Diabetes Week – The highs and lows.

Today marks the end of diabetes week, in the UK at least. I have been following #thebigpicture on Twitter and reading some inspirational post from those also living with the disease. Here’s my big picture.

The 9th October 2018 is a day I’ll never forget for the rest of my life. 

Only a few weeks before that date I attended an endocrinology appointment for a whole other issue, Reactive Hypoglycaemia. This condition is when your body sparks a chain reaction and releases too much insulin approximately four hours following a high carbohydrate meal (100 grams of carb or more.) Much like diabetes this condition has no known cause. My brother was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (T1D) in his early twenties and I thought it was odd that I seemed to have something which appeared to be the exact opposite. That condition seemed to be very settled, though in a bid to avoid the GP surgery I informed the endo I’d lost a lot of weight with no known reason. 

He chastised me for not going to the GP, told me this would be nothing to do with his department and ordered bloods and a chest x-ray which told me he suspected cancer. He said he would order my results to be returned to my GP surgery and not to darken his doorstep until something changed. Oh, boy, little did he know…

In tune with my body and having watched my grandfather die of lung cancer, I knew in my heart that wasn’t the issue and looking back it should have been obvious. I was taking two glasses of water to bed and still craving more. Also, everything I put in seemed to put in came back out. I’d suffered huge weight loss, a constant tiredness with aching and stomach pain. Also, I was thirstier but I really didn’t notice it. 

A week later, I felt like hell on a stick so I called the GP in search of the test results only to be informed the results had been sent back to the endocrinologist. I called them next and explained. I got the usual, “We’ll have them call you back.” I decided I’d be waiting a while and left my desk. I returned ten minutes later to see five missed calls and a frantic voicemail from the endo. “Oh, shit.”

He could barely tell me the news I had diabetes and told me to go to the hospital right now. I totally crapped my pants and sobbed all the way there. It didn’t get any better when I got to the diabetes clinic to see two doctors and a nurse all lined up waiting for me. What happened over those few days was a whirlwind of information being slung at me like mud, with only a little sticking here and there. The endo said he’d never known anyone to go from having Reactive Hypoglycaemia to T1D. So, there, I’m a freaking medical mystery. 

I went home and cried and cried for days upon end. More people than I care to tell you actually said, “At least it’s not cancer.” I mean WTH? Who would say that to someone who was just diagnosed with an incredibly difficult and life-long chronic illness with so many possible combinations of complications attached? Because, oh yes, I was about to break out in celebration at any given moment!

I had trapped myself in a bubble and knew I had to deal with it. Hard shit, right? I have it, now get on with it…

What makes living with T1D harder is other people and what they think they know.

“Should you be eating that cake?” It’s safer for me to eat the cake than it is for YOU to be asking me if it’s safe for me to eat. Obviously, cake isn’t exactly good for anyone and eating cake, providing the correct dosage of insulin is taken, is no worse for a T1D than anyone else.

“You’ll have to massively change your lifestyle now, won’t you?” That’s more T2D, because lifestyle changes for the vast majority means they can possibly reverse the disease. It was sad when my GP sent me a leaflet telling me to exercise more, lose weight and cut carbs from my diet. Lose weight? I was already fast approaching being underweight and I believe the leaflet was geared for a T2D. My lifestyle changes amount to constantly chasing my tail and playing a blood glucose level game of chess, one which I still frequently lose. 

“You’re too old to have T1D.” This has been said many times. Most disappointingly by another T1D at a writers event who helpfully diagnosed me with type 1.5 diabetes or Latent Autoimmune Diabetes of Adulthood (LADA.) It was surprising to me just how quickly that lady became a qualified endocrinologist. I mean, it usually takes a lot longer than a few moments of history to come up with an accurate diagnosis, right? 

LADA is a condition which appears to straddle T1D and T2D. Initially it can usually be managed without insulin. It is also slower to progress than T1D i.e. months instead of weeks. To be clear my condition was rapid onset requiring the immediate treatment of insulin and with ketones present, in other words T1D. Though, it is most certainly true that the vast majority of patients are diagnosed before the age of twenty-five, there is still a small percentage who develop the condition later on in life.

“I bet it’s harder for you than it would have been if you got it as a child?” Hell no. I’m glad and thankful for the thirty-five years I had without it. 

“You don’t look like someone who should get diabetes.” Being overweight is nothing to do with T1D, no one is actually sure how it happens. Being overweight is also somewhat of a T2D myth, also. 

So, there we have it. If you find out someone close to you gets it try patting them on the shoulder and say something along the lines of, “This must be pretty crappy for you. I’m here if you need to off load.” I’m sure that would work much better! 

So, as a sort of diabetes week gift I got this nifty thing! It saves me from having to draw blood five to ten times a day! So, that’s always good. Just scan the sensor and you get a reading. It’s literally the best and worst thing that’s ever happened to me because now I know practically everything food does to me! Seriously though, I’m pretty sure the Libre Freestyle will be an absolute game changer. 

