Enjoy What You Do!

     I have found myself getting well and truly bogged down with my writing journeyoverworked recently which has led to the enjoyment evaporating away.  First of all I was in excruciating pain for quite a while and just as I seemed to be improving, my daughter Phoenix was unable to walk for over a week.  Obviously we are both under various specialists, taking medication and trying to keep going.  Athough my health and the health of family and friends comes first, this has not been my only issue recently.

     I was taking part in a marketing challenge, where the aim was to build an e-mail list in a month.  I was actually getting myself quite stressed out about it, so decided to take a step back.  My time was being taken up by trying to work out different techy issues, which is not my forte and I was finding myself not writing as much as I would have like and I was not spending enough time on my next novel, Survival At Any Cost.  I have put together a newsletter but I will not be publishing it until I feel more at ease with all the committments I have.  To be honest I have felt like I’ve been running around like a headless chicken and not getting anywhere.

    socialnetworks I decided to take take a little bit of time out and limit my time spent on social media.  My phone doesn’t stop binging with messages and alerts and how I have restrained myself and not thrown it in the pool, I’ll never know.  I not only wanted, but I also needed, to take some time out so that I could think about my goals again.

     I started writing because I enjoy it and I will not allow that enjoyment to be taken away because of deadlines and marketing.  Of course deadlines and marketing play a role in my writing journey, but I want to focus on my writing and improving the craft that I love.  Having reassessed my goals, I am feeling happier about continuing my writing journey.

     Survival At Any Cost was ready to go to its beta readers but, after reading it throughbestseller again, I thought about changing it, again.  Starting tomorrow and concluding over the weekend, I am going to read it once more and then decide if the changes I am contemplating will actually enhance the book.  If they do, my next step will be to implement the changes, which I’m really not sure how long it will take.  What I do know is, if I decide to make these dramatic changes, Survival At Any Cost, will be even better than it already is and have a good chance of becoming a bestseller.

     Even my Goodreads reading challenge has been knocked slightly sideways recently.  I have managed to read ‘Relative Terror’ by R.E. Sargent and ‘Watching You’ by Lynda Renham, both of which were very enjoyable.  One of the benefits of this reading challenge is that I am making a point of reading new authors to me.  I am a little behind on my book reviews but hopefully I will be up-to-date by the end of the weekend.  A writer needs to write a lot and read a lot if they have any chance of being successful.  All writers, including me, need reviews.  Reviews not only help potential readers make a choice about which book to read but they also they help writers in this digital world of marketing.  I have never read anything by Dean Koontz before so I am currently reading his book, ‘The House of Thunder.’  I have always loved reading but now when I read, I read as a writer.  I am more aware of different styles and I learn a lot from authors that are more experienced than me.

    If you currently have a ridiculous work schedule, do what I have done and get your life harmonious again.  Overburdening yourself results in many negative outcomes getting-back-on-trackincluding, a decrease in productivity, poor health, stress and depression.  Make a list of what needs to be done and focus on the most important.  Of course there are some things in life that may not be enjoyable but you should enjoy the majority of what you do.  Eliminating as much stress from your daily routine as possible will lead to a happier and more fulfilling life.  If you make a few changes to your schedule, you will soon be back on track, just like me.  Life is not a dress rehearsal so you should enjoy what you do. Whatever your passion in life is, protect it and let it shine.

 

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE

 

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Determination

     Busy is an understatement for me but I am determined to reach all my goals.  The writing part of Author Marketing Secret’s challenge has been completed.  I pledged to write 55,000 words in the first 30 days of April and am pleased to say I made it.  My first crime detective novel, Dead Eyes, is beginning to look like a book.  It is by no stretch ofNicole-page-001 the imagination ready to go to print but it is well on the way.  I know that there are a couple of parts that I can improve, which is what I will do next, then I will move on to the serious editing.  In Dead Eyes, I introduce Detective Ellen Knight, who is a very strong character.  She is passionate about her job but also loves her two daughter’s dearly.

     The next part of this challenge begins on the 10th of April.  The aim of the second phase, the marketing phase, is to build an e-mail list.  Prior to the starting date, I am trying to sort out my e-mail service provider and link it to my landing page.  This should be fun since I am not techie at all.  I am still working on my newsletter which I hope you will find exciting and helpful when the first edition is published.  It is not just about writing and designing one newsletter, it’s also about planning future issues that can be time consuming.

