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Friday, 29 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Four...

1. Whatever you write, pour your heart and soul into it. If you believe in your work, then so will your readers, and you want to appeal to the widest possible audience. Read widely, join book clubs and talk to people. The more research you do into finding out what people like to read, the happier you can make them.

2. Find yourself a successful mentor, preferably by making personal contact through your membership of a good professional group, such as the Romantic Novelists' Association, or the Romance Writers Of America. You need someone you respect, who knows what they're talking about, who'll be honest about your work, and suggest ways you can improve. If you can't find any face-to-face guidance, go online and check out popular writers whose work you admire and see if they’ve produced any guides to writing that will help you.

3. Word of mouth recommendations drive the majority of book sales, so think creatively when it comes to getting your books into the hands of willing readers. If your book is good, your readers will spread the word far and wide, at no expense to you. Above all, enjoy your writing and remember—success isn’t only measured in financial terms. To have completed a book you’re proud to have written is a great achievement.

To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Looking At Pay-Day Down The Wrong End Of A Telescope...

Find out more at http://bit.ly/1GEkZkJ
There's a long wait between getting your hands on December's wages, and the day January's pay drops into your account. And still the bills keep coming! The mid-winter gloom isn't helped by the short, dark days and long, cold nights here in England.  You can try sorting out your debts over at Arianne Cassini's blog. Over here, I like to look on the bright side... 

This new year is a blank canvas. Anything can happen. The start of 2014 was so bleak and dreary, I turned my back on the bad weather and snuggled down to escape into a world of sun-drenched romance. Tucked away in my nice warm office and dreaming of an exotic foreign holiday, I realised I couldn't actually imagine taking any time off. I'm hooked on my job, that's the trouble. 

Loads of us spend all our waking moments either in the office, or stressing about work. Everybody is running at top speed and over capacity all the time, with no time to sit back and relax. I think everyone deserves an affordable escape from everyday life, whether or not they can manage to take an exotic holiday, so I switched on my computer and tapped out the words...

...which became the opening lines of His Majesty's Secret Passion, the first book in my Princes of Kharova series for The Wild Rose Press. You can read a longer extract from His Majesty's Secret Passion by clicking here

Writing Leo and Sara's story let me escape to a world of sunshine and spa treatments, without leaving my desk. It was the perfect antidote to the sleet and snow outside my office.

What's your top tip for escaping the January gloom? Comment below to enter a draw with the chance to win a free download of His Majesty's Secret Passion!

Friday, 22 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Three

1. Writing only what you want to write is fine, but if you want to win over an audience, constructive criticism is invaluable. Once you are completely happy with your work, hand it over to a Beta reader you can trust to tell you the truth, whether it’s good or bad. What they didn’t like (and why) is as important as what they did like.

2. Check every fact you use, and always keep your spellchecker switched on. Keep a pad and pencil close at hand at all times to list notes and queries when you think of them. It’s so easy to forget to do it later. Like ‘tomorrow’, ‘later’ never comes. Always follow up leads and hunches—you never know when you might strike lucky. 



3. Polish your manuscript until it shines, and when you send out a query letter or email make sure you go the extra mile and find out the name of the person best placed to help you. Personally addressed correspondence shows you’ve taken special care. It may take a long time for your work to be accepted, but never give up. Fashions change, and as long as you keep reviewing your work in the light of helpful suggestions and keep sending it out, if you've got the talent, all you need is a lucky break.

To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 18 January 2016

Your Escape Route To Romance (and a whole lot more)...

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Hot-Headed-Virgin-Virgins-Billionaires-ebook/dp/B003JE1GY8
The Collection's Australian Cover
Ten years ago today I was sitting in a college lecture theatre, staring out at a rain-soaked car park and daydreaming about soaking up the sun somewhere hot and exotic. Today, dreams are my job, not just my hobby, and it all began with a creative writing assignment.

These days I don't have much time to gaze out of the window (and English rain is as wet and cold as it's ever been) but my life has changed out of all recognition.

I've met amazing people—Kate Walker, and the late, great Penny Jordan to name only two—written a lot of books, and sold nearly three million copies worldwide, in all sorts of languages.

When I began writing I started small, with magazine articles illustrated with photos I took myself. Then I wrote half a dozen historical novels, before signing up for a creative writing course which gave my career the breakthrough it needed.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Hot-Headed-Virgin-Virgins-Billionaires-ebook/dp/B003JE1GY8
My Original 2007 Cover
I'd always wanted to write contemporary, feel-good fiction, so this was my chance. I wrote the first two thousand words of what became The Italian Billionaire's Virgin, which is still available as part of The Hot-Headed Virgin collection. The other students loved my homework project and told me to send it to Harlequin.

