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Archive for the 'Writing Life' Category

A Writing Companion and Assistant

Writing is a solitary occupation—at least the first part of the book writing process is done alone. I do most of my writing sitting in my La-Z-Boy chair or if I want a change of scenery, I head out to a café.

When I write at home, I have an assistant. Here she is…meet Bella.

Assistant Bella

Bella’s job—as she sees it:

1. To make sure I don’t suffer from bottom spread. She nags me with loud barks when it’s time for me to do some exercise.

2. To take regular meal breaks. Again, her barking gets my attention, but she also comes to me chair and makes sure I haven’t missed the message that it’s food time.

3. To collect the mail. She likes to know that we can afford to pay for her food during the coming month and likes checks almost as much as I do.

4. To discourage door-to-door salesmen. No one should distract her partner when she’s in writing mode.

5. To suggest plotting breaks. She signals this by appearing with a tennis ball or her favorite toy.

6. To dispense cuddles when the writing isn’t going well. She edges her way onto my chair, nudging the laptop out of the way.

We have a pretty good partnership, Bella and I, and her excellent understanding of what makes a happy author brings fun to my writing process.

Do you have someone who helps you during the writing process or keeps you company when you’re reading?

Children and Pets in Romances

The ideal romance features a sexy hero and an intrepid heroine. They meet. They fall in love, and they live happily ever after. But life is messy, and these days romance writers take a leaf from reality. They include some of the things we find in our own lives. There are divorces, remarriages, blended families. There are single parents with children, with pets.

Along with the man-woman thing, couples have to juggle children and pets and the courtship phase before they decide they can take their romance further.

Bella

Some readers don’t like their romances polluted with children or pets. Some readers have enough children and pets at home and don’t want to read about them too. For some people, kids are the ultimate contraception!

Here are a few advantages and disadvantages of including children or pets in your romance:

1. Kids and pets need looking after all the time, which means romantic adventures require planning in order to guarantee privacy.

2. Kids can’t be trusted not to blurt out things they shouldn’t.

3. Kids and pets can make characters shine and show their softer emotional sides.

4. Kids and pets provide fodder for cute meets and sometimes matchmaking opportunities.

5. Kids are determined, and if they don’t like you, they will let you know. Their dislike gets in the way of romance.

6. Think of the worst time for a kid to interrupt, and they’ll probably time the interruption to the second.

7. Dogs have sharp teeth, and have no problem with using them.

8. Pets are easier to foist off on friends and neighbors.

9. Kids require babysitting if you’re going to move the romantic action somewhere other than home.

10. Romantic scenes usually have to take place in the bedroom. None of this trying out every room in the house, and forget the kinky stuff!

My personal thoughts on kids, pets and romance? I love reading about pets in romances, but for children it depends on the author execution. Sometimes children work and enrich a romance and other times, they feel as if they’re in the way.

What do you think? Do you like romances featuring kids and pets? Dislike them?

Scrivener: A Writer’s Friend

Scrivener

For years, I’ve been hearing good things about Scrivener, the software for writers. And, for the same length of time, I’ve resisted even considering taking advantage of the trial period of the software because I’m not a plotter. I felt that Scrivener would make my brain hurt in the same way that all the other plotting books and methods and writing software programs do.

Then, one day earlier in the year, a newsletter I subscribe to announced they were offering Scrivener at a special rate for members. It was such a great deal I decided to download the program.

From my reading and the titbits I’d picked up over the years, I knew Scrivener came with a steep learning curve. It wasn’t the right software to write a deadline book. With that in mind, I ordered a copy of Scrivener for Dummies by Gwen Hernandez. The perfect decision.

I stumbled my way through starting my first book, using Gwen’s book as a bible. Everyone was right. I didn’t find the program easy to master, and I still haven’t worked everything out. I’m learning new things all the time and read as many online posts with tips and tricks as I can fit into my busy days.

Where I thought my brain would freeze, it hasn’t. I used to write in Word from the start of my book until I finished. Now, I think more in scenes, and this is forcing me to analyze my scenes in greater detail. A good thing, I think.

So, pros and cons.

