Monday, 29 September 2014

Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve - J K Rowling

Anything's possible if you've got enough nerve - J K Rowling

Well people it has been a while. I have started writing  the second of the Chupplejeep books. This one is called The Body in the Bath. I have just completed my grammar course, and I have signed up to another year at Abingdon Writers. Speaking of which, the other day when I was at the group meeting someone said they had read an article saying the popularity of social media is declining. Now, I haven't read this myself but I could see the point they were making. What goes up must come down etc. recently I wrote a blog post on social media for authors, but I didn't look into whether this phenomenon of tweeting what you had for breakfast and the likes would last. Apparently people are tiring of blogs and the constant stream of updates from authors. I know I, myself, am tiring of Twitter and how many other author blogs do I read?  Even Facebook has had its day so they say. The other day in a meeting someone said the majority of Facebook users are middle aged! Well I suppose that was bound to happen. But all this talk of declining social media makes me wonder, what is next?

I have been extremely lame this year in marketing my novels. And I'll be honest and say that sales have fallen (for Goa Traffic at least). I really need to do something but I'm finding it all rather laborious, especially when I have Chupplejeep on to his next case and with a wedding to plan as well. I must find some motivation soon.

As well as all this pondering, and watching box sets (which is not doing anything for my writing career) I've also been thinking about writing. Which got me thinking - how important is it to spend you time thinking about writing? - Again I think someone mentioned this at my last writing group meeting. Well for me it's terribly important to spend time thinking about writing. When I'm out and about doing something mundane, having conversations in my head between characters (and I hope all writers do this and it's not just me losing the plot) great ideas for new scenes come into my mind. More often than not I fail to write them down, but I visualize them and in doing so they get lodged in my memory only to arrive in my mind later when I am actually writing a scene. I find all this thinking extremely helpful in putting a skeleton of a book together and encourage you to think about writing more.



Friday, 5 September 2014

Finding the time to write.

Finding the time to write. 

Recently, a couple of new acquaintances have asked me ‘Where do you find the time to write?’ and I have to admit I’m often stumped for an answer because I don’t know how I manage to find the time to write, but yet I do.  Like many of you writers out there I have a full time job. I’m not a brain surgeon or anything taxing like that but, at times, my job (project management in property development) can be stressful. It’s also largely computer based. So after a day of looking at the computer sometimes I don’t really want to switch a computer on at home. There are days when I get home so tired I don’t have the energy to write and so I don’t. And I don’t write every day either - H wouldn’t be too impressed with that (you have to admit it would be a little unfair). Because of my passion for food I have to force myself to go to the gym a couple of times a week and then there is the business of cooking decent meals every night (again with the food – I don’t like leftovers so I cook every day. I’m also not keen on pasta – so you’re talking a good effort every night, so that we go to bed happy – Nothing puts me in a bad mood like a rubbish dinner does and I quite like cooking.) And finally there is also the business of cleaning. I categorise this chore with the gym. I don’t really want to do it and I’m not good at it either. It’s a slog from start to finish, and although H is pretty good with helping out, it still takes up quite a bit of my post work time.

So when do I write? Well I limit myself to a Wednesday after work when I leave work a little early, and have the house to myself for a couple of hours. I write quickly – I can write 5000 words in an evening (they may not be great words – they need a lot of editing to get up to a readable first draft stage - but they are words). I write when the football is on or when H is out. Basically, I write when I can snatch and hour here or there. I never used to write on weekends because we were always out and about, but now I occasionally do. But unlike the gym or cleaning the house, writing is not a chore. When I sit down to write I get lost in my fictional world. I don’t want music on or the TV. I don’t feel the need to snack or to catch up on The Mindy Project or Scandal (The later has taken at least 22 of my precious writing hours over the last month). When I write I am completely in the zone. All I need is my open manuscript,  a pen, several note books around me, easy access to the internet for that all important research and a glass of water (writing makes me thirsty for some reason). Sometimes I get so caught up in a story that I don’t realise I’ve been in front of the computer for hours without looking up from the screen.  I also try and use my time wisely (I guess working in project management has honed my time management skills). Some lunch hours are for finding good deals on Expedia, but some are used for book research, checking out author blogs, reading about how to improve my writing, doing grammar courses, and blogging.


The crux of it is, and I’m sure most writers will agree with me here, when you are a writer writing is in your blood. You have to do it. You want to do it, and so you find the time to write. Whether it’s waking up early or going to bed late or even taking a day’s holiday to work on that final chapter – when you want to write you find a way.  

