How I Wrote a Book in 20 Days: A Diary – Part Three

Read parts one and two before reading part three…

PART ONE: CLICK HERE

PART TWO: CLICK HERE

Please note: I only wrote diary entries on days where I actually completed some writing. There are only 20 entries in this diary but the twenty writing days were spread over the space of a month and a bit. This diary does not include my notes on editing (I don’t want to give away all my secrets!)

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Day #10

Today’s Monday. So that means my last writing day was Wednesday, last week. Thursday last week was a day of finishing editing on someone’s book, Friday was a shopping and seeing my daughter collect a certificate in school day. That didn’t allow much time for writing and/or editing, and we were away all weekend so I didn’t write then either. So now I feel like I have a bit of catch-up to play. I also feel like I’ve got all these ideas in my head that I’ve generated over the past few days and now I’m scrambling to get them down before I forget them! Being creatively energised is a good thing but it’s so easy to burn out, too. At the end of each writing day, I always try to make sure there’s a thread to follow the next day.

While walking to and from my daughter’s school today, I had a thought. I remembered something I read a long time ago. It was a quote from somewhere or other that said (more or less) that it’s much harder to write a tender book than a book of drama, angst, erotica or mystery. I do love writing various genres but I have felt that of late, I’m writing to please others and not to please myself and so I’m aware that with this book, I’m deviating and also pleasing myself. I am also aware that it’s much easier while writing to throw a spanner in the works and make my characters deal with it instead of following a train of thought where the characters slowly and lovingly develop. So, at the moment I’m shutting down a lot of my “plot twist” moments, steering clear of them in favour of writing a tender book which is not designed to shock or thrill, but more make the reader become at one with the main character and view her journey as if it’s real – as if it’s happening out there in the world, right now. I want this book to make people cry, don’t get me wrong, but I also want it to do that without the shock factor. I want this book to gently take the reader on a journey they may not have anticipated, but still a journey that’s very believable, relatable and all at the same time, touching beyond what they anticipated.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about writers and their notebooks. (I mentioned at the start of this journey that it was the thought of starting writing that was worse than actually starting writing. I am well aware that, at the moment, I’m loving the creation of this book but soon enough the process will all be over and I’ll be in mourning for yet more characters I’ve lived alongside and now have to let go of…) Anyway, yes, I have a lot of notebooks filled with notes and some Word documents filled with notes, too. Notebooks are like that mental hurdle you have to get over in order to start writing a book. Notebooks are where you stuff your thoughts when you’re not quite ready (or equipped yet) to start writing the actual book. Notebooks receive the splurge and don’t contain all the detail surrounding each bit of dialogue that enhances feeling, tension of a scene, location setting, resolution or problem. As I progress with this project (much like I’ve progressed in the same way on projects before), I realise notebooks can be helpful for pointers, reminders, bullet points, section ideas etc… but the only real way to actually achieve anything when you’re writing a book, is to do as Hemingway said, and “sit and bleed at the typewriter…” or something to that effect anyway. Because this book has directed itself, and continues to do so, it is seemingly much better off for organic development – and I am very much inclined to agree with Hemingway, one of my all-time favourite authors and an inspiration. Anyway, I am loving the direction this story is going in, but I maintain constant awareness of not pushing myself too hard, while also preparing myself for the range of emotions to come. As a writer, and no less as a person, self care is utmost. Utmost.

Word count so far: 33913

Day #11

I’m getting deeper into the story now, the meatier stuff evolving. We’re in the second third of the book where I always try to start bringing all the characters’ innards out on display, as we reach an understanding of what the matter at hand is here, i.e. what is the dealio.

So, we’re getting to the crux of the matter and I’m delivering more details slowly, in pipette-fuls. I’m gradually building more context, giving my heroine more of a dynamic with herself, but also with all the other characters. She’s now discovered a potentially calamitous truth about her boss which could end very badly.

I’m beginning to see the overall potential of this story and my faith is going to pay off, I know it is. I just have to keep going! And it’s so exciting to think about where this might go. My vision of how I’ll feel at the finish line is still unclear so for now, I’ve just got to keep riding this wave and see where it takes me.

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I added one chapter today which was just enough. I wrote this morning but then spent the afternoon setting up social media posts as I have a sale on at the moment. Let’s see how I’m feeling tomorrow, eh?

Word count so far: 37223

Day #12

After today’s efforts, I can officially count this as another novel added to the pile, as I passed the rudimentary 40K word count mark which takes the book to novel-length.

It feels good. But with all my books, I never write small. I have written some novellas in my time actually, even some short stories, but most of my novels are 90,000 words plus, some have even reached almost 160K. At the moment I’m aiming for around 90-100,000 with this book. In the back of my mind I know I’ve got enough room to stretch my legs out and let this take its course, on the other hand I also have a vague idea what I need to pack into each section so the reader doesn’t get bored. I also want to achieve everything I need to without dulling down the narrative too much – all while leaving a few bits up to the imagination while detailing the most important moments of character development in considerable depth. As someone who’s written over fifteen full-length novels, I am well aware that all this crafting and sewing together of the plot mostly goes on in the back of my mind now, leaving the conscious me to really just enjoy the story.

Today as with most days, I never put my fingers to the keys before ten a.m. After the rush of getting my daughter to school, I need to allow time for my brain to settle and calm. I need the lake in front of my mind’s eye to be absolutely still. So, when I get back from dropping off my daughter, I make a cup of tea. Set the washing machine running. Make all the beds, open the curtains, the windows, wash the dishes. Pick stuff up off the floor. Basically, I’ve got to mentally and physically clear the decks before I can fully relax and sit down to write. I also use this time to check all my social media accounts, answer emails, set up automated media posts… hopefully before the strike of ten when I start tapping on the keys or at least start reading through some bits. The same goes on days when I’m editing – I never edit when my brain’s scatty because it’s easy to miss things that way.

Lunch is usually around one, though earlier if I’m particularly hungry, sometimes later if the writing’s got me so fixated that I feel like I can merely survive on fresh air.

Sometimes I’ll work all day, with only that short break for lunch. A lot of days I use my evenings to key in notes or do research, maybe some more social media… In fact, there was a time I used to be up until one a.m. finishing stuff off. That does not happen anymore (leftover bad habit of when I had no time during the day to write). My health comes first these days. And my writing during the day is so much better off for me getting a good night sleep every night. Speaking of which I’m writing this diary entry at half eleven at night because this was the only moment today I could write it! Sweet dreams…

Word count so far: 42910 ← so achievable when you know how

Day #13

Whoa, I am so close to the halfway stage now, I can almost taste it. Half a novel. Is it true? Can it be? At some points during my days, I’m envisioning scenes and getting chills. I’m trying to fragment pieces of information my mind grabs at and make tendrils of thought into full, detailed scenes. My mind’s still chasing ahead, trying to enjoy the good bits before I’ve tackled the difficult stuff. I have to slow myself down. I know this from experience. I have to let this story tell itself. I have to succumb to creativity.

There are always moments of doubts, too. Such as, who will read this? Will they get it? Will they like the heroine? Is she going to lure readers to live her journey alongside her? Those moments pass eventually. For me they do anyway. I think they pass because I just love writing so bloody much!! I always remind myself, I am doing this because I love it. I love this. I love the way I can live somewhere else in my mind while I’m writing. I love imagining the finished product. I write for the finished product, and I love to see how surprised readers are sometimes, when they read my stories and get a totally different angle they weren’t expecting.

For now, sleep. Tomorrow’s Friday so I’ll be trying to knuckle down to writing another nice chunk before the weekend swallows me whole again. Time really does fly when you’re living the dream.

