blog tours, guest post, how to, writing

#BlogTour My Writing Process by Rachel Amphlett, author of Cradle To Grave. @RachelAmphlett #CradleToGrave @Tr4cyF3nt0n

I’m delighted to welcome Rachel Amphlett too If only I could read faster as part of the blog tour for Cradle To Grave. Rachel has written a piece just for us on her writing process. I found it really interesting to read and I hope you will too.

My writing process

These days I’m a full-time author after years fitting it around first full-time work and then a part-time job, but something that hasn’t changed is that every day, I write.

When I started out, I lived on the northern outskirts of Brisbane, Australia. Our suburb was the last stop on the train line into the city and so every morning, I’d find a seat, open my laptop, and write my word count for the day. By the time the train got into Brisbane half an hour later, I’d typically have 500-750 words. I was usually too tired after a day’s work to write, but I maintained this morning habit every day for three years of my writing life. 

I’ve carried that habit with me since I got made redundant in mid-2017 and being a writer became my full-time role. 

Today, I’ll make a cup of coffee, head up to the spare bedroom that serves as my writing cave, add anything going around in my head to my “to do” list next to my computer so it doesn’t clutter my thoughts, and then settle in to write.

When I first begin a book, I usually have the first scene in my head and a few ideas for other scenes spread throughout the story so I open a new file in Scrivener and start setting out these Chapters. Scrivener is a brilliant app for writing because I can keep all my character profiles, research, location information, and the manuscript all in one place. That way, I’m locked into my story world and not getting distracted by having to open up other documents to find something – or surf the internet!

I write fairly quickly – a first draft typically takes me 8-9 weeks, a bit longer if it’s a standalone novel or the first book in a new series when I’m getting to know new characters and settings. I set a deadline date, tell Scrivener how many words will be in the first draft, and the app spits out a target for the day’s writing. I don’t touch the “to do” list, social media, or emails until I’ve hit that target.

I don’t always hit the target in one go. I’ve been in the habit of working from 8am through to about 9:30am, then take my dog for a walk to blow away the cobwebs and mull over what I’ve written. When we get home, I’ll go back and keep writing until I’ve either hit the target or gone past it. If I’m really flying along in a particular scene, then I won’t stop – I’m not one of those writers who can hit pause and go back to the scene the next day.

Once the first draft is done, I’ll leave it alone for a few days before having a read-through. It takes a few more weeks while my close-knit team of first readers have a look at it before it goes off for edits and a proofread prior to publication.

Of course, while all that’s going on, I’m already writing the next book…

Blurb:

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer’s morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man’s identity – and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child’s belongings.

Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time – but they have no leads, and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it’s too late?

Cradle to Grave is the eighth book in the Detective Kay Hunter series by USA Today bestselling author Rachel Amphlett, and perfect for fans of Ann Cleeves, Peter James and Stuart MacBride.

The Detective Kay Hunter series:

1. Scared to Death
2. Will to Live
3. One to Watch
4. Hell to Pay
5. Call to Arms
6. Gone to Ground
7. Bridge to Burn
8. Cradle to Grave 

About the Author:

USA Today bestseller Rachel Amphlett writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Kay Hunter British detective series, the Dan Taylor espionage novels, the English Spy Mysteries featuring Eva Delacourt, and a number of standalone crime thrillers.

Rachel is a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold, being sold to Fanucci Editore’s TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

Her novels are available in eBook, paperback and audiobook formats from worldwide retailers as well as her own stores at http://www.rachelamphlett.com. 

You can stay in touch with Rachel via her Reader’s Group by joining at http://www.rachelamphlett.com.

Download the FREE Official Reading Guide and Checklist to Rachel’s books here: https://www.rachelamphlett.com/books/official-reading-guide-and-chechttps://www.rachelamphlett.com/books/official-reading-guide-and-checklist/

Cradle to Grave by Rachel Amphlett is out on October 6th 2019 and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

how to, NaNoWriMo, rambling, writing

#authorslife Finishing my first edit!! #NaNoWriMo #submitting #scary #hardwork @bookouture

So my regular readers will know that I have been attempting to write a book for a few years now. In November 2018 I completed NaNoWriMo, where you write 50,000 words in a month.