The rest, as they say, is history. I submitted The Italian Billionaire's Virgin, and it was published as a paperback in 2007. The original artwork featured a hero who looked exactly like my OH—how lucky is that?

It's been a great ten years for me. I think everyone deserves an affordable escape from everyday life. Writing does it for me, every time. It gives me even more pleasure when I hear from readers who enjoy my books. Why don't you make 2016 the year you start that book you've been meaning to write?

To keep you on track, my blogs this year will include the top tips I've picked up along the way during my career as a best-selling author. Here are the first ones. To make sure you don't miss any, follow my blog using the form on the side bar on the right. To keep up with news of offers, competitions and my work in progress, sign up to my mailing list.


Friday, 15 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Two...


1. Read as much as you can. Don't restrict yourself to the genre in which you write. Try everything, from classics to pulp, new to old, fiction, faction or non-fiction. For instance, how many of these have you read? That's this week's homework! ;)

2. Join a class in creative writing, whether ‘real’ or online. It's where I got my big break. Visit your local library (in this age of cuts to budgets, they need all the support they can get) to find out about local groups for readers and writers, and check out online sites such as http://romanceuniversity.org


3. Join groups such as The Romantic Novelists’ Association (http://www.rna-uk.org/) in the UK or Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org/) who provide lots of useful information and contacts. The Marcher chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association has been a great help to me. The support of other writers, and the constructive criticism provided by writing workshops is invaluable.


To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 11 January 2016

What's On In January...

Eleven days into the new year, and I've just about managed to stick to my resolutions. How are you doing?

This month, I'm working on a non-fiction project that's very close to my heart. I'm lucky enough to have lived in the countryside nearly all my life, but most people these days live in towns. The disconnect between living and working peacefully at our own pace and the frantic pace of city life is at the heart of a lot of the world's problems.  The working title of my current Work In Progress, Country Into Town, gives you an idea what it's about. It's a year's worth of  small, stress-busting changes anyone can make to their busy life. I've already written a short magazine article called A Countryside Christmas, ready for publication in December this year. How's that for forward planning?

Today (11th January) I'm blogging for Rachel Brimble, and on 14th January, I'll be blogging for authorsoundrelations in my usual monthly spot.

For news of a very special offer coming later this month, follow me on Facebook by liking my author page.

Friday, 8 January 2016

So You Want To Write A Book? Three Top Tips...

By Antonio Litterio
1. Start with social media. There are two great reasons for this: commitment, and publicity. Talk's cheap. Anyone can say they're going to write a book. When you put the word out about your ambition on Facebook, it's there for everyone to see, for all time. You've made a commitment. Your friends can encourage you. Post extracts, and Tweet teasers to get feedback from your audience. They're potential readers for your finished book. Let them in on the ground floor of your ambition.

2. Set aside some dedicated writing time every single day. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Keep a diary, and make quick notes about everything you see, hear and think. If you only manage a handful of words a day, that will make a sizeable haul in no time. You'll have created a source of inspiration you can draw on, all through your writing career.

3.  When you get a minute to yourself, alone, read your work aloud. You'll catch all sorts of things you don't notice when you're in the act of writing. Injecting some feeling into your precious words as you speak will make the good bits sing, and encourage you. It also shows you where you need to add punctuation, or alter your sentence structure.

To make sure you don't miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New Year Resolutions—To Do Lists and Thinking Time...

It's getting a bit late to wish you a Happy New Year, but the weather outside is so dark and dreary we all need as many good wishes as we can get.

I hope you had a good holiday. Coming back to work after a break is always hard, but a Monday morning at the beginning of January is such a contrast between the glitter of Christmas and New Year, it's hard to take. That's why New Year Resolutions are a good idea. We can all write our hopes and dreams on a clean sheet.

It's my ambition to give everyone an affordable escape from everyday life through my writing. You can find all my titles on my website, and to find out about future releases, sign up to my mailing list. I only issue a couple of newsletters a year, because there's so much admin (tax, scheduling, promotion, publicity, etc. etc. etc...) to do when you're self-employed, in the past year I've spent more time wrestling with computer programs and spreadsheets than I've spent writing!

That's going to change in 2016. From now on I'm going to spend Sunday nights drawing up a to do list for the following week. Writing two thousand words per day is going to be right on top of each one. Nothing else must get in the way—not checking my emails, my phone, or the greenhouses, or the bees! Once my real work is out of the way, that should leave me an hour each day for the dreaded paperwork, and plenty of time for social media, too.

I'm going to schedule an hour each Thursday as thinking time. That will let me review the working week so far, and add any urgent jobs to my to do list so I can get them done before the weekend.

Have you made any New Year's Resolutions? Follow this blog (there's a sign up on the sidebar), and we can cheer each other on!