Word count so far: 46,467

TUNE IN FOR PART FOUR THIS TIME NEXT WEEK!

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How I Wrote a Book In 20 Days: A Diary – PART TWO

READ PART ONE BEFORE READING THIS: CLICK HERE

Please note: I only wrote diary entries on days where I actually completed some writing. There are only 20 entries in this diary but the twenty writing days were spread over the space of a month and a bit. This diary does not include my notes on editing (I don’t want to give away all my secrets!)

***

Day #5

I was at the cinema today and I don’t know whether the film wasn’t consuming enough or whether this book I’m writing is consuming me beyond everything else, but when I got home I was still full of ideas for this WIP. So, I had to write a bit this evening and I have done. Every little helps.

Word count so far: 14,441

Day #6

Today was a Sunday but I wanted to write today, so I did. My husband took our daughter swimming so it gave me a couple of lazy hours on the sofa with my laptop. It’s rare I write at the weekends, only if a book really has me in its grip, which this one does at the moment.

The story’s shaping itself in a way I didn’t expect. My mind’s trying to jump ahead to figure out the next steps but I’m just having to go with the flow of this one. The heroine’s telling me her tale in her own way and things aren’t working out the way I planned when I first started out. But that’s okay because a lot of the heroine’s actions are still working out in a way that mean she’s staying true to herself, it’s just that an unforeseen antagonist has been brought into the equation.

I’m really starting to fall in love with this story now and in the back of my mind, I have a card to play I think will glue readers, making them want to discover more and more. It feels really good to have a lovely chunk of this story already written.

Word count so far: 17914

Day #7

I got down a couple of scenes today that I’ve had in my head for a while. It’s good to get them down finally but discipline also requires that I get down everything in detail, instead of me racing along, merely to experience the scene for myself finally, without giving the reader all the details they need to see it for themselves.

It’s Monday so I am continuing on this writing roll. I’m just feeling it at the moment and as any writer knows, when you feel it you have to go with it.

So this morning I worked on a chap’s book I’m editing as part of my publishing services business. And then in the afternoon I wrote more on my own book.

It feels in my heart that this book is turning out to be one of true love, but somehow I sense strife is right up ahead. But I’m not sure. Maybe this couple have had enough strife already.

I am experiencing the war within me to stay with the characters and not put my own spin on their story. It’s a hard-fought war from the characters’ perspectives.

I’m trying to zone everything else out to listen to them, which means less time on social media. I really despise scrolling through Facebook and seeing posts about procrastination, i.e. “I should be writing but I’m watching wrestling.” If you should be doing something… well, you should. But you’re not. I personally value my writing time so dearly and I cherish it. I love this thing I do so much, I treasure it. I treasure all my moments at the keys. I can’t stand negativity because if I listened to that, I wouldn’t get this book written. All the time my mind is focused on foreseeing the finished product and realising that vision. Always.

I feel that if my day consists of time to write and time doing other stuff, then when it comes to finally getting down to writing, I always appreciate the opportunity to do that much more, having had other things to occupy me beforehand. Time and space away from the keys is as equally important, because you’re writing even then, just in draft form. The best ideas come when you’re in the shower, out for dinner, during a car journey or any other task where the mind is working but there’s no way to get a pen in your hand!

Word count so far: 21976

Day #8

I wrote today. I edited. That’s a successful day. I’m tired now, though. I might watch some TV before falling into a stupor, where I’ll be dreaming up more stuff for my characters to do tomorrow.

(Still avoiding the non-believers on Facebook.)

Word count so far: 24785

Day #9

My word output isn’t what I’d like it to be right now because I’m spending time editing someone else’s work but needs must and as I’ve mentioned before, variety does make me write better when I do get back to writing!

Me and hubby were playing around with book cover designs at the weekend. I have a unique image for the cover and a unique character to try and give personality to with just a bit of text added. We came up with some ideas and I added some text. By Monday I didn’t like the text. Yesterday I fiddled with it a bit and hubby pouted when he saw I’d got rid of all our original ideas, but actually he liked what I’d done and I think the way it is now better suits the personality of the heroine of this book. I will still probably go back and make more amends.

This novel is a spin-off novel from an existing series and so I’m feeling a great deal of nostalgia and trying not to give other familiar characters too much airtime. I don’t want to detract from the story at hand.

I’m also having to (still) constantly remind myself that when I fuck up, it doesn’t matter. It’s just that I sometimes wish readers knew the amount writers put into their work, the research and the heartache and the numerous edits we make before you see the finished product. The writer knows that book inside and out; they’ve conceived it, nurtured it, cried in the night for it, screamed in the night for it to shut up… everything. And we present a pristine book to readers who have no knowledge of the rough-hewn slab of a book we started out with, before it became something shiny and seemingly new. This is a process of extreme demand and at the end of it all, some will love it, some will hate it, some will criticise it because it’s much easier to criticise than to sit here lovingly fashioning something from scratch.

Throughout the writing of a book I don’t really have the energy to read other books but I really try to read magazines or articles because they only require little moments of concentration and still keep you plugged into the real world. With editing being a large part of my day job (reading in itself), I do tend to start feeling bad that I’m not doing the thing I love most (reading for pleasure), but that’s another sacrifice writers make during the process, and one that’s sometimes necessary to get the task in hand done.

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Some days I don’t have time to reflect like this, sometimes I purely don’t want to think at the end of the day, but reflection is so important.

This is my 17th novel I’m carving out of rough-hewn-something-or-other.

(I may be getting a little scared because I don’t know where the story will take me next.)

Word count so far: 27803 (8 full chapters)

TUNE IN FOR PART THREE THIS TIME NEXT WEEK!

How I Wrote a Book In 20 Days: A Diary – PART ONE

Please note: I only wrote diary entries on days where I actually completed some writing. There are only 20 entries in this diary but the twenty writing days were spread over the space of a month and a bit. This diary does not include my notes on editing (I don’t want to give away all my secrets!)

***

Day #1

So. A bit of back story first.

I’ve had this idea for a standalone novel for some time (months and months, in fact). I know the main character like the back of my hand. I just need the story to go with her. A story to do her justice. But do I make it a love story, or a story of transformation…? These things allude me still on the first day I put fingers to keys to write. I’ve got notebooks full and ideas galore, but sometimes what works in the lab doesn’t work in practise.

So, I start simple. I begin the story with a clear image of a day when the heroine discovers everything she thought she had sorted out – really isn’t sorted out. And somehow, I know in the back of my mind, I’m going to have to take this character to rock bottom to bring her back to life again.

Side characters have been looming in my head for a while but like with all my other books, I don’t always want to have the hero figured out before I write. I want to fall in love with him at the same time as the heroine does and I think that’s what will make the audience believe in their love.

But whether this story is a true love story or something much different… remains to be typed.

Anyway, I am pretty happy to have gotten down the first 1,000 words of this book because they are always the hardest. It means you’re making something that’s previously only been in your head real, and taking that leap of faith is one thing, but writing down their story is also the beginning of the end. And nobody likes to say goodbye to those who’ve kept them company for so long.

Having already written 16 novels, I find it harder all the time to produce new material, to make a story unique. Regardless of everything else, I think story is absolutely key.

I almost always re-read my daytime writing later the same evening, maybe adding a few more details. It’s the weekend now so I’ll leave the story a few days, giving myself time to cogitate the next move.

Word count so far: 1337

Day #2

Writing the second half of chapter one has meant getting down some important points about the problems we need to solve in the heroine’s life. I’ve tackled a bit of backstory to her, too. Not too many details or you bog the reader down in too much information. Drip feed the reader details they need to know, gradually building a picture of the characters as you go. Keep some things back about your hero or heroine. An astute reader will pick up on them anyway.

