Thursday, November 28, 2013

Why Facebook is Painful for Introverts

I know this is not really a writing-related post, but I'm in the mood for a rant.

I'm "traumatised" by Facebook. Let's say bored and frustrated are better words.

I'm an introvert. Yeah, sure, I'm quite verbal with my close friends and family and lay it out there, but Facebook is increasingly becoming a scary place to navigate as a writer and person.

I have a theory which may not even be true, but I think most writers are introverts. Writers are often sensitive, analytical, and detailed people. Those personality traits usually apply to introverts.

The best way to work out if you're an extrovert or introvert is this: when you're tired, do you prefer to be alone or with people?

I love this post about introverts. Although it's related to the paleo diet which I follow, any introverts would be able to relate to what she says: PaleoNonPaleo

Okay, I do have a few extrovert tendencies. I tend to spout personal stuff but then I regret it afterwards. But when I'm tired, I like to be alone, or with close family. Definitely not with a crowd of people.

The reason I'm almost sure most writers are introverts is that we love being alone with our writing. We thrive on it. Most extroverts would hate spending hours behind a screen with their characters being their only companions.

Facebook is a crowd. My friends list doesn't stop growing. I don't want to turn anyone away and hurt them so I keep on welcoming people into my circle. I work at home so I get lonely sometimes. So, I lay my personal stuff out there but then I wait in fear for criticism, lack of interest, and all those things that sting. Sigh! I sometimes feel like this huge crowd is staring at me, waiting for me to mess up. A totally misguided concept but the blindness of Facebook does that.

You can't see the expressions of people, you can't hear their tone of voice. They aren't flesh and blood people but just words on a page. As much as I like stories and words, to build a living relationship, I prefer to have someone sitting in front of me. You at least know what they're thinking. The silence of Facebook rings very loud sometimes. So Facebook doesn't do well for introverts who prefer a handful of loyal friends and not a whole crowd partaking of their personal lives. Yet, in this busy and lonely career, we want to connect somehow.

As a writer, we need to connect with our readers and put personal things up. I sometimes find it easier with people who are complete strangers but at times it's hard.

I suppose the introverts amongst us must just continue to be strong and lay our personal selves out on the altar of promo sacrifice. It's all part of the business and making the connection. And we do actually enjoy it when we're not overcome by the feeling of being lost in a crowd.

The other rant I have about Facebook is that it has become so cluttered and commercialised. I remember the excitement when I first joined - how I could connect with people I hadn't seen in years. Now, I hardly ever speak to those people but I'm grateful to have the access to connect with them if I need to. What annoys me are all the adverts (sponsored, they say) which pop up on my news feed without my permission, and the groups I follow can get a bit overwhelming. I belong to close to twelve different groups. I keep on embarrassing myself by posting a personal status in a group. I think I've done it about five times and have had to delete it. You must make sure you're on your home page before you post your personal statuses.

So, how do we as introverts navigate the very scary world of social networking?

Be careful what you post. Don't aim for controversial or sensational. I'm speaking to myself here as I love controversial especially when it comes to religion as I question the status quo quite a bit. You will get a response and it may upset you. Unless you're looking for a response. Go ahead then.

Try to spend more time responding to your friends than going on about your own life.

Don't complain about other people at all. You'll regret it.

Don't grumble a lot. Save that for your poor partner to bear the brunt of.

Don't share too many blog posts and You Tube videos. I'm very guilty of sharing stuff that I've enjoyed but I bore my friends way too much. Sharing jokes always seems to build a report with friends.

Spend less time on Facebook and more time connecting with real people or reading a good book.

I keep a separate Facebook account now for my writing friends and groups. It helps me to not miss out on important writing news and it eliminates the crowd factor a little bit.

Any ideas for an introvert to navigate the scary world of Facebook?

Monday, November 25, 2013

New Release by Zee Monodee

Fellow Decadent Publishing author and my awesome editor from Decadent Publishing, Zee Monodee, has just released Book #1 of The Daimsbury Chronicles with Decadent. This books looks like fluffy, girly fun to read and I adore the cover. This is Book 1 in a brand new series with a category vibe. Set in the fictional Surrey village of Daimsbury in England, this is one place that will know a lot of upheavals of love and friendship *cue in soap opera plots!*

And it all starts with Honor Whelan's story, Bad Luck With Besties!


