Is #Nanowrimo good or bad?

With November first looming there’s been a lot of talk about National Novel Writing Month in the twitterspheare. (As there is every year.)

Is Nano good, is it bad?

Do you do it, do you not do it?

Why it’s the enemy of writers everywhere.

Why it’s the godsend of all authors.

Every other person has an opinion on poor old Nanowrimo and all that backward and forward makes my head spin!
People on the pro-nano team say that writing alongside so many other enthusiastic peeps provides wonderful motivation for the worst procrastinator, not to mention a sense of camaraderie  between participants who are all slogging away to reach the grand total of 50, 000 words in just 30 days (that’s roughly 1700 words per day). The Nano website sends daily emails on motivation, craft, and author success stories as well as providing forums and a handy dandy graph that tracks your progress — all pluses if you’re pro-nano.

 

The anti-nano team, however, say that anything written with that much haste can’t be good. That nano isn’t about quality, it’s about quantity. That 50k of utter drivel is worse than no words at all.  And what’s with 50K anyway? The average novel length is 70-100k not 50. Most major publishers do not accept works under 70,000 words unless they’re children’s stories.  Many naysayers also say that winning nano is no achievement. Just getting that draft out there isn’t the end of the line, so why celebrate prematurely? They also think that nano does more to discourage rather than encourage; that writers who set out to win nano and don’t make the 50 then give up and walk away with their spirits crushed. Or if they do win nano, they wind up with a piece of writing that’s an utter mess and completely ‘unsellable’.

 

I think there are a good points in both sides of the argument. Yes, 50K does not a novel make. Yes, first drafts are unsellable whether they’re written over the course of one month or one year. All first drafts need work to be a beautiful story. They need revision and editing and polishing. Yes, I think nano provides wonderful support and encouragement to what is otherwise a very lonesome and often hard journey.  I also think that the type of writers who naturally draft slowly and do less revision, don’t really understand the other type of writers — those that naturally draft quickly, whether it’s national novel writing month or not and as such probably revise much more deeply than the slow drafters. Nor do they understand those writers who draft 50K of great writing. Fast. Here’s the thing…

We’re all different.

No two writers draft or write in the same way.

 

We all thrive off different process and maybe, just maybe, we should revel in that. Cause isn’t it amazing?!

different

So whether you’ll be nanoing or not this year, enjoy November and enjoy your first draft process. It’s an amazing accomplishment no matter how you do it.

Do you Nano?

Stacey Nash (3)Stacey Nash writes adventure filled stories for Young Adults in the Science Fiction and Fantasy genres. She enjoy reading and writing books that have a lot of adventure, a good dose of danger, a smattering of romance and plenty of KISSING!
Her debut novel, FORGET ME NOT, is available now and it’s the first book in a four book series. Book 2, REMEMBER ME was drafted during Nanowrimo 2012! (and revised during 2013)

To talk about books or anything else, catch Stacey at one of these places; website, twitter, facebook, or instagram.

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News ~ Release Day S.E Gilchrist

WhenStarsCollide_Final-compressedHappy Release Day S.E Gilchrist with her third full-length novel in her bestselling erotic SF series mixes one sexy spy, a soldier looking for salvation and an unlikely mission to save the world.

Reece, contortionist bubble dancer and part-time spy, has one goal – a safe haven and independent life far from the war.  But her plans go awry and her future becomes dangerously uncertain when she is falsely accused of the murders of her friend and a Darkon traitor. Now her new list of goals includes payback.

In her way is Ulrac, a banished Darkon patroller responsible for incarcerating females for barbaric ‘treatments’ and ‘research’ on the planet Isla. He’s determined to use the capture of the spy and her intel to win the approval of his father – a hard-line Traditionalist with his own agenda – and help him overthrow the current ruler of Darkos.

But the war of the Seven Galaxies has reached a critical stage, and personal plans and goals suddenly hold very little meaning. The enemy is poised to unleash a terrible weapon and no one stands between him and total domination of all the universes.

No one – except Reece and Ulrac.

All Romance eBooks, iBooks, Amazon.com, Booktopia, amazon.co.uk, Google Play, Kobo, JB-HiFi Now, Amazon Aus

Congratulations S.E

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News ~ Release Day Téa Cooper

JazzBaby_Final_smallESTHappy release day for Téa Cooper with her 1920 Historical ‘Jazz Baby’

In the gritty underbelly of 1920s Sydney, a fresh-faced country girl is about to arrive in the big, dark city – and risk everything in the pursuit of her dreams.

