in the way.  And Jody A. Kessler’s Heart Of The Secret involves a curse, and a witch who will do anything to marry her true love.

How can she fight a calling from her soul?  The heroine faces a dilemma in Jane Lark’s The Jealous Love Of A Scoundrel.  Bess McBride’s contribution is A Wedding Across the Winds Of Time – about a couple who’re ready to be married, after finding each other through time.

In Kiss This, written by L.L. Muir, the florist actually catches the bouquet!  Jennifer Gilby Roberts contribution is Caution is a Virture, about a heroine who’s afraid to take a risk with love.  And Loving Lindy by Jan Romes?  It’s a delightful story about a couple who pretend to be engaged, until real feelings get in their way.

Heather Thurmeier has written With This Kiss – about a kiss that could prove to be magical.  Real Magic is by Elsa Winckler.  Can a magical evening transform into reality?  And unexpected guests may forever change the lives of a soon-to-be married couple in The Wedding Guests by Sarah Wynde.

Finally, here’s a little about my romance-

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Two Hearts Surrendered

Luke Bryant and Kelly Callahan met on the beach at Dragonfly Pointe when thirteen-year old Luke saved six-year old Kelly from drowning. He and Kelly shared an undeniable connection through their childhood. But with his tarnished past, Luke refuses to act on the attraction he begins feeling for her.

When Luke finally comes home on leave from the Air Force, and attends the Magical Wedding of Kelly’s sister Kate (That Unforgettable Kiss), he and Kelly spend an enchanting night together.  They simply can’t help themselves – they’ve loved each other nearly their entire lives.

College student Kelly has everything going for her – she’s beautiful, smart and intelligent. So when Luke eventually returns home from Iraq as a wounded warrior, despite the fact that he doesn’t appear to want anything to do with her, she refuses to give up on him. It’s not about his looks, or his past – it’s all about the connection they’ve shared since they were kids.  Fate has always meant for them to be together – she’s sure of it.  But will Kelly ever be able to convince Luke to surrender his heart?

Right now, Magical Weddings is available for pre-order at only 99c.  It’s already reached bestseller status at Amazon – at #3 for Hot New Releases and #14 for anthologies!

Magical Weddings is available at:

Amazonhttp://amzn.to/1F79wCB
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/magical-weddings-leigh-michaels/1122015285?ean=2940151303484
iBookshttp://apple.co/1F7a2Ao
Kobohttp://bit.ly/1F79Y3Q
Google Playhttp://bit.ly/1F7a8rY

 

Life Cycle of a Writer – Taking A Break From Writing

Sue Fortin

It doesn’t seem like five minutes since I was here blogging about receiving my edits for The Half Truth (click HERE to view). Since then my third Harper Impulse novel has flown the nest and is fending for itself out in the big wide world. I will be honest in saying that afterwards I felt quite drained by the whole process. Despite having plenty of writing to get on with, I didn’t feel emotionally or physcially able to do any. At the back of my mind the writing advice of ‘write something every day’ kept plaguing me but try as I might, I couldn’t summon up any enthusiasm.  I was also very much aware my family were well in credit for some of my time, having graciously and lovingly, supported me when I was under deadline pressure.

The Owl & The Pussy Cat

The Owl & The Pussy Cat

Amberley

Amberley

So, ignoring the ‘write every day’ advice, I decided I would do anything and everything but that. I must admit I’ve had an excellent six week writing break, which took into account Easter holidays too. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself. I’ve spent huge amounts of time with my children, my family, celebrating three of our birthdays, catching up with friends, visiting places, pottering around the house, sewing, reading, making cakes (and eating them!); it’s been great.

To begin with I didn’t even feel the urge to do any writing in any shape or form, but gradually over the weeks, my mind has turned to my WIP and I’ve even started toying with ideas for the book after that. However, I’m holding out until next week before I pick up with my WIP. It’s about 71k words in and going well. First though, I’ll probably spend some time plotting out the book after that one before I forget.

I have to say, taking a writing break, as in no writing whatsoever, has been the best thing I’ve done for a long time. It doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s certainly worked for me. Now I’m feeling revived and enthusiastic and I’m very much looking forward to getting back behind the keyboard.

Sue

x

All About the Setting – Samantha Tonge Guest Post

It’s always a pleasure to have guests on the blog and Samantha Tonge is no different. Here to launch her latest novel GAME OF SCONES, Sam is talking about settings.

