Archive for November, 2013

Get Your Creativity On Baby! Need a Creativity Coach?

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Hey all. I’m not even sure that was a proper sentence! Get Your Creativity On Baby! But hey it sounds good!

I’m looking for new creativity coaching clients because some of my clients have moved past their creative blocks and are successfully motoring along. I see that as total success. I’ve been training to be a creativity coach for not quite a year yet. Part of that training includes a certain number of hours coaching clients. Right now I’m coaching people for free while I’m in training.

So what is a creativity coach?

A creativity coach assists artists (writers, dancers, painters you name it) to breath new life into their creativity. Often creative individuals run into bad patches where they’re  feeling unfulfilled in accomplishing creative goals whatever those may be. They may feel blocked or overwhelmed. They may be very successful individuals in their field but are struggling with deciding which project to do next.

Creativity coaches are trained to help you discover (I like to call it excavate) what is causing the creative blocks and inspire you to think outside of the box for solutions. They can assist you in understanding and overcoming fear, doubt and anxiety that can hinder the creative mind. Coaches work with you by email, phone, in person or other venues such as Facetime and Skype, etc.

What do you say? If you’re having issues with that novel or that painting or other creative endeavors, I’d love to help. Email me at danovelist@cox.net. We’ll chat about your issue and see if creativity coaching could help. Right now all the help is free! So what do you have to lose? 🙂

Racing To The Finish & NANO

Monday, November 25th, 2013

Ah, so if you’re in the U.S. you’re probably hanging with family already for the Thanksgiving or gearing up for Black Friday shopping (no Black Friday shopping for me…I’ve got most shopping done already.) We’re chilling on Thanksgiving and not doing anything spectacular, which suits us fine.

Before that I’m on the home stretch with NANO. I’m almost to the 50,000 word mark for words written from November 1 for NANO, and after I reach that 50,000 I might give myself two days off or more. I won’t be finished with the book at that point. In fact, I have over 60,000 words finished on the total book but I started the NANO novel when I already had about 16,000 of the book written. Dang that sounds like a math word problem, and I totally hate word problems. Anyhoo, I’m up to the point where I will make 50,000 words before the end of the month if I push the envelope the next couple of days. So I’ll probably do that. After that, it’s slacker time so I can regenerate my juju.

How about you? Any holiday plans?

Searching For The Ghosts: Author Alison Stuart

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Hey all, you know how much I love novels that are “different.” By that, I mean novels that are out of the box, love stories and romances set in different time periods. I’ve just discovered a fantastic author who writes these types of novels, stories set in times you don’t often see in romances published these days. Please give a warm welcome to Alison Stuart. Today she’s telling us about her novel Gather The Bones and the inspiration behind it.

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Searching for the Ghosts

One of the questions a writer is most often asked is:  What was the inspiration for this story?

GATHER THE BONES came from a number of different sources.  A medieval moated manor house in Warwickshire riddled with priest holes, a morbid interest in ghost stories, a desire to write a story with an Australian character (not a lot of them about in the seventeenth century which is the setting for most of my stories!) and an abiding interest in military history.

My husband and I met in the Australian Army Reserve and we both served in the Army for just on twenty years each before a move to Singapore put an end to both our careers.  The Great War (or World War One) looms very large in the Australian psyche. In 1914 Australia, as a country, was only 13 years old, having achieved its independence from Britain in 1901. The total population was only 4 million but the ties with England were still strong and in England’s hour of need a generation of young Australian men answered the call. Over 400,000 thousand enlisted to serve in the AIF (the Australian Imperial Force) – 10% of its entire population.  Of those 400,000 young men, 65% were casualties of the war either through death, wounds or illness. Nearly a whole generation of young men were lost.

In 2005, my husband and I finally achieved a long held ambition to visit the Battlefields of World War One. We began in Ypres in Belgium, so comprehensively destroyed in the war.  Together we walked the city walls finding little war cemeteries along the way and joined the solemn crowds at the Menin Gate for the service of commemoration which is held every night.

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We hired a car and with a map in hand we drove out into the Ypres Salient. The flat Belgian countryside bears little resemblance to the nightmare pictures we had seen in the Museum in Ypres but among the green fields, there are countless cemeteries, as I described it in GATHER THE BONES as a “harvest of death”.