This isn’t anything new, I have completed NaNo twice before but I have never got further than that. I learnt heaps from my first two attempts at writing a book, but the main one was that you need to write a book that you would read yourself and that you are really interested in. A writer will spend many hours on their book, you need to love it!!

So after I reached 50,000 words with NaNo 2018 I was unsure about what would happen next. I had loved writing it and hoped that I would carry on with it but life most definitely got in the way with major surgery and a load of other stuff going on.

But my writing helped to keep me sane, I had a month where I pretty much stayed home. I’m a huge homebody so in many ways I loved that but I also went a bit stir crazy. So writing helped me escape into another world and gave my brain a workout.

When I completed my first draft I was totally stunned and very excited. I had never got that far but I knew that I was nowhere near done. Lots of people say that it is best to put your book down and go back to it after a break so that you can see your work with fresh eyes.

I had an enforced break from it because it was school holidays and so my time to work on the book was limited and I decided to go back to it in January and have a few weeks off.

I was surprised to find that I really, really missed my book. For a few days, I felt almost bereft and I missed my characters so much. Sounds a bit silly really, but that was how I felt.

It was over the break that I heard about a scheme that one of my favourite publishers, Bookouture, was doing. They were looking for underrepresented authors to submit their manuscript and they will select some to read through and give feedback to the author about their work. An amazing opportunity and one that I did not want to miss.

And so once my kids were back at school I set about editing my book. This terrified me, what if I cut the wrong bit out? Or made it worse? Or didn’t make it better? Scary times. So I sent my book to a friend to read, she isn’t a blogger or author, she just likes reading and so she read my book. And thankfully she loved it and gave me some great feedback that helped to give me focus and the courage to keep going.

Thanks to ProWritingAid I hopefully worked out most of the major grammar errors and sentences that could be constructed differently to make them more readable. I also discovered that I use the word ‘that’ all the blooming time. It felt as though almost every sentence had the word in it, and some had it more than once! I reckon that removing them cut my word count significantly!

It also gave me the opportunity to go through the book chapter by chapter, hopefully, pick up continuity errors and changing the surname of one character that was used regularly in the story.

I use Scrivener to write and I love it, I’m very sure that I don’t use half of what it can do but I wouldn’t be without it. It helps me in so many ways. And it compiled my manuscript for me and saved it as a pdf so that I was able to submit it to the Bookouture scheme.

Oh, and I needed to write a pitch of a couple of sentences which is not the easiest thing to do!!!

So today I submitted my manuscript for feedback from Bookouture, but I also did something very exciting. Scrivener helped me convert my manuscript into a mobi file that can then be transferred to a Kindle to read. So I have my book on my kindle. This just blows my mind! I feel so happy and proud! I know that there is an awful lot more to do on my manuscript but I’m just amazed that I have got this far!!

My book on my Kindle!!!

If you live in London and fit the criteria you can submit your completed manuscript here: https://www.spreadtheword.org.uk/applications-are-open-for-1-2-1-feedback-from-bookouture/ but you don’t have long!!

blog tours, guest author, guest post, how to

#BlogTour #Content Tips for writing about the past by Tiit Alexsejev #LBFBALTICS #BALTICBOOKS @midaspr

From today in London there’s a very big event happening for the book world, it’s the London Book Fair. They’re focusing on celebrating literature from the Baltic Countries and I have a guest post by Tiit Aleksejev talking about writing historical fiction. Enjoy!

Baltic Books Blog Tour

Guest Post: Tips for writing about the past – lessons from a historical fiction writer.

Tiit Aleksejev (1968) is historical fiction writer and playwright. He won the European Union Prize for Literature for his novel The Pilgrimage, which accounts the First Crusade. Since April 2016, Aleksejev has also been the chairman of the Estonian Writers´ Union. Estonia and the Baltic Countries are the Market Focus at this year’s The London Book Fair.

