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Surviving Writer Purgatory

Sometimes life outside of being a writer becomes hectic, and juggling the many demands of life takes its toll. In times like these something has to give, and I’ve already cooked too many oven chips for dinner and stopped walking my dog every day.

While no writer wants to sacrifice their writing time, that precious outlet for their sanity, there comes a time (usually around doing our annual taxes or Christmas) when they simply must take a short break.

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Here’s my four top tips to help you survive writing purgatory.

Stop berating yourself, this is only temporary: By removing the addition stress of unrealistic goals, you’ll actually increase productivity, be better at problem solving and be back on track before you know it. 

Prioritize your responsibilities: Make a list of all that needs to be done and cut out the unessential. Oh how I wish the world were fair, and that my children would understand that writing was my lifeline, unfortunately they insist being fed and having clean clothes.

Don’t stop planning and plotting: Just because you can’t physically find time to write doesn’t mean you won’t get the opportunity to daydream. Driving somewhere? Use that time to develop a secondary character. Painting a room. Figure out you climactic scene. Stuck waiting in the doctor surgery. Gather inspiration by watching how the receptionist deals with patients, or how the toddle runs his mother ragged, and use those details in your manuscript.

Repeat this mantra: I’m only human. No one’s perfect. I’m a writer, even if I don’t write every day. It’s going to okay.

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What do you do when life gets in the way of your writing? I’d love to hear your coping techniques, so please share them with me. 

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2019.

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Writing Deadlines and keeping the Christmas Cheer

With the encroaching Christmas holidays, deadlines become a predominant factor in most of our minds. They add additional pressure to an already fraught time of year. Manifesting stress where it’s not needed, this is something I’m guilty of. I pile on extra jobs and beat myself up for not accomplishing each and every single one of them.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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On top of the extra demands of December: Shop, wrap, cook, clean, preen. We authors often juggle work, family, and the demands of writing, promoting, blogging and social media.

Realising how insane all of that sounds, I thought this week’s blog could help lighten the load by shinning a little comedy and sprinkle a few well-meaning quotes into the mix. Sit back and enjoy!

“At times, it is better to “just do it” than to “do it right”. One reason new year resolutions don’t work is that we expect too much from ourselves. Rush, meet your deadlines, you can always continue from where you stopped next year.” ― Asuni LadyZeal

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“A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.” – Garrison Keillor
***
“I love Christmas. I receive a lot of wonderful presents I can’t wait to exchange.” – Henny Youngman
***
“A deadline is a negative inspiration. Still, it’s better than no inspiration at all.”
― Rita Mae Brown
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“Goals are dreams with deadlines.” ― Diana Scharf
***
“If the novels are still being read in 50 years, no one is ever going to say: ‘What’s great about that sixth book is that he met his deadline!’ It will be about how the whole thing stands up.”
― George R.R. Martin
So my fellow writers, take a leaf from some of the greats and relax over the deadlines. By all means, keep writing and work towards your goals, but at the end of the day: Pop your pajamas on, watch a Christmas movie, drink hot chocolate and enjoy the festive season.
As always folks, thanks for reading. What sort of deadlines do you place on yourself at Christmas and how do you relax and unwind at the end of the day? Tell me all about it, you know I love to hear from you.
Until next time, Much Love. xXx
Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Author Lorraine Ambers Blog

The Sunshine Blogger Award

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Whoop! Hooray! I have been awarded the Sunshine Blogger Award. Yikes, I’m so grateful to my nominator Annie from A Booknerd Travels. Thank you so much for thinking of me. Go check her wonderful blog; she is an amazing book blogger with creative content.

It’s lovely knowing my fellow readers enjoy my posts. Thank you to all my followers and for every comment and like I receive. It truly does brighten my day. You’re all awesome!

So, what is the Sunshine Blogger Award? It is an award that is given to creative, positive and inspiring bloggers.

Here are the questions she gave me:

  • What thing are you most grateful for in your life?

To my loyal family and friends, who love me for me. No matter the distance or time separating us, they’ll always remain in my heart.

  • What is the story behind your blog’s name?

Thats simple: Lorraine Ambers is my author name.

  • How did you meet your best friend?

She was dating my brother’s best friend, so I knew her to say hello. It wasn’t I moved to the two bedroom house opposite her, with my brother and sister, that we became inseparable. She turned up with white paint and helped me decorate the ruined council house. In fact, many of my friends helped us transform that tiny house into a home.

