Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Upside of Wrtier's Block

The Upside of Writer's Block

Writer's Block - It happens to all of us.

It's a bit like erectile dysfunction. Unexpected and bloody annoying.

Taken in the right frame of mind, however, it can be very useful.

Everyone needs a holiday, and if you think of writer's block in terms of time-out to regroup your creativity, then it's not such a bad thing.

Maybe, all your brain needs is a change of direction.

Each day for about an hour I walk my two dogs, Marisol and Lorca. This time out from writing, gives me the opportunity to rethink what I have written that morning. Writer's block is like my dog walking, it gives you valuable thinking time, and a break from the intensity that writing a novel, an article, a poem or a short story, demands of your creative juices.

Considering writer's block to be a mini-holiday, stopping your brain from exploding, changes it from a bad thing to a good thing.

The reason you get writer's block in the first place is because the creative part of your brain is totally full. It needs to have an ideas clear out.

If like me, you are a compulsive writer, and by compulsive I mean, you have to write every day, and if possible, most of the day. It's only natural for the mind to say, 'Enough. I need a break.' and if you, like me, are in the habit of ignoring this plea for mercy, then that creative part of your brain will rebel, go on strike, and shutdown.

Can you avoid writer's block? I think to a point you can. It's not easy though. We, you, are in the midst of the best prose you have ever written, are you going to stop? Stupid question really – the answer is – an emphatic – NO. You keep writing and writing until wham --- nothing of any value is being written down, then you don't have a choice, you have to stop.

So, here you are, looking at the screen with not a single useful thought in your head.

How to overcome this situation. Trust me it takes more than a walk with the dogs.

You need a strategy.

And you need to ignore the twitch in your fingers that says, I need to type. You don't. Well you do, but you shouldn't.

What you should do. Is forget that you are a writer. Become, something else. Anything else. Just not a writer.

Reading other peoples books is a great way to get your thoughts back in gear. Don't read your usual choice of genre. Choose one that is completely out there for you.

If you don't normally read crime novels, then read them.

If you are not the romantic type, force yourself to be.

Why do this? It forces your mind out of it's normality. If you write Paranormal, and you read only paranormal books, then there is no respite for your poor saturated paranormal soaked brain.

And, if like me, you are a multi-genre reader, choose the genre you read the least.

Do the things you have been meaning to do, but have never got around to doing, housework usually comes to my mind.

I love this quote from J.K. Rowling, asked how she managed to fit in working, being a single mother, and write her first Harry Potter book, she replied, “I didn't do any housework for four years.” My kind of girl, J.K. Rowling.

There is no point in sitting staring into space trying to conjure up your next chapter. If it's not there. It's just not there.

Take a break from the guilt trip of – 'I should be writing.' If you can't think of anything to write, then there is no point in trying to force something that isn't going to come.

Get up from your chair, close the lid on your laptop, and stop thinking about your work in progress – it not progressing, so why waste your time beating your head against a brick wall.

There is lot of articles on the net about writer's block. They all have their different theories as to why it happens, and how to overcome it.

In the end – it's yourself, who will overcome this lack of creativity. And you will overcome it in your own individual way.

The theorists blame a myriad of things, from distraction, to needing to download their solution to writer's block software, as the reason you are not writing.

Could it be that your brain is tired? You are sick of writing? Take a break – stop worrying why your creativity has dried up, and get on with other things.

It is said that when you stop looking for something – it will often find you.
For some reason my creative ideas usually resurface when I am up to my elbows covered in soapsuds doing the washing up. I'll not have been thinking about my novel being stuck in a grove, then bam, out from the ideas section of my mind, comes the best line I have ever thought of. I have to rush to dry my hands, before this most stupendous idea is lost back into the fog of my over active imagination. It's why I don't have a dishwasher.

Dictionaries define, writer's block, as a physiological inhibition preventing a writer from proceeding with a piece of work.

Physiological my arse. Boredom more like.

Your brain is sick to death of having to keep coming up with words that make some kind of sense, to a storyline you have agonised over, until the proverbial cows have come home.