Aleksejev provides some tips on approaching the difficult historical subject matter and turning it into accessible fiction.

  • Do your own research into the period you are writing about. Then forget most of what you have learnt, the reader is not interested in your knowledge; but he or she cares about authenticity. Small errors kill the credibility, an accurate detail can be a cornerstone. Check the details but don’t overload your writing with them
  • Read as many resources as you can: chronicles, accounts, battle reports, songs, poems etc. Most will be inclined or distorted, they are written in favour of someone or something. For example the medieval conception of truth and veracity is completely different from ours. But you may find authentic fragments and voices; it is all about voices.
  • We don’t know how the ancients spoke, we know how they wrote, but this writing was done by a limited social group. So, you have to reconstruct – to invent in most cases – spoken language. Avoid anachronistic speech. It was probably not “O thou noble boy, hand me over this golden chalice!”. Distinguish everyday talk and ceremonial talk. Do your characters speak like priests or beggars? Or do they speak like people who surround you? If you are not sure how they really spoke, go for the brevity and laconic dialogues.
  • Find original names for your characters which suddenly sound right to you. Chronicles is a possibility. Or tomb stones if you are not afraid of the dead.
  • Visualize space: a room, a house, a street, a city. You need to see what is in the room. Pieces of furniture may be unaccustomed to us e.g. shelves for the scrolls. Maybe the room is empty. Then you have to see it empty.

The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).

About The Author:

Tiit Aleksejev

Tiit Aleksejev in 2011

Tiit Aleksejev (born 6 July 1968) is an Estonian novelist and playwright.

Aleksejev was born in Kohtla-Järve. He studied history at the University of Tartu, and served as a diplomat in France and Belgium.

His debut novel was a thriller called Valge kuningriik (The White Kingdom, 2006). It won the Betti Alver Prize for best first novel. His second novel was a work of historical fiction, set in the time of the First Crusade. This novel called Palveränd (The Pilgrimage, 2008) won the EU Prize for Literature and was translated into several languages subsequently (e.g. Italian, Hungarian, and Finnish). In 2011, he published a third novel Kindel linn (Stronghold). Palveränd and Kindel linn are the first and second part of what is to become a trilogy.

His first play Leegionärid (Legionaries), about the fallen soldiers of the Estonian Legion, appeared in 2010 and premiered in 2013 in Rakvere. It received the Virumaa Literary Award in 2011. Another historical play, Kuningad(Kings) was published in 2014 and is about the murder of the four Estonian kings during the St. George’s Night Uprising (1343).

Aleksejev lives in Tallinn.

blog tours, guest author, guest post, how to

#BlogTour The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd. @AmyLloydWrites #TheInnocentWife @ClareJKelly

Blog Tour (1)

Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd. I haven’t read this book….yet, but I will be doing so. The blurb alone makes me want to read it, let alone all the great reviews the book is getting. Amy has stopped by to tell us about unlikeable narrators and difficult characters. I hope that you enjoy it!

Guest Post:

Unlikeable Narrators and Difficult Characters

Poor Samantha gets a lot of stick for being an unlikeable character. She’s got extremely low self-esteem and makes some terrible choices but this is why I found her so interesting to write. I don’t want characters that do exactly what they’re supposed to, what fun is that?!

When Sam and Carrie first meet in the novel they riff on the idea of what a ‘strong woman’ is. There’s a temptation to make every woman character in your novel a kind of role model, a feminist badass who we can all look up to. Or at least to make them ‘likeable’ (*shudder*), relatable and inoffensive.

I’m here to fly the flag for the deplorables. I say, Let women be awful too! Aren’t we all a little awful sometimes?

Male characters are allowed to be flawed but we hold women in fiction to a different standard. Take, for example, the way Hannibal Lecter was received when Silence of the Lambs was in cinemas. Some audiences applauded each time he appeared on screen. They revelled in his evil; they loved to be afraid of him.