Excuse the poorly applied holding tape…LOL

In other news, this month’s lucky newsletter subscriber has the chance to win a signed paperback copy of Falling into You, this lovely bat bangle and a kindle copy of Falling to Pieces for those that haven’t read it yet! Sign up here: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter

Also, I’m involved in a $100 Amazon gift card giveaway which you can enter here: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/bde4137412/?

Full-time Writing Dream?

If you’d asked me back in January what I would like to do more than anything else in the world, I’d have answered, “I’d like to write full time.” In a way, that’s still true, but it looks very different to how I would have initially imagined that would look. Here’s why…

I’m a paralegal, qualified to deal with matters within two laws that hold each others hands very well. I would never profess to have all the answers and most of those within the legal profession will hold their hands up to having to check from time to time. ‘Having to check’ is maybe a term I’m using incorrectly. It’s not necessarily that they’re unsure, but they look so they can go ahead and come across as real clever by quoting the law or a case on which they rely on to get their point across and appear even more clever. Bullshit often baffles brains and I admit to having considered making something up in a reply to a non-legally trained person (muggle) to see if they would challenge me or even check out my response. I’m brazen, but not that brazen. Also, I adore above nothing else being right. It’s human nature.

I have been a writer for a lot longer than I have been a paralegal and yet with writing there is no linear approach to it. Or, there can be in terms of plotting, but that makes life as dull as dish water and less creative if your character doesn’t go ahead and do something completely different to what you had planned for them. Or if your brain doesn’t produce that ‘ahh ha’ moment that will transform your manuscript from something great to something mesmerising. In short, as a writer you’re completely alone whilst you ‘gung ho’ that shit out of you and hope the readers like it. As a paralegal you don’t fucking care if they like your advice or response, you just hope they accept it and maybe say, “Thank you for your time, you clever little soul, you.” 

There is also a persona thing I have going on. At this point I think my paralegal persona is beginning to drift into my writer persona. Despondency is clearly setting in. Opinion is running rife on facebook as those seek to have their claims and opinions validated are posting away and many of my connections are other writers or have a connection to the industry. Funny, those who disagree with you are more likely to comment negatively and leave you feeling more frustrated than you initially were prior to your cathartic attempt at relieving some stress on, um…Facebook, the clear and obvious choice for personal therapeutic intervention (if you didn’t pick up on that, I was being acutely sarcastic.) All of the negativity forces you to delete your post in unadulterated rage that not everyone, in fact no-one, happens to agree with you and are being rather venomous in their comments. So, obviously you delete your post and then later feel the need to state that you deleted your earlier post and the reason/s why. Only this time you are decidedly more intelligent, you add the caveat that you don’t deserve to be attacked and will NOT tolerate this behaviour for having your opinion that was probably best kept to yourself. This is akin to a dog chasing its tail around. 

As a warning, I may be the person who makes you delete that initial post to begin with, or maybe I’ll be passive aggressive and post about your post? Who fucking knows? But, let’s just say I’m not feeling too pleasant. I’m like a boxer unable to fight, like a bee unable to collect honey…there is nowhere to direct my aggression usually delivered up to unsuspecting colleagues and other people who have not yet felt the wrath of my quirked brows and pursed lips in response to their stupid fucking question or request. As a writer I’ve followed a code where I don’t really express opinion, a bit like the queen but without being regal and all that jazz. My sole function since 2013 has been to make people like me and buy my book. Keep your head down and your chin up…

Of course, the screeches and screams of, “Fuck off!” still escape my mouth several times a day, but it’s just simply not enough to quell the rage inside. As a paralegal, I know unequivocally what I am doing and where to go in search of the answers if I don’t. As a writer, we’re often left to search alone in the dark or ask for help from someone who might laugh at us, like I sometimes do to the poor fellows who come in search of legal answers to things I think they ought to know. I don’t like this fragile feeling of being alone and not having all of the answers. I don’t like the anxiety of leaving all of my beautiful creations at the hands of other to poke and prod whilst silently dying inside because you must NEVER reply to a review. It’s the law. I detest that I must fiddle constantly with everything until I finally connect with my audience. I hate being the drop in the ocean. 

As a writer I am vulnerable in every single way. I can’t dispute that I’d love to get my books in the hands of more readers and earn enough money from it to say to my boss, “I don’t have to be here if I don’t want, you know?” (Sorry, boss. You know I actually love you.) I still have a job that I can do from home and for that I’m extremely grateful. Not just that I have a job that I can do from home, but a job I adore.

So, ask me again, “Lucy, what would you be if you could be anything?” 