Sydney is no place for the fainthearted – five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life.

But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Available for purchase from:

All Romance Books, iTunes, Amazon.com, Booktopia, Amazon UK, Google Play, Kobo,  Nook, JB HiFi eBooks, Big W eBooks,  Amazon Aus

Congratulations Téa.

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News – Release Date for Stacey Nash

Wednesday 1st October 2014 is release day for member, Stacey Nash, next book in her Collective series, Remember Me.

remember me

Blurb:
An exciting new adventure from Stacey Nash, set in the world of The Collective.
When all is lost, she must remember…

Anamae Gilbert managed to thwart The Collective and rescue her father, even though his mind is now a shell. Determined to stop Councilor Manvyke hurting her family again, she’s training to become an active resistance member and falling hard for resistance fighter Jax Belfry. But things never sail along smoothly – Manvyke wants retribution and Anamae’s name is high on his list.

After a blow to the head, she awakes in an unfamiliar location unable to remember the last few weeks. She can’t believe the fascinating new technology she’s seeing. She’s the new kid at school, and although weapons training comes with ease, something feels off. Why does the other new kid’s smile make her heart ache?
And why does her gut tell her to run?

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon AU | iBooks | Googleplay | Barnes & Noble | Kobo.
Congratulations Stacey.

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Excavating your Emotions in your Writing

I recently read an article on….What will be the 100 most important objects of the next 100 years? For some reason it made me wonder what someone would make of my life should I or rather the remains of my house be excavated in 100 years time. What would these futuristic people make of me? Of how I lived?

SomersbyFalls01They certainly would know nothing of my hopes or my dreams. My grief. My happiness. My despair. My contentment with the little things in life. The beauty I found in nature.

How I worried over my children as I watched them grow and reach adulthood. How I hoped they would find their happiness within themselves as strong and fulfilled adults. How I looked at my bank balance or rather my mortgage and wanted to tear out my hair!

They wouldn’t hear the laughter shared within these walls; or the tears. They wouldn’t know the friends who had filled my life with their love and support. Or the four-legged members of my family with their mischief and companionship.
All that would be left would be a shell. And probably a broken shell at that.
Perhaps remnants of my books would remain and they would shake their heads over the wide variety of my taste in reading. Perhaps they’d stare at the numbers of broken crockery and attempt to piece together my collection of china teacups and saucers. There certainly won’t be an insane shoe collection for my shoe shopping is always kept to the bare minimum. And…what would they think of my love of crime shows and mysteries?
Would they unearth on what will be then, antiquated USB sticks, my notes on unfinished stories, the countless reams of research I’ve saved and filed away – just in case. What will they make of these stories? Will they hear my voice within those words? What if in each book I write and finish, I can capture just a little bit of myself and preserve it for all time?
I never thought before that when I write a story perhaps I’m revealing – me. But when I sat down and considered what I’ve already written I’ve come to the conclusion; yes I do.
In Legend Beyond the Stars I knowingly explored the lengths a race would go to survive; even at the cost of others’ lives. But in that book, the next one, Star Pirate’s Justice and also in my next release, When Stars Collide, I also explored the effects on the survivors. How they reacted at the time. How they coped. How their past shaped their actions in the future. Whether they grew stronger from their experiences or whether it scarred them so badly they gave into despair or the hunger for revenge. WhenStarsCollide_Final-compressed
I guess I like probing at the darkness within a person’s soul, seeing what makes them tick, examining the twists and turns of personality. But in all of my books, there is one common thread; my main characters find either happiness or peace.
And they all learn to hope.
So tell me – what would the people of the future learn about your past? What would you like people to learn or take from your stories?

(also posted on my website: S. E. Gilchrist)

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News ~ Release Date for Téa Cooper

Great news from Téa Cooper with the release date of 22nd October 2014 for Jazz Baby her historical romance set in the 1920’s.

JazzBaby_Final_smallESTBlurb:

In the gritty underbelly of 1920s Sydney, a fresh-faced country girl is about to arrive in the big, dark city – and risk everything in the pursuit of her dreams.

Sydney is no place for the fainthearted—five shillings for a twist of snow, a woman for not much more, and a bullet if you look sideways at the wrong person.