Compare that to reactions to Amy in Gone Girl. I’ve seen her character called misogynistic and misandrist, depending on which Reddit forum you’re looking at. My own reaction to Amy was one of excitement. Finally! I thought, now women can be real villains too. Not an evil stepmother or a Lifetime movie mistress but a bon-a-fide psychopath just out there doing her thing. Progress!

So I was dismayed to see so many think-pieces devoted to analysing how her character reflects on all women. We accept that Hannibal Lecter is an evil character and we celebrate him but we are afraid to do the same for Amy because, as a woman, she is representative of her gender as a whole.

I’ve always found it fun to not like characters in fiction. I like to feel conflicted, frustrated by a protagonist’s flaws and to follow a murderer or a liar down the wrong path. I read so I can live different lives and have alternate experiences, so this was also how I wanted to approach writing.

It would be easy to dismiss Sam as weak or pathetic but she’s more complicated than that. Many people have said that there are moments where they related to her and those moments reminded them of when they were their worst selves.

We meet Samantha at a low point in her life. She is broken after a terrible relationship and she’s taken a huge leap that she’s not entirely confident in and this is what makes her so vulnerable and why she allows herself to be treated so badly by Dennis. This is hard to accept and it should be! We want her to find her strength and stick up for herself but will she? Or is there something more sinister about her motivations…

Blurb:

You love him. You trust him. So why are you so scared?

Her obsession started eighteen years after the first documentary … As the story
unfolded on screen everything else started to fade away. At the heart of it the boy,
too young for the suit he wore in court, blue eyes blinking confused at the camera,
alone and afraid. It hurt her to look at him … barely eighteen years old, alone on
Death Row.
You’re in love with a man who’s serving time for a brutal murder on Florida’s
Death Row. He’s the subject of a true-crime documentary that’s whipping up a
frenzy online.
You’re convinced he’s innocent, and you’re determined to prove it. You leave your
old life behind.
Now, you’re married to him. And he’s free, his conviction overturned.
But is he so innocent after all?
How do you confront your husband when you don’t want to know the truth?

About the Author:

Amy Lloyd studied English and Creative Writing at Cardiff Metropolitan
University. Her writing combines her fascination with true crime and
her passion for fiction. The Innocent Wife is her first novel and was
borne out of a course module in university. She lives in Cardiff with
her partner and two cats.

The Innocent Wife by Amy Lloyd is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

how to, NaNoWriMo, rambling

How I wrote 50,000 words in fourteen days for #NaNoWriMo #crazy

IMG_0015(1)IMG_0017

So as I wrote on here I decided fairly last minute to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I took part in it for the first time last year and won, you can read about that win here, so I did feel some pressure to do the same this year.

Now the thing that I have realised about NaNo is that you learn a lot about yourself doing it. Last year I surprised myself, I had absolutely zero confidence in myself as a writer and the fact that I was able to write 100 words surprised me. The win boosted my confidence, but I didn’t realise how much until I started NaNo this year.

Unfortunately I haven’t completed my book from last year, in fact since finishing NaNo last year I think that I have only written a few thousand more words which is a real shame. But I think that the problem with that book is that my lack of planning came to bite me, I just didn’t know where to go with the story next.

My book for this year was totally different to last years, a completely different genre and feel, and in many ways a far more complicated story. As I wrote on here when I started the idea of this book came from a competition that I wanted to enter (you can read that here) and when I started I really did have only the vaguest idea of what the story might be about.

Yet I found it so easy to write compared to my book last year and I think partly that was because I had less anxiety and doubt, I wrote knowing that I could always change it later so it didn’t really matter how good it was now. That really took the pressure off me and allowed me to just write, I even changed the tense that I was writing in after 12,000 words (blooming annoying now though that I did!).

Something that I really struggled with last year was writing conversations. Early in the book, the conversations that characters had were very short with one or maybe two sentences being spoken at a time. I hated writing it and it felt awkward to write and so no doubt it would feel awkward to read. This year writing conversations has been easy, I was a good way in before I even remembered how difficult it had been last year as that just wasn’t the case this year. Why? Well I’m not totally sure but I expect that part of it is that I didn’t worry about it too much and so that let it flow. And what it really showed me was that I learnt from last year and it made this year easier, perhaps once this book is finished I might go back and revisit the first one.