  • Do you have any pets?

I have a beagle called Dexter. He’s cuddly and a little lazy. We lost our cat Jasper on bonfire night; he’s still very much missed. Even by Dexter, they were good friends.

  • Which are you favourite TV shows/movies?

So many, I binge watch shows: Peaky Blinders, American Gods, Westworld, The Magicians, and Jessica Jones. And give me any fantasy-Sci-fi-action-adventure movie.

  • What hobbies do you have?

Reading, writing and binge watching shows.

  • What are the Top 3 ways you want to improve yourself?

Great question. I’m constantly working on myself. It’s vital for my wellbeing to practice grounding/meditation and yoga. I’d like to be braver, more confident and outgoing. I’m constantly pushing myself to make my dreams come true.

  • Where would you like to live and why?

I love it here. I’m an army brat, so we moved every couple of years. I even did a few years in Germany, which was gorgeous. But all I craved was a home, somewhere to fit in and belong. West Wales is where my heart belongs.

  • If travelling became free, where would you like to go first?

Venice and Rome. My kids hate flying, so I’ll wait until they’ve left home… and then I’m off.

  • What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?

I love chilling at home with Dexter and my family. Then, dinner with some friends. Tonight we’re going to Pizza Tipi: fire pits, rustic furniture, great food and a few drinks under the cover of giant tipi’s – Perfect.

  • Do you speak a language other than English?

Not much. I struggle to grasp or remember languages. But I can count to ten in French, German and Welsh. And then I know a few basic polite phrases in each. It’s quite poor, I wish I’d paid better attention in school.

And now the people I decided to nominate:

Here are my questions for you:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. Tell me your favourite quote to live by.
  3. Best book you’ve read this year?
  4. Name three things you do well.
  5. How do you relax?
  6. What is your favourite movie?
  7. Tell me a little bit about your home town.
  8. If you could be any animal what would it be and why.
  9. What quality do you admire most?
  10. Whats your favourite hobby?

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

I hope you enjoyed my answers. For the people nominated, I can’t wait to read your answers. If you’re following my blog, thank you so much. I hope you have a fantastic weekend! 🙂

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.

 

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Reality of being a writer

I’m a huge fan of positivity posts. Who doesn’t need a daily dose of inspiration? Pushing us to work towards our goals and chase our dreams. But sometimes it’s good to take a breath and check in with reality. To realise that our struggles don’t define us, but they do make us human.

Being a writer or any artist is tough. Don’t get me wrong, there are many perks. Take today for instance; I’m sitting in bed with my dog, listening to music, whilst drinking tea and blogging. But it’s not all glamorous: In fact, I’m not sure any of it is???

Today I thought I’d share the harsh reality of what being a writer is like for me. To let you know; you’re not alone in your fight. And that acknowledging our struggles doesn’t make us weak, it makes us honest. Maybe even a little enlightened.

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First of all: Shoat out to all working-student writers. Hurrah to us, juggling a full time job/course with other commitments, housework, family  and all the pressures life brings is usually enough for mere mortals. We’ve chosen to spend a dedicated amount of time and resources to building platforms, managing social media and actually writing a novel… or two. Congratulations, did you know roughly 80% of people dream of writing a novel but only a small percentage achieve this.

Next it’s a huge shoat out to writer parents. Whoop! Whether your children are young and need constant attention. Tantrums, potty training, endless kid parties and squabbling siblings. Where we need eyes in the back of our heads. Or older darlings: full of hormone melt downs, teenage dramas, social media mine-fields, confrontations over boundaries, boyfriend/girlfriend worries and … still squabbling siblings. And that’s all dealt with in a morning.

When do we get to write? How do we fit it in? But as we writers know… where there’s a will, and often a desperate need for sanity, there’s a way.

Writer Author Cat

Social life advocates: Bravo! I’m beginning to wonder if this is a rare breed of writer, because if you’re juggling either of the above, or like me – both, and you still have a successful social life: I’m wondering, do you only need two hours of sleep???

I’d love to go out for dinner with friends, meet the girls for coffee, fit in my yoga class, maybe take up tai chi too and attend creative writing class. But I wrestle to fit in all the other non-social stuff. Write. Walk my beagle. Read and read more. Blog. Fill cupboards with food, cook bloody food, clean dishes… You know the drill. You’re in it too. It’s an endless cycle of mundaneness, just to stay at base level. Tedious, repetitive and frustrating, doesn’t even begin to cover it.

