snowflake Christmas ice photo

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.
Writer Author Cat

6 funny writing quirks we share in common

We’re all creatures of habits, and writing a novel is no different. Whether you prefer to write on your journey home from work, late at night or early in the morning, there are a few quirks that we writers all share in common.

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The elusive word hunt.

It’s either sat staring at a blank page, while our brains conjure up a magic sentence that will steal the hearts of our readers, or it’s trying to remember that word… you know the one… it’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t find it. Until, ten minutes later, Eureka! That simple, completely obvious word decides to grace your presence and the writing flow can resume.

White Noise.

Let it be silence while a pink ribbon of sunrise streaks the sky. Or music to fire your muse and set your toes tapping. Maybe it’s the chatter on a busy train or in a coffee shop – but there’s always a preference and without that setting it’s impossible to connect with your characters.

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

What’s your poison?

My preference is hot tea, keep me supplied in strong PG tips and watch my word count fly. If there’s a chocolate bar around – all the better. You have your own preference, and writing just doesn’t seem the same without it.

Faithful Companion.

Writer’s are solitary creatures: However with our faithful character companions we need never be alone. And yes, I can be found chatting to myself. But in case we require something more substantial, a fluffy pet or two will usually suffices: The writers familiar. In fact, in many ways I’m like my cats, requiring company and affection when desired, but if I’m interrupted during writing, daydreaming, planning, plotting, reading or browsing Pinterest – watch out or the claws may come out.

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Name in starlight.

Let’s be honest, who amongst us hasn’t envisioned our novels as a movie. Who amongst us hasn’t daydreamt about being the next J.K. Rowling, I know my WIP would make an epic ride in Orlando. While I joke about such things, there’s still a secret hope that one day I’ll steal just a fraction of that limelight for the worlds I’ve created. So the next time a bout of self-doubt claws through your MS, remember; dreams can come true if we work too, and re-emerge as a humble, hardworking artist and set your goals high.

Tick-Tock, Tick-Tock.

We all know procrastination is a constant companion, like that well-meaning friend who insists that one more coffee, chapter, or Netflix series won’t really matter because everything will be waiting for us afterwards. I’ll offer some advice that none of us will take; don’t indulge her and crack on. Because on the flip-side of time wasted is the fantastic sensation of getting lost in our own worlds, writing sometimes feels like wading through thick water, other times it’s like flying. Regardless of the process one thing is for sure, time always disappears in the blink of an eye and it’s time to put the pen down and slip back to the normal world. And reality is what all writers dread.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

I hope you enjoyed this weeks fun post. Can you see yourself in any of these quirks? If so, why not tell me about it in the comments.

Until next week, Much Love Xx

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
Love writing, notebook, pencil, tea

Enjoy the Writing Journey

Dreaming big and working towards goals is great. But what happens when our ego takes over and all we can think about is when? When will I get an agent? When will I be published?

What happens when anxiety sets in and all we can this about is why? Why am I being rejected? Why am I not good enough?

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Ultimately thinking like this will result in doubt and a feeling of failure.

Stop!!!

Take a moment to remember why you started writing in the first place. What do you enjoy about writing? I’m sure no one wrote their first flash fiction or poetic prose with an endgame in site. We did it for fun, for passion, for joy.

Enjoy the journey - Benedict Cumberbatch
– Benedict Cumberbatch

Don’t let your aspirations stifle that wonderful energy. While our dreams as authors may be similar, our paths and unique abilities never are.

 

Allow the ego to set daily intensions: Maybe to hit a word count. Perhaps edit a chapter. Or learn how to use a particular social media. But don’t let it plot, plan and pinpoint every turn in your future. That will lead to disharmony and stress, because nothing is for certain.

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What we can take control of is this moment. So relax and enjoy the process. Choose to enjoy your family, saviour the dog walk or curl up on the sofa and read. Realise that life is good now, it’s the only time that truly matters.

Do you struggle with waiting for the outcome? Maybe you’ve wrestle with desire and a feeling of being imcomplete.

How do you deal with those emotions? Please share your journey with me, you know I love to hear from  you.

Until next time, Much Love xx

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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Top 3 Blogging tips

It’s my 2 year anniversary this week. Yay!!!

I’m so grateful to all my followers and readers. I’m truly humbled by this fantastic community. You’re all supportive, encouraging and willing to connect. And that’s a big deal for me. I adore being an author, spending hours at a time immersed in my imagination, but it’s vital for my sanity to know that you guys are just a few clicks away.

Thank you message in a bottle

Here are my top 3 blogging tips that have helped on my journey so far…

  1. Consistency. Be realistic with how often you can post. It’s all well and good having the intention of posting 3 times a week, but if life gets in the way blogging will be the first thing to slip. So be honest about how much time you can dedicate. I knew that after family and work commitments my writing came next. That’s why I choose to post once a week and its been maintainable. It’s also been rewarding, beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve made some great friends like Ari Meghlen. Her blog is full of writing, blogging and platform building tips. Check her out.

2. Connect.  This is a two-way network. So reach out to fellow bloggers. Read their posts and leave a comment, its more personal than simply liking a post. Although I love it when anyone clicks on the little star.