Honor Whelan always trips into bad luck with male best friends. Abandoned by her bestie of eleven years who got her pregnant during a one-night-stand, she finds herself destitute and alone, with no other choice but to head home to the Surrey village of Daimsbury.

Fifteen years earlier, Honor left Daimsbury because her then best friend and the boy she loved, Liam Morelli, got another friend pregnant.

Honor had run...but today, she can no longer hide. Especially not when fate knocks her straight into Liam's path, and he starts to show signs of wanting a second chance.

Will her luck finally change or will she continue to fight bad luck with besties?


She let her gaze travel to the dining table, bare except for the two white documents in stark contrast against the mahogany wood. Which one should she contemplate first? Not that she hadn’t spent the past three months pouring over them. Glancing at the papers shocked her with solid punch to the gut. Every single time.

What had she expected, really? Jonathan might have gotten her up the duff during one drunken night, yet he still remained totally gay. The flat and all its contents belonged to him. He wouldn’t get his hands on her book collection, that was for sure. Everything else, he’d ditched, like a person picked up a rotten sock with the barest pinch of fingers and tossed the smelly rag in the rubbish bin.

A flutter, akin to something pulling inside, started in her belly. She placed a hand on the spot where a baby grew in her. She could almost feel the kid calming from the touch. Doctors could say whatever they wanted; she knew her body. Her baby was alive and proud to exist. Why couldn’t Jonathan see that?

She sighed. Her gaze landed on the eviction papers. Her three months’ notice would run up tomorrow, and she no longer held hope that Jonathan would come round and tell her everything had been a mistake, that he hadn’t meant to eject her, and his child, out of his life and throw her out on her arse, to boot.

She’d been an idiot. The minute she’d confessed about her pregnancy, all shades of her best friend for the past eleven years had vanished. The cold, hard man she’d faced had turned tail and run to his former lover, the same one who had dumped him like a rotten sock, too. The most misogynistic bastard Honor had ever encountered. No wonder Jonathan, under his influence, sent her not only an eviction notice, but also the papers wherein he renounced all rights to the baby and requested she never bother him with anything pertaining to the child.

How could she have been so wrong about him? A tear rolled down her cheek. She should know, shouldn’t she, having an awful track record with male best friends. Hadn’t Liam Morelli gotten Rose Payne, the other member of their trinity, pregnant when they’d been seventeen?

And speaking of Liam. No, she couldn’t think of him. He’d returned to Daimsbury where she was headed, but no other choice lay before her. She had to go back, because the family house in that Surrey village was her only remaining possession.

Her book can be bought here: Decadent Publishing, Amazon

Monday, November 11, 2013

Guest Author Interview and Book Spotlight - Amy Mullen

Today, I have fellow Astraea Press author, Amy Mullen, for an interview and spotlight on her Medieval romance, A Stormy Knight.

1. What is the best thing for you about being a writer?
For me, it is doing something I have always loved to do. In the same way that I can shut out the world when reading a good book, I can escape somewhere else when writing – but I can pick where I go or what the characters will do.

2. What is the hardest thing for you about being a writer?
I think it is just doing it. I love to do to it but it can be painful. I know that does not make any sense, but it’s true. I read once that someone said they loved ‘having written’ and I can certainly understand what they meant.

3. What genre/s do you write and what genre is your latest release?
A Stormy Knight is a medieval romance, and another in the final stages of editing called Redefining Rayne is the same. I love the time period. However, I have what I hope is a great idea for a contemporary. I may tackle that next. I also am working on a sequel to my first. I change my mind every day on which I want to go for next.

4. What essential things have you learned about writing in the last year?
Oh, just about everything. I have learned that commas are hard and no two people agree on where they do and do not go, and also that characters should pull a plot rather than the other way around. I have also learned how much language has evolved. A lot of the words we use today were not used in the medieval time period, which means I have to be very careful about phrases and modern words.