Me: J.K. fucking Rowling

Why all Authors Should Beta Read

 I should what? I don’t have time for that, I hear you say. You’re wrong, I’ll tell you.that ‘I don’t have time,’ is something I would have said until a recent experience. 

I met Morgan A Kilth when she offered to beta read my upcoming release, Falling from Grace. She had read Falling to Pieces after watching a YouTube video I made, I confessed I was probably drunk when I made it and had no idea what the hell she was talking about.

Nonetheless, obviously I snapped her hand off and her feedback was awesome. I mean, I failed to travel through doors because my head was so freaking big. Morgan confessed she’d written a book of her own, I offered to beta read in return. She explained it was a romantic fantasy and what it was about. 

Now, I won’t lie, I’ve offered to beta read before and I’ll never forget the last time I did it. I opened the poor writers manuscript on a train journey home from London when I had to traipse down there for university. I laughed and made such bad facial expressions that the three other people at my table on the train began asking me what the hell was wrong with me. I told them someone had sent me a book for feedback, but it was truly awful stuff. We all ended up getting rather tipsy together, united in how horrendous the first chapter was. 

The writer hounded me and I ignored them because I just didn’t have the heart to confess that I absolutely hated it. I’ve read plenty of books where I’ve felt the same, and I’m certain many have felt the same about mine. Of course, books, like movies and TV shows are subjective and who am I to tell that person their book was horse shit? In truth, I am no-one…and there very well may be a reader that would adore it! But, it wasn’t me.

The same goes for me when I tell Morgan her book is amazing and out of this world, I am no-one. All advice has been offered as just that…advice and I honestly won’t be offended if she decides to reject it. I have ignored advice from betas and also accepted it. As a writer, we all have hard limits on what we will and will not change.

I can honestly say, I believe Morgan has a skill and whilst her manuscript lies technically incorrect in places, we all have to start somewhere. A draft no matter what shape it’s in is better than having no draft at all. One thing I can tell you for sure is that Morgan is a story teller, a story teller with a strong message to offer to young men and women. What Morgan has beautifully crafted is not Romantic Fantasy in the least…it’s YA Fantasy, and a brilliant one at that.

It’s been a long time since I read something that made me excited to be a writer. That is why I’m saying we should all beta read, if you pick up something great, something out of your comfort zone it can be inspiration to your own work and career. Knowing you had a hand in making someone else successful, I’m certain is also a great feeling!

Morgan

You can follow Morgan A Kilth here: https://www.facebook.com/morganakilth/?ref=page_internal 

It would be silly not to add that this is the final day you’re able to purchase all three titles in The Falling Series for 99p or 99c. Falling from Grace releases TOMORROW and I’m so excited to sharing it. This is the first book I’ve released in a long time and it feels amazing. I’m looking forward and somewhat dreading seeing the first reviews rolling in!

Don’t miss out! Get your copies TODAY:

Falling to Pieces:

When Teagan Lewis moves from rural Montana to the bright lights of London with her maker Thomas, she expects to live as harmoniously as she has for the last one hundred-fifty years.
Teagan didn’t know she had a heart or soul until she met Marc Romano.
However, it quickly becomes clear that Marc is forbidden fruit. All the signs that he isn’t human were there from the beginning, but she chose to ignore them…to her peril.
Can she simply walk away from this mesmerising stranger? Or should she risk her immortality to be with the man she has fallen in love with?

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Ha4li7

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2EQ3xvn

Falling into You:

Marc Romano disappeared without a trace into the darkness. His lover became overwhelmed with grief in her loss. But her grief takes on a much more murderous form than most, for Teagan Lewis is a vampire.
Now her heartache is driving her further from the woman she once was, and she realises she must snap out of her monstrous habits and discover the way back to her old self. But how?
Ending their trip around Europe, Teagan and her friend Alex head back to New York. Teagan has the full intention of carrying out a dangerous plan here; not just physically dangerous, but emotionally as well.
How will she be able to resist the irresistible? And what of the new rival, Ivan Lenin? He threatens her life and the lives of everyone she loves. The only people who can help her are her sworn enemy and an ancient stranger. Will they assist her?
How will Teagan Lewis face the demons of her past and try to find happiness? Will she stay and fight or will she run from the things she must face in order to finally be at peace? Mistakes will be made. People will die. The time has come…

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2GwsvBR
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2IwCgm2

Falling from Grace: 

Teagan Lewis is getting married! Or is she?
Vampires, Bartholomew and Teagan have lived blissfully for eighteen years. That’s what Teagan would have you believe anyway.
Two weeks before their wedding Bartholomew goes missing whilst attending to Assembly business. In Teagan’s bid to track him down she finds herself before a powerful witch. A witch who bears secrets from Teagan’s and Bartholomew’s past.
These revelations set Teagan on a course towards physical and emotional disaster.Can Teagan overcome her discoveries and continue her life with Bartholomew? Or will she have no alternative but to walk away from the man she loves?

