Sunday, 25 January 2015

How to work when you have Children

This is the ultimate conundrum, isn’t it? Especially if you are a woman. Yes, I said it. I put it out there! In our enlightened twenty-first century society, women are still struggling to have careers and make a success of their professional lives. Don’t get me wrong, there are millions of success stories. Behind every female CEO, entrepreneur, famous creative type, there is usually a family demanding her attention. How do they do it? How do they manage to nurture their children, support their husbands and partners, and still give the necessary time and energy to their business? I don’t know.

But I have an idea. I think mostly these women simply do not sleep. And perhaps some of them have more external help than others. I mean, I cannot do it right now. I want to make a success of my writing business. And by success, I mean I want to be a famous author. I want my books to sell in their millions. I want to actually earn money from my book sales, and a decent amount of money at that. I want a regular, sustainable personal income, so that I no longer have to be reliant on my husband. And then maybe he can be more relaxed because he won’t be worrying about money quite so much. Ah, that would be bliss…

So how do I get started? I am in the very fortunate position of being able to stay at home with my children while my husband goes out to work. I am the housewife and mother. And I never thought that I would ever be in this situation. I always had a vague notion that when I had children, I would put them in nursery school while I went out to work full time. But you know what? I don’t want to do that. Why should I pay someone else for the privilege of raising my children, when I am perfectly capable of doing the job for myself? So, I swallowed my pride, ignored the indignant voice of my ego that demanded I should go out to work and ‘be a successful woman,’ and I accepted my role in the home.

I still struggle with it. Right now I am feeling guilty because I haven’t done any writing or promoting for two weeks. If I don’t talk about my books, nobody else is going to. I am all alone here, in this big wide world, where everyone is shouting to get noticed, and it all becomes a blur of sound and colour, much like a busy rain forest I imagine. Tomorrow I return to work, after a fashion. My eldest daughter will be at preschool, but I still have the toddler at home, and she keeps me very busy. And now I have the task of continuing to clear out my house and make room for new toys after celebrating a birthday. Maybe one day it will all fall into place…

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Why I Love Anita Blake. Yes, that includes all of the sex!

I came across an article recently in which another reader was expressing her blatant disgust at the turn of events in the Anita Blake, vampire hunter series of novels by Laurell K Hamilton. I was actually quite surprised with the vehemence of her words. But then I stopped and thought about it. Everybody views the world around them differently. And evidently, some people, and that includes loyal fans of the Anita Blake series, have fallen out of love with our favourite feisty vampire hunter.

Why would this be? Well, basically, it seemed to happen at the time when Anita Blake gathered several metaphysical animal powers, and when she took time to develop her magical abilities. Then she realised that she actually needed to have sex. She couldn’t survive on violence alone. And she fell in love. On the face of it, that can sound quite amusing. When would anybody need to have sex? More frequently than you imagine, I think. Sex and love are intertwined, and that can be both a blessing and a curse for many people.

When I first discovered Anita Blake, ooh, about twelve years ago, I fell in love instantly with her. I truly admire Laurell K Hamilton for continuing and persevering with her vision. She took many years to have her novels noticed by the big publishing houses. She never gave up. And now she has a series that is still going strong, and it has been republished in many formats, including comic books. I liked Anita Blake because she was a new kind of heroine back then. She was tough, she could fight, she could stand up for herself. And she didn't need love.

There it is. The Anita Blake series started out as more of an action-horror genre story. There was lots of violence, blood and guts. She raised zombies, she worked magic, and she killed vampires. But then she fell in love with a vampire. And a werewolf. And several other creatures. I think this is where people began to lose interest. And I personally think that is a very interesting observation on the nature of human beings today.

Why do we find it more acceptable to experience violence and pain than we do to experience love and sexual pleasure? Why is sex such a taboo subject of conversation, even in today’s modern, enlightened times? I don’t know. I enjoy reading about Anita Blake’s softer side. I like to see her having fun, relaxing and not being stuck in yet another fight to the death with some evil force or other. And yes, I even understand how she can be in love with more than one man (and woman). And I will continue to read the series for as long as Laurell K Hamilton continues to write it. She gave me the confidence to write my own novels, and for that I am eternally grateful.

*Anita Blake image courtesy of Laurell K Hamilton; Author image via

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Marketing for Deadbroke Writers #ASMSG

One huge difficulty for me as an Indie author, is that of promotion and networking. It is an aspect of writing that I naively never contemplated at the time when I published my first novels. I thought that once the books went live, that would be it. People would find them, read them, rave about them, and I would be propelled into the glamorous world of fame and fortune.

Far from it! As I approach my fourth year in the business, so to speak, I have yet to make any big waves in book sales and audience interaction. My books are widely listed in all major retailers. I tried to get some interest in my local community, but it is surprisingly hard to get my books into the local library, and there are only so many newspaper stories I can manage when I don’t have events to publicize. My problem is that I don’t like talking about me. I was raised to be a  good, quiet, polite girl who thinks about other people before herself. That is all well and good, but it doesn't help me here.

