Sunday, March 31, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Michaela Rhua

Hello everyone and Happy Easter!  Please help me welcome Michaela Rhua as she discusses how writing isn't for the faint hearted.


Writing isn't for the faint hearted.
Isn't it wonderful when you hear about a writer who has managed to get a submission accepted and now will be on the road to publication?
I must say, I celebrate each time when I hear of someone who has signed a contract, particularly if I know them in some way.
Doesn't it seem all smooth sailing? You have an idea, you spend time writing, improving, editing, redrafting. When it is all polished it is sent off and the wait begins. The publisher sees it and thinks it is fantastic, amazing and wants is desperately. Hey presto you have a contract.

Not for this author right here!
So far I have five published works to my name. Three stories are in Anthologies and two solo books. I am waiting on another submission as I write this. (so fingers crossed for that one too!) The three anthologies that I am in were sent as a complete anthology, not as submissions for a call. (The Eclipse of the Blood Moon, Wine and Nine and The Blood Bar Chronicles Book 3: The Enforcers) So I tend to think that my story was accepted as the other participants had fabulous stories that deserved to be out there. In a way I rode the crest of their wave – I know the others will hurl things at me for saying so!
The other two were rejected! (Guardian Awakening and Truth or Dare) NO, I hear you say! Surely such a talented writer could not have faced rejection! Oh yes I did! (says all this tongue firmly in cheek!)
Guardian Awakening came back with NO from one publisher. I cried in my red wine, then was kicked up the rear by my Critique Group, we blog as The Nuthouse Scribblers. I then sent it to another publisher who sent it back to me with a R & R (Revise and Resubmit). Breathless Press liked the bones of the story but it needed more work. I was fortunate that they gave me detailed feedback which I could work on. YAY! At least they LIKED it hey!
With Truth or Dare it was a straight NO! Then a R & R from another. Once I had re-worked it I was curious to know what the first publisher thought. So off it went and this time they said YES!
My new submission is the second book in the Guardian series. I have titled it Guardian Possession. It has already had a R & R, so it is with baited breathe that I await a response!
You see, writing is about having some sort of desire for creating stories. Then it is about trying to make that desire a reality – through hard work. You may be lucky to get accepted from the word go. Often, this is not the case. If you do get a Revise and Resubmit response, then get annoyed, cry on a friend's shoulder, get merry and think about telling where the publisher to go…then get on and do the revisions. Work at it, re-craft your story into something better, fill in the holes and add more to the scenes that need it, give it depth. It is worth it, honestly it is. I may not be world famous or rich –but I am writing when I can, I try to take on board the advice given, whether from fellow authors or editors and I will keep going. I will leave you with some key words.
Thick skin
Why not add to this list and tell me what else is important?

Guardian Awakening
Breathless Press:

Truth or Dare

Author Bio:Michaela Rhua Bio.
Michaela Rhua always dreamed of writing but this never happened until she met the lovely group of ladies known as UCW. Their passion for writing and encouragement inspired her to see if she could do it too. Now she loves writing!
She has teenage children and a husband, who also keep her busy. However, it is whilst travelling into work that she has time to create her characters and imagine other places in which they exist as her world skims by the window. Conversations overheard often lead to the birth of new ideas that she scribbles down in her trusty notebook.
Michaela is a multi-published author with Breathless Press, Evernight Publishing and a self-published anthology with authors from The Nuthouse Scribblers.

Find her here:

Wow, Michaela, those are some powerful words.  I'm actually writing them on a sticky note and they are going up on my inspiration board.    I have a pin board for inspiration that I can stare at when I'm writing.  That list needs to go up there.  I'm ending the list with "WRITE."  So after I'm inspired I go back to write! 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- R.C. Murphy

Hi everyone, please help me welcome my special guest for Special Guest Sunday- R.C. Murphy, as she discusses writing rituals.