Amazon UK: https://bit.ly/FFGltkellyUK

Amazon US: https://bit.ly/FFGltkelly

Being a Parent & ‘high risk’ during COVID 19

 So, I wrote a really long assed blog the other day about how the UK governments measures were woefully inadequate in terms of protecting the elderly and vulnerable throughout the global crisis many of us find ourselves in. It was going to be entitled; ‘How BoJo is trying to knock me off – Part One (hopefully!)’

Luckily, for those elderly and vulnerable, BoJo appeared to come to his senses or was warned that by advising the British public to wash their hand and isolate for seven days if they had a cough or fever smacked of genocide. It was political suicide. Especially, as after he said that we ‘would lose loved ones before their time’ before promptly disappearing off the face of the planet. Hardly a sign of great leadership, huh?

Finding humour…

In an about turn, on 16th of March BoJo strongly urged those over seventy or with an underlying health condition to socially distance and encouraged those who can to work from home. These were along with other reasonable measures, such as not gathering in places.  

My best friend is one of those people who are naturally cautious about everything and overloads herself with information. She was talking about COVID-19 before it came to your average Joe’s attention. She talked to me today about the few extra bits and pieces in her cupboard that she’s picked up on her weekly shop since January and more so about how no-one is laughing at her now…

Unfortunately, she totally correct! The issue is, I wonder how this will change the way we live our lives forever? 

We have already changed our lives drastically due to the use of social media and the tons of advice, some of it completely incorrect, at our fingertips. Now, I don’t know about you but the pictures of empty shelves in supermarkets sets my heart pounding. It feels like forever since I’ve even been to a supermarket, in reality it’s been two weeks when the fear and panic along with disease progression were not yet ingrained.

The prospect of not being able to feed my family has me feeling quite anxious. Literally whilst writing this blog, my son wandered past with a pint of freaking milk in his hand, inspiring hysteria! I understand my daughters school issuing a letter asking parents not to worry children. However, I’m a parent that wishes to provide facts to my children and had to call an emergency Kelly COBRA meeting where I informed them one slice for wees and two for poos. Like, never believed I’d have to have THAT conversation. Also, a curb in appetite must ensue, along with the hand washing reiteration.

A colleague of mine decided to take pictures of empty food shelves and of the alcohol aisles in comparison. They were brimming with lovely drink! I almost posted, ‘Thank GOD! :)’ but I realised that wasn’t the tone of the post just in time! 

Admittedly, and perhaps I am naive, but I never saw it coming. I honestly never believed there was a time I would fear for my safety to the point that I’d sign up to stay at home for weeks upon end. Before you judge me and tell me it’s the flu, I am in the at risk category. Although, I’m young enough to probably survive if I get it, I’d rather not chance it. When I die I want it to be because of something I did, because of my lifestyle or the naturally better option of old age, not nipping to the shop to have some twat cough on me, thanks.

Having scrolled through many news articles and social media I remain concerned. This virus seems to be like the Marmite of the disease world. No, not like you love it or hate it, but you’re all out in a state of panic or not bothered at all. I look at peoples panic and I get it. I have freaked out several times, but now I can work from home and feel validated in my decision to socially distance, a sense of calm has washed over me. 

Whilst the schools remain open in the UK there is every chance my children could bring it home to me and I could contract it anyway, but there are some things that are unavoidable. I predict the schools will close here on Friday. My sons school sent home a package of ‘just incase work.’ A contact within the NHS told me they’ve been informed schools will close on Friday. So, watch this space. 

I urge you to do what you need to do to get through this extremely difficult time. I’ve decided to journal for the first time, I’ve never quite had the willpower, but I can see the benefits of releasing worries onto a page everyday. Another good way of looking at it, is you’ll hopefully look back on this five or even ten years down the road and thank God you made it through.

My blog is monthly now and I wonder what I’ll be writing about then? The air of uncertainty hangs prevalently within the air for many, globally. 

In positive news, I have a cover for Falling from Grace! I originally set a schedule for the release date of May 1st 2020, and a cover reveal for my newsletter subscribers first and the preorder and cover reveal for the rest of social media the following day. However, given what’s happening I’m planning on bringing it forward.

Additionally, I still have prizes for this months subscribers. We all need cheering up, please sign up for you chance to win because heaven knows we all need to cheer up!

Sign up here: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter

Beware The Ides of January

 This blog is my first of 2020! I hear your snide remarks about laziness and incorrect maintenance of a blog space. Hell, I hear them inside my own brain!

But, honestly, hear my plea…January can only be described as utterly dreadful in many ways, and then the majority of February was taken up with the vast amounts of editing I should have done in January. SIGH.

So, please take the post as an update of what’s been happening with me.

