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Monday 18 May 2015

This Creative Writing Life—Four Top Tips For The Newbie...

By Antonio Litterio
Whether you’re writing for your own pleasure or with the aim of getting published, follow these four tips for success...

Read as widely as you can, and write all the time. Take classes, whether ‘real’ or online. Visit your local library to find out about local groups for readers and writers, and check out online sites such as http://romanceuniversity.org. It's also vital to join groups such as The Romantic Novelists’ Association (http://www.rna-uk.org/) in the UK, or if you're in the United States, the Romance Writers of America (http://www.rwa.org/). They’ll give you lots of help, useful information, and contacts. Follow up every lead, and never miss an opportunity.

Set aside some time for yourself every single day. ideally, this should be writing time, but thinking time is vital too. Remember, write down all your brilliant thoughts the second you get the chance! They get lost so easily in the chaos of everyday life, and once forgotten, you’ll never get them back. Keep a pad and pencil close at hand at all times to make notes when you think of them. It’s so easy to forget to do it later. Like ‘tomorrow’, ‘later’ never comes.

Read your work aloud. It’s amazing what a different perspective this gives you. It’s best to do this when you’re on your own somewhere, whether in the house, or outside in an isolated spot. That way, you can really inject some feeling into your precious words. It’ll help you to polish your manuscript until it shines.

Finally, never give up. If you’ve got a good story to tell, and take the time and trouble to hone your craft, your work will be a credit to you.

What advice would you give to a new author? A copy of my latest release for The Wild Rose Press, Her Royal Risk, will be awarded at random to someone leaving their favourite tip below.

Monday 11 May 2015

Going Dutch - Romance in Translation...

My father went ashore in Normandy on D-Day and spent the rest of 1944 heading up through Europe. He hated the work but loved the people, especially the Dutch. For the rest of his life he was grateful to the nation who, though it had virtually nothing left after years of occupation, sheltered him and his mates through the horrible cold, wet winter of 1944/45.

A market gardener by profession, Dad fitted right in. He even brought home a pair of clogs to wear around his own nursery! He learned enough Dutch to get engaged to a girl, although sadly that relationship didn't stand the test of time.

I was reminded of his adventures when I received the Dutch translation of Weight Of The Crown, my contemporary romance for Harlequin Mills and Boon. Hasn't this version got a beautiful new cover?

The original English version is available as an ebook here. Romance reviewer Nas Dean had this to say about Weight Of The Crown...

Available from http://amzn.to/1InUA8U
WEIGHT OF THE CROWN is a wonderful, sensual, tension-filled romance that I found charming, absorbing and moving. Christina Hollis is a terrific writer who creates likeable characters readers take to their hearts. It's a beguiling and stirring story that is sure to tug at readers' heartstrings and leave them with a great big smile on their face at the unusual ending.

She has delivered a yummy-to-die-for hero, a playboy Prince who turns to one woman only for true love, a strong, feisty heroine and rolled them in a story that is filled with emotion and sizzle!

Have there been any wartime romances in your family?

Monday 4 May 2015

How To Get Your Writing Done

Magnificat by Sandro Botticelli
You'd never set off for a job interview without knowing exactly where you're going, how you're going to get there, and how long it's going to take. So why not apply that thinking to your writing?  Develop a mission statement to keep your work on track.

A mission statement is a short, snappy way to keep your objective in focus as you work your way to success. Draw one up before you start your next big project. It will really help to keep you focussed. Don't just say, "I want to write a book." That's too vague. It's your future we're talking about. Make it your plan.Tailor it specifically to what you want to do, such as; "I'm going to write a full-length historical romance by 30th April 2016". That's smart in more ways than one. It's Specific, Measurable (you'll either reach your target, or you won't) Achievable, Realistic and you've given it a Time limit.

Print out plenty of copies of your mission statement. Keep one stuck to your fridge, on display in your office, beside your bed, as wallpaper on your computer screen—in fact, put one anywhere anywhere you'll see it often.

Use incentives to encourage you. I use treats such as time out to watch my bees, eat a peach or a long reading session.  Choose bigger treats for when you’ve had a successful week: a long soak in the bath, some time lazing in the garden, or my own favourite, retail therapy in a  bookshop or stationery store. Choose a really big treat as the ultimate prize for when you complete your writing project.  I forget the diet for once, and take my OH out to dinner. Of course, where there are prizes there have to be forfeits. Mine is to avoid social networks!

Here’s a basic template so you can create your own mission statement, with some ideas in italics to get you started. Substitute those words as necessary, and don’t forget to be specific. Personalising this declaration will make your project mean more to you, and that will help you to succeed.


"I am going to write a novel/non-fiction book. My long term dream goal is to record my thoughts for my descendants/achieve publication, which I’m going to achieve by (date).
In order to achieve my objective, I will draw up a schedule of what needs to be done each day, and set weekly targets, too. Every single time I hit my daily word-count, I’ll select one reward from my “daily” list of treats. At the end of each week, if I complete all my tasks I’ll choose a treat from my “weekly” list.  After successfully completing my project, I’ll celebrate by spoiling myself with my ultimate prize. I will read my mission statement daily to remind me of the rewards I have planned, and my ultimate objective. If I miss any of my weekly targets without a very good excuse, my forfeit will be to stay completely offline for one whole day. If I miss my final deadline, my forfeit will be to  stay completely offline for one whole month."

Then date and sign it, to make it official.

I’ve given you a couple of ideas for rewards and forfeits. What will you put on your own list?