I found it relatively easy to get this first chapter out and I could write more today but I’m not going to. I feel as though I’ve made a good start and slow and steady is the way. I know I need to save reserves for when I get to the meatier sections – when I’ll not be able to stop myself splurging this story onto the page.

Word count so far: 3715

Day #3

It’s morning.

Last night I took a sketchpad to bed, to write out some salient points of this work in progress. I came up with three ways this story could go. And three genres. And I matched each plot route with a genre.

[Editor’s note: at the time I thought I was writing a piece of contemporary fiction, but as I progressed, I realised the book felt more and more like new adult fiction in tone and in subject matter.]

I hate the idea of being confined by genre in any book, the same way I often avoid notebooks with lined paper inside. The lines make me want to conform to some sort of standard and I don’t want to conform. I prefer to make notes with spider diagrams and/or pictures, maybe I’ll compose bullet points (yes), but on plain, blank paper you can add subsections of notes and subsections of those subsections. (It should be noted that a lot of books I write are in my head already, filed away in a manner of speaking, but writing notes out helps me to put my mind into at least some sort of order.) The thing is, I’d love to live in a world where genre doesn’t matter, but evidently in the sale of books it does. And it’s something which has to be factored in at some point along the way.

[Editor’s note: The thing about NA is that it’s not quite erotica but it does allow some open-door scenes and readers have come to expect sex in my books.]

So… here we go… let’s see what last night’s notes produce on the page today…

***

I got Chapter Two down today. I’m starting to see how the heroine functions, what her shortcomings and her attributes are; how she acts around others and what bits she shows of herself are real or fabricated. We’re getting to the crux of the matter at hand and a certain love interest has appeared in the background. But what happened? He’s from her past so we don’t know much about him yet.

I could write more but I won’t. Later tonight I will probably re-read what I wrote today and sculpt it a tiny bit more. And overnight more ideas will have brewed.

Word count so far: 6618

Day #4

Today’s Thursday, so yesterday wasn’t a writing day because I had an editing project to finish. Sometimes I’ll write a bit in the morning and spend the rest of the day editing, mixing it up. Yesterday I didn’t feel the urge to write, as though the plot needed to brew a bit more, but today I’ve had the urge to splurge a lot. And I have. I’ve now written three full chapters and a bit of Chapter Four. We now have a love interest who’s surfaced and he feels like a big character in this story. Tendrils of ideas are knitting together to create this pattern I’m weaving. The book will be structured in short-ish chapters around 3-4,000 words long so I’m looking between 20-30 chapters but we shall see.

The trouble I often find when I’m writing is that I’m a pattern weaver so I tend to lurch for complicated plots but I know with this story, I don’t need that. I just want to write something simple, because the story itself is very relatable and I don’t want to complicate it. I have a memory for details so another problem is that as I’m writing, a new idea might pop up that corrupts a previous chapter and I know I’ll have to go back and fix that or delete what I’ve just written. It often gives me a headache knowing I’ll have to make these major changes at the end, but it’s necessary to keep on writing otherwise you might lose the pace and editing should be saved for the end (for sure!). I have to give myself a talking to and remind myself that at this stage, nothing is set in stone and it’s just a draft; the most important thing is to get structure down and details can be changed later.

I feel like I could write more today. I don’t allow myself to write late into the night these days but if the urge is there later, I may well write. We’ll see…

Word count so far: 11785

ADDENDUM:-

I did a little bit more tonight (just had to get a little scene out of my head).

(amended) Word count so far: 12629

TUNE IN FOR PART TWO THIS TIME NEXT WEEK!

It’s Okay To Say “No”

Saying “No” Is a Sign of Intelligence

I read something a long while ago about an experiment involving people handed cakes and chocolate non-stop and the test was to see whether they kept saying yes, or eventually said no. After all, we don’t need all the cake and all the chocolate in one day. Moderation is the key, right?

The experiment showed that the more intelligent people either said no from the outset or eventually said no once they were full. For some reason, this example popped into my head this week and it got me also thinking about some of the Oxford University techniques implemented during the application process. Half the time the examiners are testing whether you’ll do something without question. If you do something without thinking it through or without a moment’s hesitation (just because someone said to do it), it could be a sign of low intelligence. What do you think?

I hear and see so much discontent around me some days and I think to myself, “Why don’t you just say no?”

There are many situations where it’s difficult to say no:-

  • You’re full from dinner but the waiter is giving you the eye as if to say that you having more drinks and puddings makes him look better with the boss. He looks so hopeless, you can’t say no.
  • Your mother-in-law keeps putting out plates of biscuits with the tea and coffee and somehow, you feel impolite not partaking.
  • Your boyfriend wants you to go with him to a game, but it’s really not your thing. If you say no though, he might go crazy with his friends, go out on the lash and forget you even exist. You’ll receive a text three days later to say he’s finally got sober and he needs you to pick him up from some gutter somewhere.
  • Someone asks for a favour and this person has done you a favour in the past. You know it’ll be difficult to carry out because you’ve already got a lot on your plate and what they want you to do is something you’d charge other people for, but somehow you selflessly work through the night to carry out the favour and it turns out, your friend didn’t need your help after all. Shout at them, or mooch on and hang your head for half a day? What do you do when they ask again, even though you feel bad about saying no?
  • This one is my favourite: You have a horrible relative and you’re asked to spend time in the same room as them. Ignore your better judgement (and that of many people who agree that the person in question is hard work) and be in the same room while biting your tongue, or say NO and avoid that period of time spent in their company which is a waste of your time and existence. I say I’d rather spend time being happy, than making other people happy. WE HAVE A CHOICE.

Life is short. Lately, with everything going on in the world and so much negativity in the media, it seems that life is getting shorter and shorter. None of us truly know how much time we have on this planet or in this life.

Sometimes I feel an urge to write, an itch I cannot ignore, and this is one of those times when I cannot ignore writing out something which seems very simple to me, but to others – difficult or challenging. Maybe it’s because I was once there, and the process of me finally saying no to something which made me unhappy changed me forever, and now I don’t hesitate in saying, “no”.

To explain, one of the main reasons I am a writer is that growing up, I chewed through books like you can’t imagine and the reason was – I was searching for answers. I wanted education. I wanted to hear about what life had on offer and I wanted to make my own informed decisions about life. In the end, I learnt that the only way to learn (really and truly) is to live life. However, reading helps. It gives you perspective. It gives you a broader sense of the world and other people’s lives. Reading can also give you escapism from a current predicament. I had it brought to my attention recently that some women read romantic fiction to have their faith restored in men, after going through bad relationships. Maybe while they’re single and healing, fiction can be that salve during a process of reflection and help someone figure out where they want to go and how they can take themselves forward.

I would never describe myself as a “romantic” author because I write the truth in all my books. I always question whether my characters would act like this or that in real life and sometimes, I spend days considering whether they would. Sometimes I have readers mailing me to say the characters are pissing them off, and I smile secretly, because people in real life do things to piss you off. I don’t write fiction to create perfect characters who do everything they should. I write them to spark something in a reader, hopefully a thought that might help them see things from a different perspective and change their life.

In my opinion, there is nothing more romantic than someone failing and getting back up, admitting they were wrong and doing it better next time. There is nothing more romantic than a true love conquering all, and remaining intact despite all the hurt and the pain. This is real, this is life. Life is painful but also beautiful and one thing you never see in the mass media are stories of ordinary, backwater people leading quiet, purposeful lives, bringing cheer to all those around them, bringing life and love to everybody they know. Sometimes you walk into a person’s home and everything about them seems ordinary until they start to recount an extraordinary story of achievement they rarely brag about. It just happened, and they humbly explain that it happened. There are silent heroes out there everywhere and it’s why this world hasn’t yet exploded into World War Three. There are people doing good deeds all over the place – and some of them never ask for any reward but a tiny bit of recognition.