If you didn’t already know, I smacked NaNoWriMo 2019 out of the ball park! I wrote the third, and long awaited book in my Paranormal Romance Series; The Falling Series. Falling from Grace has some wonderful, not seen before elements within the series. It was an absolute pleasure to write and undoubtedly, plotting has its merits. It flowed out of me like Norovirus and I expected the result to be just that, but I rather surprised myself!

That said, I suffered the soggy middle more than I ever have before. There’s definitely merits of being a pantser, too!

So what happened that made January so bad?

On the 30th of December 2019, as we were preparing to welcome a fruitful 2020, my beloved cat Henry was run down on the quiet rural lane outside our house. His neck was broken and he was killed outright. If I had to be thankful for anything, it would be that he didn’t suffer. Henry was a 9th birthday gift for my daughter in June 2019, she was his owner, but I was his human. I loved him so dearly, it’s difficult to describe with mere words. He was so young and full of life that his absence was apparent from the moment he was taken from us.

My grief was deep and all consuming. I had no idea how much I would suffer. Henry was the first pet death I have suffered.

Henry was resident on my lap throughout the first draft of Falling from Grace and already played a character in the cast, as a tenacious and feirce protector of his master. It was Henry to a tee. The book was already being dedicated to an angel taken too soon from the world, I hope R.K. Pavia is looking after my fur baby for me until my own time comes.

As if my grieving wasn’t enough to concentrate on, my daughter had surgery scheduled for her adenoids to be removed on 9th January. My bad luck unnerved me further, but luckily we got through that together and her health is much improved as a result.

Post surgery pic. Cake can fix anything!

The positives:

Toward the end of January, I made the decision that our household required an injection of love that could only come from another cat. We welcomed gorgeous Ziggy, he’s made us all so happy again.

I’m well into edits for Falling from Grace and I’ve sent ten chapters out to beta readers. I’m both terrified and excited for the feedback to start rolling in!

I have made a desicion to start concentrating on my newsletter. I’ll only be blogging once a month on average from now on, and sending out exclusive content in the newsletter which will be sent out on the last day of each month. Instead of throwing stuff out there, I think my subscribers should be offered rewards for taking their time to read my newsletter therefore one subscriber a month will be chosen as the winner of a mystery prize. I have already been in touch with a number of author authors and I’ll be offering their signed paperbacks as well as my own. But, the lucky chosen one will have a number of gifts sent to them, mostly book related or hedonistic in some way, because that’s how I roll!

If you’d like to sign up, because hey, you ignored the sign up on the way in…LOL. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/ltkellynewsletter

Thanks for dropping by! Keep your eye out for my cover reveal of Falling from Grace...coming soon.

NaNoWriMo Newbie!

Between the end of 2016 and May 2019 I wrote around the grand total of fifteen thousand words, most of which were utter shit. I just couldn’t do it, I had nothing of me to give to a sentence let alone a page. My marriage had broken down and I left the family home, agreeing to joint custody of my two children, that marked the start of my dry spell. 

I’d had relative success in previous years, penning Falling to Pieces, my debut novel releasing mid 2013, Falling into You in 2014, Kissing Cassie in 2015 and Kissing Katie in 2016! I then wrote a book with another writer, which finished in 2016 but unfortunately we had a huge falling out on the account that he was an utter wanker. Therefore, that was a waste of both time and effort. 

When I left, I moved into a quaint little cottage, the end one of several and the largest. You would have thought it would have been idyllic and tranquil, but it turned out to be anything but. My next door neighbour was a nightmare. I left the property within four months. 

When I moved to the next place, I vowed to start writing again, even though I was due to start Mental Health Law  at Northumbria University. Life simply kept getting in the way.

So, what does this have to do with NaNoWriMo I hear you ask? 

I finally, oh my God, you have no idea how divine it felt, finished the first draft of a novel at the end of September 2019. But, I still feel so desperately behind and people talking about NaNoWriMo seemed to flood from everywhere. 

Of course, I understood the basics of NaNo, write at least 50k in the month of November. I’ve been a writer for long enough now to have full knowledge of what 50k means in terms of time and effort and honestly, I couldn’t think of anything worse. For me, the pressure of that would kill my creativity and freedom. There would be no way I could ever do that…

Then, this is number one…I remember a cold beginning of 2013, telling people that I was happy writing short stories and I could never write a novel. Sooo, I figure that I was completely wrong there, on six accounts actually. I got to thinking maybe I could write 50k in a month! Well, I can if I try.

Number two, the thought popped into my head that I could do NaNo if I set my mind to it, I picked up my phone to reach out to my FaceBook pals and find out their experiences with NaNo and caught a notification on the front screen of my phone, ‘Beckie Pavia shared a video to your timeline.’ Nothing unusual about that, I hear you say? 