5. Who is your favourite heroine from your books and why?
I only have two thus far and I love them both. I might have to lean towards Rayne in my upcoming release. This poor girl has been put through the grinder and still finds a reason to get up in the morning. I think we all have days or even months like that. She hangs in there when I’m not even sure I would have.

6. What type of hero do you like? Super alpha, wounded or somewhere in between? Or even something totally different? You could give an example from a movie or well-known book.
I think I like the wounded-alpha. Is there such a thing? I like a strong, sure hero but at the same time, he’s got to have some flaws.

7. Tell us about your journey in writing this book.
For A Stormy Knight I just set out to write a good book. It was a test to see if I could. It took me a long time to write it and I realized how hard and rewarding writing a novel can be.

8. Tell us three quirky or interesting things about yourself.
I love the Wiggles, I have the worst singing voice in the world but I sing to my kids sometimes instead of raising my voice, and I cry over a commercial, video, or random event at least once a day.

9. What rituals do you use to help you focus or get the words down on the page e.g. music or a snack.
Sometimes I watch a TV series, but I rarely listen to music. I just make sure I have a drink (preferably Coke Zero or decaf coffee) next to me. I will get up and pace back and forth when I’m thinking hard or stuck. Chocolate helps a LOT during edits!

10. Mention something unique about your books and your writing style.
I don’t know if it would be unique, but I often find, once completed, a story has helped me work out an issue in my own life. I do not do it on purpose and my characters are not modelled on people I know. I always find something of myself or my life nestled in there. I think it can be healing to work things out that way when there are no real life answers or resolutions.

11. What book would you like to work on next?
Well, I’m a football fan. I get a little nutty when I’m watching football (Go Bills!). I recently went to my first live NFL game and was inspired. I think a football themed contemporary may be in my near future. I also plan to write a sequel to A Stormy Knight soon.

Give us a blurb of your book and if you want, a short excerpt.

A Stormy Knight

In twelfth century England, Gemma de Vere and Nicholas de Reymes find love at a young age. Too naïve to truly understand what is happening, their fledgling relationship is torn apart by political games and scheming minds. Nicholas and his family disappear into the night and Gemma is left with a shattered heart.

Seven years later, Gemma still harbors a broken heart, and retreats into a life in which she will not be foolish enough to fall in love again. Mysterious deaths and accidents begin to plague those living within the walls of Blackstone Castle, and her father falls ill. She has no choice but to seek the assistance of King Henry.

Help arrives in the form of her childhood love, the handsome and imposing Nicholas, who is now a fierce and loyal knight bent on revenge. The pain and anguish he feels over the fate of his family casts Gemma as his enemy. To him, she represents all the misfortune in his life as he tries to keep her at arm’s length and far away from his heart.

Their journey towards truth is riddled with treachery and danger from an unlikely source. Will they find their way back to each other, or will his need for revenge outweigh the love he feels in her arms?


"You defy me," he said as he spun around to face her, "and you do it at every opportunity. You have caused me great pain, and I will have no more of it. You lead my men astray and cause them to be weak. I cannot be lord with you undermining my authority within these walls!"

Gemma steadied her voice, her only option clear, "I shall leave then. I will go to my uncle in Wales. We shall remain married. There is nothing that can change that, so your hold on this land is secure. 'Tis all you care for. I once loved it here, but living with a man who does not know how to trust me is too much to bear."

"You are my wife, like it or hate it, and you will do as you are told! You will stay out of my way, and you will not step foot outside of the keep until I say so." His entire body was tense, his voice harsh.

"Nay," she said while lifting her chin, "I shall leave. What you do not know, Nicholas de Reymes, is that I love you."

He froze as she spoke but did not say anything.

"And because of that love" she continued, tears falling in earnest, "I can no longer abide this life. For the second time, loving you has been a mistake. My feelings betray me, and they anger you. I will be gone before I cause you more pain. I will take Isabel with me, and my father can come when he is up to travel. All I ask is you treat him well in my absence."