     I have been featured in http://www.jolsclub.com/a-few-bad-boys and in, Expats in Spain April 2018 edition Link to page – my hard work is beginning to pay off.  For me, the hardest part of writing is the marketing side.  There has, and still is, a lot for me to learn but I am trying to take it all in my stride.

     On my writing journey I have met some wonderful people.  There are numerous WHW-Logo1 (1)groups on social media that connect authors to readers and there are groups designed for writers.  By connecting with readers I find out what they want and what they dislike in books.  When writers connect, they help each other reach the next step of their writing.  I love it when I actually help someone reach their goal and for me, that doesn’t just mean in their writing.  Writing, just like any other job or career, needs consistency, motivation and a lot of determination.

     My Goodreads reading challenge is coming along nicely.  I have finished reading ‘The Widow’ by Liz Fenton and ‘I Know Where You Live’ by Pat Young, both of which I found enjoyable.  I am currently reading, ‘The Memory of Snow’ by Kirsty Ferry and ‘Relative Terror’ by R. E. Sargent.  I had planned to start reading, ‘Relative Terror’ last night but I could not resist my curiosity and began it during the afternoon.  I had to be prised off it so I could get some work done – that’s a good sign for a book!  I am also reading a Spanish poetry book, ‘Alma Secreta’ by M. A. Fernández.  Some of the poetry book I am reading with my daughter, Phoenix.  As mentioned before, Phoenix has dyslexia, so it is vital that I help her wherever I can and make learning fun.  When this poetry book came to my attention, I thought it was a good way to involve her.

     I know that I have many projects on my plate now but I am trying to re-organize my schedule so that I get everything done without compromising quality.  I love being busy but I also love being organized.  I am very fortunate to live in Spain but the only downside is when friends come to visit, they often forget that I am not on holiday.  My deadlines still have to be met and I can’t put things off otherwise my schedule is useless – I do try and work around those visitors that mean the most to me, but I have to read and write daily.

     I think my friends are beginning to realise how much work goes into writing a book.  Many of them thought that it was a great achievement when I published, A Few Bad Boys, but they didn’t seem to understand that writing a book is not just aboutMollys-Determination-768x614 writing, it is so much more.  Once the book is written – don’t forget about all the research and planning that is done before – it has to be edited, corrected  (more than once)  sent to Beta readers, possibly changed a bit more, marketed, cover designed, formatted, book trailers, published as a digital book and a paperback, book tours, interviews, more marketing – whilst writing another novel.  This list is by no means complete, but it gives you an idea of how much work goes into getting a book to its readers.  With all this in mind, I had better get back to my schedule.  Motivation, determination, consistency and perseverance lead to success.

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE

 

 

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Correct Frame of Mind

     My hospital and doctor appointments continue and so does the pain but I will notaUmgsfA2_400x400 allow it to take over my life.  It would be easy to give up and wallow in self pity but that has never been me and I don’t intend to start doing it now.  I have had to accept that I have to adjust my time management and keep myself in the correct frame of mind.  Although I have had some bleak days recently, I made sure that I shook them off and put myself in the correct frame of mind to achieve my goals in all areas of my life.

    sandcastles I am continuing with writing the first draft of my crime detective novel Dead Eyes and I am currently on 24,201 words.  I would have liked to be further along, since my target is 55,000 words by the end of the this month.  The target is still possible and I will keep writing as fast as I can.  One thing I have noticed is that I am being very critical with this project and consequently I keep going back over it which I need to stop doing.  It is the next stage when I should make all the changes.

     I am really enjoying writing Dead Eyes and I have numerous pages of notes surrounding me so I don’t forget to come back to clues etc.  I don’t want you all to be left with cliff-hangers at the end.  This book, although still the same genre as my previous projects, it is quite different.  This is a dectective novel which I am aiming to turn in to a series.  I notice, almost daily, how my writing has developed and I feel a great sense of satisfaction.  I should have made more time to write many years ago because it is so enjoyable.  For any aspiring writers, please try and write something every day.  I know how hard it is to find the time when you have a full time job and children to care for, but it really needs to be done and you’ll thank yourself in years to come.

     I have also been working on my monthly newsletter which I want to start publishing soon and I am still reading ‘The Memory of Snow’ by Kirsty Ferry and ‘The Good Widow’ by Liz Fenton.  I really should have finished them by now because they are both great books but I have had lots of other things to read recently.  These include helping people with their manuscripts so they can become published and the news which seems to be in overdrive at the moment.