Dolly Bowman is ready and willing to take on all the brash, bustling city has to offer. After all it is the 1920s, a time for a girl to become a woman and fulfil her dreams. Turning her back on her childhood, she takes up a position working as a housemaid while she searches for her future.

World War I flying ace Jack Dalton knows he’s luckier than most. He’s survived the war with barely a scratch, a couple of astute business decisions have paid off, and he’s set for the high life. But a glimpse of a girl that he had forgotten, from a place he’s tried to escape suddenly sets all his plans awry. Try as he might he can’t shake the past, and money isn’t enough to pay the debts he’s incurred.

Congratulations Téa sounds like a great read.

Pre-order your copy from Escape Publishing today

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Researching for Your Genre

Writing historical romance is not all about the romance in the story but also about getting the historical facts right. To this end it means researching. Just as well I love research. I’ve been known to put too much time on research. My excuse is that I have to know which king or queen was sitting on the throne (the royal throne not the loo) at the time.

What political were affair were operating at the time, if there were any wars taking place and with which country.

I like to know if it was a wet summer or a dry winter. How farmers and crops survived if the weather was against them and how did the farmers live if their crops failed.

What fashion was in vogue? Did the women wear pantaloons?  (Some didn’t in the Regency era.) What did it cost for a length of ribbon? What was the cost of an opera gown? How many dresses did one need? What was the difference between an in house morning dress and a promenade dress you would wear for a stroll in the park?

Here’s an example of what women wore during the Regency era.

The Layers of Women’s clothing:

1321928645242_8493648Undergarments: The first was the chemise, or shift, this was a thin garment with tight, short sleeves with a low neckline when worn under evening wear, it was made of white cotton and usually finished with a plain hem. The chemise was shorter than the dress. The chemise was meant to protect the outer clothes from perspiration more often than not they were washed more frequently than outer clothes.

The next layer was the corset or a pair of stays. If you were of a slight figure you could get away with not needing to wear a corset. The corset was made of steel or iron which was covered with padding.

Drawers were not often worn during this time it wasn’t until it was reported that Princess Charlotte wore drawers that it became popular and this use in the upper class of women.

Stocking were made of silk or knitted and held up by garters below the knee.

Outer Garments:

1810 v3 Ackermann's Fashion Plate 10 - Evening or FullThe petticoat is the first layer for the outer garment. (All though today the petticoat is classed as an undergarment during the Regency era it was considered as part of the outer layers.) This could have a scooped neck line and was sleeveless It was fitted at the back with hooks and eyes, buttons or tape. This garment was worn between the corset and outer layer of clothing.

Over the petticoat came the gown. This empire gown was very fashionable during this time. It was not unknown for women to have three to four changes of clothing during one day. The morning dress was worn inside the house were high necked and long sleeved. Generally these grown were devoid of any decorations.

Promenade or walking gowns were worn when one went for a stroll during the morning or afternoon. Over these a woman would wear a spencers of a (a short high waisted jacket) a long hooded cloak would be worn over this or one would wear a pelisses (a long coat). If a woman went riding she would of course wear a riding habit. Gloves and a bonnet were always worn when outdoors.

Evening gowns were often elaborately   decorated with lace, ribbons and netting. Young ladies were encouraged to wear pastel colours. These dresses had a low cut bodice and were short sleeved.

Slippers made of silk, velvet or leather were worn during both day and evening. Half kid boots were ankle length boots made of leather for outdoor or silk/stain for evening wear.

Food and Entertaining

Food was a large part of the Regency era. Sometimes it depended on whether the family had guest for supper. For a family meal it would be a simple of two three course meal. If there were guest it could be up to five or more dishes. Nothing was wasted; any leftovers would be use for lunch the next day or a simple family meal the following night by the family.

Illustration 52

September family meal could consist of:

First course:

Roast sucking-pig, tomato sauce and brain sauce: small boiled leg of mutton, caper sauce, turnips and carrots.

Second course:

Damson tart, boiled batter pudding

 A dinner for eight persons could consist of:

First Course:

Flemish Soup, Turbot, garnished with Fried Smelts, Red Mullet and Italian Sauce

Entrées

Tendrons de Veau and Truffles, Lamb Cutlets and Sauce Piquante

Second Course:

Loin of Veal á la Béchamel, Roast Haunch of Venison, Braised Ham, Grouse Pie, Vegetables

Third Course:

Roast Hare, Plum Tart, Whipped Cream, Punch Jelly, Compôte od Damsons, Marrow Pudding

Desserts and Ices

The evening would end with entertainment from one of the ladies playing the pianoforte and at times singing.