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Most of the settings of my novels are based on places I know. In Doubting Abbey, Applebridge Hall has similarities with a stately home local to me, that I visited whilst doing research for my fictional building’s interior and many times when the children were small. I lived in Paris as a young woman, so had many memories to draw on for my next book, From Paris with Love. And Mistletoe Mansion is set in Harpenden, a quaint Hertfordshire village I grew up in. As for Game of Scones, the story takes place on the Greek island of Kos. I went there with a group of girlfriends years ago. Plus my husband and I honeymooned on Zante.

So for me, I have so far balked at setting a book somewhere I have absolutely no experience of. Granted, my memories of Greece may not be sharp now, but I still have deep-seated sensual memories– the garlicky smells and sea breeze sounds, the rich taste of the food, the vibrant colour of the sea. From Paris I recall the stuffy odour of the underground, the universal soundtrack of busy tourists speaking in different languages and the delicious sweet smells wafting out of bakeries.

For me this basic, hands-on understanding of a location is important. I might get the overall “feel” of an alien place wrong, if I just go by information on the internet. Although online resources are fantastic for filling in the detail, and I don’t know how authors used to manage before the invention of the World Wide Web.

Before I became published, I had a number of editorial reports on my first novels done, and one pointed out that my settings just weren’t clear enough. I had a strong vision in my head of say a main character’s flat, but wasn’t transferring that to the page. So now I realize how important the smaller bits of information can be – some crumbling brickwork or the exact shade of that magnolia wallpaper. And the beauty of the internet is that the building blocks of your setting can be easily enriched. Thanks to photos and videos and tourist spot descriptions, you can create a realistic vision of a place you don’t actually have day-to-day knowledge of.

For Game of Scones I’ve read tourists’ reviews ad nauseam and studied town maps until I’ve got a headache; have scrutinized photo after photo of local food; then there’s hours of Googling the fragrances of certain local flowers and trawling gardening sites to find out exactly when they bloom. Plus I listen on Youtube to hear how a Greek person speaking English really does sound and also I studied local architecture, to get my descriptions of towns just right.

Doing all of this, in advance, helps the story just spill onto the page and hopefully, by the end of the book, the reader really has become immersed in your fictional world. However, by the same token, I try not to become too hung up on getting every single detail right. After all, I’m a fiction writer, not a tourist guide.

Wait a minute, though. Thinking about it, I did once write a book based in a country – and era – totally foreign to me. Lunchdate with a Tombrobber is set in Ancient Egypt. It is chicklit meets Carry on Cleo, and in my opinion my best book. Sadly no publisher agrees with me and it doesn’t fit neatly into any genre!  I had huge fun researching it, but didn’t get lazy about the detail. In fact I found a wonderful Egyptologist online, who agreed to answer any questions for £1 a pop, via PayPal. Is setting as important in historical fiction, as no one can say that they’ve experienced it and that your version is wrong? Probably more so, as you have to get the reader’s imagination working hard too.

Some people say “write what you know” and to a certain extent, I agree. However, I’m not one for setting anyone – myself included – boundaries, so who knows… Perhaps in the future, I’ll set a chicklit novel on Mars and find out if that really is where men come from!

Game+of+Scones_FINAL+(2)Game of Scones

 A story of icing and flour…and how love doesn’t always go to plan!

Growing up, Pippa Pattinson’s summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. There she spent many long hazy days determinedly ignoring thoughts of the life her parents had mapped out for her (a dreary-but-secure accounting job and obligatory sensible husband!) Instead she daydreamed of running her own tea shop – serving the perfect scones –with mocha-eyed childhood friend Niko by her side…

Arriving back in Taxos for the first time in years, with suave boyfriend Henrik, Pippa barely recognises the tired little town – but is relieved to catch glimpses of the quaint, charming village she’s always loved. Together Niko and Pippa put together a proposal to save Taxos from tourist-tastic ruin, and at the heart of their plan is Pippa’s dream project – The Tastiest Little Teashop in Taxos. It’s time for Pippa to leave her London life behind and dust off her scone recipe that’s guaranteed to win over both locals and visitors. And amidst the rolling pins and raisins, it seems romance is blossoming where she’s least expecting it…

If you’re a fan of Lindsey Kelk or Lucy Diamond then don’t hesitate to step into Samantha Tonge’s truly delightful tea shop.