I learnt to say no a long time ago. I won’t be bullied by anybody to think or do what they want me to do. I’ll break the rules. I’ll say no or I’ll gently say, “Maybe next time.” In this modern world of ours, we’ve got too wrapped up in thinking that opportunity is at our feet and it’s something we have to dive into without any thought for ourselves or what we – ourselves – really want. Know your own limits, it’s the best advice I could ever give you, and be content with your own limits and accept the things which make you happy, and ignore the things that really give you no comfort or peace whatsoever.

Maybe if you’re in an unhappy place in life, write a list of all the things you wish you could say no to, and a list of all the things you wish you could say yes to. I bet if you start saying no more, you will be able to say yes more frequently to the things you really want to do. There is no trap in life except your own mind, and sometimes, our parameters don’t shift with time and they need to constantly do that. Everyone is in charge of their own fate.

I do think it is important to mention, however… that some of us do experience real anxiety over saying no. Some of us imagine the worst possible scenario of what saying no could conclude in. Such as the breakdown of a relationship, or getting into debt, losing your job or… the list of situations some people have on their ‘absolute avoidance’ pile is endless. But think of why you’re saying no in the first place… and aren’t you saying no because to say yes would make you unhappy? And the whole point of life is to be happy, so why do you keep saying yes to unhappiness? We’ve all been there and life transformations can be very painful.

Someone myself and my husband follow is Jack Canfield and his success principles. I think this sums up everything I’m trying to say here:-

“Most of us avoid telling the truth because it’s uncomfortable. We’re afraid of the consequences—making others feel uncomfortable, hurting their feelings, or risking their anger. And yet, when we don’t tell the truth, and others don’t tell us the truth, we can’t deal with matters from a basis in reality. We’ve all heard the phrase that “the truth will set you free.” And it will. The truth allows us to be free to deal with the way things are, not the way we imagine them to be or hope them to be or might manipulate them to be with our lies. The truth also frees up our energy. It takes energy to withhold the truth, keep a secret, or keep up an act.”
Jack Canfield, The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be

Time is precious and there is no harm in occasionally saying “no”, or “maybe next time.” It’s a sign of intelligence, of you weighing up all your options, and choosing a different one. It’s knowing who you are… and going in the direction that will make you the best person you can possibly be. Rather than dedicate all your energies to avoiding the truth, and covering it up with numberous band aids, plough all your energies into getting what you want. If you’re in a bad job, make your new job finding that new job. If you’re in a relationship where you know you’d be better off alone… seriously… there’s not even a yes or no answer to that.

Life is so short. Forget the bullshit… and just be happy. Toss off your self-made prison and the truth will set you free. It really will.

Forget what everyone is saying on social media, and think for yourself. It’s a clever thing to do and when you love yourself, people will love you too.

 

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We should chase away from what we’re scared of, right? Run as fast as we can. Yet some of us seem to veer toward chaos and destruction…

Chloe sees anguish and despair lurking beneath the surface of Cai Matthews, the dark and dangerously handsome freelance photographer she meets on her first day in a new job. She can’t see straight in his presence—blinded by a blistering sexual attraction that has the potential to sweep her clean off her feet.

When Cai disappears from the workplace and doesn’t come back, Chloe tries to find out more about his life but all she knows is he’s set to inherit a ton of money and his aunt runs one of the most famous fashion magazines in the world.

Cai is running from a complicated past he doesn’t like talking about. Gossip columns rage with speculation concerning him and his aunt, who took guardianship of Cai after his parents died.

Conscientious journalist Chloe has a mind for details and once she gains access to his world, Cai realises she could undo every, single dirty little secret that he and his aunt have tried desperately to cover up.

BOOK TWO UNFURL…

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I’ll stab you in the heart.
I’m coming for you.
No secret dies.
But you will.

In the concluding part of Chloe and Cai’s tale of frantic, tempestuous, meaningful love…

When news breaks that enigmatic magazine editor Jennifer Matthews is dead, it irks Chloe that Cai refuses to shed even one tear. What she doesn’t know is that he was expecting it, perhaps even, hoping for it.

In this dark, romantic tale of revenge, Cai explodes the deepest, most destructive aspects of his past as he comes to terms with the tragedy at the heart of Jennifer’s downfall. With Chloe’s love and support, he must brave his demons and dodge death to finally end a bitter feud between two damaged families.

**This book is not intended to stand alone and is the second in a three-part series, concluding in UNLEASH – Kayla Tate’s story.**

BOOK THREE UNLEASH

KAY (4)Have you ever fallen for the wrong person – knowing they’re not the one for you?

For Kayla Tate, pain and disappointment are all she has ever known when it comes to love. Is it that she never learned from her mistakes? Or is there a ghost from her past she’s yet to lay to rest?

Kayla embarks on a journey during which harsh lessons will be learned and relationships will be tested. It seems to centre around the Sub Rosa mystery, but where will she begin to unpick the threads? All she knows is that something doesn’t add up . . .

Kayla’s heartbreaking story is about lifelong friendships, taking chances and finding that one person who’s willing to risk it all with you – at exactly the right time.

DOM DIARIES – A COMPANION NOVEL

domdiariesThe Sub Rosa Trilogy uncovered the dark secrets beneath the lies. But what about the story beyond the mystery?

In this companion novel, TV presenter turned magazine editor Carl Sorensen has his say in these diaries chronicling his journey from a lost soul betrayed by all the women he loves – to a true, dedicated dom determined to lead a better life.

His uncensored confessions reveal all the dirty secrets that eventually put him on the same path as the woman who would become his wife.

Ultimately, what makes a dom and more importantly, WHO makes a dom?

Be prepared to have your belief system shaken up all over again.

Visit Sarah’s books on AMAZON

A New Release from author Y Correa

LD Cover for Kindle*click cover to visit Amazon*

Blurb:

When Lilith fails to comply with the plans of Man and The Creator, she is punished to an existence that costs her the fruits of humanity. Every moment becomes a never ending spin cycle of memories mirroring profound loss, recalcitrant rage, and immeasurable suffering.

During a Halloween party at the Arcadia Chateau, the blue-green eyed brunette Jet leaves an impression which shatters the equilibrium of Lilith’s cloud of darkness. Is this a temporary aggravation or the start of a much needed resurrection—the fire of love in a heart iced with hurt?

Excerpt:

It is believed that before the Genesis of the human age, Adam had a wife … a first wife; Lilith.

Created from the same ground from which Adam was molded, Lilith proved to be a bit more than his subordinate.

She was his equal.

Legend has it that Lilith was strong willed, independent and unyielding. All of the things that Adam did not want in a wife.

Red hair, sensual curves and red-brown eyes, Lilith was voluptuousness in the form of a woman. Passion, ardent and burning vitality. Lilith considered herself Adam’s compeer in every way—second to none and nothing.

What Adam hated to admit was that Lilith was his weakness, his burning desire, and his fierce, iniquitous poison. As much as he wanted her, he also hated her. It was her authority that continually dominated him, and her lasciviousness that seduced him. He was less of a man when he was around her, yet he also could not feel more empowered.

Adam realized that his obsession with Lilith was a lecherous enthrallment and nothing more, for he could not love her. Neither could he be her master. This was the problem. Adam’s job was to be in control, to be the head. The leader of Lilith and all of their descendants. For this, the Creator had made him.