To avoid these things is to ‘Attempt’ to change absolute reality, which will inevitably do more harm than good, internally speaking. (Internally = your mind and soul) Realise this is how life is and no longer will it disturb you, you can feel free. ‘Life is suffering’ – Budda

And there we have it. Life. Reality. Honest and raw. Be proud of who you are and the choices you make, because you’re unique and awesome. Take a moment to reflect on you’re journey and feel free to add a comment, sharing a little of it with me.

Thanks for reading.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
THE WITCH'S KISS, YA, YOUNG ADULT, FANTASY, FAIRY-TALE, ROMANCE

Review: The Witch’s Kiss

Hi everyone, I’m back with another review, this one is a young adult, fantasy/ romance novel. My favourite genre – it should be, I write it. The book was written by sister’s Elizabeth and Katherine Corr, an intriguing collaboration. I have to say; I love the cover, it’s a great addition to my Instagram #bibliophile feed.

 Blurb

Novel The Witch's Kiss Young Adult Fantasy Romance

 

Sixteen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse.

Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day?

 


I rate this novel 3.5 star out of 5

Meredith or Marry as she likes to be known is a teenager with untrained powers that she’s misused and abused. What Marry doesn’t know about is the curse she’s inherited.

Things are happening in the once quiet town of Tillingham. The streets are no longer safe, people are been attacked and it’s only a matter of time before someone’s killed.

For Gwydion the magician and his King of Hearts slumber under the lake. But their curse has started to wear off. The Saxon witch’s couldn’t defeat them; instead they enchanted them to sleep until a strong witch was born. A witch who’d finally end Gwydion’s reign of terror.

Book Petals Love Writing Novel Author Lorraine Ambers

What I liked.

I liked Merry’s older brother Leo, he was protective and a great ally throughout the story. He made a warm, loving companion. I loved the introduction to Jake. At first through her dreams and the thrilling way they met. To begin with, Merry fought the curse and her powers, they frightened her. It allowed her character to be pulled through the unthinkable. To emerge stronger on the other side, it was realistic and well timed.

The authors wove in several fairy-tales throughout the novel, but created a unique storyline and characters. The backstory of the Saxon witches and how Gwydion came to be so evil, added depth to the story. I became completely engrossed in those sections of the book. Immersed in life at the castle, the little farming village, and Meredith’s Saxon hut with the rough ground and flickering fire. Those scenes were vivid with great pacing and plot.

I anticipated the ending to be predictable but the outcome was not what I’d anticipated. It climaxed in a cinematic way, with both Merry and Leo committed to helping each other.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

What I did not like.

I found it frustrating that Leo had no powers. The witch clan dismissed him because he was male, without apology or explanation. Why couldn’t he have powers? Especially as, besides Merry, he was the only other person able to read the scroll.

The pace of the story slowed right down in the middle. The pattern became repetitive and slow with Merry and Leo meeting Jake at the lake, and stopping the King of Hearts. The writing became more telling than showing. I found it hard to immerse myself into their world. It made me wonder about the author’s collaboration, because I got the distinct impression that certain areas of the book was better written.

The mum was neglectful and cold, I took an instant dislike to her and was unwilling to warm again when she was given the opportunity to explain and reform herself. Boo!

Jake and Marry started off so well but fizzled out like a poorly lit bonfire. I wanted more from Jake and Merry relationship. I was underwhelmed. Somehow the reader is supposed to believe they love each other. When did that happen? Yes, Marry is fond of him. Obviously has a giant crush on him, but I didn’t witness any development of something more.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Over all, I’m glad that I persisted with the novel, because truth be told, I almost gave up. Great for fans of Young Adult, fantasy’s based around myth and fairy-tales, with romance that doesn’t always end happily-ever-after.

Thanks for reading. Have you read the Witch’s Kiss? What did you think of the novel?

 

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Favourite Christmas Traditions

I adore the magic of Christmas. The twinkling lights, the scent of pine needles and mulled wine. The opportunity to embrace all that I’m grateful for. Let me shine a light on some of the things that bring this wonderful season to life.

Snow Snowmen Christmas

I love the idea of snow. To wrap up in thermal socks, gloves and a woollen scarf. Then head out with my children for a snow fight or to build a snowman. IF it snows, it rarely settles in my coastal town due to the salty air. Plus the reality is very different from the rosy nostalgia of my childhood. The wind bites my cheeks and my toes turn painfully cold. With soggy mittens I head back indoors, proving that my first favourite tradition is and always will be my home.