Relax that poor overheated mind of yours. Take a rest from writing, go do something else, and let the flow come back – because it will, in it's own good time. You can't rush it. So don't try. Wait patiently. If all else fails --- try washing up.

thanks for reading this post...and if you enjoy my articles – please share them --

The Riotous Writer

My latest novel – a humorous satire on sexual infidelity.

It's not a Brothel – if it's a country house. The Rawlings Hall - ' Stress relieving spa for ladies'

More of my books – through my American publisher.

The Warlock's Woman

When a boy ghost meets a girl human in a hot-tub. Romance - Yes. Sex – Definitely.

UK Link

Half Blood

Vampires – not the undead – but aliens from another galaxy.

article picture courtesy of debspoons by

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The Short Sunday

This Sunday's review is

Sovereign by C.J. Sansom

To my shame, I have to throw my hands up and admit, I have never read a C.J. Sansom novel until this last week.

His novel Sovereign is the third book in a series about a lawyer, Matthew Shardlake, set in the reign of King Henry the eighth.

At first, I found the writing style a little tiresome, but when you realise (me) that as the book is written from the point of view of a main character, living in Tudor times, then the style is not only wholly appropriate, but is essential.

Having got over the writing style by the end of the first chapter, it was easy for me to become immersed in the book. It's a fabulous read. My only regret, I read book 3, before I read, books 1 and 2.

C.J. Sansom draws you into the world of the 16th century. As I read the pages, I walked beside Matthew Shardlake, smelt the same smells as him, saw the world through his eyes, and felt the same political terror that the reign of Henry Tudor inflicted on his subjects.

The plot was intriguing without being over complex, with several twists and turns. I did however, guess 'whodunnit' before I reached the final chapter, but only in the penultimate one – still it didn't take away any of the enjoyment I got from reading the novel as a whole.

A well deserved – highly recommended. 

Published by Pan Macmillan

thanks for reading this post...and if you enjoy my articles – please share them --

The Riotous Writer

My latest novel – a wickedly naughty satire about the sexual infidelity, of the amoral rich.

More of my books – through my American publisher.

The Warlock's Woman

When a boy ghost meets a girl human in a hot-tub. Romance - Yes. Sex - Definitely.

UK Link

Half Blood

Vampires - not the undead - aliens from another galaxy. 

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

How to handle rejection from a Publisher

How to handle rejection from a publisher.

With shaking fingers and a hopeful heart you click open the email. It's not been a long wait, three, maybe four, five, six months – still the wait is behind you now. This is the publisher who is bound to be the one that says, “We would like to publish your novel. Contract on it's way.”

But it isn't.

It says curtly, highhandedly, no room for hope, thanks, but no thanks. The email falls short of actually saying – 'sod off', but only just.

Tears well up in your eyes. You say, “Fuck it.” As you brush your tears away – I don't think. What you really do is collapse in a shapeless heap of misery, and bawl your eyes out.

Have you finished crying? Good.

Bawling done – it is now time to pull yourself together, and hit the bottle.

Does the genre you write determine your choice of booze?

Here's a helpful list, if you are not sure which form of this particular pain-killer you should go for.

Horror writers --- Bourbon, Sour mash whiskey, any type of hard liquor. Theirs is a tough genre, it calls for tough drinking.

Romantic types --- Champagne or Cava, depending on cash-flow.

Sci Fi geeks --- Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. What else?

Paranormal --- Red wine. Think of vampires.

Erotica --- Cocktails. It takes all sorts!

Comedy --- coffee. Why not alcohol? A caffeine life is a happy one. No caffeine – then – 'die you bastards.' - is not the attitude you should have if you want to make people laugh.

Of course, you could be teetotal – but if you are a writer, I doubt it.

Ex-smokers, who haven't smoked, in heavens knows when, should not start searching down the back of the couch for that long lost packet of of 20. Chew your finger nails, looks nasty, but not so dangerous to your health.

Don't over look the therapeutic properties of good old fashioned – sex. Shag 'till exhaustion sends you to sleep, thus blotting out the misery of rejection, only works it you have someone to do it with, unless you are a gadget freak.