DSCN4508About Samantha:

Samantha lives in Cheshire with her lovely family and two cats who think they are dogs. Along with writing, her days are spent cycling, willing cakes to rise and avoiding housework. A love of fiction developed as a child, when she was known for reading Enid Blyton books in the bath. A desire to write bubbled away in the background whilst she pursued other careers, including a fun stint working at Disneyland Paris. Formally trained as a linguist, Samantha now likes nothing more than holing herself up in the spare room, in front of the keyboard. Writing romantic comedy novels and short stories is her passion.

Samantha has sold over 80 short stories to mainstream women’s magazines. Her debut romantic comedy novel from CarinaUK Harlequin, bestselling “Doubting Abbey“, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award, 2014. Its fun sequel is From Paris With Love. Mistletoe Mansion is a fun standalone Christmas novel.

http://samanthatonge.co.uk/

http://doubtingabbey.blogspot.co.uk/

https://twitter.com/SamTongeWriter

https://www.facebook.com/SamanthaTongeAuthor

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Game-Scones-deliciously-summery-read-ebook/dp/B00ULP98BQ/ref=la_B00FB6KDNC_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1427385329&sr=1-4

http://www.amazon.com/Game-Scones-deliciously-summery-read-ebook/dp/B00ULP98BQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1427385827&sr=8-1&keywords=game+of+scones

 

 

 

 

Dear Auntie Romaniac – Flashbacks, yes or no?

Dear Auntie Romaniac

Keyboard

I don’t know whether to use flashbacks in my novel or not. My main character has a lot of back story which is relevant to the story I’m telling now.

Do you think I should tell this in flashbacks or should I use a different technique, such as, diary entries or dual time line?  Or is there a better way to deal with a heavy back story?

Sue

Catherine: I think flashbacks are okay to use as long as they don’t jar the storyline, serve a purpose, and keep the reader interested. I’ve just finished Julie Cohen’s Where Love Lies and there is some flashback in there, but it’s serves the plot well and is done smoothly. It’s important to the story as it explores memory and perception amongst other things. I think the rules that I’d have would be not too much, not too soon and not if it doesn’t have a purpose.

 Laura: I agree with Catherine. Not too much and not too soon, unless the character is experiencing physical flashbacks. The past can be revealed through dialogue, which is a form of showing, or through the characters internal voice. I do recall being taught to make the lead into and out of the flashbacks clear to the reader. Having said all that, I like both your ideas, Sue, and can see them working.

Lucie: I will echo what the girls are saying, especially not overusing it. I use a flashback in Fractured Love, but only the once. I think if you use it too much, it will most definitely jar the flow of the story and not achieve the intended purpose. I think there are some stories that need it and some that don’t. You need to look at the story both with it and without and explore whether it is the best means of communication for that part. I do love a good flashback, though, it can add depth and mystery to a story if done properly. Good luck, Sue! :-)

Novel Research

It’s an exciting day for me, my third novel, THE HALF TRUTH is published today. It’s a romantic suspense, set mainly on the south coast of the UK but also in London. I had some interesting search terms when researching it, things like, Glock 26 and Russian gang tattoos but my favourite was St Paul’s Cathedral in London.

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I’ve visited St Paul’s on several occasions, the first, as a child, when my sister, my mum and I stayed with my nan for a week. (She lived in De Beuvoir Square in London, which I also used in The Half Truth.) During that week, my nan took us to St Paul’s and I loved the Whispering Gallery – my sister and I had great fun whispering messages around the walls to each other. As an adult, I’ve appreciated the beauty and splendour of the building, both the interior and exterior.  Writing those scenes brought back very fond memories.

The Half truth

Every marriage has its secrets…

Tina Bolotnikov, widowed after her husband, Sasha, is killed in a car accident, relocates back to her hometown on the south coast of the UK, to bring up her young son. Her life back in London with her adored husband is now nothing but a memory; a history to pass onto her son.

DS John Nightingale saw his partner killed in the line of duty and has made it his personal and professional quest to bring to justice the Russian gang responsible. Five years on and the killer is still free but as reports come in of Sasha Bolotnikov’s brother returning to the UK, John is tasked with tracking him down and following him to the seaside town of Littlehampton.

Tina finds herself an unwitting connection to a world she knew nothing about. She thought she knew her husband. She thought their past was the truth. But now as the investigation draws her closer to DS Nightingale, professional lines are blurred, and only he holds the key to her future.