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

Sprinting Tools – Part One – Fighters Block

As NaNoWriMo looms upon us, I’m creating a series of blogs over the next couple of weeks with a recent discovery which has helped me achieve more words in a month than I have managed to produce in a very long time.

I’m quite competitive in nature and I adore a good old sprint. If you’re anything like me, you’ve shouted out on Facebook, Twitter and whatever other forms of social media where you have good connections with other authors and asked someone to sprint with you, the highest word count wins. It truly helps me to keep focussed on that task for the agreed time, usually 30-60 minutes.

That said, I’ve found it difficult to pin down a time and a person to sprint with me.

I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a reference to sprinting websites. I honestly knew nothing about them, but there are tons! Some free and some paid for.

This is part one of four I have used. Fighters Block is by far the simplest design.

You arrive at this page…

Select your character, the monster you wish to battle and your word goal for the ‘fight.’ I think there must be a minimum amount of words you can put in the goal box, because I’ve experienced issues getting in when I’ve placed a low number in that box.

We then move into the action. I logged in from this device and the work I’d previously done was there. I haven’t found a place to sign up or had to provide any details at all.

The next screen is ‘the battle ground.’

The green bars below the ‘fighters’ slide in real time depending on how fast you’re typing. It can either be a great motivator to watch it move, or a horrendous distraction depending on works for you! But luckily you can hide it and turn the screen into a blank writing space. Personally, I’m not entirely sure what the point would be in that case!

Talking of functionality, there is plenty of them which we can see in the picture below.

This menu is accessed by the cog in the top right hand corner of the page. I haven’t managed to work out the difference between ‘monster speed’ and ‘monster attack’ though they both appear to be able to slow or speed up you progress bar depending on how quickly you type.

There are a range of fonts available, mine is set to ‘roboto’ as well as an ample plethora of text sizes and themes as well as widescreen and thin screen. The arrow pointing upward is what you would use to hide the sliding scales and characters from view.

Admittedly, this is a nice, simple and functional site. Also it’s free.

I’ll be honest and let you know that this was my least favourite out of all the sites available out there. I thought there could have been a better visual cue on how you’re getting toward the end of your goal, such as your character moving toward the monster rather than the sliding scales! I’d love to hear your comments on what you think of the site, even better if you can suggest some for me to take a look at!

I have three more sites to present to you, so if you’re interested please make sure you sign up to receive e-mails when I post.

If you want to check it out for yourself it’s here: https://cerey.github.io/fighters-block/

Thanks for looking! 🙂

***NEW RELEASE*** Drunk Boy by Aubrie Lee

Drunk Boy, is LIVE and FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Buy or Borrow on Kindle Unlimited
Was it a push from above, or just too many shots? 

We were both drunk, that’s my excuse.
He had just broken up with his fiancé, that’s his excuse.
But we both want to do it again.

Miguel Mancinelli isn’t anybody’s idea of a typical Daddy.
He’s twenty-two years younger than Dallas Coulter.
He’s physically bigger, but too rough around the edges to take care of anyone, but himself and his club. 
Yet, the day they meet everything changes… can they really blame it on the drinks?

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? 

 

https://amzn.to/2TLBbZd

 

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Bookbub: https://http://www.bookbub.com/authors/francine-beaton

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 🙂

A Time For Change!

Hi to all of you lovely people…yes, you there, the one that has bothered to open this blog post and give it a read!

I’ve been posting plenty of reviews here over the past few years as well as my rants, usually about something that happened on FaceBook, aptly named by my step-father as ‘the book of the devil.’

Upon great reflection it has come to my attention that my rants have had far more attention, and therefore that’s what I’m going to do! JUST KIDDING! But, my posts will be more centred around my observations and experiences. You will not see me writing about the bloody casting of The Little Mermaid though, I mean…why is this even a thing?

I’ve recently become a reviewer for a lovely FaceBook page called Rainey Day Book Reviews (link opens in a new tab) and you can still follow my reviews by hitting the ‘like’ button. I’m joined by the lovely Lorraine Leatham, the pages original owner and Grace Coronado who joined at the same time as I did. If you’d like a review, please do get in touch by messaging the page or e-mailing us at raineydaybookreviewcrew@gmail.com.

I’ll also still be posting cover reveals, interviews, new releases…I’ve been offering, but strangely they haven’t been taken up. This must be a really rubbish blog! If you’re looking for content for your blog, you go right ahead and message me! I’d snap your arm off for the promo!

On a final note, and because I’m here, please don’t forget to enter my giveaway, share it around, for the love of all that’s holy…do something with it! L.T. Kelly’s Giveaway

Thank you!

Lucy

REVIEW – Cloaked in Danger by Jeannie Ruesch

Okay, I’m going to hold my hands up here and admit that this is the first historical romance that I’ve read, or remember reading, I should say. I read that many Mills & Boon books when I was growing up, that it’s possible a few could have slipped in!

I spent a while reading psychological thrillers and I really enjoy that genre. Why am I mentioning this, I hear you ask? Well, THIS book right here is a historical romance and a thriller! Who’d have thunk it! It is brilliant!