Odd Little Creatures of Habit
By R.C. Murphy

Writers are weird, there is no point in arguing the fact. We sit around day in and day out talking to the voices in our head. And at some point, we begin to concoct rituals, habits we feel are the only way to successfully meet the day’s word/page count goals. Sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason for what we do. Other times writing cannot and will not happen unless things are done a certain way. Here, I’ll give you a few examples.
Music. Every project I start has its own soundtrack. What artists work for Project A won’t for Project C or D. Sometimes I don’t know why a certain band jars me out of the scene I’m working on. Other times, the characters tell me they don’t like the music and ask for a change. While writing Enslaved I had a heck of a time with music and sometimes found myself writing to nothing. Why? Deryck is a horse’s arse. He wouldn’t pick his music. Whereas, Shayla had her tunes all sorted out and was ready to go whenever I turned them on. Any time I switched POV (point of view) from one to the other, I’d have the Great Music Fight all over again.
Clutter. During the end-of-book rush to meet the deadline, little things like chores and eating properly tend to get thrown to the wayside. This is true for about 95% of my house. However, the one exemption is my desk. See, it is old and tiny with barely enough room to fit my computer, a lamp, a box of tissues, and a trio of “companions”—a skull named Richard, and two stuffed skeleton monkeys. All of the notes I have for upcoming projects are slapped onto a work board above my desk. On the rare occasion other things land on my desk—usually from a family member leaving a pile of laundry or passing off books to read—I have to put everything away, or at least out of sight. Clutter distracts me far worse than any noise. Heck, a clown could be hiding in the corner of my office playing peek-a-boo and I’d be able to ignore it better than a stack of books on the edge of my desk.
I’ve heard other writers claim they cannot work without a cup of tea/coffee at hand. Some must have absolute silence. Others need the chaos of a café to inspire their muse. Whatever ritual or habit they form morphs to fit the project at hand. Our minds are far more flexible than we wish to admit because habits are comforting. Writers need the warm and fluffy of something familiar when they dig into the dark goop at the bottom of their subconscious to create complex, flawed characters and stories. Whatever your ritual, don’t be ashamed . . . unless it involves licking the soles of shoes, then you might want to see a shrink.




Thank you so much, R.C. for stopping by.  I have never thought of rituals that way before, but you are completed right.  I know I can't write without a drink by my side, that I can lean back look at what I wrote, take a sip, and then dive in again typing furiously toward the finish line.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Special guest Sunday- Leona Bushman

Hello, everyone, please help me welcome Leona Bushman in a special about writing.


I'm going to talk about writing. Duh? LOL I recently released two anthologies, Crimson, and Serviced, with Breathless Press and have things ever been nuts!! Which brings me to this blog post—finding time to write.
It's easy to think, "Oh, I'd like to write a book." But harder to execute. I'm a fast typist. Seriously fast when I know what I want to say. So, for me, my writing goal is and should be, 3k+ a day when I work elsewhere. I can tell you right now that I don't make that.
I've had health issues preventing that and now I'm working three other jobs. All related to writing and the publishing business, but still, time sucks. Yet, I have managed to write and edit for my CP. You have to make time. If you're not feeling particularly creative, edit your own work, read a book (yes, this is part of writing!), outline the next idea (er, I don't do this much. I take notes if I need to remember something ;P), network, read blogs about writing, etc.
Do something. And be honest with yourself. If you're not feeling well, just networking may take up a lot of energy. But don't cheat yourself. If it's your dream, your work, make sure you're doing the best you can. But also, GIVE YOURSELF A DAY OFF. At least one, better two. Trust me. You'll burn out way faster if you don't. And, there will be plenty of times, after you have a contract, that you won't get to choose to have a day off. I didn't have a day off of my jobs and writing until Thursday. This last Thursday, since before Serviced and Crimson released, March 1. I did take a few days slower/easier as I was sicker than a dog on a hot summer day with no water, but I still wrote, edited, marketed, every day. I think, I may have done some marketing on Thursday, but I'm going to pretend I didn't, so I think I have a day off.
Read, write, work, and play. Your life will be full. And if you have kids, well, you'll forget what the meaning of sleep is. But when you see your cover, whether the first time or the thirtieth, it'll be worth it.
Thanks for dropping by today And now, back to writing!



Wow, Leona, I'm really glad you stopped by.  I know I have had the problem of over-working myself.  Great advice.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Aurelia B Rowl & Allie A Burrow

Hello everyone,

Please help me welcome Aurelia B Rowl & Allie A Burrow to my blog this week for Special Guest Sunday!  (Pssst... they are actually the same person) As she talks about pen names.


What’s in a name?

I've come across a few blogs and 'expert' opinions since I started writing which suggest using a pen name is more hassle than it's worth and, quite frankly, a bit of a waste of time. They (that invisible group that have an opinion on everything) recommend you use your real name, or at least a form of it, because using a pen means you're more afraid of failure. Or something like that anyway... 

So why do I use a pen name? Is it because I am trying to hide my real identity?

No, not at all, I'd say a large percentage of followers on both Facebook and my main blog could tell you my real name. I'm not ashamed of writing romance, I'm not embarrassed or desperate to keep it at arm's length, it just works better for me.

