Archive | May 2014

How I’m blogging now

I just thought I’d continue on from what I was talking about the other day – blogging, gaining more followers on my blog and how to go about it.

Well I’ve signed up to follow a fair few more blogs in the hope that that may be a way to gain more followers myself.  And, of course, it’s interesting to read others’ blogs and see how they’re successful, what they do or don’t do that I could learn from.

I’m a bit flummoxed by one thing though.  For a long while I didn’t add tags to my blog posts as I wasn’t aware of how useful they could be.  I think I may have gained a number of followers through tagging my posts.

But the thing that’s puzzling me is this: when I Googled certain words that I use as tags in my blogging, intending to see if I could find other writers’ blogs, it came up with very little that was helpful i.e. hardly any relevant writers blogs at all.

So it got me thinking – how exactly do tags work?  Are they what other people use to find blogs to follow – do other people Google certain words to find a blog they might like to follow, or do other people know something I don’t about tags?

Anyway I’m confused by that.  Any info about that gratefully received.

To go back to the main point of this blog post, as well as working hard at blogging myself, it’s been interesting to see how various other bloggers go about… well blogging.  Some of them list targets they’re trying to achieve (I don’t find this particularly helpful, in fact it’s a bit boring!), others intersperse anecdotes about their non-writing lives (which I find fascinating) and then of course many blog about how their writing is going, their plans for releasing their novels, details of when their novels are being released etc.

I have found that the most successful blogs engage with their readers; they provide good content that others want to read; they ask questions and the blog itself is attractive and looks good.

As for my own blogging – well I’m trying to comment on others’ blogs as much as I can – though I do delete a number of posts as I haven’t got the time or energy to look at them all.  I’m only human!

With this blog, I’m trying to post more often, as obviously that is so important.  I also intend at some point to start linking more to other blog sites.  Some of the most effective blog sites have great links to helpful sites for writers.

Here are some that I enjoy:

Catherine, Caffeinated

Daily (w)rite

Shannon A Thompson

Joanne Phillips

I think I’ll leave it there for now.  But before I go, here’s a question for you.  Do you have a favourite blog that you keep returning to and why?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s here! Release day!!

Elaine Jeremiah:

Check out these wonderful books by the talented Mishka Jenkins, released today!

Originally posted on A Writer's Life For Me.:

This is it… This is really it!

My books are out there, they have been released into the world.

And I think I’m about ready to explode with excitement and nervousness all at the same time :D Months and months of work and there they are… out for sale!!

Before doing all the release links and things, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone of the blogging and writing community.

When I started this journey, I wanted to connect with others who are going through the same process. And I did, but I also found so many great people who are supportive and genuine in their want to help others succeed in this tough world of books and writing! Every time I’ve asked for help or advice, you guys have been there!

Thank you!

Queen'sJesterCoverThe Queen’s Jester
Fantasy romance.
Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/The-Queens-Jester-Mishka-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B00KLBISGG/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_tnr_1
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Queens-Jester-Mishka-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B00KLBISGG/ref=pd_rhf_gw_p_t_1_6TCG
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/442154
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22352807-the-queen-s-jester

Blurb:

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This entry was posted on May 28, 2014. 2 Comments

An interview with my character Michelle

Hi all.  Seeing as I didn’t have anything else to share with you this week, I thought I’d do another character interview.  This time, however, it’s with a character from my new as-yet-untitled WIP, which is a romance about a young woman working as a teacher in a secondary school (11 to 16 yr olds).

The character’s name is Michelle and she’s my MC Rebecca’s closest friend.  However they’ve fallen out because Michelle has complained to Rebecca that she’s never around anymore for her friends.  She’s pretty much told Rebecca that she feels teaching can’t be that much of a tiring job; see here for last week’s WIPpet Wednesday to read Rebecca’ s mother’s attitude.

Needless to say Rebecca isn’t exactly impressed by Michelle’s attitude.  But now, in my interview with her, it’s Michelle’s chance to give her side to the argument.  This doesn’t relate to the date (shock, horror) but I hope you enjoy it!!

Me: Hi Michelle.  Thanks for agreeing to meet with me. 

Michelle: It’s my pleasure.  Anyone who’s a friend of Rebecca is a friend of mine.

Me: Thank you.  Well, as I mentioned in our phone conversation, I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with Rebecca.  I’m particularly interested to learn about how you two have been getting on since she started her teaching job.

