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8 Things I’ve Learned As a Writer By Natalie K. Martin

Natalie K. MartinAuthor of ‘Love You Better’, Natalie K. Martin tells us what are the eight things that she has learnt as a writer.

1. You don’t have to write every day. The advice I’ve always read was to write every single day. In an ideal world, this would be what I’d do but the reality is, we all have lives. I don’t write every day – it can be hard on a three week road trip where I spend more time behind the wheel of a car than anything else, so my advice? Don’t beat yourself up if you couldn’t make it to the laptop today.

2. Get ready to lock yourself away. Okay, so I don’t write everyday, but I do have dedicated work days, wherever I am in the world. As Cypress Hill once said, it’s a fun job but it’s still a job and even though they were talking about music, it still applies. Writing can be a lonely pursuit and there’s been many a time when I’ve had to hunker down away from social gatherings to put pen to paper. It’s a sacrifice but you’re never going to get the book written if you’re spending all of your time in the pub/cafe/wherever your friends hang out. While I was doing my yoga teacher training, I’d often watch my classmates head off for communal lunch or swim on the beach, but I’d stay behind and grab a few precious moments with my laptop.

3. The End is just the beginning. So you’ve taken the nugget of an idea into an 80,000 word novel. Hurrah. Now the work begins. The End is merely the start of a longer journey: Editing. But don’t give up. There’s a saying that everyone has a story, but not everyone is a writer. It takes perseverance, but you’ve got this far, so keep on going!

Love You Better4. Everyone will think the book is about them. Get ready to hear the question: Is this book about me/Am I the main character?

5. A good editor is key. If you’re self-publishing, there might be a temptation to skip hiring an editor and just have friends read through your book. My advice? Don’t! A good editor does more than just look for spelling and grammatical errors. They can be pricey, but they are worth their weight in gold. Try to go with an editor on recommendation if it makes you feel better about what you’re spending, but don’t skimp on this. Same goes for a good cover designer.

6. Modesty doesn’t help. When I published ‘Together Apart’, I had very modest goals – 500 sold in a year and I’d be happy. This was the wrong way to go. If you’ve put all your heart and soul into something, then make it work! Aim to sell as many as you can. Want to get into the top 10? Then aim for it! Get to grips with social media and shout, because books don’t sell themselves (at least in the beginning).

7. Develop a thick skin. It’s daunting putting your book out there for (hopefully) thousands of people to read, and it helps if you understand from the beginning that you can’t please everyone. You will get one star reviews, you will get people who think reading it was a waste of precious hours they won’t get back, but who cares? Brush it off. They didn’t get it, and that’s ok, because there are others who will. If it helps, look up your favourite book and read their bad reviews. We all get them and, if you’re really lucky, it can even help you hone your writing to make it better.

8. It’s totally worth it. Yes, it’s daunting, yes it can be expensive and yes, you have to be a social hermit sometimes, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

You can buy Love You Better from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and James Brown: My First Muses By Diane Chamberlain

Diane ChamberlainInternational bestselling author, Diane Chamerlain talks about her early muses.

Growing up, I spent two months every summer in our family bungalow at the Jersey Shore. The setting for our little summer home was heaven on earth. We lived on a canal that connected a bay to the Atlantic Ocean. Our little piece of paradise was surrounded by scrubby woods and plentiful blueberry bushes that supplemented our breakfast each morning. Our yard was made of pure white sand. We’d kick our shoes off when we arrived in late June and, except for church on Sunday, wouldn’t put them on again until our return to the city in early September. My days consisted of swimming, fishing, crabbing and reading. There was only one problem with our summer home: I was lonely there. I had friends in the town where I lived during the school year, but our little dead end dirt road offered few kids my age, so I found myself alone each summer with only my imagination for company.

The summer I was fourteen, I stopped being alone. That was the summer I discovered music, and more specifically, musicians. My adolescent crushes began in earnest and they kept me good company. First it was Paul McCartney. Then I quickly moved from the safety of sweet Paul to the more dangerous Mick Jagger, and finally to the consummate sex machine, James Brown, although, truth be told, I still didn’t have a clue what sex was all about. All I knew was that these guys excited me and it was fun to make up stories in which I was older and prettier. I had breasts and good hair and no glasses, and I would meet one of them and marry him and we’d both be virgins on our wedding night (I knew that was very important). We’d have lots of children. Over the course of that summer, my fantasies took on a life of their own. I began including my girlfriends in my imaginings. I saw us in our late teens living in a much bigger version of my summer house with Paul and Mick and James. While, in reality, I sat alone on the bulkhead of the canal tending my crab trap, I made up situations my friends and I and the guys would get into. I sometimes worried that I was crazy, but the fun my imagination provided was seductive and much more intriguing than my lonely reality. Perhaps only another writer can understand how such fantasies grow and take on power and become, well, addictive.

Pretending To DanceMy muses stayed with me through that summer and into the school year, when I often got in trouble for daydreaming in class. They stayed with me into the next summer and the following school year, with no sign of letting go. Over the next few years, however, Paul, Mick and James morphed into completely fictional men and my girlfriends and I morphed into completely fictional women. The stories I was creating in my mind became complex, deeper and far more emotional. I recall a history teacher asking me why my eyes were filled with tears as we read about World War II. He probably thought I’d lost a relative in that war. I don’t recall what I told him, but I know I didn’t tell him the truth—that my mind was in a big house at the Jersey Shore where my protagonist had just been betrayed by her lover. It’s incredible that I made it through high school with a decent grade point average.

