Big Plans … Big News!

images (4)It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post and I have to say I’ve truly missed it! As I worked on this draft last night I realised it’s my three year blogaversary this month, and I’m only just managing to scrape in a post on the last day of March – phew!

A lot has happened since my last update, but before I get into things I wanted to apologise to those who follow my blog via email. You may have received weird updates over the last few days, that I intended to publish as pages on my website and may have accidentally published as blog posts. Sorry about that!

So it was some time last year when I last wrote a personal blog, and as much as I love sharing cover reveals and book tours, there’s nothing quite like a ‘from-the-heart’ blog. They’re the ones that tell a story. The ones I can read back on in years to come and remember where I was in terms of writing.

Some of you already know the last few months have been a bit of an ordeal for me. I’ve spent a good chunk of that time suffering through migraine hell. While I’ve had migraines on and off in the past I’ve never experienced them on the level I have this past year. Unfortunately, the writing I love so much was put on hold as I struggled to make it through my paid job and daily activities. The worst part was not being able to read or write—an author’s personal hell! It’s been a great emotional and physical challenge to maintain some control over my life, but despite everything I held onto the value of hope. With hope we can make it through anything.images (5) I worked really hard to stay positive and while there were certainly moments where I could do no more than cry, I was determined that the migraines would either go away or I would find a way to live with them and still do what I love.

The good news is I’ve been trialling different medications and I’m finally onto something that seems to be helping. It’s been weeks since my last migraine and I finally feel like a normal person again. As soon as the cloud lifted I threw myself back into my writing, determined to finalise my latest book while I can! So I’ve been working like crazy over the last few weeks, preparing my novel for beta readers so I can get one step closer to the publishing process. I’ve managed to build a lot of momentum over the last few months and that is the one good thing I have to say about migraines. The whole experience has really driven my passion for writing and I have lots of exciting new things planned for this year!

A new website!

Website Banner for Post

Today I’m launching my new website which is now linked to the blog. You can browse the menu bar at the top of this post to have a look around. This new format will allow me to update the pages regularly and add new content about upcoming news, book releases and giveaways.

A new book release!

Teaser # 3I finally have a title for my upcoming novel — The Ninth Hunter. I’m still working on the blurb, but I can tell you the story centres around Daniel Barrow, a young ghost hunter who’s about to discover everything he’s trained for is a lie. While there are dark elements in this story, the plot revolves more around Daniel’s personal struggles as he discovers who he is and searches for redemption. I don’t want people who are easily spooked to be put off by the concept, in truth this is a ghost story for people who don’t like ghosts—consider it a gateway novel to dark fantasy!

And finally, new editions and the re-release of the Shadow Series!

For a long time now, I’ve been haunted by the idea of anyone reading the Shadow Series. Mainly because I’ve grown so much as a writer and like anyone I cringe at the quality of my past writing. While I don’t want to go backwards and I certainly have no intention of getting stuck in these books, I feel like I need to conduct one final edit before I can have the confidence to share these books with the world. It’s been a tough decision and I’m sure it’s going to be torture working through an old story, but I’ve finally made the choice. The Shadow Series will be getting a 2015 makeover!

So there it is, big news and big plans for this year! And what better time to share it with you all, than my three year blogaversary! If you want to help me celebrate, sign up for my newsletter on the menu panel above. I’ll be sharing exclusive news about writing life and my latest good reads.

Thanks for following my blog and making the last three years worth it!

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Writing Is A Journey. A Long One.

It’s my two year blogaversary and I’ve come one hell of a long way! I can see it in my books and I can see it in my blogs. So here’s to ever learning …

challenge-520x245If you look anywhere for tips on writing, ‘Learning to Accept Criticism’ is always listed in the top ten. It’s important for writers to understand the role of rejection, because there’s no way to avoid it. If you send your work to publishers, it’s going to be knocked back, if you let the public read it, there will be bad reviews. It is the nature of art, there is no perfect way to do it.

But handling the criticism doesn’t come naturally to writers, we’re often sensitive, thoughtful creatures who need to be handled with care. Everyone is different but I believe new writers in general are not ready to hear it. I wasn’t either. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In order to make it through the thousands of words it takes to finish your manuscript, you need to believe you were born with a natural talent.

You’ve heard about writers being rejected countless times, you know how rare it is for someone to write a best seller first time round, but somewhere deep down, you think you could be one of them. That’s what gets you through. And when people are brave enough to tell you the truth about your book, you justify it in your own mind. They’re not my target audience, they don’t usually read, they aren’t familiar with the genre. Anything to convince yourself their feedback isn’t relevant, or they just didn’t see what you were trying to do.

It’s something we all have to go through. The tip isn’t, ‘Accept Criticism’, it’s ‘LEARN to Accept Criticism’. It takes time, and how ever long that may, be will vary from writer to writer. For a whole bunch of different reasons.

For me, I was afraid the criticism would stop me in my tracks. I didn’t want to hear it because I know I can take things to heart and I was worried the harsh truth would knock me right off my perch. I wrote four books and self published them, I set them free into the world. But the truth was I wasn’t ready to hear the bad news. Which is perfectly okay, the only way to get there is to experience it.

I took that terrifying first step, I revealed myself and all my flaws to the public.

And that’s the point in every writer’s life when they realise they’re not naturally blessed with the skills. They’re blessed with the inspiration and determination—the skills have to be learnt.

That realisation can take years. Only once you have poured your heart and soul into a story and moved on to write something new, can you really look back and see it for what it is. Time and distance shows you that your work is far from perfect. You did your very best, but you’ve learnt enough to understand what’s wrong with it.

And eventually, hearing someone point out your weaknesses is no longer so hard to hear. You know exactly what they’re talking about—you can see it yourself. You look at the standard of your work now, and see how far you’ve come. It’s still not perfect, but if someone points out the flaws, you think,  I’ve come so far in the past year, give it one more year and I’ll be even better at this.

It’s a journey. A long one.

I’ve been writing seriously for eight years now, and I can finally say I’m ready. I know my writing isn’t perfect, I mean really know, not just saying the words for the sake of it. The difference now, is that hearing the truth won’t stop me. I’ve realised I’m not defined by my work, but by my ability to learnt from it. I’m not afraid of publishers knocking me back, I won’t bother reading between the lines when someone says my work is good, completely lacking conviction. I can see it for what it is, and it doesn’t mean I’ve failed. It means I’ve graduated. I’m ready to call myself a real writer.