Why then?

It's for a few reasons really...

One reason is to add an extra screen, a layer of privacy, to keep my writing persona one step removed from my real life persona. If somebody Google's my real name to find out more about my role as a school governor, or in relation to any other aspect of my life, for example, my political affiliation or religious beliefs (or any other potentially contentious stuff usually banned from the dinner table), I don't want them to come face to face with an excerpt from one of my steamier romance novels.

Another reason is to protect my young children. I have my private profile on Facebook where I can happily post photos and talk about them. Yes, I can apply privacy settings (and do!) but even so, other users can see the pages I like or places I check into amongst other things, so it made sense for me to create a profile for my Facebook alter-ego. On the flipside, it also gives my children the option to distance themselves from the writer 'me'. They can choose to acknowledge what I do or deny all knowledge because it's not my 'mummy' name printed on the covers of my novels, which could be embarrassing for them when they're older, especially now Allie is on the scene.

If you have been following me on Facebook for a while, you may have been one of the many voters who helped me choose an alternate pen name – yes, another one! – so that I can keep the more erotic stories away from the contemporary romance and young adult stories. It added an extra division between the two personas so that I don't have to make my 'Aurelia' Page over 18, which would be counter-productive when I am in the throes of writing a Young Adult romance.

And then there's the issue with my actual name being unisex. Seeing as I'm a romance author, I don't really want to be mistaken for a man. Not that I think men can't write romance, it's just that many will adopt a female pen name to do it.

But don't I want to see MY name on the cover of a book?

This will sound crazy, but it is my name being published. Huh?

Have you seen those pictures where there's a printed message and you're supposed to be super brainy if you can read it because of how your brain interprets the right words even though the letters are mixed up? Well, it's just like that. In fact, when I first adopted it, friends didn't even realise they weren't seeing my actual name because their brain saw the letters they were expecting to see, even though they were out of order, and rearranged them automatically. Yes, my pen name is an anagram of my real name so it is my name on the cover, it just so happens the letters are a bit jumbled up.

Isn't it hard work keeping two Facebook profiles going?

Nope, not really, especially since a friend suggested using two different browsers to have Facebook open, one for each persona so I can log into Facebook as BOTH profiles at once. I'm just kicking myself for not thinking of it sooner. It works a charm for Goodreads and Twitter too.

I had the foresight to create my alter ego as soon as I decided to try my hand as a writer so it's been there right from day one and it's like a uniform I put on when it's time to work. Similarly, I can take the hat off when it's time to be 'mummy'.

I've encouraged all of my real-life friends befriend my alter ego but if they don't want to, that's fine, and by having a separate profile for my professional stuff, I'm not ramming my writing updates down their throats all the time. The visibility is still set to ‘friends’ only – which is generally family, friends and fellow writers – and I try to steer readers and fans to like my Facebook pages instead, where I can control the content and who can sees it (e.g. Allie is set that you can’t see it unless you are over 19).

All the silly anecdotes of my life are there for public consumption, but I use codenames for my children instead of their real names. I am still me on my alter-ego Pages, I behave exactly the same and saying the same kind of things I'd say with my real hat on, so there's not much difference.

What are the drawbacks?

I have a rule that I will only take ‘Aurelia’ up to a heat level of 2 (borderline 3 in the case of Christmas is Cancelled) but the creation of ‘Allie’ now means that anything with more explicit adult content now has somewhere it can go too. Whereas I had to turn away guests before on my blog because of the nature of the content, I can now welcome them with open arms.

Even though I don’t intend to write as ‘Allie’ very often – being the result of a personal challenge to step outside my comfort zone – my ‘Allie’ blog is just as busy as my ‘Aurelia’ blog, running the same features on alternate weeks. The only major difference is that when posting as ‘Allie’ I will happily shout about ‘Aurelia’ and encourage readers to check out my other persona, but when writing as ‘Aurelia’, I tend to distance myself from ‘Allie’, just to be on the safe side.

Of course, by writing across three (so far!) different genres, I couldn’t help but make things that little harder for myself, and it does mean I now have to maintain two websites, three blogs, two Facebook pages (three if you include Serviced), and two twitter profiles. Not to mention my separate Goodreads profiles, Google+ pages, Pinterest, Amazon etc.

I’d like to think I stay on top of it all though, and because of the YA vs. erotica thing, I do believe it is necessary. I know I’m not the only one who uses two pen names because at least two other author friends instantly spring to mind.

Over to you...

What are your views on pen names?

Would you have done things differently, if you were me?