All these things mattered even if you don’t use it in your story.

Research is a part of all genres of writing. What sort of information and where do you source the information from for your writing?

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News ~ Release Date for S.E Gilchrist

WhenStarsCollide_Final-compressedS.E Gilchrist has a release date of 22 October 2014 for the next installment in her Darkon series ‘When Stars Collide’.

Blurb:

The third full-length novel in SE Gilchrist’s best-selling erotic SF series mixes one sexy spy, a soldier looking for salvation, and an unlikely mission to save the world.

Reece, contortionist bubble dancer and part time spy, has one goal — a safe haven and independent life far from the war. But her plans go awry and her future becomes dangerously uncertain when she is falsely accused of the murders of her friend and a Darkon traitor. Now her new list of goals includes payback.

In her way is Ulrac, a banished Darkon patroller, responsible for incarcerating females for barbaric ‘treatments’ and ‘research’ on the planet Isla. He’s determined to use the capture of the spy and her intel to win the approval of his father – a hard-line Traditionalist with his own agenda – and help him overthrow the current ruler of Darkos.

But the war of the Seven Galaxies has reached a critical stage, and personal plans and goals suddenly hold very little meaning. The enemy is poised to unleash a terrible weapon and no one stands between him and total domination of all the universes.

No one – except Reece and Ulrac.

Be one of the first to get this great read. You can pre order from:

Amazon, Amazon UK, Amazon AU, Kobo, iBook, Google Play, JBHiFi

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Judging a book by its cover

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but readers do, because a well-designed and produced cover gives them a good idea of what’s inside. It tells them what genre the book is, it suggests a broad theme of the book, and it advertises the author’s brand.

Everyone knows a historical when they see it. There’ll be a girl in a long dress on the front. I myself am partial to pics of women in black crinolines, not to mention tattoo images. If it’s a 20th century historical it’ll probably be a photo of some sort. Historical romances will also have girls in frocks, but with a bloke. Modern romances (especially hot ones) often just have the bloke, usually shirtless. I think you know what I mean.

I find crime covers oddly unspectacular (no offence at all meant to crime writers) – and I read a lot of crime novels. They all look the same to me, so if it’s not a writer I know and love, naturally I read the blurb, then the first page to check out the style. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was like that. So-so cover, fantastic read, though it was more thriller than crime. Paranormals tend to look similar, too, ditto science fiction, and they’re like that for a reason – so readers know what they’re getting. So the message is: do the same as everyone else (ie, you don’t want to put a ‘True Blood’ type cover on your rural romance), but better, so your book stands out.

A survey I saw a while ago reckoned that if a reader isn’t looking for a particular author, they’ll choose a book based on a) the cover, then b) the blurb, then c) the first page. So there you go. Covers are vital.

One book I’ve read lately, just because there’s a cute wee mouse wearing a cape on the front, is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, a memoir by US humourist blogger Jenny Lawson. I wouldn’t have bought it without the mouse. It’s a good read, too.

Of course, if you’re traditionally published, you more or less get what you’re given, so you have to trust that your publisher knows what they’re doing. In my experience, they do. At a workshop at my publisher the other day, the designer said they send cover concepts to booksellers for feedback, because booksellers know what readers like and want.

It never does any harm to talk to your local bookseller.

BigDressCoverGoneGirlCoverMouseCover2TattooMagpieCover

 

 

 

 

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2014 RWA Conference

The 2014 RWAus Conference was another fabulous event and the Hunter Romance Writers had a lot to celebrate (apart from our general awesomeness!).

First up: So excited to announce our own Erin Moira O’Hara (writing name) has won the RWAus Emerald Single Title Award for her romantic suspense story, The Kalista Diamond.

Congratulations Erin!

erin and the emerald

 

erin again

Wait! There’s more – Here’s our Kerrie Paterson accepting the award for her Second Place in the RWA Ripping Start Contest. Congratulations Kerrie!

Kerrie ripping start

And here is some of our group, the Hunter Romance Writers at the Awards Dinner celebrating.

at the rwa14 awards dinner

Our Sarah Barrie also has some fabulous news – but will wait until its official – Congratulations Sarah!

We missed our members who for various reasons couldn’t make the conference this year. But, dont worry, we intend to talk your ears off next meeting.

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