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Half my life is an act of revision.

Half my life is an act of revision.
- John Irving

I hope you liked DB Martin's press release about Patchwork man. I've read the book and cant wait for the second in the series! I recently read that you should blog little and often - actually I re-read this but conveniently it slipped my mind. As an author, keeping up with Social Media is hard work! I've not excelled myself this year, but I have nearly hit my target for twitter followers (admittedly it was a low target). 

So what have I been doing? Well I am noticing that as I get older I have less energy. I don't write as quick or as much as I used to and I get tired easily. All this in just a year - what else does age have in store for me? Do other people out tehre feel the same? I have also become addicted to Scandal. I'm only on series two, but it really is addictive. And...wait for it...I have nearly finished my grammar course. Can you tell the difference in this blog post? 

Well I am still to complete the punctuation section, but I think my writing has improved. Not bad for £60! Next is a course I found on line about FGM and honour killing! I think it'll come in handy for Chupplejeep. I have also nearly finished reading a book on Criminology and the first draft of Poison in The water is almost ready for review by Abingdon Writers! Yay! and my publishers!  This is good news because it means I can get stuck in to my next Chupplejeep Mystery: The Body in the Bath. 

So there you have it - a short and sweet blog post! Until next time, people. 

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Guest blog post for Patchwork Man by D. B Martin!



Introducing D. B Martin and her new novel: Patchwork Man! Todays guest blog post on the Coffee Stained Manuscript is a press release for DB Martin's new novel, Patchwork man. I have read this book so I can personally recommend it. Its complex, fast paced with enough twists and turns to keep you hooked! It is now available on Amazon.

 

This is Mockingbird for a new generation.

When Michael Gove championed the outlawing of 'To Kill a Mockingbird' from the English GCSE curriculum, he claimed to be intent on ensuring ‘a more nationally centred syllabus’ of ‘works originally written in English’. But the message of the book still inspired novelist D.B. Martin to make Atticus Finch the idol of her fallen hero, English barrister Lawrence Juste, in the first of a pithy and compelling mystery trilogy dealing with deception, murder and blackmail masked by respectability and privilege.

With ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ being released as an e-book for the first time, the novel, ‘Patchwork Man’, now released by Martin follows in the wake of Harper Lee's classic by celebrating the principles of Atticus Finch in this very English contemporary fiction.

Patchwork Man is a psychological thriller as fast-paced as any of Dan Brown's, whilst evocatively recreating the chaotic and poignant childhood that has led Juste, the patchwork man himself, to chaos. Lawrence Juste is the QC with a conscience - privileged, reputable; perfect. But Lawrence hasn't always been who he is now. When he is glaringly in the public eye after his enigmatic wife is killed in an apparently random hit and run, he could do with his hidden past surfacing like a hole in the head. Unfortunately the past has a way of finding its way back to you, just like betrayal, and his dead wife has helpfully left him a sinister resume of his... 

Martin writes adult and YA fiction with a specific intent in mind. She says, ‘We learn through what we read. It explains the world to us, and helps us come to terms with the more difficult parts of it that we don’t know how to deal with. That’s particularly important for young people, struggling with issues of conscience versus peer pressure, but without the experience to base choices on.’

With Patchwork Man now released and its sequel Patchwork People following in September 2014, Martin obviously has a lot more to say in Harper Lee terms. And Lee's comment (headlined) about the eBook release of To Kill a Mockingbird equally applies to Martin's book.

Martin adds, ‘Harper Lee’s message was as much about prejudice versus principles as about finding the right way to deal with that. It was – and is – inspired.’

Martin's websites are www.debrahmartin.co.uk for adult fiction and www.lily-stuart.co.uk for YA fiction. If you'd like more information, to schedule an interview with D.B. Martin, or receive a review copy of the book, please e-mail info@debrahmartin.co.uk

Friday, 1 August 2014

A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily...

A writer is a writer not because she writes well and easily, because she has amazing talent, or because everything she does is golden. A writer is a writer because, even when there is no hope, even when nothing you do shows any sign of promise, you keep writing anyway. - Junot Diaz.

I came across the above post on Pinterest and it really struck a cord with me. I thought  I would share this with my fellow writers out there. I think it sums us up perfectly. And I say this as sales for Goa Traffic plummet. Was it something I said? I can't really see a reason for the steady drop in sales over the last couple of months. GT has been selling well for some time now so why the sudden drop? It could be because I'm not really doing much marketing and when I am I'm concentrating on The Bittersweet Vine. It could be because I have sold over 3000 copies and perhaps those who were gonna buy it bought it. Although that doesn't really make sense. Surely there is a stat somewhere saying there is a new Kindle reader every second. I should look into this. I should increase my time marketing. I really have done zilch this year. I should be doing a lot of things.