Yet, around her—Lilith—he was nothing more than a groveling, dribbling, insecure excuse for a man. She had him wrapped around her little finger, and this suited her just fine.

Adam, not so much.

This was not what the Creator had mandated. Not what he intended when making them both. He needed Adam—level headed and trustworthy—to be in charge. However, with the ever present seduction of Lilith, this wouldn’t be possible.

Something must be done.

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The sound of a single long nail clicking against a hardwood table was all that could be heard in the room. Why? Because all of the noise and commotion was in her head.

Voices, memories, flashing thoughts. Chaos! Nothing more and nothing less.

The upsurge of rampant thoughts caused her mouth to slap with thirst—suck her teeth in upheaval. Lilith’s thirst was soon to be quenched, she was certain. She’d already made the preparations. Yet, the riot that was Lilith’s unending trail of assaulting musings would probably never be quelled.

The light of night poked through the monumental stained glass windows. One ray in particular beamed across the room, perpendicular to its point of origin, then ricocheted from a mirror to shine a slender bright stream of yellow-orange light on the table. The thin beacon glowed not too far from where her hand tapped an agitated finger.

The room was enormous and regal, yet devoid of any exuberance. Filled with scarce furnishings—the mammoth hardwood table and the innumerable chairs that surrounded it. Old, decrepit paintings adorned the walls.

The air was stifling, consumed by the scent of mothballs, molded and aged wood.

How did I get here? Lilith’s thought, although in her mind, seemed to echo through the stretch of the empty room.

“Madam, your supper is ready,” squealed Lilith’s faithful attendant, though indubitably pitiful as he was, whilst walking in. The aged, wooden double doors screeched upon his opening them. Then, he closed them, without as much as a glimpse back. His skin had not seen the light of day in so long that it had lost its color. A peculiar shade of tan-gray, wrinkled and rough, was all that remained.

Throughout the years, Demetrius had become an old, dilapidated, fragile corpse of a man—feeble and haggard, yet faithful. Lilith considered that while his situation was different than hers, at least they shared the apathetic hue of their skin color, albeit not her extraordinary good looks.

“Bring it in, Demetrius. Leave it,” replied Lilith as she waved a hand in the air, with little to no regard whatsoever. Completely detached from human emotion and void of fascination. She couldn’t help herself. All her vitality had been lost eons ago.

“Yes, Madam,” responded Demetrius, then nodded his head and bowed out of the room. Seconds later he pulled in a frightened brunette, who was so dismayed that she’d lost all fight and merely shivered and sobbed uncontrollably. Demetrius, grabbed a handful of the girl’s hair and tossed her on the ground in front of Lilith. “Your supper my lady.” he said subserviently, then bowed out of the room once more.

Lilith wasted no time whatsoever and with the blink of an eye had the girl trapped, her fangs sunk into the girl’s main artery. The one located between the thighs—Lilith had long since grown tired of the neck. It was too convenient and she craved a bit of excitement, rare as it was.

Moments later, the girl’s life blood had been drained and all that remained was a naked, pale carcass.

Lilith stood to her feet uneventfully, sighed deeply, dusted her hands and then took a seat once again in her favorite chair.

With that, her mind whirled into its turbulent incongruity yet again.

Author Bio:

Y. Correa is a literary seductress, luring one in with her talent of Romancing the Words, keeping one hypnotized with dynamic characters, and stimulating one with engaging narrative voices, strong plots, and epic conflicts. Her writes are as complex and as distinct as her person; a delightful combination of eclectic and antiquated. Therefore, the mere mention of fitting into one set genre is laughable. The multi-genre decadence is where she showcases her magnificence.

Some of Y. Correa’s works include Historical Fiction “MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis”, Sci-Fi Mashup “Earth 8-8-2: The Genesis Project”, Sci-Fi Fiction series “A.L.O.M” and short stories such as “Ryan”, “Loving … them!” and “The G. Particle”.

Ms. Correa has also been in several short story anthologies and is the Founder/Creator of All Authors Publications and Promotions whose subsidiaries are:

  • All Authors Magazine
  • All Authors Graphic Design
  • All Authors Publishing House
    and
  • All Authors Certificate of Excellence

Links:

“Lilith’s Dominion” on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5129204.Y_Correa

Author Website: http://ycorrea.net

A Fine Profession – Now FREE everywhere

A Fine Profession WEBSITE USE

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Charlotte “Lottie” Taylor survived childhood cancer and then spent years feeling at odds with who she was and where her life was heading. A chambermaid at a run-of-the-mill hotel chain, she found escape in her imagination and eventually discovered expression in a sideline dominating men.

She spent nights disciplining her “initiates” and delivering a service their wives often ordered on their behalf. What she didn’t expect was to fall in love when a chance encounter put her in the arms of Noah Yeardley, a man with a history as interesting as her own. The only man to ever dominate Lottie, together they explored their fantasies. Yet the fantasy broke down and Lottie was forced to revisit past issues.

Charlotte’s erotic tale is one of sexual awakening and self fulfilment—a human story of making mistakes, learning to love yourself and finding true love with another.

**FEATURING BONUS MATERIAL**

The story continues in A Fine Pursuit, a continuation of the story from Noah’s POV.

 

Reviews

It’s a sharply etched portrait of loss, yearning and a quest for sexual fulfilment in the most unlikely places.

This story totally intrigued me. I read night and day and was captivated by Lottie and what drove her in all things.

This is one of the most interesting story lines I have read of an erotic genre read.

LEEDS AUTHOR EVENT 2016

Let me first start by saying that the run-up to this event was an exhausting ordeal in itself (for me and no doubt many others, including the organisers).

For more than a month prior to the signing I was running a blog tour. Every day I featured a different writer (most signing at Leeds, some not). The blog tour meant quickly collecting everyone’s words and putting them into blog posts vaguely resembling the same sort of format! That was time out of my own routine, as was formatting the blogs into what became a special paperback produced in honour of this signing.

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View the tour

Buy the paperback

 Was it tiring? Yes. Was it worth it? Hell yes.

With busy periods in your life comes the slump afterwards when you’re left wondering – what next? In quick succession, I recently finished a novel. Finished the blog tour. Edited someone’s memoirs for them. Then prepared for a book signing. It’s all been a total mind fuck.

In the run-up to a signing, your finger constantly hovers over the re-order button on all the sites you’ve bought books, bookmarks, posters and merchandise from. You’re in a perpetual state of thinking, Have I bought enough? Have I done enough? It is absolute madness. You get to the point where you become at one with everything and if you haven’t got it, tough shit.

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So, the run-up to these things is crazy. The day itself is crazy. The aftermath is like venturing to Hell’s Mouth and teetering on the edge for days on end. I’ve been sat here sort of laughing and cackling to myself, randomly recalling moments I’d almost forgotten about. Hubby sits next to me with a wry smile, just knowing I’m running it all through my head again and storing it in the long-term data banks.

Last year when I did my first signing in Peterborough, I could barely stomach my breakfast. This year I managed a few things for breakfast because I knew what to expect and I was glad I had some food in me because it was non-stop all day long. I barely had time to breathe, I don’t think anyone did. I must have dropped about half a stone in one day from nervous excitement, the air-con and generally having to concentrate and sound lucid! LOL.