I need to sell books. And I have no marketing budget. Writing is my job. It is my only form of personal income. I am wholly reliant on my husband to bring in a wage that can keep our family safe, secure and fed. But while he is doing that, I have to care for the children full time. And subsequently, it is very challenging for me to take the time and put in the effort that gets me known both online and in the community. My approach has been very scattered. But it’s all I can do for now.

If you are a newly published author, or you are about to publish a book, and you are searching for some help with this minefield of an industry, I have a suggestion. I am a member of a huge social network called ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group). It has grown dramatically during the past eighteen months or so, and I find the people that run it are incredibly supportive, helpful and knowledgeable. They have taught me a lot about my own processes, and they have helped to spread the word about my work.

I invite you now to check out a brand new author resource courtesy of ASMSG. Marketing for Deadbroke Writers is an online tutorial course. It will teach you everything about starting up in the publishing and writing industry. You can learn about social networking, how to link your accounts to save time and effort in marketing, how to set up a professional and workable website, and aspects of editing and producing high quality novels and stories that will actually sell. Take a look, and tell me how you get on…

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Make 2015 the Year of Books!

I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy 2015, and may we all move on into the new year with a positive attitude, a lightness of step, and remembering the constant wonder and joy of simply being alive. We spend most of our time striving to achieve something, whether that be to develop our careers, to grow our families, to obtain new treasures and skills, etc. A lot of the time we are so busy pursuing, that we forget how far we have come, and what we have created.

My message at the end of this long and difficult year (for me anyway), is this: The world is ours. We are of the world. Yes, there is struggle, pain and suffering. But there is also happiness, joy and growth. Perhaps if we focus on the good stuff, and take our energies away from the bad, the balance of power will change and we will all grow and develop into happier, well balanced human beings as a result.

Also, why not take up a new genre to read in 2015? Maybe you have never strayed into the realm of fantasy and paranormal before. Maybe you never leave your favourite authors. Take a chance, try someone new, and see where the journey takes you... Happy New Year!

*Image courtesy of Pinterest

Friday, 19 December 2014

Celebrate in Style; Christmas with the Vampires! #ASMSG

With his blond hair, ice blue eyes and sculpted physique, Marcus Scott immediately turns the heads of everyone he encounters upon his arrival in London at Christmas time. Unbeknownst to all the women and men who fall under his spell with just one glance, Marcus is a vampire with a desperate need to feed from the young and the beautiful. When he unexpectedly encounters the Lady Amelia Richmond, the vampire instrumental in his own transition, the two begin to plan a holiday feast to satisfy their deep hunger.

Christmas with the Vampires is a special seasonal short story available exclusively on Kindle now.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Victorian Vampire Romance; The Darkness of Love #ASMSG

You might have read the Redcliffe novels and fallen in love with Jessica Stone and her adventures in love with the Mason brothers, but have you tried Victorian vampire romance The Darkness of Love? This features Marcus Scott from the Redcliffe novels, as he tells his story about how he became a vampire...

Lord Gregory Stockton is a powerful and respected businessman embracing the modern era of the Victorian industrial revolution. He has a grand and beautiful manor house complete with a repertoire of servants, and his young wife is charming, attractive, and the perfect lady to his gentleman. The only thing they lack is an heir to the family estate. Lord Gregory knows he can never produce a child, for he is a vampire, although his wife and servants know nothing of his secrets. There are other ways to provide heirs for his estate, however, and Lord Gregory has noticed the romantic attraction between his wife and the young stable hand Marcus Scott. He hatches a plan to bring the would-be lovers together, and then cruelly tear them apart as he continues to build his empire and secure his power base in the south of England. The humans are pawns in the vampire’s game of lust, love and control.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Warm Up with the Redcliffe Novels this Christmas #ASMSG

The weather is icy and we are already dreaming about summer holidays even as we prepare to celebrate the festivities of Christmas and Yule. Today I invite you to explore the Redcliffe novels, and see if they might warm you up a little bit...

Love Hurts (A Redcliffe Novel) is about a young woman who runs a bookshop in Cornwall with her best friend. She falls in love with a local police detective and later discovers that he is a vampire, and that his identical twin brother is a werewolf. She is dragged into their complicated and dangerous lives, to her detriment, where secrets are told and lives are lost...

Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel) is book 2 in the developing Redcliffe series. In the quiet Cornish seaside town of Redcliffe, Jessica Stone recovers from an horrific werewolf attack and comes to terms with revelations that her lover, Jack Mason, is a vampire, his brother, Danny, the werewolf pack leader, and her best friend, Simon, is a werewolf.  Add to that her discovery that she is a witch, and life is suddenly a whole lot harder than it used to be. Jessica has to fight for her own life and Jack’s when faced with his jealous vampire master who wants her old lover back. But things are never easy, and a vampire master is not so easy to defeat…

Love Redeems (A Redcliffe Novel). Life has changed forever in Redcliffe, Cornwall. Jessica Stone used to be a normal, happy human. Now she is an angry, conflicted and confused witch. It all happened when she met Detective Jack Mason and his identical twin brother Danny. Jessica almost died twice, fell into a love triangle, and she became a murderer. Now she faces the ultimate challenge as she continues the fight to save the man she loves, while simultaneously struggling with her lust for his werewolf brother and their vampire friend. Can she survive, or will love finally end her life completely?