Michelle: (sighs and flicks hair back) It’s not been easy.  For either of us.  I know what Rebecca will tell you – if she hasn’t already – that she’s working so hard at her teaching job and none of us understand that.  I’ve had an earful from her already about not appreciating her enough and so on and so on.

Me: So you do understand then, and she’s just making a big deal out of nothing?

Michelle: Yes… um, no that’s not fair.  Look, the thing you’ve got to understand about me and Becs is that we’ve known each other for a long time.  So we’ve had the odd falling out now and then as all friends do.  But this time around it feels different, like Becs is different.  I feel like I’m not allowed to complain about the fact that she’s hardly ever around for her friends.

Me: (nodding) It sounds like you’re no longer on the same page.

Michelle: Exactly.  And I don’t know what to do about it, how to return our friendship to what it was before she started her job.

Me: Maybe Rebecca feels that you’re underestimating all the work that she has to do?  I mean I’ve heard from others in the teaching profession that it’s not a nine to five job, that teachers have to take a load of work home with them…

Michelle: (snaps) Is that what she’s told you then?  That I’m ‘underestimating’ her?  She’s one to talk.  I have a very demanding job myself you know.  But I suppose working day in day out managing a call centre isn’t very demanding by her standards? 

Me: (holds hands up) I’m sorry, Michelle, I meant no offence.  The two of you are obviously at a bad place in your friendship right now and the last thing I want to do is make it worse. (I pause) Maybe you and Rebecca should think about finding a common ground, you know, something you could talk about that’s non work related?

Michelle: (nods) That might be a good idea. (sighs) I would hate to lose my friendship with Becs, you know.  That would just be the worst thing that could happen out of all of this.

Me: I’m sure that won’t happen.  Why don’t you just call her again, maybe invite her out for a coffee and have a proper talk?

Michelle: (doubtfully) I could try.  But I’m not sure she’d be interested, she’d probably just say she was busy or something.

Me: Well you never know until you try.

Michelle: That’s true.

Me: How are Susie and Karen getting on with Rebecca these days?

Michelle: About the same as me I think, although they’re not as close to her as I am.  (pauses) I am quite a demanding person, in that I demand a lot from my friends.  I expect them to be loyal to me and to be there for me when I need them, even if it’s just a quick phone call for advice.  But I do give a lot back; I try to be a loyal friend myself and I care about my friends.  I care about Rebecca – maybe she thinks otherwise, but I do.

Me: (nodding) OK, well I don’t think I had anything else I wanted to talk to you about.  Only, I just want to say again – don’t give up on your friendship with Rebecca.  She needs your friendship; I’ve only known her a little while, but I can tell that from the way she talks about you and your falling out.  It’s like she’s bereft.

Michelle: (reddens a little) Oh.  Well that’s good to know.  I have missed her… I’ll call her again.

Me: You do that.

Michelle: (nods and reaches over to shake my hand) Thank you very much for your advice.  It’s so helpful.  Maybe I’ll see you around.

Me: I’m sure you will.

If you would like to get involved with WIPpet Wednesday, all you need to do is post something writing-related on your blog.  It should ideally relate in some way to the date, but don’t worry if not!  Then add your name to this.

Thanks goes to the Queen of Monkeys herself K. L. Schwengel.

The Cabinet of Curiosities Is HEEEEEERE!

Elaine Jeremiah:

An exciting collection of stories!

Originally posted on Kait Nolan:

My dear dear friend Claire Legrand has a NEW RELEASE TODAY!  She and several other talented MG authors have this collection of 40 tales of the brief and sinister.  This is, like, everything awesome about telling scary stories around a campfire but in book form.  Look at that fabulous cover!   So grab your copy TODAY!

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Should Authors Stick To One Genre? An Interview With Linda Gillard

Elaine Jeremiah:

This article is so inspiring and informative. Check it out!