I have discovered that I am quite a fast writer, at least I think that I am but I really don’t have much to compare to, but I easily reached the daily word count of 1,667 words that you need to complete NaNo in the month of November. Currently my average words per day for the month of November is 3,500, so significantly higher. I guess that’s kind of that for the post then, as that is how I wrote 50,000 words in fourteen days, I made sure that my word count was much more than it needed to be.

Now in a way I’m lucky in that I have absolutely no social life, so I never go out and so can write morning, afternoon and evening if I want to. I am a single parent to twins though and that is definitely not easy but they really got behind me with NaNo this year, clearly proud of what I was doing and keen for me to win and ‘beat others’, they couldn’t understand that NaNo is not a competition where you try to beat others, everyone who gets to the 50K words wins, as long as they do it in November. But their support helped, it meant that they often told me to write more and so would leave me in relative peace to do so. Sure they have watched more television than normal but hopefully they have also been inspired watching their Mum do something like this. One day at school the teacher asked all the children who their favourite authors were, as you can imagine in a room full of six and seven year olds, most of them said Julia Donaldson, probably because she’s an author that people know the names of. But when it got to my son he said ‘my Mummy’ which really made me smile.

Something that I really learnt about myself this year doing NaNo is that I am competitive and that I hate failure. This spurred me on to write more. But there are other reasons that pushed me to write more and get NaNo completed as fast as I could. Firstly the reason that I was writing this book in the first place, I have to get 5,000 words looking ship shape and ready to impress for the competition by the 4th of December and I had that playing on my mind.

The other thing playing on my mind has been cake. Not eating cake, although that would be nice, but making cake. I am not a baker and I am most definitely not a cake decorator, yet I am going to attempt to be both. My children turn seven next week and have requested two cakes. One cake they want to be of our dog, Dotty. Um, ok. And cake number two they want a tree with the three of us sitting under it, with the dog too obviously. Now I don’t know about you, but to me, that doesn’t sound very easy.

So I’ve been on Pinterest which has given me many ideas for the dog cake. Too many ideas really. Do I do a dog shaped cake, a cake with a sugarpaste dog on top, or a round cake that is the dogs face? Of course there are many other options too on Pinterest but I have discounted them. I haven’t even thought about the tree cake which will be worse in many ways as that will be eaten by adults, the dog one is for children and they are a far easier to please. But that has been pushing me to finish NaNo. There’s no way that I can make two cakes next week while doing NaNo. Nope, not going to happen.

So if you want my advice on how to complete NaNo in fourteen days I would suggest the following:

  • Have a huge pressure towards the end of the month. Something that will be challenging and stressful and no doubt exhausting (a child’s birthday is always exhausting for the parent/s, doubly so when there are two children involved).
  • Decide to learn a new skill with a huge deadline towards the end of the month that if you miss will mean that your children will stop believing that you can do anything.
  • Have something really important that you need to be completed at the start of the next month, something that will take a lot of time and scare the hell out of you (show people my writing?!!! AAGGGHHHHHHHH)
  • Just write. Don’t worry about what you’re writing and how good it is, just get the words done.
  • Don’t worry too much about minor details. Last year I spent a crazy amount of time trawling names websites looking for the perfect name for my characters, this year I gave them whatever name came to mind. If it doesn’t fit then I can change it (there is currently only one name that I am going to change, I just haven’t thought what to yet, but I’m not stressing about it).
  • Google is your friend, just hope that no one goes looking at your search history!
  • Join Facebook groups, or just one group, where others are also doing NaNo. Support from others going through it is priceless.
  • Get some NaNo buddies, it’s fun (and motivating) to check others wordcounts.
  • Post your daily wordcounts somewhere, Twitter is good for this if you want it to be a bit more anonymous, Facebook if you want to get your friends behind this.
  • Use your friends. If someone that you know knows something about what you’re writing then ask them if they will help, or post on Facebook and wait for the responses. One of my characters was going to Greece, I have never been so I posted asking for people who have been to give me tips and suggestions and things that would only be known by someone who had been. Twenty minutes later I had more information than I could possibly need. Who knew so many people had been to Athens?!