My second favourite tradition is family and friends. This year’s a stepping stone into a new era. It’s the twentieth Christmas without my mum. Since she passed away I’ve tried to provide an inviting, homely Christmas for my brother and sister. Along with the addition of my husband, two children and a lazy beagle. Recently I’ve severed relations with my toxic father, though he’s never had a roll in my festive cellebrations, the choice still lay heavy on my heart. Until I realised that I have always been the support system in my family. Nothing has changed. Except for the growth of self-respect and a new found empowerment that I had not expected to feel. I’m grateful for my family, the ones who love and respect each other. Whether blood related or not, they are the ones I bind my faith, and love in.

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Finally my Christmas tree decorations. Not the process of dressing the bloody thing. That is a stressful event, fraught with nit picking and despair – that’s me – my kids insist on dressing the tree. Which is fine, I just rearrange the babbles when no one’s watching. My favourite tradition is the decorations themselves. It started after the birth of my daughter; I purchased a white rocking horse with babies first Christmas written across the flank. The collection has grown to include a Disney Stich wearing a Santa suit, a second rocking horse after the birth of my son, inherited glass Christmas trees from my nan, a selection of stars, reindeer and candy canes chosen by my children as they grew. I admit that I hide the garish green and red star at the back of the tree. Yet each one has a happy family memory, proving that negative family patterns can be changed. My safe, healthy family is proof of a better life.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

I wish you all a very merry Christmas, full of magical memories, filled with laughter and love. Thanks for reading and don’t forget to share your favourite traditions with me.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
Lorraine Ambers Writer cat

Crazy Cat Lady

 

Missing cat,

Jasper’s been lost since bonfire night. I’m convinced the fireworks scared him into hiding.

Day three of missing Jasper: I’d implemented the street search for kitty. I took my beagle and traipsed the housing estate, fields and Jasper’s general hangouts. The vet’s had been checked and my neighbours were on the lookout.

Day Five: Driving the kids to school, I spotted a black cat. I approached with caution and picked him up. He looked terrified, and his jet black fur had turned slightly auburn. Did the sun do that? Jasper usually prowled at night and slept on my bed in daylight hours. Undeterred, I shoved the scrambling cat into my car. The imposter leapt onto my sons lap, stabbing his legs with razor sharp claws.

My kids shriek, ‘he’s not our cat!’

I inspect the creature, ‘How do you know? It might be.’

My daughter raised her brows. She looks at me with an expression that read – are you nuts? ‘He’s brown.’

The cat meows. It’s not high and tuneful, but gritty and low. That’s not our cat. I leap out of the car, run around to the boot and let the scatty cat out.

I’m at a disadvantage now, because the flyers of my missing cat are useless, I’ve seen a black cat with green eyes and no collar. So have my neighbours, problem is… it’s NOT MY CAT!

Crazy Cat Lady

I’d like to say that was the only abduction of similar cats… it’s not.

A week later the imposter cat returned and sat opposite my house. He was watching the birds in the shrubs, just like Jasper use to do. This time I brought him home and offered him food. Yes he’s fur was tinged, but the poor guy been feral for weeks. That could happen, right? I’m at a loss, the cats arches his back. Ahh, I have a brain wave, our beagle will recognise him. So I call in enforcements,

‘Dexter, Jaspers home,’ I say.

Dexter disagrees and chases the cat out of the house. I have not seen imposter cat since. Neither have any of my neighbours.

I continue to stalk my neighbourhood, calling out of the car window, ‘Jasper!’ Perhaps news of the Crazy Cat Lady has spread to the cat world? All black cats seem weary. Why aren’t any of the black cats around here wearing collars?

It’s been four weeks since my wiley cat disappeared. I must admit, at times it’s been tempting to pack up his belongings and give into the despair. But even in the darkest of times there is always hope.

 

I’m able to stay positive because of the amazing support and help from my neighbours and friends. They’ve led me to many possible sightings.

Beagle dog Black cat laying together

Recently a neighbour was amazed by a small black cat. He ran up to her little dog, sniffed his face and then followed them on a walk. The unusual cat behaviour is a classic trait of Jasper. He often follows me and Dexter on our walks. I’m confident Jasper is alive and thriving.