Originally posted on Joanne Phillips:

It’s no secret that Linda Gillard is one of my favourite authors. Her novel, House of Silence, is one of my top 5 favourite books of all time, and it was an article about her in a 2011 edition of Writing Magazine that inspired me to self-publish. Today, I’m delighted to share with you Linda’s thoughts on genre. Why this is so especially interesting to me is, I am currently in the position of wondering whether to focus on one particular type of book (commercial women’s fiction, with a light romantic comedy feel) or whether to continue to branch out, exploring all the ideas that appeal to me, in the hope that readers will forgive me and come along for the ride. Anyway, enough from me. Let’s hear from Linda herself …

L in Madeira cropped

Linda, you’ve said that your seven novels belong to no clear genre and you’ve made no secret…

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My blogging journey

This is kind of a follow up from my post the other day which you can read here.  I really wasn’t sure what to blog about today, but I knew I wanted to say something.  So now I’ve come up with it!

I’ve been rethinking my blogging and how much I comment on other people’s blogs.  Yes I want more people following my blog. Don’t we all?  But how do I go about that?

John Guillen commented on my blog and suggested that I could gain more followers by commenting on other people’s blogs, which I do but not enough.  So I’m starting to do that more.

Eileen Slovak commented too, saying that she likes to write a number of blog posts on the same subject. My husband suggested I follow lots of blogs; that way people see that I’m following them and maybe they’ll follow me back.

As I mentioned in the previous post, it’s also about content and whether or not that appeals to people. Another aspect is linking to other blogs.

I guess really it’s a combination of all of the above, as well as putting in the hard work that will hopefully, eventually, pay off.  So I’m going to keep working away at it, keep blogging and of course writing.

What are your tips for a successful blog?

 

 

Feeling frazzled

Frazzled

OK it’s not me that’s feeling frazzled, although I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out on occasion!  No, it’s my character in my new WIP, which I haven’t actually done anything with since the end of March.

This is because of work commitments, but also because I’m currently editing Reunion of the Heart, which is going well and hopefully will be finished soon.  At which point I can send it to my mum for proofreading. :)

For today, the 21st May, I’m sharing 21 lines from my as-yet-untitled WIP.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is feeling frazzled.  She’s just started working as a teacher at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 yr olds) and it’s tough going. And now her mum and dad want to come and stay.

Rebecca can’t bear to have them come; she’s too busy and is feeling the strain.  But on the phone to her mum, it’s clear that she just doesn’t understand how stressful teaching can be.  Rebecca gets lots of holiday, as her mum sees it, and doesn’t work weekends, so where’s the problem?

But Rebecca isn’t having it…

‘No, I’m sorry but you can’t.’ Rebecca heard her own voice sounding exasperated and wondered why her mother always had that effect on her.  It was six thirty on a Tuesday evening and Rebecca was a couple of weeks into her new job.  She was feeling crotchety.

‘But you don’t work weekends as a teacher,’ her mother pointed out helpfully.  ‘Surely your dad and I could come and stay.  And anyway if you really needed to work, we could go off and do our own thing.  You’d hardly know we were there.’

If only that were possible, Rebecca thought.  ‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she said, ‘but it’s just not possible.  I’ve got too much to do.  If you were a teacher you’d understand.’

There was silence the other end of the phone.  Rebecca couldn’t help her last barbed comment – her mother never understood.  And she was beginning to think that even if she had chosen the career path her parents had favoured, they would still never understand her.  Finally the pause ended.

‘All right, if that’s the way you feel,’ her mother said stiffly.  ‘I’ll see if Maria’s free.’

Thank you God!  Rebecca mouthed tilting her head up to the ceiling.  Then she thought of her sister.

So that’s Rebecca’s story for the moment, as I haven’t written much beyond this point.  It’s all in here! *taps head*

To join in with WIPpet Wednesday, just post on your blog anything you’ve written lately.  Relate it to the date somehow and then link up with us here.

Thanks K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely host. :D

Blogging about… blogging

blogging

I’ve been thinking lately about how I might generate more traffic to my blog.  Yes I get a fair few comments on it, but I’d like to be able to reach out to more people.  That way I can get myself and my writing ‘out there’ so to speak, and have a bigger audience.

Having read other people’s blogs, some with a huge number of followers, some with less, I realise that there are various things I could do to increase the number of people following my blog as well as increasing the number of visits to my blog.

The blogs that have the most followers tend to have links to various other sites, which makes their own site kind of like a hub.  These successful bloggers also tend to pick an aspect of writing which they choose to blog about.

Their chosen aspect tends to be related to what their writing is concerned with – I guess that’s obvious, but not all bloggers do the same.  But many do choose to blog about genre writing, so for example romance, if this is what their burgeoning novel is concerned with, or fantasy if they’re writing in that genre, and so on.

