creative process, Mentor, Romance Writers of America, Romantic Novelists' Association, Writing

So You Want To Write A Book? Part Four…

1. Whatever you write, pour your heart and soul into it. If you believe in your work, then so will your readers, and you want to appeal to the widest possible audience. Read widely, join book clubs and talk to people. The more research you do into finding out what people like to read, the happier you can make them.

2. Find yourself a successful mentor, preferably by making personal contact through your membership of a good professional group, such as the Romantic Novelists’ Association, or the Romance Writers Of America. You need someone you respect, who knows what they’re talking about, who’ll be honest about your work, and suggest ways you can improve. If you can’t find any face-to-face guidance, go online and check out popular writers whose work you admire and see if they’ve produced any guides to writing that will help you.

3. Word of mouth recommendations drive the majority of book sales, so think creatively when it comes to getting your books into the hands of willing readers. If your book is good, your readers will spread the word far and wide, at no expense to you. Above all, enjoy your writing and remember—success isn’t only measured in financial terms. To have completed a book you’re proud to have written is a great achievement.

To make sure you don’t miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

3 Top Tips, ambition, creative process, So You Want To Write A Book Part One, Writing

So You Want To Write A Book? Three Top Tips…

By Antonio Litterio

1. Start with social media. There are two great reasons for this: commitment, and publicity. Talk’s cheap. Anyone can say they’re going to write a book. When you put the word out about your ambition on Facebook, it’s there for everyone to see, for all time. You’ve made a commitment. Your friends can encourage you. Post extracts, and Tweet teasers to get feedback from your audience. They’re potential readers for your finished book. Let them in on the ground floor of your ambition.

2. Set aside some dedicated writing time every single day. Carry a notebook with you everywhere. Keep a diary, and make quick notes about everything you see, hear and think. If you only manage a handful of words a day, that will make a sizeable haul in no time. You’ll have created a source of inspiration you can draw on, all through your writing career.

3.  When you get a minute to yourself, alone, read your work aloud. You’ll catch all sorts of things you don’t notice when you’re in the act of writing. Injecting some feeling into your precious words as you speak will make the good bits sing, and encourage you. It also shows you where you need to add punctuation, or alter your sentence structure.

To make sure you don’t miss any of my top tips, follow my blog using the sign-up form on the right hand sidebar of this page. I send out a newsletter a couple of times a year with news about my writing, country life, competitions and offers—join my mailing list here.

creative process, His Majesty's Secret Passion, Princes Of Kharova, Writing

Birth Of A Book, Part One: From Thinking To Writing…

By Antonio Litterio

Where do you get your ideas? is the question every writer gets asked, all the time. The answer is so simple, once you discover what it is you’ll never believe it was so hard to find. It’s in your bath. Or at the top of a tree, the bottom of a bucket, or…anywhere, and everywhere. You get the idea.

Think about the person who asked that question. They’ll have channeled a million thoughts between getting up in that morning, and putting an author on the spot. Any one of those thoughts has the potential to become a funny story, a furious rant, or even a novel.

Imagine you got caught by a traffic warden, because you were five minutes late back to the parking bay. You were delayed because you couldn’t catch your dog. If you wanted to write a romance, imagine a handsome guy came to help you. Your dog bit him, and…

…Or if you wanted to write a thriller, maybe your dog ran away because he got the scent of…what? Drugs? A body? An escaped tiger?

There are three or four embryo ideas developed from an everyday situation that could happen to anyone.

Coming Soon…

The only difference between someone who writes, and someone who quizzes writers is that one notes everything down to use in evidence…or at least, for inspiration. Get yourself in the right mindset, and you’ll find inspiration everywhere. The internet, TV and radio are good launch pads. The lyrics of a song that make you think, a local headline that intrigues you but never makes the nationals, they’re happy hunting grounds for the author.

His Majesty’s Secret Passion, the first book in my current series, The Princes Of Kharova, sprang from a competition asking for the first ten pages of a romantic novel. I’d just read this article in Time Magazine about an alternative heir to the English throne. The real-life Mike Hastings wasn’t remotely interested in staking his claim to Queen Elizabeth’s crown, but I couldn’t help wondering how unhappy he’d have been if he was forced by circumstances to take on the job. Escapist romance demands exotic locations, independent women, heroes with issues and an aspirational feel. My initial idea soon developed into an overworked career-woman forced to take a holiday for her health, who is thrown together with a dedicated doctor who had to abandoned his studies for the sake of family loyalty.

By making loads of notes, I developed my initial thoughts into the basic framework of a novel. This all happened in my spare time, before I sat down at the computer. Once there, I had to flesh out my hero and heroine. The best way of doing that is to create character sheets for each of your major characters. I’ll cover that next time. Until then, keep up to date with  His Majesty’s Secret Passion and the other titles in the Princes of Kharova series by visiting my Author page on Facebook, and clicking on the “like” button.

Antonio Camillieri, calabrese, Cauliflower, creative process, Montalbano

Food, Men and the Weekend…
By Bhaskaranaidu

There’s quite a crafty link between the food and men in my blog today.
My sister told me of a new way she’d tried of cooking cauliflower. It sounded so easy I didn’t bother writing it down, so you can tailor the ingredients and method to suit yourself.

You’ll need:
A large head of cauliflower
Olive oil
Juice of a lemon
Freshly-ground salt & black pepper
Plus any or all of the following: Smoked paprika, nutmeg,
chilli powder, and ground ginger.

Oven temperature 200c, 180 Fan, Gas Mark
Wash the cauliflower well, pat it dry and break the florets into bite-sized pieces.  Put them in a bowl, pour over the oil and lemon juice, then sprinkle over all the seasonings and spices.  Mix everything together really well. Put the cauliflower into a roasting tin, then tip any liquid remaining in the bowl over the top of it. Roast for about 20 minutes, or until tender.

We had this as a side dish, and it was delicious. I included some calabrese along with the cauliflower, and the contrast of green and white florets gave it extra interest. And now, get ready for the laboured link between this post’s food and men, because…
…Calabrese features in one of the favourite dishes of Antonio Camilleri’s fictional detective Commissario Montalbano. I’m working my way very slowly through the novels, and the TV films of the same name are a great favourite in Tottering Towers. We’ve just finished watching the final, final episode on DVD and at the end there’s this fascinating look behind the scenes: 

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 I love insights like this into the creative process. It’s good to know the cast get on so well together, too!

If you haven’t met Montalbano and co. before, The Snack Thief is being broadcast on BBC4 at 9pm on Saturday, 28th June. It’s the first episode in a re-run of the initial series shown here (although The Snack Thief  isn’t the first book in Camillieri’s series). Try it!