From Belgium we drove down to France and Amiens. It was here, at Pozieres, that my husband’s  grandfather (serving with the Australian forces) had been shot in the arm, an injury which would trouble him for the whole of his life and it was here in the British cemetery that I fulfilled a promise made to my father … to find the grave of his father’s cousin, Captain Richard Conway Lowe MC. The War Graves Commission makes it an easy task to locate the one tombstone among the many and I had little trouble in finding it.

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What I hadn’t been prepared for was the wave of emotion that surged through me as I stood looking down at the simple white grave stone.  All I knew about Richard Conway Lowe were a few family photographs of a rather solemn little boy with fair hair and glasses who had been a good student at Winchester and Oxford and was destined to go into the Church. I also knew he was 6’ 7”. I didn’t know he was only 22 years old when he died. He was the same age as my eldest son. I imagined my feelings if it had been my son and as I laid the little poppy I had bought with me, I touched the gravestone and thought how many, many years it had been since anyone grieved at this graveside. The entire family line had died out with this boy.

The citation for his military cross reads as follows:

Second Lieutenant Richard Conway Lowe., 1st/6th Battalion, The Royal Warwickshire Regiment, Territorial Force.

For conspicuous gallantry on 4th November, 1915, in France.

When directing a working party in front of the parapet, the Germans opened fire and wounded a man of the covering party. Second Lieutenant Lowe and a Serjeant rushed to his aid, and although the Serjeant was grazed by a bullet and Second Lieutenant Lowe shot in the thigh, the bullet being subsequently found in the wound, they carried the wounded man across the open and through the wire into a place of safety.

Second Lieutenant Lowe had previously been wounded, and had been brought to notice for excellent work at the front.

He received his medal personally at Buckingham Palace in January 1916 while home recovering from his wound.  He was killed in action on August 18, 1916 and his family never recovered.

As I traipsed the battlefields of Flanders and the Somme, I became particularly interested in the effect that the war had on those who were left behind…the women and children and gradually the story of Helen Morrow, my Australian heroine and her dead husband’s cousin, Paul, the “one who came home” slowly grew.

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And so GATHER THE BONES came to be written. Paul Morrow, bearing the guilt of his cousin’s death without knowing why and Helen seeking the answers to questions he can’t supply.  Not one character in that book has not been touched by the war and wrapped into it is the story of another war and another pair of wounded lovers.  A little mystery, history, romance…and ghosts!

GATHER THE BONES

In the shadow of the Great War, grieving widow, Helen Morrow and her husband’s cousin, the wounded and reclusive Paul, are haunted not only by the horrors of the trenches but ghosts from another time and another conflict.

As the desperate voice of the young woman reaches out to them from the pages of a coded diary, Paul and Helen are bound together in their search for answers, not only to the old mystery but also the circumstances surrounding the death of Helen’s husband at Passchandaele in  1917.

As the two stories become entwined, Paul and Helen will not find peace until the mysteries are solved.

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About Alison

Alison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of historicals with heart.  Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes.  She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town.  She loves to hear from her readers and can be found at her website, facebook, twitter and Goodreads. Her latest book, GATHER THE BONES, is a “Downton Abbeyesque” haunting love story set in 1923.

 

99 Cent Sale On All I Want For Christmas

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Hey everyone,

I’m going crazy this holiday season. I’m offering another book for 99 cents. Originally I wasn’t going to offer the book on sale until after Thanksgiving, but what the heck? Stop by here for an excerpt and here to pick up your copy at Amazon. You can also find it at Smashwords in other formats!

An early Happy Holidays to you all!

 

NANO Reflections & Ramblings

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

Morning or afternoon or evening depending on where you are. Working on my NANO word count the last week has turned into a crazy experience. As an author I feel the pain of taking all the hours I have to write (no kidding myself here, I have a lot of time to write) and trying to make a high word count for the NANO challenge. On the other hand, I’ve also had a few days lately where getting any words down was difficult because of other obligations. Let’s just say I’ve been plugging along here and there. So I can still get the 50,000 finished in the time allotted. I just have to keep my eye on the ball. Today is one of those weird days where my energy is low. I’m determined to make a go of it, though.

As a creativity coach, I have to give myself a “talking to.” Come on woman! Write. Write!!!!!

I hope your writing day is just the way you want it to be.