By the time I was in my mid twenties, I had created a world inside my head filled with a complicated group of people who wanted their story to be told to someone other than me. Yet by then, I had a marriage and a career as a clinical social worker to attend to, so it wasn’t until my early thirties that I allowed those persistent characters to go public. While waiting for a doctor’s appointment, I began writing their story–by hand on lined yellow paper. The doctor was four hours late and I couldn’t have been happier. His tardiness led to the birth of my first novel, Private Relations, about a group of people living together in a big house at the Jersey Shore.

It’s ironic that my twenty-fourth novel, ‘Pretending to Dance’, is about a fourteen-year-old girl, Molly, who has her own obsession with musicians. In her case it’s The New Kids on the Block who feed her fantasies, since the year is 1990. Molly’s obsession is only the backdrop of her story, however, as her idyllic summer with her loving family takes an ominous and perplexing turn. I understand Molly and her need to hold onto her muses while her confusing world moves around her. I understand her very well.

I like to say that the imagination that got me into trouble as a kid now pays my mortgage. It’s the truth and I’m grateful for those early muses who fed my creativity. I can never think of Paul or Mick or James without whispering under my breath, “Thanks, guys. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

You can pre-order Diane’s latest book Pretending to Dance’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good booshops from 8th October 2015.

Cover Reveal – The Years Of Loving You By Ella Harper

The Years Of Loving YouI am delighted to reveal the stunning cover to Ella Harper’s new book, ‘The Years Of Loving You’

The story of ‘The Years Of Loving You’ is –

What if your first love was your only love?

When Molly is diagnosed with a life changing illness, it feels like her whole world has come crashing down. She hopes the news will make her marriage to Sam stronger. But why does Molly always call best friend Ed in a crisis?

Ed. The very same Ed that Molly fell in love with at a party when they were teenagers, underneath a star-filled sky. Then life took them in very different directions. They could only ever be friends.

Suddenly Molly starts to question every decision she’s ever made. What if they could turn back the clock? Back to the very beginning. When the only certainty they shared was each other.

I read Ella’s debut ‘Pieces Of You’ and fell in love with her writing and ‘The Years Of Loving You’ sounds like another addictive read from the female author.

You can pre-order The Years of Loving You from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 19th November 2015.

Abby Clements Reveals New Book – The Winter Wedding

The Winter Wedding

Abby Clements is treating us to a second book this year with her Winter themed novel, ‘The Winter Wedding’.

The story of ‘The Winter Wedding’ is –

Meet Hazel, the accidental wedding planner. She thinks she’s just helping her sister Lila with cakes and décor for her big day, but the magical wedding she creates means other couples are soon clamouring for her to plan for them too. Before she knows it she’s promised lawyers Gemma and Eliot a snow-covered castle in the Scottish Highlands, and laidback couple Josh and Sarah a bohemian beach wedding in a Caribbean paradise. But as weather, in-laws and wilful brides conspire against her, can Hazel get two very different couples to walk up two very different aisles to say ‘I do’? And will she find her own happy ending if she does?

With a pretty cover, this book sounds like a pretty story.

You can pre-order The Winter Wedding and will be available to buy from good bookshops from

I Knew You Were Trouble By Paige Toon

 I Knew You Were TroublePaige is back with her second Young Adult book and just like her debut, ‘The Accidental Life Of Jessie Jefferson’, ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ is a sexy and fast paced read that was impossible to put down.

Life as the undercover daughter of a rock god isn’t going to be easy. How will Jessie adjust to her old boring life again after spending her summer living it up with her dad in LA? With tough decisions ahead (and not just choosing between two hot boys), can she cope juggling her two very different lives? Summer may be over, but Jessie’s story is just beginning…

In the first book of the series, we met Jessie Jefferson, a troubled and angry, young woman who is heartbroken after her mother is tragically killed in an accident on her birthday. Heartbroken and alone, she finds out her real father is Johnny Jefferson, a rockstar heart throb who has featured in many of Paige’s adult books. Now suddenly thrown into the spotlight, Jessie finds herself embroiled in the intense world of celebrities and paparazzi.

In the second book, Jessie finds herself back in dismal England, having left the luxury of Los Angles behind, she finds it hard to adjust to the quiet life, without her new family around her. But then, Tom catches her eye and they begin a sweet relationship, until her cover is blown and she has to return to Los Angles, to be safe with Johnny. Jessie loves being with Johnny, he offers her a secure life and the family that she always dreamt, particularly with her new younger and adorable brothers Barney and Phoenix. As she adjusts to her new life, Jessie finds herself once again attracted to Jack, the handsome and rugged guitarist from upcoming band, All Hype. Whilst she enjoys her new found attention and life, Jessie often feels guilt for the life she left behind.

I love Jessie, she’s an awesome young woman, strong and inspirational, with her fiery attitude, her life is far from dull, constantly being introduced to new opportunities and exciting and sexy men.

Written in Paige’s refreshing and laid back style and with a beautiful cover, this book is filled with fun and relatable characters that I’ve loved over the years, including the welcome return of the rugged Johnny and sweet Meg. ‘I Knew You Were Trouble’ is packed with sass, fun and an intriguing storyline making this book the perfect escapism read, ideal for any age.

You can buy I Knew You Were Trouble: A Jessie Jefferson Novel from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.