I listened to this book on Audible for every spare second of my life over the past few weeks, and for the love of all that is holy I truly wished everyone in my house whole just STFU and I would have raced through it much quicker.

The story is set in Regency London where Aria Whitney has been sent to reside with her pregnant step-mother, much to her annoyance. Aria spent her youth travelling with her treasure hunting father, Gideon, following the tragic death of her mother. But when her father’s partner, John, arrives back in London half dead after something went terribly wrong Aria is determined to discover what has become of him.

The story unfolds that Gideon went missing after a discovery of a lifetime in Egypt, the finding of Cleopatra’s jewellery. Aria has a list of suspects within high-society and begins mingling in those circles in the hope of finding her father. She is wild and unruly, finding it difficult to fit in, also she is branded a ‘title hunter’ by the other women.

During her investigation, one of her suspects is Adam Willoughby, the Earl of Merewood. He’s handsome, rich and dominant. The dynamic between Aria and Adam is breathtaking!

I won’t spoil anything for you, but lets just say something goes terribly wrong, okay, lots of things go terribly wrong that will have you turning pages into the wee small hours of the night or, in my case, gaging your family and tying their arms behind their back! This historical romance is packed with mystery, excitement, romance, action and even mental health issues. I’m really not sure what more you could want from a book?

An easy FIVE STAR read.

Book links:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

**REVIEW** Why Mummy Drinks & Why Mummy Swears by Gill Sims.

I listened to both of these books from audible. Unfortunately, I read them out of order, which is part of the reason I’m doing a joint review of both titles because the thing is, I don’t have too much different to say about either of them! This may instantly put you off, however if you’re a mother please read on!

Why Mummy Drinks is the first in the series. Each title begins with the absolute optimism and determination every parent starts the month of September with. The joy of seeing your children embark on another school year sends each mother into a fit of renewed hope that the year ahead will provide fruit from your super organisation skills, all of their homework will be completed and handed in on time, they will skip through the school gates, on time of course, and be delighted to be educated. Your precious little moppets will rise each morning with an enthusiasm matching your own and everything will be just perfect this year…I swear, it will be nothing like the disaster of last year! Well, if you’re anything like me you will fail miserably in the first week, though it’s not for lack of trying!

Ellen works part time, in what appears to be a ‘money for old rope’ job. This comes with the perk of being able to work on an idea she has for an app game based on her feelings of inferiority in the playground and the ‘perfect mummies.’ Again, something I can totally relate to. I’ve never been a joiner and I can’t think of anything less I’d rather do than attend a PTA meeting or ‘coffee morning.’ I’d go as far as to proffer that I’d enjoy dousing myself with petrol before setting myself alight much more!

Ellen keeps her ideas quiet from her husband and goes ahead, builds and publishes her app. Of course she experiences ups and downs of self doubt and hope. Alas, she makes a mint and I was cheering her on! That’s not really a spoiler, because the reader suspects it anyway, I guess.

As with the second title, the book ends as the school year ends. Poor Ellen has had to put up with a lot throughout the book, but in my eyes she handles it in a hilarious way that had me in stitches throughout.

The second book of the series sees Ellen, having been made redundant apply for a full-time job, much to her husbands dismay and discouragement. Simon displays an attitude toward his children which I have heard escape the mouths of many women’s strangled cries of injustice; ‘It’s not babysitting! They’re your children, too!’ For those of you that do not possess a partner that sees the woman as being responsible for childcare, maybe it’s just the people I know and we have a predilection for arseholes! Oh, and the cooking and cleaning despite the fact you both work! I still think it’s hilarious how Ellen’s irksome husband, Simon, thinks lasagne is such an easy meal to prepare!

Anyhow, despite a second interview over the telephone taking place with the precious little moppets almost killing each other outside the bedroom door because, Simon who was meant to ensure their silence during the meeting, had a touch of ‘man flu’ and couldn’t possibly cope alone for ten minutes!

Ellen arrives at the swanky office block and quickly catches on to the fact that one of her colleagues is a mother and faces constant criticism for having time off. Although, this is played out with wit and hilarity it touches a deep rooted nerve with me. Her colleagues assume that Ellen is single and childless, she decides not to correct them. She manages perfectly with school commitments, such as the many dratted plays and school engagements bestowed unkindly on us working mothers, with many doctors and dentist appointments. She grows more and more of a guilty conscience for her colleague, who frankly works her arse off in order to get time off to attend such engagements and meets anger and disappointment from her when the truth finally surfaces. This scenario is delivered with such scathing accuracy. Bravo, Ms Sims!

Obviously, there’s plenty more story line covering Ellen’s antics as well!

Overall, what I must say about this series is that it resonated with me in so many different ways. The comical aspect of serious situations and stumbling blindly through motherhood felt effortlessly lighthearted. I can’t thank Gill Sims enough for her offerings!

I award FIVE easily given stars to both of these books!

Both books can be found on Gill Sims Amazon author page, she also has just released another in the series! Both links will open in a new page:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

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