Of course, all of the above may not necessarily appeal. So here's some alternative suggestions.

Think on this. Some of the most successful authors of all time, have experienced multiple rejections from agents, and publishers alike.

With a wonderful twist of irony, how stupid must the agents and publishers feel, who rejected J. K. Rowling?

All that lovely commission having slipped through their fingers.

Life is full of disappointments. Some small. Some not so small. Disappointments are one of the many hard facts in life we have to put up with. Get used to them. You won't every stop being disappointed as you weave your way to your final chapter, but you can lessen the blow with a positive attitude of mind.

Tell yourself, if agents and publishers can reject mega successful authors like Stephen King, and J. K. Rowling, they obviously don't always get it right. And in your case, they have definitely got it wrong.

If your rejection isn't just a short note, but an editor has taken the trouble to give you the benefit of his/her wisdom, read it – digest it - because often the reason you will get an editor commentating, is, they like your writing style, and think you show promise. Editors don't wast their time on no hopers.

An editor gives out advice for one reason, they think you and your book or any future books you might write, could suit their publishing house, once you have listened to them, and acted on their advice.

Take heart. Basically – they like you. Would like to publish you.

If it is a curt rejection you get, remember Stephen King and J. K. Rowling. Pick yourself up, dust yourself down, and send your MS to another publisher, giving it one more read through before you do.

But if you really hate the idea of being rejected again – love 'em or hate 'em, thanks to companies like Amazon, it is now much easier to self-publish your book. As is typical of human enterprise, a whole new industry has sprung up.

The Indie Industry.

Professional proof readers, editors, book cover designers, and agencies where you can buy an ISBN number from, are only a Google click away.

Some Indie authors, have landed solid book contracts from publishing houses. If your book sells well because you have gone to the trouble to present it in a professional format, then being noticed by the 'big boys' becomes easier.

All editor's opinions are subjective. If it's a curt note. Delete it with a 'yaboo sucks to you' attitude – remembering the mega greats who also got rejected.

If the email has good advice, act on it.

But if there is one thing you should take heart from when you get a rejection slip/email. Your sense of self-belief.

Deep in your soul, you know you are going to become a published author. You must never let go of knowing you can achieve your dream.

If you can sit at a keyboard for weeks or months on end, diligently creating your imagination into a book, then you have truly succeeded, no matter what someone else says. Your work maybe rough around the edges, your story may not appeal to everyone who reads it, but you did it.

You wrote your story. You sent it off to a publisher.

So say to yourself, fuck the publisher who doesn't like what you have written, revise your MS one more time, click on Predators and Editors, and find that publisher who has the foresight to take a chance on you.

thanks for reading this post...and if you enjoy my articles – please share them --

The Riotous Writer

My latest novel – a black comedy, about sexual infidelity, greed and a brothel for mature ladies.

More of my books – through my American publisher.

The Warlock's Woman

When a boy ghost meets a girl human in a hot-tub. Romance - Yes. Sex - Definitely.

Half Blood

Vampires - not the undead - aliens from another galaxy. 

reject picture by courtesy of digital art at

Sunday, 17 April 2016

A writer's worst nightmare?

What if you find book you wrote for sale on the shelves of a charity shop?

As a writer, this is something I have often pondered. As it happens, I've yet to see a copy of my prose adorning dusty shelves at the back of such a shop. I live in hope. I think.

This question is a double edged sword.

Edge one. Whilst having bought a copy of my book, the someone, didn't feel like hanging on to it for a second read. Ego bruising.

Edge two. My book getting resold in a second hand shop, means, no royalties. Which is a bugger.

Like any writer I need to earn money for my efforts.

Libraries aren't that much better at bunging cash my way. Okay – I get paid once from the library for the privilege of letting them lend my book out, time and time again, but then that's it. No more moolar, no matter how many times my labour of love gets read.

I digress. Back to the charity shop.

As a not particularly well known writer you are bound to have no money, it's why you are in the charity shop in the first place, there on the same shelf as dozens of copies of Fifty Shades of Grey, is your book.