     The saddest news in recent days was the death of Stephen Hawking.  Without doubthawking_quotes_9 he was the most renowned physicist of our time but he was so much more.  He was an inspiration to all and showed us that everything is possible.  Despite his terrible illness, he not only survived a lot longer than the doctors predicted but he inspired many people.  He did not allow his illness to interfere with his work and proved to us all that everything is possible if you put your mind to it.

Detective Ellen Knight is now demanding my attention since she is off to the morgue!

Remember, try and get yourself in the correct frame of mind and you will be amazed at how much you will achieve.

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE

 

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Unforeseen Circumstances

     The Author Marketing Secrets Writing and Marketing Challenge began on the 1st March, but so did the pain in my back and hip.  The pain is often there, but it is normally controlled by my prescribed daily medication.  This time the pain came with a vengeanceimages and has been excruciating.  I bumped up the meds which resulted in me falling asleep so I am not quite on my set target – luckily I did allow a couple of days at the end of this month to cater for unforeseen circumstances, but I didn’t expect to use those days up yet!

     Nevermind, those of you that know me or are following my writing journey will know that I am always determined to finish something I start and will push myself to the limits to get things done.  One of my favourite mottos is, ‘everything is possible’ and the words ‘give up’ are definitely not in my vocabulary.  My motivation and self-discipline will always see me through and I will never let pain or any other unforeseen circumstances win.  If you want to achieve something you have to work hard for it and not allow anything to get in your way.

     I am really enjoying writing my crime detective novel, Dead Eyes, and really can’t wait until it is ready to be published.  The protagonist, Detective Ellen Knight, is a strong character who loves her job as much as she loves her two daughters.  In the first one of the series you will read how she tries to keep her life as a mother and her life as a detective separate but realises that this is not always possible.  There are many twists and turns and I know that it has the makings of a best seller.  I have done a great deal of planning and loads of research for Dead Eyes.  When it is published, I hope that you will enjoy reading it as much as I am enjoying writing it.

     My debut novel, A Few Bad Boys, is selling well.  If you want to recommend it to a friend, here’s the link.  If you have read it, please can you leave a review either on A Few Boys Edit ver 1 jpgAmazon or on (Goodreads Link)  As I have said before, reviews are so important to authors and I would really appreciate your help.  I want my followers to be genuine, so I have been working on encouraging genuine fans.  Off course I could buy lists to make my fan base look bigger than it actually is but I am not interested in fake followers.  It may take longer to build a huge fan base but at least they will be real fans who are genuinely interested with what I have to say.  I have recently received my first fan letter which was quite a surprise.  You can follow me on Amazon and Goodreads and all my social media sites.  My second novel, Survival At Any Cost, is still due for publication in the next few months and I am really excited about it.  I’ll try not to keep you waiting too long.

     Apart from my current project, Dead Eyes, I am also planning to start a monthlyemail-contact-me-logo-red (1) newsletter but I am still in the early stages.  I will have to learn how to use another  software programme and I am leaning towards Mailchimp for my newsletter platform.  For those of you that have read some of my previous blogs, you will know that I am not techy at all, but I have realised that I have to move forward in this ever evolving world of technology.

     My Goodreads reading challenge is still on target.  I have completed reading ‘Missouri Waltz’ by Richard Dunk and the newly released, ‘The Scent of Guilt’ by Tony J Forder.  I read the first in the series of Tony J Forder’s novel, ‘Bad to the Bone’ this year and enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t wait to read the sequel. I am currently reading ‘The Memory of Snow’ by the talented Kirsty Ferry and ‘The Good Widow’ by Liz Fenten.  I have picked up a couple of other books and have decided early on that they aren’t for me but that does not mean that they are terrible books.

I have to go now since Detective Ellen Knight, needs my help to catch a killer.

Remember, don’t let unforeseen circumstances get in the way of your goals.

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE

 

 

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Happiness

     Recently, I haven’t achieved as much writing and reading as I would have liked, but I have been rather busy, but in a good and happy way.  My son, James, flew over from Norway as a surprise for his sister, Phoenix, since it was her sixteenth birthday.  How I managed to IMG-20180221-WA0005keep this secret, I will never know  Her reaction when she saw him was priceless and although I have it on video, I have been asked not to share it.  We hadn’t seen him since the beginning of November and I am so pleased we had a happy time together.  The worst part is saying goodbye.