This week I’ve found two new beta readers K.M. Allen and Uninspired writers.  Ladies, welcome to my realm. Take a look at their fantasic blogs full of writing tips.

3. Schedule posts. This tip is for me too. I really need to take my own advice. Organise post in advance. That way when something unexpected crops up, you’re covered. It’s easy to do: Open post settings. Under Status, click on the arrow next to Publish Immediately and a calendar opens up. Then you can set a date and time. When you’re happy with your choice hit the blue Schedule button and you’re all set.

Alternatively, why not re-blog one of your fellow bloggers posts. It’s a great way to stay consistent with your blog and helps to build connections with your bloggers.

Do you have any great tips to share? Let me know in the comments, you know I love to hear from you. Till next time, Much Love. Xx

 

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers review

Rapid fire book tag

I saw this tag over at bookswithbain. She writes fantastic book reviews and always has fun tags on the go. So pop over to her site.


E-Book or Physical Book?

A physical book. Nothing beats turning pages and holding a gorgeous cover in your hands. Plus I’m building up my bookcase. It would look dull with just my kindle on it.


Paperback or Hardback?

Either, I’m not fussy a book is still a book and that’s a great thing.


Online or In-Store Book Shopping?

Online, I think I’m the only bookworm in the world that gets overwhelmed in book stores.


Trilogies or Series?

As long as it’s well written and still enticing, I’m happy with either. So keep them coming fellow authors.


Heroes or Villains?

Oh this is tough, of course i love the hero, but nothing is more exciting than a despicable character that turns to the good side. That inner conflict is fantastic to read.


A book you want everyone to read?

I recommend reading ACOTAR series because A Court of Mist and Fury is my all time favourite. Closely followed by the superb novel The Night Circus.


Recommend an underrated book?

The PNR series Immortals After Dark by Kresley Cole. I enjoyed the series more than Lords of the Underworld or  Black Dagger Brotherhood.


The last book you bought?

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, I’m blown away by her work. Why haven’t I read any of her other stuff???


Weirdest thing you’ve used as a bookmark?

I use anything close to hand, pens, receipts, actual bookmarks or keep the book open but turn it upside down.


Used Books: Yes or No?

I love a great bargain, so long as the books in a tidy condition.


Top three favourite genres?

YA, NA or adult Fantasy, Paranormal romance, Contemporary romance.


Borrow or Buy?

Both. My best friend has a better collection than me. And now that I’m building mine, we swap. 🙂


 Characters or Plot?

Characters, but both are important for a great book.


Long or Short Books?

Short books. I’m a slow reader. But if I’m excited about a story, length isn’t really a concern.


Long or Short Chapters?

I get quite excited by a short chapter, starting a new one feels like success.


Name the first three books you can think of

Heartless, Caraval and The Hunger Games


Books that make you laugh or cry?

Either. But my heart racing with anticipation is far better.


Our World or Fictional Worlds?

Fictional!!!


Audio books: Yes or No?

Not for me. I don’t absorb the story properly.


Do you ever judge a book by its cover?

Absolutely, every single time.


A Movie or TV-Show You Preferred to its Book?

The Magicians. The TV-show played around with plot and characters, making it far more satisfying.


Series or Standalones?

Series. Once I become attached to a character, I follow them to the end.


 I tag anyone who fancies a go. Thanks for reading. 🙂

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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.

 

pexel present christmas hot chocolate pine cones

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.
SFX Halloween The Mummy face paint

Fright Night Favourites

Images by SFX makeup artist Abi – Click Trick or Treat to see last Halloweens post, featuring Abi’s spectacular ‘Fright Night’ art work.

It’s not the tradition of trick or treating that I like, or the horror films that threaten to terrify. I have enough ghosts of my own. It’s the pleasure of the senses, familiar but reborn each year.

Nights draw closer for All Hallows’ Eve, blanketing me under the inky depths of superstition and the unknown. Spiced pumpkin, jack o’lanterns and the brisk cold that allows you to imagine the whispered beginnings of log fires and hot chocolate.

Costumes for young and old. Playful, wicked gleams, in the eyes of those who participate. Gone are the days of plastic liners, fashioned into a witches dress or Draculas cape. The competition has risen, pushing for bolder designs of fancy.

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Don’t you want to be someone else for a night?

Autumnal colours, the crunch of acorns and crisp bracken under wellington boots, auburn leaves that dance in the wind. The thinning umbrella of the forest roof. Nightfall brings exclusivity. Just me on a path, one amber street lamp at a time.

And there are only five sleeps left until the promise of sparklers and fire. When the sweet smell of caramelised onions and roasted pork will scent the air. Thick woollen scarves and bright coloured mitts. A shower of science and magic will ignite in rainbow dust, under the moon lit sky. Filling my heart with child-like joy, unbridled and addictive.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance

What are your favourite things about this season? Thanks for reading and enjoy Happy Halloween.

© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016 – 2017
Harry Potter books

Hogwarts, Harry and Hagrid

 

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

treasures and teacups harry potter
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.