Do you write under a pen name or do you think they are unnecessary?

If you do have a pen name, how did you choose it and why did you decide to use one?

About the author...
Aurelia B Rowl is a contemporary romance and young adult author, but you can also find her masquerading as Allie A Burrow, her raunchier alter-ego.

Aurelia lives on the edge of the Peak District in the UK with her very understanding husband and their two fantastic children aged 6 and 4, along with their mad rescue mutt who doesn’t mind being used as a sounding post and source of inspiration. They are all used to her getting too caught up with her latest writing project... or five!... and she is guiltily counting down the months until she has both kids at school full-time.

Writing as Aurelia B Rowl, Christmas is Cancelled, was released by Breathless Press on 21 December 2012. Just a few months later, Allie A Burrow debuted with her short story, For One Night Only, featured in the Serviced anthology and released by Breathless Press on 1 March 2013.

Christmas is Cancelled
by Aurelia B Rowl

Matilda 'Tilly' Carter didn't think her day could get any worse, but even Christmas had just been cancelled.

The one girl Dean Watson has sworn never to have—never even expected to see again—just flared back into his life and into his home—his sanctuary—like she belonged there. Christmas would certainly be more bearable with Tilly around though…

As the chinks in Dean's armor appear, Tilly seizes the chance to win her knight once and for all. She's not about to take no for answer—not this time—but Dean must resist, even as his heart rebels and temptation threatens to undermine his resolve.

Win or lose? Love or honor? Which will Dean choose? Assuming he gets a choice…

Available from:

iTunes – coming soon

Connect with Aurelia at:

Serviced: Volume One
feat. Allie A Burrow

All's fair in love and war, they say. Come find out if it's true in these ten stories where soldiers prove that their skills in the field are only rivaled by their skills in the bedroom.

For One Night Only

Kate Powell only went and fell for the soldier she’d met just once before he had to jet off on a year-long posting overseas.

Seven months in, and Kate is hornier than a blue wildebeest in mating season with only her battery-powered friend for relief. Her skills as a pen-pal scale new heights, but then a text message arrives out of the blue.

Corporal Mark Butler is back in the country for one night only, and Kate isn’t about to let the opportunity pass her by. After all, who needs a vibrator when the real thing comes calling?

Available from:

Barnes & Noble – coming soon
iTunes – coming soon

Connect with Allie at:


Thank you so much Aurelia/Allie for stopping by!  

If you have any thoughts/comments you would like to add to this discussion, please comment below.  I would love to hear what other people have to say about pen names!

Also, on a side note, I haven't had a chance to read Christmas is Cancelled yet, it's on my TBR (to-be-read) pile, but I have read the Serviced Anthology Volume 1, and it is hot, hot, hot!  Sometimes you may not have time to read a longer story in one sitting, but with an anthology it is easy to read in small slices.  Great for those of us with busy lives, when we don't seem to be able to get a break sometimes.  Taking a few minutes for yourself and indulge in one of these stories featuring those in uniform.  It'll be well worth it.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Special Guest Sunday- Lucy Oliver

Hello everyone!  Please help me welcome my special guest today for Special Guest Sunday-   Lucy Oliver as she discusses the importance of setting.

Hi Lucy, thank you so much for stopping by!


Bringing a Town to Life
By Lucy Oliver
An important part of writing that can get overlooked amongst the more exciting characters and emotions, is the setting. It doesn’t jump around, rage or swear, it just sits there, looking pretty. Or sometimes, not so pretty. Imagine Lord of the Rings without the powerful setting of Mount Doom, or Jane Eyre minus the brooding moors, or Jamaica Inn missing the dark, grey forbidding tavern. In these books, the setting becomes a person in its own right; influencing the plot and the characters, foreshadowing and adding atmosphere.
To create a strong sense of place, the setting must be woven into the story. But what’s the best way to do this? A single paragraph at the start of the book isn’t enough and several paragraphs will generally lose you the reader—no one wants to trawl through pages and pages of description. The trick is to slot it into the narrative. Have your characters breathing in the salty sea air, hearing the cry of gulls above them, feeling the breeze against their cheeks. Every character has five senses and all of these should be used to bring the setting alive.
It can help to have a picture of the scene you’re describing beside you. When I was writing my medieval romance, I had a photo of a forest on my desk and glanced at it while my computer was switching on to focus my mind. Even if your characters are sitting in the lounge, then I want to know what that room looks like. Drop little hints into the narrative, rather than a big block of text, so I can picture it.
I read a book recently where a ballroom was described as, ‘stunningly beautiful.’ Well, I’ll have to take the writer’s word for that, because she never told me what it looked like. It’s lazy writing and added nothing to the book. Don’t tell me what it looks like; show me.
With Winter Storms, it was the setting that appeared first; a glimpse of wet cobblestones and the sound of a breaker exploding a seawall. From that original image, the town of Haven Bay appeared, nestled at the base of giant black cliff and surrounded by a raging sea that echoed the powerful emotions of Carly and Daniel.
Below, I’ve added an extract of Daniel’s arrival at the Bay after two years away. Read it, and see if you can picture the setting in own mind.