Pros:

1. Everything is in one place. The writing, the setting, the character sketches. I don’t have to stop because I can’t remember a character trait or name. Now it’s all there and easily assessable. If I have a senior moment, the info is one click away.

2. I like the tools that come with Scrivener. I can set a manuscript target, a daily writing target and see my progress. There is a dictionary and a thesaurus. There is also a character name generator. Very handy!

3. As I’ve mentioned already, I now write in scenes rather than chapters and this forces me to analyze my scenes more than I ever have before. It’s easy to shift scenes around or write out of order if I get stuck.

4. Once I’ve finished writing and polishing, I can compile my scenes in a format ready to publish as an ebook. Scrivener has a variety of templates and outputs, which I haven’t experimented with yet, but I can see that they might be useful.

5. Backups are quick and easy, and the auto backup setting—brilliant.

Cons:

1. The steep learning curve. There is no doubt that this is very true. Some people will find Scrivener frustrating and give up on it because it isn’t an intuitive program to learn.

Conclusion:

I’m so glad I purchased this program, despite my misgivings. I’m a huge fan now, and the more I use the program and learn about it, the more I like Scrivener. Scrivener is available for both Mac and Windows users.

If you’re a writer, not necessarily a fiction writer, but any type of writer, I’d recommend giving Scrivener a try. They have a free trial for their program, so definitely experiment. You have nothing to lose.

Ancient Libraries: Library of Celsus

As a booklover, I adore libraries, and I spend many happy hours working and researching in my local library.

Libraries have been around since ancient times, and today I thought I’d highlight the Library of Celsus at Ephesus in Turkey. This is one of the best preserved ancient libraries, and it was built to commemorate Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus.

Over the centuries the library was damaged by earthquakes and locals plundered the materials to build their homes and other buildings. While some of the facade has been rebuilt, the Library is still very impressive. The first glimpse a visitor receives is down a long avenue.

Ephesus, Turkey 

This is the avenue leading down to the Library of Celsus. This is a very popular tourist attraction and it’s very busy with people year around.

Library of Celsus

Library of Celsus

Close up views of the Library of Celsus. (Click on photos to see a larger view) The facade is decorated with reliefs – the same fashions in use in Rome at the time. The building was both a library and a mausoleum for Celsus who is buried in a stone sarcophagus below the library.

A bit different from my local library but definitely fascinating.

Time for a Break

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The last six weeks have been full of family stuff, which has taken up much of my time, and today, hubby and I are going on holiday for a much needed break.

While I’m away I have several releases. The first two books in my Alien Encounter series – Janaya and Hinekiri  will become available. Last Wish, a paranormal story about a genie will also go live. All three stories are rereleases with new covers.

Oh, and a reminder – Captured & Seduced, the first book in my House of the Cat series is still free, so grab your copy from your favorite online retailer.

Have a wonderful month.

Happy reading,

Shelley

New Release: Lost With Leo

 

Lost with Leo is out today!

 

Lost with Leo by Shelley Munro

Book 3 in my Middlemarch Capture series is now available. Here is the blurb:

Leo Mitchell wants to contribute to the operating expenses of the new family-run Middlemarch resort, which specializes in capture fantasies for female guests. Betrys Torins offers what Leo thinks is a wonderful opportunity, but in reality is potentially deadly. He hungers for revenge. A capture might be the perfect payback…

In order to protect her son, Betrys must procure men for her alien employer Iseult Orna. She hates her job and loathes the guilt she feels at trapping the sexy Leo into signing an irrevocable contract. Even worse, she has started dream walking and sharing passionate sex with the gorgeous man. She’s smitten, yet knows they have no future, because when Iseult catches up with Leo, he’ll die.

Inside scoop: Iseult’s appetites for men are extreme. Because of that experience, shifter Leo starts out as a sourpuss, but Betrys knows he’s just the cat’s meow.

Reader Advisory: This story has graphic sexual language and scenes—no closed bedroom doors (or other rooms) here!

Order ebook at: Ellora’s Cave| Amazon | Kobo| All Romance ebooks|

An Addition to the House of the Cat Family

Seized & Seduced is out!

ShelleyMunro_SeizedandSeduced200

This one is full of feline shifters, adventure, danger and love.