     Although I haven’t achieved as much writing and reading as I would have liked, I am not upset about it, since realistically I knew this would happen.  I feel happy and motivated and I’m ready to continue my writing journey.  This is a perfect example of when discipline and organization come into play.  Had I not been so organized and disiplined prior to my son’s arrival, I would probably be in a state of panic now.  I have bravely set my novel, Survival At Any Cost, to one side untilIMG_2418 I receive more comments and more edits about it.

     Since my last blog I have improved my author pages and feel that I am making progress.  I have started reading ‘Author Marketing Secrets’ by Demi Bernice in preparation for the Author Marketing Secrets 60 Day Writing and Marketing Challenge, which begins on 1st March.  Before then I will also watch Demi’s short videos.  The book I will be dedicating to this is, Dead Eyes.  This will be the first in a series and will introduce Detective Ellen Knight.  Between now and March, I will be focusing most of my energy on Dead Eyes and getting to know my new characters.  My target word count is 55 thousand words.  I have wanted to write a series for a long time, so this is a brilliant opportunity to begin.

     I have been very fortunate since I have done some more interviews and author spotlights which I will let you know more about when they are published. Book Bloggers i-love-book-bloggersdo a wonderful job at helping and supporting writers. I seem to be getting more followers which I am pleased about. It does take a lot of effort to build a base of real followers. Obviously my friends follow me, but it is a lovely feeling when people I don’t know start following me. I real enjoy interaction with my readers and hope to do more of it. I am also trying to find the right cover for Survival At Any Cost.

     My entry for the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2018 is on target and I have completed ‘Blood in the Sand’ by Kelly Clayton which had a nice twist and I have almost finished ‘Missouri Waltz’ by Richard Dunk. I am currently reading ‘Memory of Snow’ by Kirsty Ferry and today I am starting, ‘The Scent of Guilt’ by Tony J Forder. I have read the previous book in this series this year, but he has me hooked and since this novel was recently released, I couldn’t resist.

     It is good to read different genres because it’s a whole new adventure.  I am also enjoying reading new authors to me. When I read something that is not familiar to me, itgoodreads-logo does take a while for me to get into it, but I am very glad that I persevere because it is an enjoyable experience.

     By following this link and you can follow me on Goodreads and see the reviews that I leave.

     Being happy is a state of mind.  The more you put into something, whether it’s writing, another profession, getting fit, family life etc. the more you will get out of it and the happier you’ll be.

     My biggest dilemma at this moment in time is whether to start reading, The Scent of Guilt, or get to know Detective Ellen Knight better.  Whatever I choose, I know I’ll be happy.

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE

 

 

Motivation

     The key to achieving anything in life is motivation and I am fortunate that I can motivate myself and others fairly easily.  Once you really start a project, for example, writing a novel or getting fit, it does get easier provided you get yourself into a routine.  I write and read everyday without fail.  It makes sense really, because the more you dosunset-motivation321 something, the closer you get to your target which is motivation in itself.  I also advice people to start with an achievable target.  It is impossible to write a novel in a day just like it is impossible to lose five kilos in a day.  Writing is quite a solitary occupation and getting involved with writing goups makes you feel that you are not alone.  The groups I am involved with are very supportive to their members.  If members have questions they can ask and there is always someone that will know the answer or solution.  We also motivate each other.  Whatever you want to achieve, I appreciate that unforseen circumstances can crop up that jeopardise you goals.  My daughter is having ongoing health problems and we have just found out that the vertabraes in her neck are not correct.  Things like this obviously take up physical time, but they also add stress to your life, which inevitably slows down your progress.  I have tried to stay as close to my writing schedule as possible but it has not been easy.  When you are weighed down by events such as this it can be difficult to get motivated but you have to push yourself to do it.  It is really important to have discipline.

     In my last blog I mentioned that through one of my groups, For Writers only who want to Write without Fear of Rejection, I heard about a writing competition organised by Writing Magazine, Lulu.com and Authorite and I was contemplating entering it.  Well I managed to meet the deadline with my novel, Survival At Any Cost, and submitted my poster-keep-goingentry.  Now I really must stop looking at this novel because I keep trying to change it slightly which is quite difficult to do since I have submitted the total word count.  There is no time to sit back and relax whilst I wait for the results since I have a number of other projects in the pipeline that are waiting to be finished, and a number of ideas for other novels.  I now have a notebook specifically for writing outlines for future ventures, so I don’t forget them.

