Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Writing rituals and other habits

Recently, I was asked what my writing rituals are. My knee-jerk reaction was, "I don't have any!" But now upon reflection, I'm starting to suspect I was wrong.

The trouble is when I think about ritual, I picture consistency and regularity—neither of which describe me very well. Quite the opposite. "Inconsistent" and "doesn't apply herself" pretty much dominated my school report cards ever since I was old enough to get them.

When it comes to writing, my "rituals" are more like "habits" or even "superstitions", and they change even more frequently than the seasons. But for the sake of answering this question, here are the three most somewhat regularly occurring quirks that nudge my writing along...

Photo by Drew Taylor on Unsplash

Making a cup of tea

This tends to happen when I get stuck in the middle of writing a scene. My hypothesis is that my brain craves some freshly oxygenated blood, which forces me onto my feet and away from my desk. Half the time, this means I walk to the fridge, open the door, then shut it again, realising I don't actually want something to eat.

The other half of the time, I put the kettle on and shuffle around the kitchen while waiting for water to boil. By the time I get back to my desk, I have a pretty good idea of what to write down next.

Working on my newsletter

As weird as it sounds, putting my newsletter together somehow manages to help me find focus. I think it's because I'm forced to re-frame my thoughts within a structure and timeframe, and that approach follows me back into my "writing zone".

I don't know too many other people who use one type of work to get another type of work done, but it's a little trick that's always worked for me. The downside, of course, is accidentally winding up overworked if I'm not being careful.

Changing the music

I make individual playlists for each WIP (like this one for my upcoming book, "The Guy From The Internet"), but once in a while, they don't put me in the right frame of mind to work on the story. Sometimes the vocals are too distinct and lyrical, so I can't concentrate on writing my own words. Other times, even when the music fits the scene, it doesn't work with the mood I have to be in to get the story out.

So I keep a stash of chilled out, emotionally calm music on hand. Piano jazz mixes on YouTube feature greatly in this collection.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Thank You — Dido

Taking some time today to think about what I'm grateful for. This week especially, I'm looking at good friends, good health and being on the tail end of the cold season. Summer is just around the corner, and I hope to have a new book out real soon.

Here's a very on-theme song for this Monday's mood:

Friday, September 25, 2020

Charlotte's Challenge by Caroline Clemmons

Today's guest feature is by Caroline Clemmons, introducing her shiny new book, "Charlotte's Challenge", a western historical romance featuring a strong heroine and a cavalier adventurer who gets more than he bargained for.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Guy From The Internet — a soundtrack

Music makes the moment. Well, it does for me, anyway. If "The Guy From The Internet" were a movie and I got to put the soundtrack together, here's how it would go.

Listen to it on YouTube.
  1. M2M — Pretty Boy
  2. Calum Scott — You Are The Reason
  3. Snow Patrol — Chasing Cars
  4. Keane — Somewhere Only We Know
  5. Fergie — Big Girls Don't Cry
  6. Hoobastank — The Reason
  7. Olivia Ong — Kiss Me
  8. PennYo — Hong Dou (Red Bean)
  9. Tanya Chua — Mo Qi (Chemistry)
  10. Knapsack (feat. Êmia) — Inferior
  11. Tiffany Alvord & Chester See — Love Me Like You Do
  12. Chester See & Tiffany Alvord — Perfect

Monday, September 21, 2020

My All — Mariah Carey

Where have the years gone? I remember when this song came out. I remember the kind of clothes I wore, what hijinks my friends got up to (that my folks would never let me go out and do). I still sing this in the shower sometimes. Is it really 2020 already?

Friday, September 18, 2020

Healed By Love — group giveaway ends 1 Oct

Only a couple weeks left in the Healed By Love group giveaway on StoryOrigin. Find yourself a new favourite read featuring the healing power of romance 💗

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Writing Inspo — 16 Sep 2020

I don't drink a lot these days, nor have I been much of a pub-goer in the years leading up to 2020. So I don't really yearn for nightlife and beverages and parties in the same way I used to when I was younger.

But I do find a lot of inspiration in the memories and possibilities. As I work my way through my WIPs, I remember fun times, carefree evenings, silly banter, and the random unpredictable shenanigans with friends.

Not every memory is happy, of course. And not every daydream possibility leads to someplace practical, but that's okay. At least they make a good story.

Photo by Roan Lavery on Unsplash

Friday, September 11, 2020

Fresh starts with Addison Brae

Author Addison Brae joins us today to talk about her exciting romantic suspense novel released earlier this year: "Dark Energy: Return to Becker Circle". It's an intriguing title with an even more intriguing premise.

Addison, what sparked a story like this?

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

The Guy From The Internet — cover reveal

I'm super excited to finally reveal the cover of my upcoming sweet contemporary romance novella, "The Guy From The Internet". It's an #OwnVoices work of fiction inspired by real life dynamics in a first-generation immigrant family.

The Guy From The Internet

A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.

Holly Chee does not have her life together. She’s flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.

But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France… assuming he’s even who he says he is.

Monday, September 7, 2020

All Out Of Love — Olivia Ong

While I'm on a covers kick, here's a cover of one of my favourite songs. It's from a Somerville Stories writing playlist for "The Guy From The Library".

Curiously, I've stalled on that WIP, as I'm struggling to get the chemistry right between the main characters (Andrea and Jackson). And I've stalled on compiling this playlist, because I'm not totally sure about the mood I'm writing to.

Perhaps making some progress one one will help the other along. But for now, please enjoy this lovely little tune. Happy listening!

Friday, September 4, 2020

The weather where I live

Where I live, the climate is remarkably pleasant. So pleasant that, by and large, the weather is a thing worth having a conversation about. Small-talk so easily grows to big talk, and even complaining comes with a tacit understanding that we're very lucky here in Western Australia.

There are crazy hot days. And crazy cold days. And days we'd call extreme by comparison. Those aren't as nice, but they're nothing compared to the extended greys of London or Seattle. Or the frosty weather in Alaska. Or the oppressive heat of New York and Dubai. Or the humidity of Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

I love the feeling of being "swaddled" by the climate here, and take none of it for granted. Many times, my dear significant other and I have talked about living in a different city for a while. Many times, people have told me I should give it a go for the life experience and to broaden my horizons.

But the truth is I love it in Perth. It's the perfect place for my equatorial blood and seasonal appetites. It's home.

Photo by Josh Spires on Unsplash

Latest on my blog

Out Now: The Guy from the Internet

A sweet romance with a touch of family drama.

Holly Chee does not have her life together. She's flip-flopped on uni courses and career choices, and somehow scared off her long-term fiancée-to-be, much to the chagrin of her immigrant parents.

But she does have her streaming channel, where she broadcasts her art from her one-bedroom Mount Lawley apartment. And she has that guy from France... assuming he's even who he says he is.

The Guy From The Internet is a sweet #OwnVoices Asian-Australian romance novella, set in the world of Somerville Downs.

Now available on Amazon in digital and paperback.

Would you like to sample my work?

The Guy From the Library is a sudden puppy short story, free for my newsletter subscribers, available now on StoryOrigin.