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On Saturday there were few moments to stop and think and it’s why the aftermath is always so bittersweet. These events are so treasured and so overwhelming that afterwards, you wish you had done this, that or the other. All I can comfort myself with is the fact that there will be more signings. Here’s just a few of the things (however) which particularly made Leeds special for me (these might not come to me in the same order of the day’s timeline):

  • I was placed in a Ham and James-Marlow sandwich. Otherwise known as sitting between Lisa Fulham and the delectable duo Victoria L James and Francesca Marlow. I like to think of James-Marlow as being like a delightful salad relish with a dash of bourbon! It was great to be able to sneak a glance at what was going on at the tables around me. Victoria’s mum holding a glass of wine… a very LARGE glass I may add. Go on my love! Victoria was completely overwhelmed by the whole experience, as were many other debut signers. Nothing quite compares to your first time and realising that actually, yes, people really do love your work. For every troll out there wanting to pull you down, there are dozens of people clambering to get a piece of you – people who love reading and totally get what self-published authors are trying to do. Indie books have more of the soul, less of the polish that strips out what makes each author individual, and I love that. I think many people do. As for Lisa “Manchester” Fulham, I only have to look over at her and smile and we just know what the other is thinking!
  • Dented bottles! Yes, I became obsessed with a dented wine bottle after I partook of one glass of wine during the signing. I think it went straight to my head…! 😉
  • “They Say I’m Doing Well” was a huge hit, the charity anthology I led, alongside 28 other authors. It was wonderful to see so many people holding their copies and trying to get them signed by all the authors in attendance who’d participated. Like I say, in the run-up to this signing I’d been pedal to the metal with this project but the messages from people who really got what this blog tour/book were all about really made it all so worthwhile. I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to do what I do. In my day job, I help people get published. It’s a dream. I will always consider this a privilege. It’s special. It’s not even work for me. For people to congratulate me on standing up for mental illness seems bizarre. It’s something I feel necessary to do, not even that, but a natural urge. It’s not brave, but normal, to talk about things. That’s all. And yet the interest I am getting in this project is gathering pace on a daily basis. I am not kidding you!!!!
  • NooNoo’s shaking on the dancefloor. She really can drop to the floor as well!! Louise White is my favourite blogger. She rocks. Despite the broken zip, well… you had THE GLOVES so it didn’t matter. I hold you responsible for me writing Tainted Lovers because you mentioned there weren’t enough novels around about married couples…
  • Seeing Rachel and Jo, the Hourglass ladies, tear up as they were presented with a card and presents at the end of the day was like watching all their tension slide away in one fell swoop as they suddenly realised “we did good”. It was amazing. Pats on the back darlings. We’re one crazy group of authors. I never doubted Jo and Rach for a moment.
  • Having authors like Charming Man and Anna-Maria Anthanasiou, EJ Shortall, Lavinia Urban, Rebecca Sherwin, Cameron Lincoln (I know your real name, I know your name – sang to the Casino Royale theme tune) and so many others know your face. It’s truly a bizarre thing to be recognised.
  • The whole day felt nicely spread out and nobody had to wait for too long, everyone had a great spread of visitors to their table. I remember looking over at Scarlett Flame and Neil Winnington who were both loving it. I couldn’t take my eyes off Scarlett’s steampunk outfit (HA HA, Scarlett).
  • The BAD, BAD, BAD Dad dancing at the masquerade ball. IT WAS BAD. LOL.
  • Rachel falling over in her huge ball dress. It had to happen and it did. Shame nobody had their phone out at the time.
  • Victoria L James break dancing in a pretty red dress. I’m sure I was seeing things!

However, the moment of the day has to be this:

My husband (who was in and out all day) was walking in through the hotel’s revolving doors when he overheard two women stood outside, deep in conversation. He overheard, “EL James is okay, but the thing about Sarah Michelle Lynch is you can actually relate to her characters.”

My husband’s gob was smacked big style. I don’t think I can convey how proud he is of me on a normal day, let alone that day. I actually thought he was kidding me when he told me this. He waited until after the signing to tell me. I thought he was lying. I thought it was just a joke. IT WASN’T. *sniggers* When it sank in, I had a little cry and he reminded me of all the stuff he constantly reminds me of that keeps me going. Somehow, I am reaching people. I think of myself as like the Reliant Robin of social media management but obviously I’m not doing too badly! LOL. (I still think my husband is lying!!!)

My thanks go to Rachel Hague, my “date” for the ball. Your stamina astounded me. You got round every single table. I will forever remember you as the first person to hit my table at my very first signing last year. We ❤ Lottie.

Thanks to Michaela – she bought so many books! Girl loves her some books.

EJ Shortall – it shocked and awed me when you said you read AA before you became an author yourself. Just wow.

My thanks also go to everyone aforementioned, as well as each and every author who participated in “They Say I’m Doing Well” – and for Jo and Rach supporting the idea.

Thanks to everyone who came to my table, new or old readers or general enquirers, you are all appreciated. I think I sold a fair few copies of the Sub Rosa trilogy to some mature ladies who have still got it in them. Wa-hey. That rocked my world. I sell quite a few ebooks every month but in one day on Saturday, I sold dozens of paperbacks which doesn’t often happen and left me made up.

As for what’s next? I am DYING to get back to writing, which I haven’t done much of so far this year. However, at this moment in time, I really do think it might be time to put my feet up a moment and reflect, digest and bask in the warm glow of such a great day.

I do however have a new notebook…

Much love,

Sarah x

p.s. if you got some pics with me on the day, tag me in them because I barely got a sausage 😥

“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #29 – Stevie Turner

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Look on the Bright Side of Life

Late October 2015, and the year is dying. As I step out along the country lanes and scuff up the dry, withered leaves, I cannot help but focus on my own possible demise. Once again there are two enlarged lymph nodes where enlarged lymph nodes shouldn’t be, despite one thyroidectomy, two neck dissections, and four treatments of radioactive iodine. The possible implications start to play havoc with my mind. I start to think about arranging my funeral and sorting out my affairs. I change my bank accounts to joint ones, and try not to sink into a deep depression.

They say papillary thyroid cancer is a ‘good’ cancer. This had been told to me 10 years previously with just the right amount of bonhomie by a rather fortunate medic who had no idea what it would be like to suffer personally from an advanced stage 4 variety. The disease is slow-growing but relentless in its efforts to take over the body. Silent battles have been valiantly fought over many years with a clever, elusive enemy. However, casualties are now mounting at an alarming pace; the voice is croaky, the neck is stiff and painful, the eyes are dry at night and watery during the day, the thyroxine-induced palpitations are increasing along with bone thinning, and slowly but surely my vitality and joie-de-vivre is dissipating, along with the heat of the summer.

At the age of 47 I had only suffered from the odd cold or sore throat, and had been into hospital just to have my 2 babies. This was to change somewhat drastically with my cancer diagnosis in June 2005, initially mis-diagnosed as a multi-nodular goitre by a radiologist stuffed full of his own self-importance. I suddenly found that many doctors wanted to be in my personal space, although luckily I’ve been unconscious for the more serious intrusions. Their jovial bedside manner and tendency to understate matters is irritating; why not speak the facts as they stand and let the patient be informed of what is going to happen to them? I was never told that radioactive iodine could cause narrowing of the eyes’ tear ducts; I had to look up the information for myself after I was brushed off as having blepharitis and told to wash my eyes with baby shampoo! I eventually needed to be in another surgeon’s personal space as he repaired the tear duct in my left eye in 2009. The same surgeon repaired the right eye seven years later.

However, I am still here after 10 years of fighting. Metastatic thyroid cells invaded my lungs early on with the intention of finishing me off, but as yet I have no symptoms from the secondary lung cancer, which does not seem to grow. I take my daily constitutional walks around my village, inhaling the country air and mentally sticking up a middle finger at my foe. I’ve even purchased a bicycle, and relish the fact that I can still pedal out along the narrow roads and feel the breeze on my face. If villagers pass the time of day with me and ask why my voice is croaky, I tell them I have caught a cold. I must be known locally as ‘Germy’! I avoid pity like the plague; all I’ve ever wanted to be is ‘normal’, the same as everybody else.

