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Friday 17 January 2014

Three Top Tips To Keep You Writing...

Power of Words by Antonio Litterio

  1. These days it doesn’t pay to be a one-hit wonder, unless you manage to land a million-dollar contract at your first attempt. Readers know what they like, and if your work hits the spot they’ll want to read more, as fast as you can write it. Make sure you love your genre enough to produce more of the same, if it catches the public’s eye. Could your current idea be the start of a trilogy, or maybe the first in a long line of single titles with your name on the cover? Think ahead, and always have something in reserve.
  2. Make sure you know the “must-have moments” for your genre, and include them in your work.  For instance, category romances need the action focussed tightly on a hero and heroine who meet within the first page or two, and have complex inner conflicts that tussle with physical attraction until their feelings deepen into emotional intimacy. Thrillers need to be a roller-coaster ride of action, with changes of pace, plenty of switchbacks and the occasional untrustworthy witness to keep your reader turning the pages. If your audience is  desperate to find out what happens next, you’ll keep them reading. Whatever it takes, make sure those ingredients are included in your manuscript.
  3. It doesn’t matter in which genre you write,  make your characters take the initiative rather than simply react to situations. Make them active, rather than reactive.  It’s a good idea to keep the phrase “you’ve made your bed, now lie in it” in mind all the time while you’re working. It describes your characters’ narrative arc neatly. You deal them  a double whammy.  First they make an active choice, which catapults them into a situation. Then they have to face up to the consequences of that action, and live with the decisions and choices they make.

If you've enjoyed these tips, you can find more at christinahollis.com Visit here and click on the envelope icon to sign up for my newsletter, which will bring news about my next release - and a whole lot more...

Monday 13 January 2014

Some Good News...

By Andrew Bossi

It was great to discover that the Christmas Tree Festival mentioned in my blog on 22nd December 2013 raised over £2,000. This was more than three times the figure they raised in 2012! It was all thanks to the hard work of many local people, and the generosity of a whole lot more. As well as money, there were plenty of contributions of tins and packets for the local food bank. I hope you managed to visit the church if you were in the area at the time- it was a beautiful display.

During the summer, The Church of The Holy Jesus in Lydbrook hopes to hold a flower festival. After the lovely show they put on in December, I can't wait. When I find out more details about it, I'll let you know. 

If you sign up for my newsletter, you'll be among the first to see the artwork for my March 2014 release, Jewel Under Siege.  To subscribe, just drop a line with "subscribe" in the subject line  to christinahollis(at)hotmail.co.uk, replacing the (at) with @.

Monday 6 January 2014

New Year, New You?

By Photos public domain.com
The New Year holiday already seems a long time ago. How are your resolutions holding up? Here are some ideas to keep you on track...

PLAN: You wouldn’t dream of setting off on holiday without knowing how you were going to get there. Fuzzy ideas are more likely to fail. Decide exactly what you want from 2014, and write down your goals. Don’t just say; “I’m going to lose weight”, or “I’m going to write a book.” They are nice ideas, but too vague to take seriously.  Turn your dreams into proper objectives. Be precise - “I’m going to lose fourteen pounds in weight by my birthday" or "I'm going to write a full-length romantic novel by December 31st, 2014.” They look both scary and impressive when you put them into words, but that's the idea - resolutions are all about growing and improving. Break your big projects down into manageable chunks, then create “to do” lists to help you whittle away at each one. Rather than endlessly slogging toward your distant target, reward yourself each time you lose a pound in weight, finish writing a chapter or reach some other significant milestone. 

MINGLE: Everything’s easier once you know you’re not alone in what you’re trying to do. Join a group of like-minded people, whether it's WeightWatchers or the Romantic Novelists' Association. Talk about your resolution. If you’ve found something that works, share it. On the other hand, if you’re going through a rough patch, it’s amazing how people will spontaneously supply support and ideas. It's true – a trouble shared really is  a trouble halved.  Don’t take it too far, though. If you abuse people’s sympathy and rely on them to solve all your problems for you, every time, another popular phrase will soon turn into “a friend in need is a blasted nuisance.”
By Dijr

KEEP GOING: Make a note of every single one of your successes - no matter how small.  Whatever happens, keep going. Everyone has times when they let things slide. The important thing is not to let one mistake throw you permanently into reverse. Build on every tiny triumph until you’ve turned your vision from a dream into a reality.  

One day, a building team shoved a single stone block into exactly the right position on the Giza plain in Egypt. All they had to do was repeat that simple action another two million, two hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine times and they'd created the Pharoah Khufu’s Great Pyramid. At 481 feet (147 metres) high, that’s the largest pyramid on earth - and it all started with that single block.

How are you getting on with your New Year Resolutions? Have you got any top tips for success?

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Happy New Year!

That was then...
By Cymbella
I hope you had a lovely holiday, and managed to do everything you wanted. Christmas has become so commercialised, it's easy to lose sight of the fun and enjoyment that just spending time with friends and family can bring. Our house was silent for much of the time, as we all love books and everyone received something to read.

The one big racket unfortunately came from me, two days before Christmas. My hand-mixer developed a big, irreparable crack in its plastic housing. It was a present for my 18th birthday and it's been used virtually every week since then so it's done good service. I managed at first by using the manual whisk I keep in case of powercuts, but after a few days of that, I checked online for electric versions. On a quick visit to Cheltenham, I picked up a brand-new Dualit that was on offer in the sales. 

Photo: BBC
For New Year's Day pudding, I created an edible joke for DD, our tame archaeologist. If you ever wonder what the parents and partners of archaeologists do when they aren't ferrying camping gear from site to site, take a look at the "cakes" section of Current Archaeology (yes, really). My cunning plan involved moulding a Charlotte Royale in our digital weigh-pan, which just happens to be exactly the same shape as Silbury Hill. I was going to cover the cake with green fondant icing and add a dusting of icing-sugar snow. The cake turned out beautifully, but it was already so sweet I couldn't face adding any icing. Instead, I just added a little sign for DD's benefit, saying: Micromorph THIS!

The cake was delicious and easy to make, although the process was a bit long-winded. It really put my new food mixer to the test. You can find the recipe I used here, although if you're going to make it in winter it's a lot easier and cheaper if you have home-produced eggs to spare and plenty of home-grown soft fruit in the freezer.