The reason Fifty Shades of Grey is gracing the same establishment as your tome? It's crap, having bought it, the owner realises their mistake, and dumps it, on an organisation that needs the money more than the anti-kudos of selling the thing. Or not selling it. I've seen lots of copies waiting in the forlorn hope of being sold, never to get the chance. I read of a charity shop that had so many copies they made a fort out of them.

Don't take my word for it. Here's the link ---

Sorry – I'm digressing again. Note to self. Must stop digressing.

You have a check list as why someone should want to part with your wonderful work.

Does the book look well thumbed or is it in the same new condition as when the obviously deranged person who parted with your book, bought it.

This is an important point. Did they finish the book? If the book was bought from Amazon, did they review the book? Was it a good review? Hopefully not a crappy one.

Was the book stolen by a crazed charity shop donator? Perhaps the original owner is devastated by its' loss? Perhaps they don't give a shit? You scrub that last thought. Of course they cared. They bought it from a book shop. Didn't they? Depression filling your boots, you wonder if your book is on it's second visit to the charity shop.

The hardest question of all to answer.

Why? Why would anyone want to give, your lovely, yet to make your fortune, book away.

Stealthily, making sure the shop assistant doesn't see your smiling picture on the back cover, you buy the book and gently place it in your re-cycled carrier bag.

Clutching your novel as tightly as a mother holds her newborn baby you take your masterpiece home, placing it in proud unison with all the other copies you have rescued.

Of course, all this is made impossible, if your novel, is an e-book. Maybe I should stick to e-books, then I will never feel the hurting shame of the discarded writer, but then I'd never feel the pride of seeing my work alongside some of the greats, like P.D. James. Danielle Steel. Lee Child, James Patterson. Stephen King. And I'd never get the chance to feel that one day, another writer will sneak their book off a shelf, wishing they were as well known as me.

thanks for reading this post...and if you enjoy my articles – please share them --

The Riotous Writer

My latest novel – a black comedy, about sexual infidelity, greed and a brothel for mature ladies.

 Link -

More of my books – through my American publisher.

The Warlock's Woman

When a boy ghost meets a girl human in a hot-tub. Romance - Yes. Sex - Definitely.

UK Link

Half Blood

Vampires - not the undead - aliens from another galaxy. 

book picture courtesy of
The Short Sunday

The Last Testament – by Sam Bourne

Sam Bourne's novel is about an ancient tablet, stolen from a museum in Iraq shortly after Saddam Hussein was overthrown, then smuggled to Israel, where the story is centred.

A disgraced diplomat, Maggie Costello, is tricked into joining Israeli/Palestinian peace talks in Jerusalem, only to find herself involved in a series of mysterious murders.

There's the usual love interest. Some really good research on the political problems of the middle east, let down by a sadly predictable ending.

Sam Bourne, billed by the Mirror, as 'The Biggest Challenger to Dan Brown's Crown'.

And, 'Compulsive reading...bears all the hallmarks of a blockbuster', by the Daily Express.

Not sure about that. I haven't seen the book hit any great heights in the popularity rankings.

The writing style was certainly more readable, than anything of Dan Brown's I have waded through.

The story-line concept did capture my interest in to the novel. Unfortunately that's where the draw ended - at the title. The book certainly did not live up to the expectations the book blurb let me to believe it held.

The plot was slow to start. It got going round about the middle, and for few chapters I was almost on the edge of my seat. Getting to the end of the book didn't make me feel at a loss, wanting more.

Would I buy another Sam Bourne book?

Yes. As I said, his style is readable, and I'll always give an author a second chance at grabbing me as a potential fan.

Am I recommending you go and buy this book? No, No more than I would recommend you to buy a Dan Brown, novel (which I am not).

It's an okay book, but that's as far as I can praise it.

Of course, it's only my opinion and all opinions are subjective.

Published by Harper/Collins – Available on Amazon.

thanks for reading this post...and if you enjoy my articles – please share them --

The Riotous Writer

My latest novel - a black comedy about sexual infidelity.

 Link -

More of my books – through my American publisher.

The Warlock's Woman

Half Blood

 Review image courtesy of Stuart Miles at