Grab your copy today!

Amazon| All Romance ebooks| Nook| iBooks US|Kobo

How To Load A Mobi File to a Kindle

This year I’ve done several contests and offered review copies to readers. I’ve been surprised by the number of people who don’t know how to side load a file to their Kindle.

So, if you win an e-book in a contest, follow these instructions in order to start reading.

Side Load a File to Kindle

 

To Find Your Kindle email address

  1. Go to Amazon and log into your Kindle account
  2. Click on the Digital content link
  3. Click on Manage Content and Devices
  4. Click on the settings tab, on the far right of the page
  5. Scroll down the page quite a way until you see Send-to-Kindle E-Mail Settings
  6. You’ll see your Kindle email address.

To Send the E-book to Your Kindle

  1. Save a copy of your e-book to your hard drive
  2. Email a copy of this e-book to the Kindle email address – the one you found above
  3. The e-book should appear on your Kindle. This may no occur instantly, not in the same way when you One-Click on Amazon. Give it a few minutes.

If This Doesn’t Work

  1. Check that the email address you’re using is an approved email address.
  2. To check this scroll a bit farther down from where you found your Kindle email address and you’ll see “Approved Personal Document E-mail List.”
  3. If your email isn’t one of the approved addresses click on the link to approve it and repeat the process above to send your e-book to your kindle.

In no time at all, you’ll be reading the newest addition to your e-book library.

Best Man, Weddings & Rugby

Things have been chaotic at my house during the past week. I’ve been trying to write while hubby has been at home, due to his ladder fall. Thankfully, I managed to make my deadline, although I had to escape to a cafe for two days. Seized & Seduced, my manuscript, is now with my editor, and I moved on to the next project. Below is the cover for Best Man, which is a rerelease.

Best Man by Shelley Munro

This is the blurb:

A society wedding—the celebration brings both joy and regret for groomsman Jesse Peters. Jesse wishes things were different and his dreams of becoming a professional rugby player didn’t come between him and fellow groomsman and rugby teammate Grayson Lynford, the man he craves and has secretly lusted after for months.

One chance encounter and everything changes—hot, steamy lovin’, blistering passion and primal heat. Hunger between Jesse and Grayson blazes searing and intense. A future seems possible until reality intrudes and threatens to destroy Jesse’s relationship with the best man he’s ever found.

The buy links should be live soon.

Tomorrow I’m off to a genealogy talk about English Parish churches at the central Auckland library.

Is anyone else interested in genealogy?

7 Strategies to Stop Writer Procrastination

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Sometimes it’s just impossible to write. Life gets in the way or something shinier comes along, something way more fun than writing.

I’ve been writing for ten years now, and I’ve come up with several strategies to give myself a kick start when the last thing I want to do is write to meet a looming deadline.

1. Do timed writing sessions.

Set your oven timer or computer/phone timer for half an hour or an hour. Sit down and write until the timer goes off. Repeat throughout the day until your target number of words is achieved.

2. Do timed writing sessions with other writers.

Call a friend and do a joint writing session. If you belong to a group like Savvy Authors or Romance Divas pop into their chat rooms and do some sprint writing with other writers. Find other writers on Twitter using the hashtag #1k1hr and accept their challenge.

3. Go to a cafe or library.

Write in a cafe or a library – a place where you can’t leap up and do something else. This is my favorite strategy.

4. Give yourself a deadline/target.

Then sit down and write. Kick your deadline’s butt. I try to write 2000 words most days. If I’m having a tough time keeping my butt in my seat, I’ll break down my target words into 500 word blocks and attack them in shorter writing sessions.

5. Earn a treat.

Make a deal with yourself. If you sit down and write the required number of words within a specified time, you’ll receive a treat. The treat can be something like watching a movie or taking time out to read a book or a chocolate bar.

6. Try working on a scene that comes later in the book.

Sometimes we need a change of pace to get the words flowing.

7. Just do it.

Sometimes, we need to grit it out and force ourselves to write. The output mightn’t be pretty, but remember that at least we’re putting words to paper. We can always fix them later during the polishing stage.

Do you have any additional suggestions?