The good news is that I am nearly at the punctuation module of my grammar course! Hurrah! Perhaps hits on my blog will go up as well. The second good bit of news is that I completed my tax return. That is always a mission. This year it was surprisingly okay. The third bit of news (I'm not going to say good because it's so-so) is that I am more than half way in editing Poison in the Water. I have about 30,000 words to go and then it can be submitted to my publisher. I can't wait to get it done. Im hoping by the end of August it will be ready. A bit behind my original deadline but it will do.  I think Im getting better at the editing process as well. I am not finding it too much of a slog. Perhaps its because I'm setting myself more realistic deadlines and taking my time with it.

Care to share any editing tips?! Do so here or tweet me @marissadeluna 

Monday, 7 July 2014

Delusion is what keeps us going.

Delusion is what keeps us going - Terence Blacker

Today in The Society of Authors I read a fab article by Terence Blacker on how sometimes the your greatest eery as a writer is your everyday self. Although he does go on to point out that your everyday self is also a help! The sentence which caught my eye is what I have used to open my blog because it struck a cord with me and I am sure it is something all authors identify with.

It has been a fair while since I last blogged. I had a holiday in Kefalonia which was fab. A perfect place to unwind and forget about the world. I even switched off from plotting my next novel. Instead I managed to catch up on some reading. I was slightly disappointed by my selection. I read:

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain which was excellent. My only excellent choice. It tells the story of Ernest Hemmingway's first wife. Behind every great man then is a woman and this is her story. It is well worth the read! It also reminds me that I must read some Hemmingway.

The Light Between Oceans - M L Steadman- I read such good reviews I think I imagined this to be a life changing book. I think I'm going to stop reading reviews from now on! It was an okay read. What would you do if you were desperate for a baby and one washes up next to your remote lighthouse? It makes you think but it didn't keep me gripped and was quite predictable.

At the bottom of the pile was The Uninvited Guests by Sadie Jones. It was like reading an episode of Downton Abby- Which I would quite enjoy but it just didn't interest me and finally The Silent Tide by Rachel Hoar. It was a pleasant read but I can't say I would recommend it!

So all in all not great on the reading front, but I ticked a few off my list. I feel like a right negative nancy with all these not so great reviews. I think half the problem is that when I read such good reviews for a book I expect so much more out of it. I suppose thats another reason to get some bad reviews for your book - it really evens it out.

The grammar course is going… well I wouldn't say well. I have kind of stumbled but I am sure to get back on it. I really need to get to the punctuation bit and move on from the modal auxiliaries, but I suppose I need to learn the basics first.

Anyway a bit of a boring blog post today but I will be back with tales on how my current WIP is going! 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Knowing your conjuncts from your disjuncts


Knowing your conjuncts from your disjuncts!

So I have finally paid for the Grammar at Work course! It’s hell (which means it's actually a very good course). I did the starter test and I got 53%  - not bad but I have to admit a lot of that was guess work. I have vowed to myself that I am going to give my all to this course. I’ll know by Conjuncts from my disjuncts by the end of it. And with any luck I’ll also know where to place comma’s which seems to be the worst of my flaws. I won’t lie – I tried the first module. You really have to concentrate and quite frankly it left my brain in a state of shock. I’m going to battle through the metal block though and hopefully come out shining the other side.

In other news I have been critiquing a book for someone in our writing group and I will be working on Poison in the water – my current WIP! Deadline to go to an editor is September 2014! So not long. The plan is to edit a final copy for end July. Start writing the next Chupplejeep in August/September and work with Poison alongside it. I also need to get some more twitter followers! 1000 is my goal by the end of the year and I need a few more reviews for Bittersweet. My goal is 17, so I need 7 more! Anyone out there read it and fancy writing a review on Amazon?! And I also need 18 facebook followers! Come on people – help me out here! I have to admit marketing has taken a back seat but I’m hoping by the end of the year I’ll be in a comfortable enough position to take things slower!


GT has also taken a hit in regards to sales! Although the paperbacks are now selling quite well over the last quarter. How bizarre. Could I put it down to Monsoon weather in Goa so less visitors out there? It didn’t happen this way last year – so what has changed? Thoughts on a postcard. Anyway positive thoughts! I have things to get on with!