Truly successful bloggers will thoroughly engage with their audience.  So they will often ask a question at the end of their blog post inviting their followers to comment in return, to participate.  Sometimes if there’s a promotion going on that the blogger is involved with, say to do with that blogger promoting their latest novel, they will do a giveaway and that in turn increases the popularity of that blog.

So where does this leave me and my blog?  Well I should mention another important aspect of a successful blog – regular updates! I’m not so good with this; life takes over as well as writing (and currently editing) my novel and I don’t get around to it, and by the time I check back to my blog a whole week has passed since I did a new post!

Well I’m not going to beat myself up about that – I do what I can.  But I would like to try to aim for two blog posts a week initially, and then maybe increase over time.  I think it’s so important to engage with other writers and bloggers.  We give each other a confidence boost that way and it enables us to promote our work for free, as well as getting other people’s opinions on it – if we share bits of it as I do.

OK, to recap a good blog is updated regularly, it engages with its audience, it provides links to other interesting sites and it has information that people will find relevant and helpful.

And finally I’d like to share with you a list of a few of the blogs that I enjoy reading and that you may do too:

Jade Reyner

A Writer’s Life For Me

My Random Muse

Write me a book, John

And now for my question, what do you find most helpful about the blogs that you enjoy following the most?  As always your comments are much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

A new version of an old scene

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday!  I hope you’re all happy and well. :)  I’m OK except my husband has given me a cold – isn’t that nice of him? – and I seem to have it worse than he did. :-S

Anyway I’m not exactly at death’s door and since I’m currently not working – in between jobs, but I am looking for another one, honest! – I’ve had plenty of time to be working on editing Reunion of the Heart.

And all I can say is ‘I get it!’  I finally get what other authors mean when they say they’re so into their stories, it’s all they can think about and the characters are so real to them!  I’m rewriting many of the scenes between my two main protagonists, making it more romantic.  I’m enjoying it so much! :-D

My characters are really coming alive; it’s a cliche but it’s true.  I’m thinking about them a lot, especially the two MCs and imagining exactly what they look like.

As I said I’m rewriting a lot of the scenes between my MC and the guy she ends up with – I’m also cutting scenes and adding them. So it’s not simply editing, it’s rewriting whole passages!!  But yes I’m really enjoying it and – because I’m quite slow at all this – I hope to publish Reunion of the Heart by the autumn at the latest.

It partly depends on work; if I get another job soon, if I have time to work on my writing without being too tired etc.  So we’ll see. But at the moment I’m making the most of the time I’ve got to spend on my writing.

So on to today’s scene.  I may have shared part of this scene in its old version before.  For today’s date, I’m giving you 14 lines .  To give you an idea of what’s going on: my MC Anna is at a party her two friends from her school days have thrown to celebrate the opening of a new shop of theirs.  Anna knows that the guy who bullied her at school, Will, is going to be there, but she’s decided to go anyway.  This is when they see each other there:

‘So we meet again,’ a voice said in her ear. 

Anna turned around.  It was Will.  As she looked up at him, she was struck again by how tall he was and his looks were certainly arresting.  He was dressed simply yet smartly in black trousers and a deep blue shirt.  His clothes accentuated his figure in all the right places.  Annoyed with herself for thinking like this, she saw that he was smiling at her. 

‘I’m here with Melissa,’ she found herself saying.  ‘She said you’d be coming with Cathy.’  She shut her mouth as if to stop it from saying anything else without her volition.

‘So you knew I was coming, but you came anyway?’ Will was looking directly at her, his expression serious but his lips curving upwards slightly in a half smile.  Anna didn’t reply for a moment, feeling her stomach fluttering incomprehensibly.

‘Um… well… yes,’ she said finally.

You too can take part in the wonderful weirdness that is WIPpet Wednesday by posting on your blog anything you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  Then put your details here.  Oh, I should add that your offering needs to relate in some way to the date.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel, Queen of the Flying Monkeys, for being our gracious hostess. ;)

Indie Author Manifesto

Indie author manifesto

THE INDIE AUTHOR MANIFESTO by Mark Coker @ Smashwords

I thought I’d share this with you as for me it sums up everything that defines an indie author.  I hope you agree! :D