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.

good-weekend-errands-manic-stress-funny-ecard

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

instead-stressing-my-gift-get-me-case-wine

“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
i-relieve-stress-by-taking-deep-breaths-of-my-wine-glass-1aP
“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.
desk writing novel author Lorraine Ambers

Top 5 things I need to write

I’ve spent the past week learning new payroll software, filing VAT returns, writing GDPR policies for my 3 businesses and redeveloping the website for my welding and fabrication business. YAWN!

During that time I’ve missed writing. And yes, my sanity has suffered for it. I’m amazed to discover that even editing my MS helps my anxiety and stops me from plummeting into depression. And the more of my blogging community I discover and supportive you all are, the less embarrassed I am about my Complex PTSD.

Alice in Wonderland. Have I gone Mad?
Image from Pinterest.

So, without further ado here are my top 5 writing essentials I need for working on my WIP.

  1. Tea and lots of it. A good old fashioned mug of builder’s brew and the stronger the better.
  2. Peace and quiet. I can’t write with people around and I don’t have the luxury of an office or even a desk. As there’s just no room in my bungalow. And so I’ve commandeered the dining room table, it’s home to an extension lead, work files, lots of USB sticks, many notebooks and two laptops. One has an antiglare screen for working on my MS and the other has all the tedious software for running the other businesses.
  3. Music. I know I just said peace and quiet – I guess I meant people. I usually play the radio or music channel. Anything with upbeat tunes. I use it as a motivator and a way to cancel out the unnecessary chatter of my mind. It focuses me. I’m listening to Coldplay’s – In a sky full of stars. I get to channel my voice through words, while dancing in my seat. Life doesn’t get any better than this.
  4. My dog. Pulling my attention away from my laptop and getting out in the fresh air is essential. It recharges my batteries and increases my creativity. Yes, I moan about taking my beagle Dexter out, but I always feel better for it. Particularly if I head to the beach or take a river walk.
  5. Lastly, but most importantly is a functioning mind. I skirt a fine line between holding it together and tumbling into despair. And I can’t write when I’m depressed. While it’s not my fault I have psychological wounds or that I’m regularly triggered. Staying on top of the things that help me, is in my control. Things like, exercise, meditation, writing and therapy.

And I’m going to add a 6th. A cat because it’s finally time to bring another one into my life after losing Jasper. While I still hope he returns home, it’s been 8 months and this writer needs a kitten.

And so, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed taking a sneak peek into my life. What’s your number one writing need. Share it with me, as I love reading about you too.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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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.

 

love pen book tea - Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

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.

Author self-doubt tumblr_nxeot3aztf1rj0hrio1_500
Credit: tumblr_nxeot3aztf1rj0hrio1_500

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 Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award

The Mystery Blogger Award

Its been a while since I was last nominated for an award, so thank you Taiwo @ stuffedshelves for nominating me this time. You brought a smile to my face 🙂  I love her blogging voice; you should check it out for yourself.

This award was created by Okoto Enigma!

Rules

  • Put the award logo/ image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the award and provide a link to their blog as well
  • Tell your readers three things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10-20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  • Share a link to your best posts

 

So, let’s get on with it!

 


 

Three Random Facts About Me!!

  1. I can’t parallel park in town to pick up Chinese food. My husband thinks this is hilarious. I drive around to a quiet street to park. The idea of holding up traffic while I make a hash of my driving is terrifying.
  2. I love to dance to R&B while I cook dinner. Trouble is I have no blinds in my kitchen so my neighbours can see.
  3. I love Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga. I’m really flexible but have shockingly poor balance. Me and the tree pose do not get along.

 


Taiwo’s Questions For Me!

1. What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you?

Meeting my husband. With him I’ve conquereded two of my life goals, my children and owning our home. Now he’s encouraging and supporting me while I chase my dream to become traditionally published – Thank you hubby. My next goal is pitching to agents at a conference at Bloomsbury publishing houseHow to Hook an Agent

2. What do you do apart from blogging? School, job, what?

I’m a partner in a welding and fabrication, I take care of all administrations. I’m a qualified landlord and have three tenants. I also write YA fantasy romance novels, the first is in the submission phase while I edit the second.

3. What’s your best season?

I have two, spring and autumn… not too hot, not too cold, but just right. At these times the forest colours, scents and sounds are amazing. It when I feel most alive.

4. What does your dream life look like?

To own a home in a secluded slice of Wales, continue to enjoy my family and friends and continue to write. One day I’ll be signing books alongside my favourite authors. *Waves at* Sarah J Maas, Neil Gaiman, Marissa Meyer and Lev Grossman. Check out some of my reviews.

5. If you could be an animal, which would you be?

A lioness, because the male thinks he’s king of the pride… but really it’s the female besides him.

 

 


 

I nominate the following amazing people!

My questions are:

  1. What’s your favourite genre of books and movies? Are they the same?
  2. If you could have a superpower what would it be?
  3. What was the last book you read?
  4. What do you like to do fun?
  5. If you could date a character, who would it be and why?

Voila!!

If you’re reading this, do check out all the blogs I linked to. They’re all amazing I assure you. Thanks for stopping by.

Author Lorraine Ambers YA fantasy romance

 

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.
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.
YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk Novel Writer

TAG Who am I?