What is ‘normal’? Everybody in this life at some time or another has a cross to bear. There is no point in bleating ‘Why me?’ The answer is ‘Well, why not?’ Why should I be singled out for a trouble-free life? Bad luck affects us all in different ways. With me it’s thyroid cancer, but others can be worse off in their misfortune. Life is not a bed of roses, and we have to deal with the lot we have been given. This is where I am fortunate because twice in my life thyroid cancer, strangely enough, has worked in my favour.

The first time my dark cloud had a silver lining was after the initial thyroidectomy operation in 2005. One vocal cord was permanently paralysed during the procedure, and I was left with a whisper of a voice for many months. At the time I was working as a grade 2 clerk in a busy hospital, and could no longer answer the phone or speak to patients and relatives who came up to the desk. I was re-deployed and promoted to a grade 3 assistant medical secretary, typing clinic letters only, rising to a grade 4 secretary when a semblance of a voice had returned and it was proved that I could do the work. Seeing as it was a medical secretary’s post I had been after when I initially joined the hospital’s staff in 2002, my dream had at last come true. I did not possess the qualifications initially to apply for a secretary’s post, and had originally been turned down countless times when I had applied for job vacancies. Thyroid cancer had stepped in and given me what I wanted!

The second time it worked in my favour was in October 2014 when after a period of 7 years’ remission, the cancer returned. I needed a right neck dissection, and the procedure caused my voice to disappear again, no doubt because of the trauma of intubation. I was by then 57 years old, suffering more with the effects of the various operations I had had, and I decided to take early retirement on grounds of sickness and disability. I had had enough trying to hold down a job in-between undergoing procedures. My oncologist put up a good case for me, and I was granted my pension. I am now free to do the thing I have always wanted to do all my life – write novels!

To date I have written 8 novels and 4 novellas, and am currently working on a book of short stories. I am having a ball while I suffer the effects of my cancer treatment. I have my own little space in our lounge, where I sit and let my creative instincts take over and banish thoughts of death and disease from my mind. Sometimes I even forget to start cooking dinner, so lost am I in the twists and turns of my plots. My husband is kindness personified, and is only too happy to see me enjoying what life I have left. I sell my stories on Amazon to supplement my pension, and to date have sold over 1000 books.

The waiting is one of the worst things about this disease. First you wait for surgery, and then you wait for a diagnosis. Following treatment you wait to see if it has been successful, if it hasn’t then you must wait for more treatment. If your thyroxine dose is incorrect, then you wait 6 weeks for a blood test after taking an increased or reduced dose, because a new strength of thyroxine takes 6 weeks work properly. I have spent 11 years as a lady-in-waiting.

What length of life do I have left? Who knows? It’s as long as a piece of string. It could be 30 years, or it could be 3. I have exhausted two of the treatments, surgery and radioactive iodine, but still have two more to go before the doctors hang up their white coats and walk out the door. The third treatment is external beam radiotherapy, with its drastic side-effects and possible hospitalisation for an eventual inability to swallow. The fourth and final treatment is a new drug on the market, which also has many side-effects. Apart from surgery and radioactive iodine I have also had four sessions of healing with a world-renowned spiritual healer. God alone knows if it was the surgery or the healing which helped, but my latest scan results at the end of January 2016 showed no evidence of any thyroid cancer cells in my neck, and the two enlarged lymph nodes that could be seen in October 2015 had shrunk. They say I’m doing well, and therefore I hope to be around for many more years to come.

What lies ahead? None of us know, and perhaps it’s better that way. Not a single one of us gets out of this life alive. My own father died of cancer at the age of 49, and without the interventions I’ve had my life would have been similarly shortened. He never knew my two sons, and I would never have met my four grandchildren, which fill my life in a way only grandchildren can, if I had not had the treatment I’ve had. Every day is a bonus for me now, and I’m making the most of life while I can. I’ve just been upgraded from 3-monthly follow ups to 6-monthly, so don’t worry about me, I’m doing very well!

Stevie Turner © 2016

author bio

I began my writing career as far back as 1969, when I won an inter-schools’ writing competition after submitting a well-thumbed and hastily scribbled essay entitled ‘My Pet’. A love of words and writing short stories and poems has carried on all throughout my life, but it is only now in middle age that I’ve started writing novels full-time and taking this author business seriously.

I have just published my second short story ‘The Noise Effect’ and a tenth novel ‘The Donor’ will be published on 26th December 2015. My novels are realistic, but tend to shy away from the mainstream somewhat and focus on the darker side of relationships. However, you’ll find I do like to add in a little bit of humour along the way. In January 2015 my third novel ‘A House Without Windows’ won the Goodreads’ eBookMiner Book of the Month Competition, and was chosen as a medal winner in the New Apple Book Awards 2014 Suspense/Thriller category. Also in late 2015 it won a Readers’ Favorite Gold Award.

I have also recently branched out into the world of audio books. Two audio books ‘The Daughter-in-law Syndrome’ and ‘A House Without Windows’ are available for purchase, and the rest are currently in production and will become available in 2016.

So here I am in the late summer of my life, and the words are tumbling out of my head. Living for more than a few years has given me plenty of subject matter to write about, and I look forward to sharing quite a lot of it with you.


DONATE BUTTON

Thank you so much for taking part Stevie!

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

giveaway

Stevie is giving away FIVE audible.co.uk codes for her humorous audiobook The Pilates Class. Comment on this blog post to show your interest!!!

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“They Say I’m Doing Well” Blog Tour – Stop #26 – Sarah Michelle Lynch

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They say I’m doing well…

So, what does this mean to me…?

I could relay you a million stories, about people I’ve known or met in passing. I have one of those minds; I remember lots of little details people tell me and they always come in useful when I’m writing. So I guess what I’m trying to say is that I could tell you someone else’s story, but how about telling you mine?

I’ve never been ill (touch wood). I did however come close to serious injury in a car crash once but walked away fine. I have never suffered a mental health issue myself. But behind some smiles, there are those of us who have watched others suffer and when you don’t have a mental health issue yourself, it is really hard to understand what someone else is going through when you can’t see into their head. The mind is not an exact science.

From my point of view, a lot of people assume Sarah Michelle Lynch is together and has it sorted. It’s fine. I’m fine. We’re all fine. A part of me will admit that I’ve shirked away from trying to understand the problems people around me have been going through. I’ve shied away from trying to get them to talk about their issues, but maybe that’s just because I cannot empathise entirely. For so many years, I was occupied by an overwhelming sense of ambition to be the beacon my family needed me to be. It’s the curse of your twenties to try to be all things to all people. At the end of the day, I’m just me, and I am happy to have come to that acceptance.

I often write stories about struggle, about deceit, about lies and secrecy, but my life is pretty normal and boring really. In the past few years, since I started writing actually, I’ve learned to be very grateful for having a positive attitude. Give me a pen and a pad of paper and I am happy. I can write anywhere. My Happy is portable. A chocolate bar and a cup of tea too wouldn’t go amiss. That ability of mine to just be happy is something I never saw any value in – until I realised a lot of people find it difficult to even get out of bed some days.

Whether you have a mental health issue or not, we’re all just people, striving for the same things. Love and understanding. Life is hard, nobody ever said it was going to be easy. Journeys of self-discovery can be debilitating for a time, in fact, but I firmly believe knowledge and awareness can empower and help people to rebuild and renew.