Beckie lost her battle with cancer on 21st August 2016 and when I hit the notification there was nothing there. I’m a superstitious person by nature and I honestly believe that was a sign. For anyone who didn’t now Beckie, she was inspirational and positive to the end. I don’t know if she ever did NaNo, but if there was anyone who had the willpower to do it, it was her. That’s why ‘Falling from Grace’ will be dedicated to Bex who went by the pen name of R.K. Pavia.

Preptober has been a completely enlightening situation for me, too. I’m a loud and proud pantster, it’s in my soul and how I function best. I have saved the cat and plotted out the entire novel, if it doesn’t fly out of my fingers that way, then so be it. There’s a part of me that hopes it doesn’t, because that will mean flying by the seat of my pants was always the correct road to travel on.

Also, this awesome board has rocked my world…

I have never spent an entire month prepping a novel. All of my research has been done on the job. I have done tons of research for my NaNo project which has led to richer ideas, or so I hope. I will definitely be taking a month out for research in the future. I mean, I don’t know how I even came up with the idea of setting some of ‘Falling from Grace’ on the Scottish border, but my research has suggested that the place is absolutely heaving with inspiration. I’d love to visit.

Are you participating this year? If so, please send me a friend request. I’m ‘TheLTKelly.’ Have you entered in previous years? I’d love to hear about your experiences, good or bad.

Thanks for reading :).

Lucy

My Write Club – Sprinting Tools – Part Two

 This is part two of my four part series on ‘sprinting’ sites for writers.

If you’re anything like me, you work better under a little bit of pressure, and if you’re even more like me you don’t have anyone hounding you for your next work of fiction to come to fruition.

With NaNoWriMo upon us, I decided to review handy sprinting sites, one, so you don’t have to and two, so you’re not reliant on finding another writer to sprint with!

Today, I’m bringing you something that’s completely different from anything else I going to show you in part three and four, so it’s a real contender depending on what you’d like from a sprinting application. My Write Club does not have a gaming aspect to it. I adore gaming and it spurs me to write so I can keep streaks and win items as part of a game. If you’re currently rubbing your hand together, thinking that you’ll wait for parts three and four, I urge you to at least take a peek of My Write Club, it truly is a very clean and functional site.

Click to sign up and then you can add a goal, this could be anything you like and a very nice feature is that you can choose how to measure your success in words, pages, lines and depending on how you work best! You can also set yourself a deadline, again, a great feature even if only to trick you into striving to smash it!

Note: If you’re British and you’re trying to in put a date, remember that Americans put the month first and then the day…

Okay, now onto the actual sprinting part. In the top left hand corner there is the ‘running person.’ At this point you can choose a custom or the global sprint. I think that the custom sprint maybe a private sprint between friends utilising the same site. I may be wrong and I admit I haven’t utilised this site enough to be aware of all the finer details. I have always opted for the global sprint. Sprints start every thirty minutes and last for twenty-five minutes. There is a handy timer at the top of the page so you know where you are in the sprint. Down the right hand side of the page you’re able to see the progress of your contenders. This is great, especially if you do have a real life friend to sprint with because they can’t cheat!

Please note, there is usually a list of names at the side with their live word counts, but I took the screenshot early this morning…

However, if you find the competition distracting you can hide it while you complete your sprint by clicking on the arrow on the top right hand side.

As you can see you can earn stars for your sprinting efforts, however, these don’t really do anything for you as far as I can see. I guess it’s sort of like getting a gold star when you’re at school, you don’t get a prize, only that warm fluffy feeling that you have done a job well done!

You’re words save in your account, if you move sprint, your words come with you which is a great function.

This is a great site for those who want to sprint in a more traditional sense, you, your words and a bunch of other people just trying to create. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to do the aforementioned. However, if you love colour, flair and game playing, I think you’ll be pretty impressed with the next two sites I have to show you, so don’t forget to subscribe by e-mail!

Give My Write Club a go: https://www.mywriteclub.com

Accountability is KEY!

I think I’m sat here writing this post as a valuable reminder of what works for me. Though, unfortunately, August marks the month that I have sadly ‘fallen off the writing wagon.’

But, this blog post may be useful for those of you, who like me, stopped writing for a long time. This could be for many reasons and trust me, I had many reasons and excuses for stopping for as long as I did. There were that many excuses/reasons that there wasn’t even a main reason.

This had to stop, especially for someone like me who has a poor prognosis when I’m not writing. Writing helped me almost eliminate a life long battle with depression. Writing also keeps me energised in all that I do, it keeps my mind oiled which assists in my battle with despondency. Funnily enough, the more I write the more I get done in other areas of my life.

So, August just happens to be one of those months where I am on a knifes edge with keeping the house clean, doing laundry and ironing and just completing tasks in general. Oh, and not writing!

Today, I’m taking it back and I still have eleven days to reach my goals!