I think that NaNoWriMo is brilliant and if you want to write but need some extra motivation then it’s the perfect time to give it a go. Sure. it really isn’t easy but whether you end up winning or not, you will have learnt a lot.

Since I got my 50,000 words I have kept writing, I’m now on 58,640 words, my pace has slowed but I have written every day, today I have only done 780 words but yesterday I did over 5,000. I am really enjoying it and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens to my characters, I love how they show me the way.

blog tours, how to, parenting

Blog Tour: The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World by Richard Daniel Curtis.

 

I’m quite excited about this blog tour, being a parent and facing a whole new world that did not exist when I was a child can be a bit scary so I am pleased to be able to share some Do’s and Don’ts for parenting in the modern world.

The top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Modern Parents

Taken from The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World

By Richard Daniel Curtis, The Kid Calmer

The modern world is full of new threats that many parents never had to encounter when they were growing up.  It’s overwhelming at times and causes all sorts of parenting headaches, especially when your children can out-talk you on technology.  I talk to hundreds of parents each year and understand the dichotomy of trying to keep them on the straight and narrow, whilst also not ruining your relationship.  So here’s the top 10 do’s and don’ts from the book when it comes to raising a teen or soon to be teen.

Do’s

  • Be the friendly, non-judgemental ear for your child. They will encounter sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography, and bullying whether you like it or not – it’s far better for them to have you to turn to when they do.
  • Share your teenage experiences with your teen, without giving them all of the gory details; help them to understand that you were teenage too.
  • Only give your child a smartphone when they are mature enough to be able to talk to you about bullying issues.
  • When it comes to using the internet leave them with an understanding that even if they are on a dodgy site they can come to you for support or advice without being judged.
  • Get your child to check links on suspicious emails by checking the from address matches the company and also hovering over the links and looking at the link address (often in the bottom left of the browser) to make sure they match.
  • Be open to talking about how easy it can be to crack default passwords and why you should change them.
  • As your teen starts to use social media, teach them to always stop and think before posting comments, photos or videos.
  • Teach your child to report inappropriate posts or comments and to be able to ignore them.
  • Invest in tech insurance and protectors!
  • Finally make sure your child knows that you will never be angry with them and that you are there for them to turn to when they experience problems.

Don’ts

  • Compare the pressure your child is under to what you experienced; today’s world is very different.
  • Deny your child the emotions they are feeling as they experience social problems, your child is unlikely to have learnt that they will fade and they will feel very real to them.
  • Be judgemental, it’ll only make them move further away from
  • It’s impossible to block out the impact of terrorism on the modern world, it’s far better to educate your child so they don’t pay an unhealthy interest or become anxious.
  • Let your child take their phone in their room overnight.
  • Rely on your internet blocking set up. Education is far more important than dependency on software, as the moment they no longer have the software they will struggle to cope.
  • Avoid the conversations; your child will come across malware, trolling or pornography at some point online, it’s better to have given them the tools to choose to avoid it.
  • Be heavy handed with taking away tech as your child does their homework; if they’re used to flicking between things they’ll need a gentle approach to getting used to more focus.
  • Minimise the emotional and physical sensation of the experience of games, the technology is so advanced it can provoke the same reactions as though they went through it, your child may need your support to cope with the after-effects.
  • Assume your child will know when to use technology; they’ll want to consume it. Teach them to make decisions about whether it is the best thing to use.

 

The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World

Raising a child in the 21st Century is scary! There are so many threats to your adolescent that you worry about what they are up to in their bedroom, let alone when they are out with their friends.

The world is so different than when we grew up, young people nowadays have different expectations about life and use so much technology. It’s no wonder we feel overwhelmed at times. Even things that were simple have got more complicated, issues like gender identity or sex. It’s hard to know where to start with technology, every time you feel you have a grip on what your child is into, they talk about something else you’ve never heard of.