You can buy "A Stormy Knight" at: Astraea PressAmazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo

Amy Mullen can be found here: Website, Blog, Facebook

Thank you so much, Amy. Your book sounds fascinating. I love that era, too. Adored your answers. Quite a few of my books have helped me through something, too. And I also cry at the drop of a hat. Any movie or story that touches me makes me cry. And wink, wink, decaf coffee is still the best! Go for it with your sports romance. They are great fun to write. Wishing you all the best.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Gritty News and Blueberry Pie

Today, is the 1 November. I've never planned and thrashed out a book so much in my head as the one I'm doing for Nano. I haven't started yet but am itching to get started. It's been such a battle as to when in the story to start. Do I start with a bit of background or straight into when the couple meet and put in some very relevant background in later on? I'm leaning towards the latter.

I'm not a great magazine reader. I prefer books but occasionally I enjoy the Woman's Health magazine especially when it comes with a free exercise DVD. There was an article in the magazine that spoke to me. The gist of the article was that talent, intelligence, and education aren't the only ingredients for success. Grit is a large part of it. Many entrepeneurs and top CEO's went to public schools and didn't get a tertiary education. But they had grit, determination, and endurance. And even though you may not be born with grit, it can be cultivated.

Every now and then I question myself. I don't have a communications or English degree, I didn't start off with great writing talent - I had to learn many skills the hard way through rejection letters, criticisms and bad reviews; I don't have a particularly high IQ or wasn't a great boffin at school. I'm just average, but I can't seem to give up on my writing dream. I think I may have the grit ingredient. Or at least the desire to cultivate it.

The article spoke mostly about being able to stick to sport through pain - like doing triathlons. Now, I know I don't have grit in that regard. I've run a few 10 km races and managed to finish those but I don't know if I could ever do a marathon. I actually don't even have the desire to and definitely don't want to the do the Comrades Marathon like my sister-in-law who has done it several times and seems pretty hooked on it.

But I want to write a best seller one day.

It's been a rocky road so far. Lately, I've been discouraged by so many things. Last night, I started watching a movie called "Blueberry Nights." I love the line in the movie he gives the girl who's feeling terribly rejected after her boyfriend had an affair with someone else.

Elizabeth: Why do you keep them? You should just throw them out.
Jeremy: No. No, I couldn't do that.
Elizabeth: Why not?
Jeremy: If I threw these keys away then those doors would be closed forever and that shouldn't be up to me to decide, should it?
Elizabeth: I guess I'm just looking for a reason.
Jeremy: From my observations, sometimes it's better off not knowing, and other times there's no reason to be found.
Elizabeth: Everything has a reason.
Jeremy: Hmm. It's like these pies and cakes. At the end of every night, the cheesecake and the apple pie are always completely gone. The peach cobbler and the chocolate mousse cake are nearly finished... but there's always a whole blueberry pie left untouched.
Elizabeth: So what's wrong with the blueberry pie?
Jeremy: There's nothing wrong with the blueberry pie. Just... people make other choices. You can't blame the blueberry pie, just... no one wants it.

I've started to wonder if there's something wrong with my writing. Why do other people get rave reviews, many sales and lots of people crazy about their books? My books have been a bit like the blueberry pie at the bakery where Jeremy works. It's delicious but it doesn't sell because people just choose something else. I love blueberries and I love tender, sweet romances. Not everyone has the same taste as me. So, naturally my books won't always sell as quickly as the sassy, dramatic, suspenseful novels. But, hey, it will come. Eventually, the people who like sweet and tender romances will find my books and read them and read more of them. And tell others about them. Yes, there may always be less people who like my type of book, but that doesn't mean there's something seriously flawed with my writing. Sure, I could definitely improve and my aim is to be as good as New York Times Bestselling Writer, Debbie Macomber, one day.

The key is to not take things personally. For a sensitive soul, that's very hard but I'm learning. I hope that someone else will learn from my lessons too.

I'm going to keep on writing now. So, bye for now as Nano begins. Yippee!

PS: I couldn't believe they got James Patterson to do the Nano pep talk for today. Just that extra boost to get me into this really gritty novel!!