The powerful sea wind hit Daniel Edwards with the force of a gybing boom. Hissing
between his teeth, he yanked the wet dinghy painter and cursed as it scraped red burns
across his hands. It was tempting to toss the rope away and watch the hated boat bob off
into the ocean, but his teammates would never forgive him; the Olympic racing craft was
worth a fortune. He never should have brought it out in this weather. Seeing the lifeboat
bobbing beside a fishing trawler, waves exploding over the deck, made him realise how
stupid and how lucky he’d been.
The mast had snapped when he reached the jetty, another expense he’d have to pay
for. Not that he cared very much, when his sponsors discovered he’d risked the boat in a
storm, they’d cancel his contract anyway. They already had what they wanted—double
Olympic gold medals—now he was superfluous to requirements.
Hauling on the rope, Daniel tied it fast and straightened. Pulling down his waterproof
hood, he stared across the harbour at the cluster of shops glowing with Christmas lights;
it hadn’t changed much in two years. Turning to look at the black cliffs standing like
gateposts either side of the harbour entrance, he recalled her scream and shuddered.
Should he have come back?
But Haven Bay was where he grew up and he couldn’t stay away forever, paying
expensive hotel bills for his family to visit him. And after the Olympics, his urge to visit
had grown stronger, pictures flashing through his mind like an old-fashioned projector,
images of places and people, of a girl he had known.
Imogen, his ex-fiancée, said she’d suspected for months that something wasn’t right.
Standing in the hallway of their luxury flat, suitcases at her feet, she looked at him, not in
anger, but with something akin to pity.
“There’s a part of you I can’t reach,” she said.
Daniel opened his mouth to protest, but she held her left hand up, showing a white
ring of pale skin around her suntanned finger.
“I hoped our relationship would improve after you got the Olympic golds, but it’s
worse, I never know what’s going through your mind. I keep expecting to come home to
find the wardrobe half-empty and a note on the table telling me you’ve gone.” Putting
hands on her hips, she stared at him. “I’m not the person you’re looking for.”
Daniel gazed now at the lights of Haven Bay. Had Imogen been right? A face, pushed
for years into the back of his mind, was emerging, growing stronger and less blurry each
day. Two years ago, Carly had broken off their relationship with five hard words.
“I do not love you,” she said.
And, refusing to beg, he left town on the next train. Only later did he wish he’d
demanded an explanation, but it was too late by then, his pride wouldn’t let him return.
So what if Carly didn’t want to know him? Many other girls did. Until Imogen showed
him the truth: that he couldn’t love anyone else.
Slinging a rucksack over his shoulder, he stepped across the floating jetty to the sea
wall. A rank odour of dead fish, salt water, and rust hit him, scents he remembered from
his childhood. Boats creaked at their moorings and faint music drifted over from a pub.
Brick steps led up the harbour wall, slippery with rubbery, rotting seaweed and when he
reached the top, he froze, waiting for the bright flash of a camera.

The setting of Haven Bay forms an essential part of the story, in fact several reviewers have said they wished they could visit! I’ve put the blurb below in case anyone would like to see the rest of the plot and please join me on Twitter—Writingoliver or at my blog:


Two years ago Carly Roberts split from her lover, Daniel Edwards, after he caused a terrible sailing accident that cost her both the use of her right leg and her Olympic dreams. Unable to watch his climb to double Olympic success, she stayed in the Cornish village they grew up in, while he travelled the world.
Racked with guilt, knowing he destroyed her future, Daniel has finally returned home to make amends. But he didn’t expect to fall in love with her again.
However Carly has her own life now and it doesn’t include him. She can’t forgive him for the catastrophic injuries that changed her life. While the storms of a Cornish winter lash their village home, can Daniel persuade her to give him a second chance?

Available from:
Amazon UK


Thank you so much Lucy for stopping by.  I can see why the reviewers would want to visit there.  Amazing.  I want to visit there too!