Life as a parent is overwhelming!

The Parent’s Guide to the Modern World gives you the answers to the worries you haven’t even realised you have. Starting with a section on how your child’s brain develops and explaining why their personality changes so much during puberty. It even helps you to structure any difficult conversations you need to have with your teen or soon to be teen.

The book then goes through over thirty different aspects of the modern world, telling you about the risks associated with each, plus the dos and don’ts for you as parents. Following this, part three focusses on the predictions for the world your child will be an adult in; helping you to understand the things you can do now to give them the best chances in life. Finally, the book contains a handy glossary of terms your young person might be using.

Worried about how to help your child understand these risks? Why not buy them the sister book The Young Person’s Guide to the Modern World.

Purchase on Amazon UK  here.

About Richard Daniel Curtis

Richard Daniel Curtis

Based in Southampton with his partner and their young son, Richard Daniel Curtis is an internationally renowned behaviour expert and futurist passionate about helping people understand mindset and psychology. A former teacher, and mental health support worker, Richard is known for his impact with turning round some of the most extreme behaviours and is consulted about adults and children around the globe, even having two assessments named after him. He has founded The Root of It -an organisation of qualified professionals available to support schools and individuals with behavioural difficulties- for which he was awarded the Gold Scoot Headline Award in 2015 and Best New Business in 2014. Most recently he launched The Mentoring School to train the psychology related to mentoring people of all ages. For his work and expertise he has been interviewed for the BBC,ITV and Sky News TV and various international print media and radio. His previous titles include: 101 Tips for Parents, 101 More Tips for Parents and 101 Behaviour Tips for Parents (2014) and Gratitude at Home (2016).

Website: The Kid Calmer

Twitter: @thekidcalmer

Facebook: #thekidcalmer

 

 

 

blog tours, guest author, how to

Blog Tour: Guest Post by Angela Corner Author of The Hidden Island.

hidden-island-blog-tour

I’m delighted to have Angela Corner, author of The Hidden Island on If only I could read faster today giving us some writing advice. As I’m still trying to finish my NaNoWriMo project I’m still really interested in getting all the advice that I can and I have to say that I found a lot of what Angela had to say interesting. I hope that you do too!

Writing Advice

Do you write every day or wait for inspiration to strike?

One of the things I learned for writing for soaps is that if you get up in a morning and wait for inspiration to strike then you’ll never finish anything.  There are days when writing feels easy. The ideas flow, your sentences seem to appear on the page as if by magic, you are ‘in the zone’ and it feels great.  But then there are the days when your mind is blank. The keys on your keyboard might as well be in Chinese. The temptation to eat cake and chocolate or even do some house work is almost impossible to resist.  It is those days when you have to battle and sweat and just write something. Anything. It will feel like total rubbish, and may well be total rubbish, but you have to force yourself to keep writing. It’s a habit, a discipline. And even on those bleak, painful days you may produce something worth keeping. Or the germ of something worth keeping.  

Where do you get your ideas from?

Everywhere. From the news, from family and friends, from eavesdropping on conversations on trains, in pubs and in shops.  There’s a thing called the creative bubble or the creative cloud.  It’s populated by everything going on in the world, locally and nationally.  Everyone can access it and draw inspiration and ideas from it. Sometimes people will reach into the bubble, pull out the same things and come up with very similar ideas at similar times.  It then looks like people are copying each other when in fact they’ve simply got the same ingredients from the bubble and put them together in the same way.

Using friends and family’s experiences – including the most shocking and upsetting ones – as a basis for stories can be difficult to reconcile.  Every time someone confides in you the writer part of you will be thinking of ways it could be made it into a story whereas the ‘human’ part of you will be sympathising and trying to help or console.  It’s a conflict that all writers have and it is essential to keep enough distance between real life experiences and what you use in your stories, either by time or by altering aspects of the story. Otherwise you may end up with no friends and lots of family conflict.