When he gets home he’ll be in so much trouble, I’ll probably buy him a radiator bed and better treats.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

Why not share your positive pet stories with me. Thanks for reading.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
Rose Key Heart Lock romance heartbreat Lorraine Ambers

Say Goodbye

It’s not an easy task, even when that person causes unimaginable pain, deep wounds that lay at our core. Breaking ties, severing bonds and inflicting heartache.

What if that goodbye is your chance to finally breathe? To resurface from a lifetime of cruelty and repression. That even though it’s what’s right for you, it will crush the others who surround the two of you.

Families break, friendships suffer, children cry. Guilt can become a burden that is too hard to shake. Memories of love and loss collide within my mind. They crash like waves on cliffs, shattering rocks. Rocks that were once my building blocks. Blocks that caged me, trapping me inside fear and rejection.

I’ve taken those foundations – chipped, chiselled and clawed through. Bare-handed, bloody and raw. I’m not a child anymore. I see wrong from right, I fight against it day and night.

I walk away, head high, from you. The man, who should have protected and sheltered me from harm. I wear your healed bruises as badges of strength. I’ll face this life alone, because sometimes it’s safer, and that’s such a crime.

Though it’s sad, it’s the right time to say – goodbye dad.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.

 

Harry Potter books

Hogwarts, Harry and Hagrid

 

Guess where I’m going??? Universal studios and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!!

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Harry Potter theme tea party by Treasures and Teacups

Orlando is my ultimate dream holiday. This trip coincides with my two year wedding anniversary. (Making a grand total of sixteen years together.) I love the romance of Disney and the architecture is amazing. (I studied interior design.) Hubby and my son are excited about the rides. And my daughter has plans on stalking the princesses for signatures. (I knew the magic of Disney would crack that surly teenage attitude.)

We’re jetting off to America for the trip of a life time. I’m most excited about the Harry Potter World. Eek! The palpitations will be worth it. (That’s what I keep telling myself, panic attacks are no joke.)

My love for all things Harry Potter stemmed from the films. My husband gifted me the complete set of J.K Rowling’s novels. They’ve sat in a pretty pink box under my bed for years. I didn’t want J.K’s writing style to influence my own, so I purposefully left them until my first novel was complete.

I admire J.K’s colourful characters and effortless imagination. Dumbledore, Hagrid and Ron’s dialogue are completely different. In truth, I wish I’d read them sooner. I would have paid closer attention to my own characters. It took me a long time to develop my antagonist’s voice. I found protagonists and the minor characters easier because they had more bite and veracity.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook be prepared for a ridiculous amount of themed photos.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016.
Writer Author Cat

Do you suffer holiday writer’s guilt?

It’s been five long weeks of summer and I still have a week and a half to go. It’s not that spending every waking minute with my two kids is difficult, (it’s a different story when they argue.) but i miss my routine. Day to day life is knocked on its head and spilt out on the floor like a vast expanse of nothingness.

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I spent the summer fulfilling none writing goals as my creativity has crumbled under the change in pace. I suffered a total melt down and my writer’s guilt shot through the roof. I’ve longed to write, I’ve longed for the peace and quiet so I could write. But all I got in return was guilt over being a terrible parent. Was I letting my kids down by not giving them a fantastic holiday?

This year’s weather has been awful, so beach days have been minimal. Our big family holiday is looming, so I’m on a budget too. That means no theme parks or adventure days unless they involve a picnic and nature.

Author writer reviewer Lorraine Ambers woodland faery realm

 

 

I own two other businesses that I run from home. For most weeks of the year I’m extremely grateful for my circumstances. I get to be at home if the kids are sick or on holiday. Just not in the summer. Six and a half weeks is a long time. Think of all the editing I could have achieved.

It’s not all bad, lazy days by the sea has its perks and I’ve read some great novels. Renovations on our house have resumed (come on bathroom) and I’m (smugly) ready for this year’s external audit at my fabrication business.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Now that the countdown to school has begun I’m keen to start writing again. So this week I’ve escaped to my bedroom with a hot cup of tea and my laptop. The strangest thing happened, my kids left me alone. They’ve respected my privacy and have taken my writing seriously. Perhaps because for the first time, so have I.

This is real for me now. This is my future, my third business. The time for feeling selfish about writing has passed and I’ve emerged stronger and more determined than ever before.

How do you juggle family and working commitments? Is the summer a struggle for you too or have you developed a system that benefits everyone? Thanks for reading and sharing my world.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance