Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Writers' New Year Resolutions 2014

@carolJhedges @RobertFanshaw #NewYearResolution Improve my grammar. My grammar to improve. Grammar I improve must... Damn!

I have made new writing friends and acquaintances this year through Twitter and Facebook so I decided, as a way of saying Happy New Year, to ask them for their Writing Resolution for 2014. I've included as many of the responses as possible below, though some defy categorization or even repeating - writers are an inventive and invective lot. You know who you are, Michele Chapman. How could you think that about your wonderful editor?

Social Media issues figured frequently in the responses, unsurprising considering the method of my inquiry. Annie Seaton, Katheryn Lane, Sarah E England, and Sarah Madison have all vowed to 'waste' less time on social media in favour of 'real' writing. Sarah M. makes a good case:
Less promotion. More writing. Readers are like stray cats. Just put out food.
Nan Sheppard  is going to not take her phone to bed so that she reads books instead of scrolling through FB. Jacqueline Seewald on the other hand wants to learn more about how to promote her work to readers, and Lottie Lovelace intends to stop writing for a while and start promoting. Maybe in another year we'll know who's right. (You have to read that last sentence as though spoken with heavy irony.) WK Parks thinks the answer is to ignore trends and write what he wants to read.

Writing is clearly addictive, sometimes dangerously so. Rosie Vanyon, Erika Hayes, Laura Levot, Dan McIntyre, and Shaun D'sousa all intend to indulge their habit for longer or more frequently than last year. Leanne Bibby and Cindy Blackburn admit they intend to make it a daily habit, even weekends. Rosie describes it in terms of becoming a 'bad friend'.
Movies, drinks, working bees, doggy play dates..I'm going to practice this: 'I can't. I'm writing.'
If that makes writing sound like a lot of fun, you could always read the Ruth de Haas blog on the subject of 'writer's back'. Bella Osbourne must have already read it and vows to 'sit properly' in 2014.

Some correspondents like Julie Houston worked so hard in 2013 that they mean to take it easier next year. Mohana Rajakumar is taking a well deserved break after releasing eight ebooks in the past two years, and Robert Carter wants to spend more time indulging his passion for photography.

The mantra of 'continuous improvement' permeates even that darkest and most individualistic corner of the creative industries, fiction. Must do better; but how? According to Heather Brown, Carol Hedges, Marie Lavender, Chelle Bruhn, Helen Phifer, and Mags (she of Mag's Musings), the answer is TO BE BETTER ORGANISED. A few self-inflicted lashes of the whip detected along with the Tweets. Celestia Dew is going to establish a routine and *stick with it*. Heather does include regular walks on the beach as part of her routine in her bid to finish eight works-in-progress in 2014. Wendy Kendall has set herself 1000 words a day and dedicated writing time on the calendar. Jill Barry has had a 'brilliant year' but still intends to use her writing time better in 2014. Judy Astley will spring a surprise:
I shall hand in a book before the deadline. That'll frighten the hell out of my editor.

Establishing a strict routine is not the only recommended path to increased productivity. Twitterers were forced by the 140 character limit to be specific about their goals. Author O'Dwyer is going to:
complete and send my RNA NWS submission by spring time.
So now everyone knows and will hold you to it! The Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme is a good thing. Nat Russo is starting a sequel whilst submitting his first novel. Steve Christie is going to visit his story locations instead of just Googling them. Helen Barbour is taking the plunge into self-publishing with her novel. Mick Arnold aims to find a publisher for his. For D.G. Kaye the answer is to become more of a plotter and less of a pantser (that's one for the American audience; a pair of trousers just doesn't work). Rhoda Baxter is going to write a novella and give a talk to Real People. Rhoda also mentions cutting down on chocolate, and she's not the only one.

Other correspondents have not been quite so specific and will be harder to hold to account come the reckoning day. Ioana Visan wants to be less stressed, Wendy Jones wants to lose weight and write better. Benjamin Scott wants to stop worrying about things he can't control. Esme Adams has resolved to believe in her talent and not be afraid of trying new things. Kelly Louise is also inspirational;
I've downsized to follow my dream. So... 5000 words will follow each panic attack.
Matthew Peters echoes a number of resolvers when he says he wants to focus more on the quality of writing and less on quantity. Whatever the experience of the past, the future will be written better according to Helena Fairfax;
I'll write more productively in 2014. I know I said that last year, but this time I really mean it. Honestly.
Francelia Belton will finish what she starts (I hope it's a piece of writing and not a fight!). Autumn Barlow is giving up erotica in favour of comedy, though both genres can be good for a laugh.

Nearly everything to do with writing is badly remunerated and ever it was thus. Sue Moorcroft will focus on short stories and avoid low-paying work. Jenny Brigalow would like any job that pays, but Loretta Laird is convinced she will become a writing millionaire this year. If that doesn't happen, Loretta, I recommend reading 'The Gift' by Lewis Hyde. Because writing is a gift whatever happens to it, isn't it?

Now there is a school of thought which says that New Year resolutions are a waste of time. Ruth de Haas and Edwin Dakin gave them up years ago. Darry Fraser has resolved this year to give up resolutions. Good luck with that one, Darry. Lesley Cookman advises against them on the grounds they ensure a sense of failure. I confess to not having made a resolution for a number of years. I have too many 'exercise diaries' with alarming gaps in February. But by being irresolute I have written 150,000 words of fiction this year and had two novels and a novella published (see below). It's a miracle, and not one I expect to repeat.

My thanks to all who responded. I have found it instructive, and I hope you have too. My apologies to those left out due to lack of time, space, or resolution. Best wishes for a fabulous 2014 to readers and writers everywhere.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Catch it now

I have bought Caroline an extra present for Christmas. No, it's not one of those, it's an ebook called 'The Catch' which I wrote especially for her new Kindle Paperwhite. She asked if I could please write something which didn't show her up in a bad light, so I wrote about one of my other loves, cricket. It's not just any old cricket, it's Ashes cricket, and with perfect timing, the background is a Melbourne test, Australia v England.

Now, it is fiction. You can tell because England play well enough to last five days. But over that five days, another drama unfolds as Alana Carragher has the chance to meet the Aussie Captain. It all starts with a 'crowd catch'. 

If, like Caroline, you need to chill out after the excitement of Christmas Day, then try transporting yourself to Melbourne (unless you're already there) with 'The Catch'. Just load it on to your Kindle, and don't drop it.

Link to Amazon:

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Hot scenes in a cold climate

I mentioned in the last post that the good people at Steam eReads have some new holiday reading lined up. One of my favourite Steamy authors, Annie Oakfield, has used the occasion to take her 'Bucket List' series on a skiing holiday. 

Not only that, she took Caroline and me with Amber and Lucy, and four of their best friends too. How did this come about? Well, regular readers of this blog will remember Caroline meeting Amber and Lucy while they were down in London on business. Then Caroline's banker 'friend', Von Wolfswinkle (VW for short), offered us his ski lodge for a few days. I think he was feeling guilty, like most bankers do. It was too big for just two of us, so Caroline invited Amber and Lucy and it grew from there.

I'm sure you've had holidays where it turns out very differently to what you were expecting. A surprising chain of events were put into motion when the males of the party showed off on the slopes on the first day and three injured themselves, including me. Day one, and I had my foot in plaster for a chipped bone. Of course, the women were determined to have a great party anyway, and before long were sipping champagne in the hot tub under the stars.

Sometimes you look back and think, Did we really do that? It's okay, you think, no-one is watching. But then Annie goes and writes it all down...

If you like the idea of hot sex in a cold climate, take a look:

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Catch

And now, dear Blog Follower, for something a little different. Until now I have confined myself to writing about the adventures of my not-so-good-wife Caroline. God know, there has been plenty of material. But sometimes another story has to be told because it is simply the right time to tell it. Now is the time for the story called 'The Catch.' So I have put Caroline to one side, just for a while. She's away in Milan, anyway, attending the launch of the latest lingerie collection by the haute couture fashion house Plasticini, at the invitation of an old friend, the Ducati-riding Cosimo Baldisi.

Followers of the Ashes test series currently taking place in Australia will perhaps guess the topicality of this story arises from cricket, which is in many of our minds at present. For the English, the dropping of certain catches in the first two matches is a source of pain, and the losing of two tests by a wide margin a reason for wounded pride. For Australians, the victories are a sign that the almost empty trophy cupboard may soon be graced with a little wooden urn containing, it is said, The Ashes.

Thankfully, fiction is able to change everything, even the course of a test series. The great people at Steam eReads publishing decided, in the depths of the Australian winter, that it would be a service to readers of romance to spice up the Aussie summer with the release of a number of novellas, from short 'n sweet to short 'n spicy, written by their favourite authors, which capture the holiday mood. Beach reading, if you like. Or test match reading, if it's lunch, tea, drinks breaks, rain breaks, or just plain dull.

So I took the opportunity to contribute a story which has been brewing for some time, setting it over a Melbourne Ashes test match, starting on Boxing Day. I can't tell you the result, but I can tell you that England play better than they have done so far. In the crowd at the MCG are Alana Carragher and her two older brothers. Alana, a cricket nut, has a poster of the Australian captain on her bedroom wall.

Sitting in the row behind the Carraghers is an English post-grad student doing a year at Melbourne University. He's doing something with mice, but don't worry, it's not cruel. On the first day of the match, the Aussie captain hits a six (yes, he does, apologies to English readers) and Alana makes a diving crowd catch, a moment captured by the TV cameras and replayed on the big screen. It is a moment which brings her to the attention of The Captain, the object of her dreams and fantasies.

So very soon you will have the opportunity to read about a Melbourne test before it even happens. And you will also discover how Alana handles the dramatic events which unfold over the most important five days of her life so far. Don't worry it you don't like cricket. Everything is explained, and the romance will carry you though to the end. And if you do like cricket, you'll love it, just like in the song by 10cc.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Shameless Review

This week a review of Shameless Ambition popped into my inbox and I think it's worth sharing, and not just because of the Five Stars! A good review helps the reader know what to expect, and this one does just that.

Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite

The cover was beautiful. The delicate bare back of a sensual redhead, giving us just a hint of her profile was, in retrospect, very telling as to the tone and content of the book. I was a bit unprepared for the wanton displays of lust portrayed in Robert Fanshaw's Shameless Ambition. Judging from the synopsis, you think it's just another casual tale of corporate lust and ladder climbing through the sheets of those on a higher rungs, but no, it's not that simple in this tale of pure unadulterated lust and debauchery. 

Caroline is your average woman. Happily married (or at least content) for three years to a perfectly nice man, and through hard work and long hours, she has worked her way to the top of her department in a multi-billion dollar company. Now, she and her colleagues are finding their inner creative cores, and vying for the envied position of Director of European Affairs. Caroline, always sweet and typically downright innocent, is seemingly possessed by her need to be true to herself. What does this mean? Getting up close and personal with her own body in the hotel pool, helping a colleague get over his sexual issues, and becoming free and wild with another colleague in the Spanish countryside? But what does this all mean? It turns out that the leader of this "conference" has been looking for one person in particular to help bring down the head of a rival corporation. She needs someone to catch him in a compromising position, and it looks like she's found the red-head who could do it. 

While there were certainly way more sexual situations than I had anticipated, Shameless Ambition was an interesting mix of head games and flirtation. While I am now absolutely terrified of going anywhere for a conference with my colleagues, it was a truly fascinating story. Robert wrote with an excellent degree of poise and clarity, and nothing ever seemed to cross the boundaries into vulgarity. I quite enjoyed my little romp around Europe. It was a quick and entertaining read for those who aren't afraid to see...or read...about a little skin.

Add a review of your own at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk



Who are these people?

The world is divided into voyeurs and exhibitionists... It takes one of each to make a good marriage.

Robert and Caroline Fanshaw are an ambitious young couple trying to make their way in a complex world.

What happens when their private affairs collide with world events and the big issues of our times? Drama, comedy and x-rated scenes.

email fanshawrobert@gmail.com