Monday, November 5, 2012

FREE Erotic Romance on Amazon


From the website of Ylette Pearson today:

Accounting for Lust is free on all Amazon sites from 5 November to 8 November 2012. 

Here’s a little taste of what to expect:

The moment she saw him at the club, accountant Cassandra Adams knew she’d found her candidate for an anonymous one-night-stand. Pirate-like handsome, he signalled danger in capital letters - just what she needed before assuming her role as CEO of her father’s South African weapons manufacturing company.

Steaming hot sex was the last thing on Jake Pierce’s mind when he agreed to protect the new boss of Adams Armory Incorporated after someone tried to kill her. However, when Cassandra Adams walked into the office, Jake found himself battling memories of tangled sheets and sweaty bodies.

While Cassie and Jake surrendered to the passion between them and tried to keep their hearts out of the equation, someone watched from the shadows. Biding his time. Craving revenge.

Happy reading.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Novel Writing: Killing the Blank-Page Syndrome

Your plotting is done, the idea germinated in your mind and grew to a nearly full-length novel. Now you have to sit down and actually write the novel. Suddenly you stare at the blank sheet on your word processor. You play around with the font of the Chapter One title until you’re back to the original. You frown. The story is good, the conflict worked out and believable.

So why can’t you get the opening sentence on the screen?

I had to ask myself the same question this morning when I stared at the same Chapter One heading for the second day in a row. I played around on Facebook, checked up on my friend on Twitter and watered seedlings that didn’t need watering yet. (Hope I haven’t drowned them completely) All because the right words to start the chapter and novel eluded me.

I argue that the first sentence needs to be perfect. It has to grab the reader by the throat, introduce her to the character or place and set the tone of the novel. It must arouse an intense curiosity with the reader – so much that she had to buy the book to find out how this ends. That first sentence is a matter of life or death for your novel. You can’t just rush it.

Then it hit me. THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT. A first draft doesn’t need to be perfect. It never is. The purpose of the first draft is to get the story down on paper without worrying too much about style, grammar and the most correct word. The first draft is where your voice tells the story. You have to turn that blasted internal editor off.

With every novel I re-write the opening at least four times. But, you have to have something on paper to re-write. You can’t edit a blank page. So even if it is crap – and mine always is – the first draft is just that – a draft. Regardless if you are a plotter or a pantser, the story needs to be told.

So what if it isn’t perfect the first time around? That’s what editing is for (and I still have to develop a love for this stage of the writing process).

So my solution? Get an application like Dr Wicked’s Write or Die and force yourself to start the scene. Do it five minutes at a time or ten minutes at a time – whatever makes you comfortable. Just get the story written. Nobody gets it perfect the first time. Some of the greatest writers re-write more than ten times before they even consider submitting to a publisher. So if you have to re-write a couple of times and edit until you’re sick of the story – that’s normal.

Close the door, shut the curtains and pop on some headphones. Ignore the outside world until you have your opening down. Usually once you get past that dreaded opening scene, the words tend to find their own way onto the computer.

Hope this helped a little in curing that blank-page syndrome so many writers face every day. See you in a little while – Dr Wicked is calling.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Self-Publish Your Book

As I mentioned in a previous post, I took the plunge last year and self-published an Afrikaans romance novel on Amazon and

Like I promised, I now am in a position to provide feedback.

Although sales have not skyrocketed and I’m by no means a best-seller, the sales on Amazon were satisfactory. At least I made more than one sale a day for the past nine months and the reviews haven’t been all bad. So, will I self-publish on Amazon again? Definitely! In fact I have already. My second Afrikaans Romance novel, Katelknaap vir Carlien  was published last week and like the first one, sales are slow in the beginning. But – there are some sales.

Now is another matter. Although Gogga op ‘n Harley was included in the premium catalogue, I saw exactly three sales for the whole nine months. Will I publish there again? I doubt it. I’ll rather make up for the non-existent sales by selling the book directly from my website. That is once I’ve figured out how to do this.

Everyone has different experiences with these two sites, but publishing in a “foreign” language (other than English) seems to work best on Amazon. I haven’t published an English novel on yet, but I’m in the process of revamping two titles that could work on Smashwords. When I’ve gone that route, I’ll let you know how it went.

I like Smashwords as publishing platform as it gives the potential buyer more options for use on different e-readers where Amazon limits usage to people with a Kindle or Kindle applications on their device. Their distribution channels seems vast, so maybe if you publish in English, sales would be better. Maybe we could get someone who has a book on Smashwords to give us some figures.

For those interested, here are the two books I have on, and the other European sites.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Best Plotting Advise I Heard in Years

I found this post on the blog The Other Side of the Story. Being in the middle of doing a scene-by-scene plot of my next novel, this couldn't have been written at a more opportune time. Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, this advise will help you streamline the plot tremendously.

The Other Side of the Story: The Best Advice on Plotting I've Ever Heard: Two T...: But wait, there's more! I read a few pieces of plotting advice in the last few weeks I wish I'd written. They're nothing new, nothing gro...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Tips to Self-Edit a Novel

For most of us, writing a novel is easy. You have the story and it’s only a matter of pounding away at the keyboard until the story magically enfolds on the pages. Right?


Getting the story onto the computer with a word processing program is the easy part. In previous posts I discussed the YWriter5 program, which is still free and I stand by my recommendation for first-time authors to attempt to use this program to plan their novel. The program has been updated and currently it is truly editing-friendly as well. 