     One of my writer’s groups, Author Marketing Secrets, is holding a two month writing and marketing challenge.  This type of challenge is very motivating for those whoIts-Challenge-Time participate.  It will probably start on the 1st of March and I will definitely be participating.  I now have to decide which project I will commit to this.  I think I will start a new project, maybe one from my notebook, so, I before we meet again, I will have an in depth outline of the project I finally decide on and all of its characters ready to go.

    Since we last met, I have finished reading ‘Bad to the Bone’ by Tony J Forder which I really enjoyed.  For a bit of amusement I went on to read ‘More Salsa Than Ketchup’ by pile-of-books-with-heart1Joe Cawley.  Since I have moved to Spain I could really relate to it and could identify a number of characters in it.  I then went on to read ‘Hamelin’s Child’ by D.J Bennett which at first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to read it because of the subject.  Without giving the story away, it touches on crimes that most people try not to ackowledge.  I am over half way through ‘Blood in the Sand’ by Kelly Clayton which is a crime and mystery novel and I am still wondering who the murderer is.  I am also reading ‘Missouri Waltz: A novel of 1917’ by Richard Dunk.  From what I have read so far, it is nicely written and also I am familiar with some of the settings.

     It’s time for me to get back to focusing on my next project and I hope you are all motivated now.

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE

 

 

 

Opportunities!

opportunity      I am a great believer in taking advantage of any opportunites that come my way.  Recently, through one of my wonderful Facebook writing groups, ‘For Writers only who want to Write without Fear of Rejection,’ I heard about a writing competition that has been organised by Writing Magazine and teaming up with Lulu.com and Authoright.  One lucky entrant will receive a complete publishing package which sounds awesome.  Since I have almost finished my re-write of my next crime novel ‘Survival At Any Cost,’ I think that I’ll enter.  I must admit, I am rather nervous since I haven’t entered any writing contestscreative_writing since being an adult, but I have nothing to lose.  I do still have to complete my marketing plan to go with my entry but I am fairly certain that I will get that done in the time remaining before the deadline.  Whatever happens I will have gained valuable experience and my novel will be complete and ready for publication.  If you want to find out more about this competion either for curiosity or entering yourself, please follow this link writers-online.co.uk.

      I am quite pleased that my writing schedule is fairly on target.  The hardest part of my writing journey is marketing and getting myself known.  It is a very slow process but I am getting there.  As I have said before, reviews are very important to write-a-reviewwriters, so if you have read my debut novel, ‘A Few Bad Boys,’  could you please leave a review either on Amazon or /and on Goodreads.  The links for these are Amazon, Goodreads.  If you haven’t read it yet, it is still available free on Kindle Unlimited, follow this link A Few Bad Boys.

      One of the downsides of writing is that you spend a lot of time sitting.  It is so important to keep up with exercises and walking.  My early morning walks aren’t as long as I would like at the moment because it is really quite cold walking by the sea early in the morning – I don’t want to end up with pneumonia.  I look quite a sight wrapped up in so much clothing whilst walking, especially when the other day I saw someone in the sea at 8 in theWho-working-out-can-make-you-a-better-mom-712x500 morning – it made me cold to watch.  Anyway I am sorting out a new exercise routine that will suit me and keep me agile.  My writing den is still a work in process but at least I can get in there now.  I have actually thrown things away and sorted out some, never ending, paperwork.

      I am also on target for my Goodreads reading challenge.  I am trying to read as many new authors to me as possible this year and my target is 50 books.  In my last 1_uyEQLC8Pkf3PZzvHZffgTQblog I was reading ‘Murder on the Oxford Canal’ by Faith Martin which I have finished and did enjoy.  Since then I have read ‘Safari Ants, Baggy Pants & Elephants’ by Susie Kelly.  It is far from the genre I write but it took me on a wonderful safari without leaving home.  I am currently reading ‘Bad To The Bone’ by Tony J Forder.  I am so close to finishing it and am desperate to find out how it ends, but I had to really be strict with myself and put it down so that I could get on with writing.  Every book I read this year I will make the time to write a review.

      I do have a very full writing and reading calendar this year but I am lucky that I have found a calling that I really love.  I think whatever we do in life, we should enjoy it and definitely get every aspect of our life balanced.

Until next time – keep chasing your dreams!

NICOLE