I always tell myself it is important to remember what I’ve overcome to bring me to the point where I’m at now. This point. At this moment in time. I put myself through university when I could have easily given up and got a manager’s job at the place I worked part-time during that period. There were times when I wanted to quit, to give up, but I didn’t. I wasn’t the only one – loads of my friends were putting themselves through university too. We did it and came out stronger for it.

I was the first person in my family to go to university. Let me put that into perspective for you. My maternal grandfather was illiterate. My mum got her GCSE in English in her thirties! (mega proud of her by the way!) My parents are both from broken homes. My mum, fostered when she was four, lost two elder brothers, before she was put with a family that didn’t really want her and my auntie. My dad grew up in poverty, suffering like you would never imagine he had. My grandmother was a manic depressive and back in those days, it wasn’t dealt with like it would be today. My grandfather turned a blind eye; he was a womaniser who abandoned my dad and his brother to the mindset of a seriously ill woman who rarely washed, rarely fed her kids, rarely tried to instil in them any sense of decency. I’m the eldest of four kids myself. School friends used to meet my dad and think we were posh. He’s an intelligent man, but he has never been posh. Not many know the full story. Not many people know how my parents struggled to bring us all up, without grandparents to help out. They struggled. I know, because I remember. I was there. I know about the mindset of poverty and how difficult it has been for my dad, especially, to let go of.

Academia is a different world to the one I was born into. Yet in a lot of ways, it saved me. Getting my degree was the biggest achievement I made, up until that point anyway. Nobody on God’s Earth can take it away from me.

After university I did what I always said I was going to do and I worked in journalism for seven years. I learned more in this job than I had learnt in my life before that. My degree gave me a foundation, as did the various part-time jobs I’d done along the way, but I didn’t learn anything until I worked in journalism, which opened my eyes to the human race in all its varying degrees.

I worked with many talented people that might never fulfil their promise because of how truly scary it is to put yourself out there with a piece of work that means more than a pay check. Stories of unlikely heroes and heroines fascinate me because you don’t know if a future star might be sitting next to you in the next office cubicle. We all have the potential for greatness, there’s often just a lot of luck involved and knowing the right people.

I went back to journalism after maternity leave and found five or six people doing my old job. Eventually leaving that job was the best thing I ever did.

I wrote my first novel when I was just twenty-eight. The adrenalin of completing that was like nothing I’d ever felt before. Like a lot of other self-published authors, I found friends and family responded to my new pursuit in various ways. Real friends celebrate you, while others fall by the wayside as you pursue your dream.

I’ve known for quite some time that I was born to write, and the notion grows stronger all the time with every word I put down, with every other author I work with thanking me for helping them.

I’ve always known my destiny is words and it’s something you can put alongside my name.

But even with all my confidence and vigour for this writing lark, I still have days where words don’t flow, where I doubt myself. But it’s okay, and I take the rough with the smooth. My ambition has lessened as my love for the art has grown.

Since I’ve joined the book community and spoken to people like me, I’ve realised how words have the power to do good. I’ve adapted my writing style a lot over the years after realising I actually have a power at my fingertips to do good and it’s why I keep writing. Why I decided to do an event like this.

At the same time, I realise how the world demands, how it requires and takes and manipulates the truth of an artist’s soul for its own ends. Which is why I asked all the authors taking part to write something with regards to, “They Say I’m Doing Well,” because people’s definition of that varies. Ask yourself about doing well… Does doing well mean earning big bucks, having all the letters after your name, or does doing well translate to literally everything? Health, wealth, prospects? What?

I feel that this world can be harsh and cruel because we forget that we’re all human – most of us – and to err is to be human. There’s no formula; no recipe for success, or personal happiness.

They say I’m doing well but some days, I wake up and don’t like what I see in the mirror. Some days I don’t want to write because it all feels like sludge between my fingers. I question myself all the time: do I speak to my friends enough? Is Andy okay? Is Serena doing well at school? Am I doing enough? All these things are normal, but if they become consuming, that’s when you know you have to take a step back and retrace. Ask yourself, is there really a reason for me to worry? Focus on a good thing, a place you can take your mind to, and reorganise everything back to that safe place. I never knew these were invaluable tools I’d had in use for so many years until I watched someone close to me crumble. And it changed me, too. It made me realise that what you give, you get back tenfold, and when you walk the path together it’s so much more interesting than going it alone.

None of us are perfect. None of us. Some of us might be doing “well”, whatever your definition of well is, but then again, we’re all human and all have our crosses to bear – I try to remember that everyday. I see people who appear confident but a tiny fracture in their defences allows me to see that they’re not at all fixed or whole. They’re broken, but in time and with the right love and support, they’ll heal. It’s funny how we judge people on first impressions but how, when we really get to know them, we begin to associate colours and patterns with them instead of faces. We no longer see the outside, but the inside. It doesn’t matter how well you think you know someone though, they sometimes go right on to surprise the hell out of you.

The one thing I will pass on to my daughter is this… never give up on learning. Never. I didn’t. I will not, either. Education… it’s the basis of our civilisation, of making this world better… and doing it all in the name of people that didn’t have the same choices we have.

To round off my contribution to the blog tour, I have written you a poem. Poetry is a medium I don’t get on with sometimes. For me, it bites at me, eats me away. I find it harder to write poetry than novels. A poem sometimes stews in my recesses for weeks before I just write it. I will write it flat out, and that will be it. A poem’s a bunch of feelings condensed, with the potential for so many different interpretations. Poetry, for me, is real. Poetry protects. Poetry reveals our innards and I know why a lot of people struggling with their mindset write poetry, to get it out there… to expel, in order to digest.

So, here we go…

They Say I’m Doing Well

Caress my hair around my ears

I lay my head awhile on your lap

Silence pervades the air and still

We tell each other more than

Words could ever tell

*

Soothe my aches with your hands

Take my soul in your arms

And keep me safe there

I won’t tell if you don’t

Secrets we keep behind our eyes

 *

In front of the telly we stare

But we’re together, so it’s okay

Flimflam words don’t matter

Because it’s just time together

And time’s all that matters

 *

You’re the strength beyond

My fingertips, the one always there

You silence my worries, hear my cries

You cradle my neuroses and nurture them

Loving all of me as you do

 *

He is wise and kind and soulful

He carries me on his back

He has peccadilloes of his own

Which I love in return

And together we reign supreme

*

You struggled, you overcame

You’ve known pain and anguish

Disappointment and deceit

And came out the other side

Much stronger than people realise

*

They say I’m doing well

But it’s the strength you give to me

I couldn’t do all this without the struggle,

And without the journey…

We wouldn’t have the dream

Sarah Michelle Lynch © 2016

author bio

Sarah Michelle Lynch wakes up in the morning and the first thing on her mind is words and the possibility of reading and writing more and more words. She is a little bit obsessed.

A career in journalism preceded Sarah’s writing career as an Independent author and despite an offer to get published, Sarah found it very difficult to let go of the freedom, variety and creativity self-publishing allows her.

When Sarah’s not reading words, she’s editing them, and when she’s not editing she’s writing. These days, to earn her right to write, she freelances as an editor.

DONATE BUTTON

To see the full list of authors taking part in this month-long blog tour, [click here]

To find out what “They Say I’m Doing Well” is all about, [click here]

Please press the donate button if you were inspired by my words. Here’s what your donations could achieve:

£8.70 gives a lifeline to someone in desperate need of support by letting the Mind Infoline team take their call

£30 could help Mind work with the Government to promote mental health needs and improve services for years to come

£150 could fund a local support group and let people living with mental health problems get back their confidence and self-esteem

£250 could fund equipment for an art therapy group, so that people can express their feelings through art and start the healing process

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