Shadows Wait 99 cent sale ongoing until November 19

Friday, November 15th, 2013

Hey everyone. This week has been a learning curve. Shadows Wait (the first story in my Asylum Trilogy) is on sale at Amazon under the Kindle Select Program for 99 cents. This means it is a special promotion and that price is available in the U.S. only. If I was doing a special promo for a self published book that is not on the Kindle Select it looks like I could have a 99 cent sale across the board in other countries as well. I didn’t realize the difference in these sales before I started advertising. My bad. 🙂 Live and learn yes? 🙂 With that in mind, I will have another promo probably at the end of the month or in December of a different book. So keep your eyes peeled.

In the meantime, if you’re in the U.S. and you’d love a paranormal historical romance set in a spooky asylum, stop by and grab your copy of Shadows Wait here. For all of you who’ve already picked up a copy, thank you so much!

Shadows Wait on Sale November 13 for 99 cents!

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013

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Morning everyone! I hope you’re having an excellent week. I’ve got a present for you. 🙂 Shadows Wait, the first book in my Asylum Trilogy, is on sale November 13 to November 19 for 99 cents. That’s a huge discount. The book is full length…this isn’t a short story or a novella. Original price was $4.99. But this sale doesn’t last forever. So if you like historical romance laced with a generous amount of scary/paranormal, I hope you’ll enjoy Shadows Wait. You can find an excerpt here. Shadows Wait is only on Amazon at this time, so stop by here to get your copy!

What is Shadows Wait about?

Asylum I: Shadows Wait

(Paranormal Historical Romance)

1908, Simple, Colorado

Lilly Luna’s mother gave birth to her in an asylum for the mad. Growing up in an insane asylum exposed her to horrors few could imagine, and yet her compassion and ability to heal frightens the broken and the healthy alike. The town fears her. The sane shun her. Her only wish is to exact revenge on the man she blames for her mother’s death.

Morgan Healy’s father runs the creepy and rumor-maligned asylum. Morgan’s lineage is filled with insanity, regularly peppered with the occasionally rational. Morgan holds together his crumbling family, hoping to escape his father’s legacy and the terrible secret it holds. When Lilly is hired as companion for Morgan’s sister, Morgan and Lilly form a reluctant alliance to corral the evil that seeps from Tranquil View and threatens not only the town, but also their growing love.

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Last but not least, here’s the trailer! Enjoy.

 

Asylum I: Shadows Wait Upcoming 81% Discount!

Sunday, November 10th, 2013

Howdy all,

Hope you’re having a great day. I wanted to let you know that from November 13 to 19 I’m having a huge discount sale on the first book in my Asylum Trilogy, Shadows Wait. The book is currently at Amazon only and you can find it here. You can find a blurb and excerpt here. Original price for the book is $4.99. Sale price will be 99 cents! How amazing is that? I’ll be promoting the book here on the blog when the sale starts, so I hope you pick up your copy during the sale. 🙂 Thank you.

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Brain ache & NANO Update

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

New glasses! Yes. So what does that have to do with NANO? Well, I got new progressive lenses (I’ve had another pair of progressives for about 4 years I think), but the reading portion needed to be strengthened. Distance was the same. But I’ve got a bit of a headache this morning, and I don’t know if that’s from he new glasses. It could be. Or I could already need a nap. In any case errands and a nap will take over before any NANO writing happens.

I’m on track to finish 50,000 words by November 30. I just need to keep up or surpass the needed word count. Oy. I was very tempted not to write at all this weekend.

Wish me luck!

NANO Ramblings & Creativity Coaching

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

While I’m doing NANO I find that pushing myself forward on this book is draining me of new things to say for the blog. I was very active in October because of Halloween. 🙂

Luckily for me I had a good writing day yesterday and a reasonable one today. So I’m pretty much on schedule. I know I can write more in a day than I am, but I also realize that my motivation to hit a 8,000 or 10,000 word day (as I did back in August I think it was) is not usual for me. The 10,000 words I hit in August was extraordinary. I had a day where my dog was mellow and the story just grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go. Could I do 10,000 or 8,000 words a day every day? Maybe if I never had appointments, chores or anything else in my life.

I don’t speak for what others can and might do, however. Everyone’s writing process is so different. It’s one of the reasons I rarely have advice for “new” writers. Because what works for me, after all these years, might not work for you. But I also don’t want to give the impression, as some writers do, that there is a magic bullet. As a creativity coach, I can help blocked artists (any type of artist) find their writing mojo. There are some methods I can use to assist, but at the end of the day every writer is different. Whether they will finish a novel or not is entirely up to them in the end.

Here’s to another great NANO day tomorrow.