It’s a good idea to have an ideas notepad. You might be working on something else but have a new idea. Write it in your ideas notepad for future reference. It’s very easy – and tempting – to have a great new idea and abandon whatever you’re currently working on to start the new idea. It’s the grass is always greener phenomenon.  New ideas always seem better than the one you’ve been sweating over for weeks and months.  A bit like the excitement of a new relationship. But if you constantly move onto the newest idea you’ll never finish anything. All writers are guilty of it.

Do you plan or make it up as you go along?

All writers are different. Some plan to the nth degree. Others start at chapter one with no idea where they will end up. Most writers are somewhere in between. If you are a writer who has started many books but not managed to finish any then I think planning the structure and major events/turning points is a sensible idea.  It gives you a framework and keeps you focused with certain points to aim for.  With The Hidden Island I started with a fairly detailed plan of each chapter.  This did change to varying degrees as I went along with some aspects removed and others added in.  The original plan included lots of flashbacks to Beckett’s previous investigation on the Island but during the writing process I found this slowed the action too much.   The other big change to the original plan was the ending. This changed when I was writing the synopsis to send off to publishers and agents. In writing the two page synopsis (easily the most difficult part of novel writing!) I realised the original ending wasn’t working as well as I’d liked and a different ending popped into my head.  I put the new ending in the synopsis and then rewrote the final chapter.

My writing day

It’s important, or at least to me, to get into a writing routine. Most writers seem to have a routine that suits them and their lifestyle and mine has had to adapt to changes in my own life.  My preferred time of day to write is actually in the evening and on into the early hours.  However this routine is not conducive to a healthy relationship!  I also struggle to write if anyone else is in the house.  Complete immersion in my made up worlds requires no real world distractions.  So my writing routine now means writing during the day whilst the house is empty. I have a minimum word count of 1000 words a day.  If the writing is going well then I will continue on past 1000 words and keep going until I get beaten by the clock or simply feel too tired to carry on.  If it’s one of those struggling days I will write my 1000 words and then stop but I will make myself do a 1000 words however long it takes and however horrible those 1000 words feel.

Edit as you go or just keep going?

It’s tempting to start each new day by going back over what you’ve written the day before and rewriting it.  But this can really stall all forward motion.  I will edit as I go during the day but once that day’s writing is done, in general, I won’t go back over it the following day. There are exceptions to this – if something really isn’t working, or if I get a lightbulb moment that evening about a new way of doing things or an extra story strand to add.  It’s important to keep going and bury any self-doubt until you’ve got to the final full stop, of the final sentence, of the final chapter.  Then put the manuscript aside for a few weeks, or months. Work on something else. Start a new book, or at least the research and planning of a new book, before picking up your first draft and beginning the editing process.

The Hidden Island by Angela Corner is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Blurb:

The Hidden Island: an edge of your seat crime thriller

Sex. Drugs. Murder.

Hidden behind the crystal seas and beautiful beaches of a Greek Island dark and dangerous secrets lurk. Beckett has had his fill of adrenaline fuelled criminal investigation and with a broken body and damaged career goes to the Greek Island of Farou to head up the Criminal Investigation Bureau. Serious crime is rare, the weather is great and the beer is cold but his ‘retirement’ is cut short when a pagan cult resurrects and bodies start showing up.

With doubts about his mental and physical ability to do the job, a British police detective is sent to help with the investigation. DI Lee Harper is everything Beckett is not – young, ambitious and by the book.

As well as tackling the new case Beckett must overcome the demons from his past.

Family loyalty, power and money are at the source of the investigation where appearance is everything and nothing is what is seems.

Can Beckett and Harper work together to find justice for the victims?

Will the idyllic island ever be the same again?

Sometimes paradise can be hell.

“This gritty thriller is a brilliantly plotted and refreshing read. Angela Corner is one to watch for those who like their books with a bit more bite” Betsy Reavley, best-selling author of The Quiet Ones, The Optician’s Wife and Frailty.

Angela Corner is a debut author who mastered her craft as a screenwriter on top serial dramas including Eastenders and Hollyoaks. The Hidden Island is the perfect read for fans of authors like Lisa Hall, Katerina Diamond, Kathryn Croft and Caroline Mitchell