When I decided in April that I absolutely had to start writing again. I missed it so much that a part of me had died and I could almost feel the life being sucked out of me. I eased myself in gently and listened to an audiobook of a craft book called Write Naked by Jennifer Probst. That book really helped me and I’m certain that I will listen to it again.

Anyway, Jennifer speaks about accountability and it struck a chord with me. I’m not lucky enough to be set deadlines by a publisher, agent or anyone for that matter. In fact, I never have been. The only thing that ever happened to me that could even resemble that is receiving an e-mail from my previous editor asking me what I had planned for the year ahead!

There are literally no human beings that are sat there voicing or even thinking their annoyance that L.T. Kelly hasn’t produced a book for an age, either!

So, I went on an adventure. A little bit like Weight watchers when you know that you will have to face the scales every week in front of all of those people and die of shame when you have added 5lbs, but at least there are other people there like you, ones that also share your shame of accidentally eating ten doughnuts that week!

The 1st of May hit and another author who shares a horrible, life changing diagnosis of type one diabetes teamed up with me to be my checker and I was to be her checker. Her schedule is insane, made worse by a huge event at work and then summer break. It all fell a little to the wayside and I quietly stepped back and introduced the concept of an ‘Accountable Group’ to my fellow authors within the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I had quite a few takers! Alas, I think the RNA conference and the summer has stolen them from me too, and I totally blame them for not keeping me on track this month! Just kidding, it’s totally my own fault! If you’re an RNA member and you like the idea, please drop me a line and I’ll send you an invite to the group. 🙂

There are probably many groups like it and if you’re struggling to sit down and put words on a page, even shitty words, then what do you have to lose? Contact other authors and shop the concept to them, get as many as you can and hope that everyone stays with you. I promise that you will get at least a couple of months of productivity out of it, if nothing else!

What do you do to stave off the despondency and stay on track with your writing goals? I’d love to know! Drop me a comment.

Happy writing!

Lucy

Guest Post with Francine Beaton

Rugby meets romance

What has Fourth of July, rugby and romance in common?

The obvious answer should be, absolutely nothing. It was, however, what led to the writing of the Playing for Glory series. On 26 February, I’ll release the third book in the series, and the first I’ve ever written, Leading from the Front.

A chance meeting with a rugby player from Jersey on a Fourth of July boat cruise on the Hudson planted the seed although I didn’t know it then. Before, and even during that meeting I not even dreamed about writing a novel, so a rugby romance was out of the question. It was only on the long flight from New York to Johannesburg while struggling through another rugby romance, the seed was planted.

I’m not mentioning the writer or the book, but it was absolute garbage. It felt as if the author knew nothing about the game, fitting in sex scenes on every second page to cover for the bad storyline. I suddenly thought that I’m sure I can write a better rugby romance than that. When we arrived in Johannesburg, I already planned a series. I’ve never written a book before and never dreamed of writing one either. It was just a random thought. But it seemed that I unpacked my muse along with my dirty laundry. Two days after our return from New York, I started writing. That was the end of July 2016.

I wrote non-stop for the next six months, finishing about six novels during that time. The first ones were just as bad as the one I read on the plane. It didn’t stop me though. In May 2017 I attended a Romance Master Class in Cape Town with writing coach Sarah Bullen of The Writing Room. Just before that class, I’ve finished the seventh novel in the series I called Taming a Buffalo. I took that book called Under the Mistletoe along to the course. During the course, Sarah read parts of the novel and encouraged me to continue. Over the next three months, Sarah helped me to polish the book. She also advised me to change the names of the books and the series name to something that relates to sport. Under the Mistletoe changed to Eye on the Ball, which was first published in April 2019 by Roane publishers who had closed their doors at the end of 2018. Since then I’ve got my rights back and started to self-publish. 

The series Playing for Glory, as well as the prequel series called Kick-Off, consisting of three books, all deals with the players and management of a fictional rugby team based in Pretoria. Because rugby is a professional sport, I had no choice than to create my own team called the Buffaloes, playing in a fictional series called the International Club Challenge. 

The Playing for Glory series was supposed to be typical sports romances with sizzling sex scenes. It didn’t stay that way. My characters seem to follow their own destiny and it doesn’t matter how hard I tried, they stay true to themselves. I still blame it on Jakes in Eye on the Ball. Although Jakes had the looks, the physicality, macho male image, the intelligence and other attributes to make him an alpha male, Jakes wanted to highlight important issues that had nothing to do with his looks. With Eye on the Ball I wanted to show the readers that even though men like Jakes are physically tough, playing a hard and physical game, they may struggle with the same insecurities other people suffer from. They may be emotionally vulnerable and that is okay. It is, however, important to talk about it, and sometimes show your sensitive side before it is too late.

Leading from the Front is my ninth book. Two of those nine books are in Afrikaans, my home language, and the rest in English. Leading in the Front was supposed to be the first book, but again Jakes had a different idea.