It allows you to break down your novel in a series of scenes and chapters, which you can export to MS Word or other program for editing. After you’re finished editing the selected chapter, you simply import the chapter back into YWriter5 and viola, everything is together again.

But, a program alone will not help you edit your work to such a fashion that you can submit to a publisher. You’ll need to work really hard before any publisher would look at your work. If you’re anything like me, editing your novel could take longer than writing the damn thing. I searched the internet for tips and advise on how to hone those sorely lacking skills in self-editing and there is a myriad of information available.

I listed only the ones I found most useful.

Tips on How to Self-Edit Your Novel

The Fiction Doctor – Cindy Davis

She lists a total of ten tips on how to improve your writing with fairly detailed examples of how to fix the problem in your writing. They are:-

1. Show don’t tell – our old favourite and one that causes the most headaches to all writers. What does it mean? How do you know when to tell and when to show? Is show always better? I found the explanation given on the website quite helpful as it contains examples of what she means.

2. Avoid Overuse of Pronouns – this speaks for itself, but check out Cindy’s example if you’re unsure.

3. Don’t Intrude as Author -  I think most of us are guilty of this at some point. It goes without saying that authors shouldn’t underestimate the reader’s intelligence. If you are in the character’s head, don’t tell your reader this over and over again.

4. Less is more – don’t explain everything to death. If it doesn’t really matter where the book case is in room, don’t explain this.

5. Don’t over-describe your character – it speaks for itself. Give just enough information that the reader can form a mental picture of your character. As Cindy’s explains, these descriptions are static and slows down the narrative.

6. Limit the amount of background you give on a character – rather drivel it through the novel in small pieces.

7. Keep your point of view steady – nothing frustrates a reader more than to try figure out from whose perspective the story is told. While head-hopping can make for interesting reading, if done badly, it can alienate the reader pretty quick.

8.  Use the best word to describe the action – walking carefully could be substituted with tiptoed, being nervous could be substituted with fidgeting, biting the lip, etc.

9. Avoid using passive voice – we all heard this before. It slows the action and is one of the pet peeves of editors at publishing houses. Take a look at Cindy’s examples, they’re quite insightful if you have problems with this.

10. Make sure the dialogue in your novel sounds like your characters and not yourself- this is a mayor point in writing realistic dialogue. Keep the dialogue true to the character you portray otherwise it might come across as stifled and forced.

Other points I found helpful when editing is to check for repetitive words.  I use MS Word’s find function to highlight pronouns – you’d be amazed at how many you can eliminate in this way. You can also upload a section of your work to the Autocrit – program where it will give you the word-usage. YWriter5 has a function where it will tell you the word usage in a scene. The problem with seeing it only in one scene is that using the word once in a scene seems fine, until you remember that you have fifty or a hundred scenes all using the same word.

Watch out for problem words. These words are usually words you can delete without making a difference to the sentence. Words like down, around, away, back, almost, already, nearly, really, actually, quite, wanted to, started to, began to, tried to.

Another wonderful resource for writers is Bob Mayer’s 70 Solutions to Common Writing Mistakes.  You can obtain a copy of this by subscribing to the Writer’s Digest Newsletter. You could also do worse than check out their archive of articles on writing. In particular the articles pertaining to revision.

If you are stuck, the internet provides loads of useful information on writing and revising. Advise on actual editing your novel, however, seems a little harder to find. So, please share if you find a useful resource for self-editing your novel.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Blogs and Books on the Craft of Writing


Every so often I stumble upon a blog with valuable information on writing and I realize that I have not even reached the tip of the iceberg in honing my writing craft. If you read every single blog and book about writing as a profession, you will have no time left to write the novel or non-fiction book. This is why finding a blog or blogs that keeps you on track without stealing your precious writing time, is important.

Many people spend hours a day surfing the internet, trying to gather as much information as possible on how to write, what is acceptable, how to hook a publisher or agent to invest in their books, that they end up with little or no time to do the actual writing. Don’t get me wrong, you need to know all this stuff, but without the finished novel, polished to as close to perfection as you can get it, the information is useless. You need a book to sell in order to sell your product. You need a completed manuscript to compare to the books doling out advise on how to write before you know if you’ve made the mistakes.

In a society where time is a precious commodity, I found a couple of blogs and books that will help you manage your time better while still keeping up to date on the business of writing a book. This is personal preferences to me and what I felt was helpful without spending all my time in the learning mode.

As for blogs:

Kristen Lamb’s Warrior Writers must be my absolute favourite. Her posts are well researched, informative and written in an easy to read voice. Her eight part series on the structure of a novel is particularly informative and any writer would do well to read them.

Another blog I found particularly helpful is Writers Digest. This website posts hundreds of helpful articles and tips not just about writing, but about the whole writing industry. It is one of the sites every writer should visit regularly.

As for books:

Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt is a good starting point. I found the book a little tedious to read(especially if you’ve just read a blog post from Kristin Lamb), but the information is invaluable. It sets out the different structures required for different genres as well as a little bit on handling conflict in the novel.

How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James N Frey and his subsequent books on writing remains my all time favourites. This author has the ability to set out the steps to writing excellent fiction in a no-nonsense voice and in terms that the layman (that’s me) can understand. Besides a good dictionary, these books are a must in my opinion. 

As I’ve stated above, writers don’t have hours a day to learn the craft – we need it to write. These books and blogs made my life a lot simpler