Who Am I? Tag

I saw this tag over at Angie Dokos and I had to try it out, feel free to join in. If you havn’t already, then you should check her blog out!

What does my name mean?

My name, Lorraine, means: From the name of a region in France, originally meaning “kingdom of LOTHAR”. Lothar was a Frankish king, the great-grandson of Charlemagne, whose realm was in the part of France that is now called Lorraine.
What is my Myers-Briggs Personality Type? (Link)

Personality type: “The Advocate” (INFJ-T)
Individual traits: Introverted – 86%, Intuitive – 84%, Feeling – 81%, Judging – 83%, Turbulent – 81%
Role: Diplomat
Strategy: Constant Improvement

What is my Zodiac Sign? (Link)

Pisces traits

Pisces likes: Being alone, sleeping, music, romance, visual media, swimming, spiritual themes.

Pisces dislikes: Know-it-all, being criticized, the past coming back to haunt, cruelty of any kind.

Pisces are very friendly, so they often find themselves in a company of very different people. Pisces are selfless, they are always willing to help others, without hoping to get anything back.

Pisces is a Water sign and as such this zodiac sign is characterized by empathy and expressed emotional capacity.

Their ruling planet is Neptune, so Pisces are more intuitive than others and have an artistic talent. Neptune is connected to music, so Pisces reveal music preferences in the earliest stages of life. They are generous, compassionate and extremely faithful and caring.

People born under the Pisces sign have an intuitive understanding of the life cycle and thus achieve the best emotional relationship with other beings.

Pisces-born are known by their wisdom, but under the influence of Uranus, Pisces sometimes can take the role of a martyr, in order to catch the attention. Pisces are never judgmental and always forgiving. They are also known to be most tolerant of all the zodiac signs.

Rose Key Heart Lock romance heartbreat Lorraine Ambers

How to recover from Heartbreak

This week’s post is inspired by the novel Heartless by Marissa Meyer. This melancholic, whimsical story opened up wounds that I’d hope were securely closed. It posed the important question, how do you recover from heartbreak, no seriously… How?

I have loved and lost many times;

 

  • The countless friends robbed away by the upheaval of an army up-bringing.
  • The death of my mother when I was a teenager.
  • A selfishness father, with a brutal temper who whipped in and out like a tornado, at his own accord.
  • Boys who posed as friends, fed me lies and fled with my kisses.
  • My first proper boyfriend, he fared no better than the other deceivers.
  • To my friends who drifted away with tide and time, long lost but never forgotten.

Perhaps this is why I write fantasy, an escape from reality. And perhaps this is why I write romance, ever the optimist.

notebook pen heartbreak Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance writer

I’m no different than any of you; it’s simply life and its consequences. Some would say fate. Everyone has loved and lost. We have all suffered the immense pain of a broken heart. The torment of endless questions, self-defeat and gaping wound that no one else can see.

I learnt many valuable lessons from my trials, and today I’ll share some of my wisdom. In the hopes that it will help those suffering, to shine a light on a subject that is brutal, raw but necessary.

You are not alone!

Be brave. My personal mantra and one born from regret. When I lost my best friend to crossed wires and miss communication, I believed that playing it cool would serve me best. My friends all advised me to speak with him, to be honest and hash out the problem. But I was scared, scared of rejection, scared of being laughed at, scared of my feelings. In hind sight, that was a huge mistake. Now when we pass each other in the street and politely smile the song ‘Someone that I used to know,’ skips through my head.

I should have been brave.

Listen to your friends. They’ll know when you should try harder, if they’re playing games or if red flags are flying and you should quit the chase. We won’t always listen or appreciate their advice at the time. But they only have our best interest at heart and at the end of the day, they will be the ones waiting when you’ve pieced yourself back together.

Robot broken heart

Because heartbreak is messy.

Have faith and believe in yourself. No one wants to hear, ‘There are plenty more fish in the sea.’ Especially not when all we hanker for is that one special person that we can’t envisage life without. Regardless, time rolls on. And with it, we discover who we are and what’s wonderful about ourselves. At the very least, we learn to fall in love with ourselves. I was single for two years before I met my husband. I discovered who and what I was capable of. Don’t be hasty in your search for someone else to fill the void. Instead of searching for Mr Right, put the energy into finding who you are.

(My geeky Greek mythology coming out to play.) When Pandora opened the box and let out destruction, strife and sickness, we must not forget that hope still remained.

Love Heart Hope

Give yourself time. None of us want to feel the twisting dagger of heartbreak and despair. Unfortunately it’s as much part of life as breathing. Take all the time you need, cry, and shoat, or bury your head under a pillow and wallow. Curse the romantic couples who flaunt their happiness.

See it as your chrysalis, for when you do emerge, you’ll be stronger and more beautiful than before.

Laugh. Maybe not immediately, but don’t ever underestimate the power of joy and fun. It’s soul rejuvenating.

Take stock of those that still surround you, for they are the ones who truly care.

Thanks for reading. Looking back what piece of advice do you wish you’d known? I’d love to hear rom you so drop your comments below. Remember you’re not alone.

Author Lorraine Ambers Web-Banner YA fantasy book review romance
© Author Lorraine Ambers & http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2016