 

LEADING FROM THE FRONT

Temptation can come in any form.

 

As long as it wasn’t Melissa Roux. Daniel Cooper had known that since the first moment he’d seen the new physio for the Buffaloes. As captain, he had to set an example and falling head over heels for the feisty blonde with the endless long legs wasn’t the way to do it.

 

Melissa knew Daniel was going to be a problem from the first day she walked into Buffaloes Stadium. There was no way she was going to risk her career for an arrogant chauvinist who called her a blonde bimbo. For that, she worked too hard to get her dream job.

 

Neither had reckoned with the undeniable chemistry between them and the famous Cooper curse. When he couldn’t hide it anymore, Daniel made a simple request which had more repercussions than he expected. In his quest to find the truth, he made another error in judgement, risking not only Melissa’s career but also the loyalty of his team and the Club.

 

Daniel and Melissa both had to make important decisions: what’s more important? Your career or love? 

 

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What’s the problem with sex?

I started this huge journey into the world of writing when I self-published Falling to Pieces on 26th July 2013. I say I started it then because I strode into this world blindly, flinging my book baby on the proverbial table and proclaimed it good enough to be ‘out there.’

Falling to Pieces is a paranormal adult romance and a true example of raw, unadulterated writing from the heart. I bled onto those pages, and it was the same with the sequel, Falling into You.

Readers loved it. It did very well for a debut novel and I’m proud of what has been said about it. I never submitted it to a publisher, not because I don’t think it’s good enough, but because it’s precious to me and I was not open to change.

However, what was said behind my back by people I knew personally, was devastating.

‘Ugh, it’s about her and her husband having sex.’ Please, allow me to say that I was cornered into calling the male protagonist Marc, lets just say that’s why what happens to him, happens to him.

‘Vampire novels are stupid and you’re stupid for reading it.’ An ex-boyfriend to his wife when she read it.

Even to… ‘Ugh, it’s stupid, there’s a page number missing.’

‘It’s a cross between Twilight and Fifty Shades.’ I liked both of those books, but what an insult to my feisty and strong heroine.

‘No, no, it’s more like True Blood.’ Well, why can’t it be, you know, like Falling to Pieces, FFS!

There’s loads more, but I won’t bore you with the details.

Luckily, I was well into Falling into You by the time most of this got to me, but when I came to the end of the series I felt I wanted to be taken more seriously as a writer and I walked away from the Falling Series and side-stepped into contemporary romance. In all fairness, my ex-husband, Mark begged me not to finish the series at book two. It was possibly the only advice he’d given me that I should have taken.

I got a publishing contract for Kissing Cassie and then for Kissing Katie. I can imagine that caught in a few throats. I hope it choked them. By then I’d left the Royal Air Force camp life and besides a few bits of bait I threw to the hounds I didn’t hear that much from them again.

Away from the nasty circles and with a publishing deal under my belt I thought life would be much easier. I was wrong…

At first I thought it was the vampire thing that made me a lesser novelist in some eyes. I strived to conform to what a romance novelist should be, HEA’s and sunnier characters radiated in my contemporary romances and there was hardly any death or bloodshed.

But still there was the sex. No, not sex, lovemaking. Maybe that makes you cringe but in my view I don’t write erotica, I write adult romance or steamy romance. I’ll come back to what I believe the difference to be at a later date. It’s not that I have anything against erotica, I’ve read a few and they have just sort of made me giggle more than anything.

Not so long ago I congratulated a fellow author on her publishing deal with a very good house and I told her that I was going to read it on my holiday. She replied, publicly on the FB thread, that I may not enjoy it because it’s not that sort of book, as though I’m incapable of reading or indeed writing anything else! I pretended not to be offended and merely pointed out that I’d been reading a lot of thrillers, actually. Funnily enough, I never did buy her book, but I did read two rather good books sans sexual content. I’m sorry if you’re reading this and now know you offended me, because I know you’d be mortified.

Look, it could be that I’m wrong about this. It’s just the impression I get. Maybe I’m just a crappy writer and it’s nothing to do with the sex? But then, I honestly don’t think some of the people who have made snide remarks have even read my books. I would be really interested in hearing from any adult romance writers who may have experienced negativity.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on all of this over the last few years whilst I haven’t been writing. When my publishing house folded, I re-read, edited, rebranded and rereleased my two contemporary novels. I got the chance to look at them through fresh eyes and I thought they were great if I don’t say so myself! It’s strange what your mind can do to you when you don’t feel very successful and you feel judged by others.

So, will I stop writing? No way. I love it too much. Will I stop writing raunchy scenes? No, I’m good at it and it always seems to be a natural progression for my characters. I don’t sit there thinking, I must write a sex scene now, it just happens. Will I be adding a new book to the Falling Series? Yes, several!

Thanks for reading, please leave a comment if you’re so inclined!

Lucy 🙂