Dream Big and Let Nothing Hold You Back

Dream Big and Don’t Hold You Back

When I started on my journey as a writer, I never imagined I’d be where I am today. I have two complete manuscripts; I have made great friends with some amazing bloggers, critique partners and fellow creative writers. I’ve watched them grow and flourish, just as I have.

Becoming a writer was a challenge for me. I had to channel my daydreaming energy into something tangible. I needed to focus and direct my energy into what I wanted most.

Girl Butterflies Chase your Dreams

I’m not the first, or last to be daunted by trying something new. To move away from the comfort of their current position and pursue a passion. To push themselves to achieve more. It’s scary starting out!

I had to overcome my negative thought patterns and self-doubt.

  • Where would I find the time?
  • Family comes first – I’m being selfish.
  • What if I’m not good enough?
  • What if I fail?

Do any of them sound familiar to you?

Inspirational quote

In the end I simply started. I joined a creative writing group and wrote a little each day. Ten minutes a day grew to half an hour or more. Two years later and I’d finished the first draft of my first book. Then I dipped my toe into the sea of social media. And began blogging, and two years later I’m still here, still persevering.

Believing that my dreams, to be a traditionally published author, will come true. Even when my fears creep in, trying to drown me in doubt, I ignored them and carried on. Why? That’s simple… I love writing! And you know what, your five minutes a day could flourish into something too.

You’re allowed to start a new hobby, or learn a new craft. You’re allowed to make mistakes, you’re human after all. The beauty of failure is that’s how we learn and grow. This is your life; it’s time to live it.

So give it a try… what do you have to lose?

I believe in dreams, fantasy, reality and all things in between. Follow your passion. Do it today. Make the choice to change, and know that from this moment on, every step you take will lead you towards a brighter future. If you’re brave enough to follow your dreams, they will start to come true.

Tell me about your dreams and aspirations. Or about any dreams you’ve already acomplished. As always, thanks for reading. Much Love x

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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

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5 ways to fuel inspiration

In this week’s post, I’ll be sharing the top 5 ways I find inspiration for my flash fiction, novels and short stories. So let’s dive straight in.

Inspiration butterflys Pexel-image

  1. Music is a huge source of inspiration. I make workout playlists that motivate me to move. I make playlist that my husband and I can reminisce over. Our kids hate it when we blast out old-school hip-hop. And I make playlists that resonate with my characters, their goals, hopes and fears. All types of music can ignite inspiration. Either from their lyrics or from the feelings the melodies evoke.
  2. Movies, T.V shows and novels. I admire well-written stories and while I don’t plagiarise their work, I do learn from them. The stories form or how they reveal plot and develop characters. Or my favourite thing is admiring how they pull of clever ploys, tracing back the foreshadowing and wishing my brain was that clever. There’s a lot of inspiration in curiosity and wonder.
  3. My own past. It’s not pretty; it’s downright brutal and traumatic. However, I have a treasure trove of experiences to pull upon. That in its self is my inspiration. I take something ugly and weave it into beautiful prose, to take my readers on an authentic journey.  Yes I did called my abuse a treasure, because I’m stronger for it. And I love myself for how far I’ve come.
  4. The world around me. Nothing beats a stroll on an empty beach, or sitting beside a river under the umbrella of trees. It revitalises my soul. And while I’m there I listen, touch, smell and try to describe those senses. Then I take all that recharged energy and ideas and place them in my stories. Voila!
  5. The people around me. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a script, a history and a set of beliefs. Sometimes, I imagine writing them as a character. I identify their goal, dreams, hopes and fears and false beliefs. I empathise with them. And yep, I use that as inspiration. Fear not friends, you’re not in my stories… yet! Ha-ha.

There you have it, a tiny glimpse into my take on the world. Tell me friends; do you use any of these to fuel your inspiration? Or perhaps you have another way. Don’t be shy, share it with me. You know I love hearing from you. Until next time, Much Love.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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

 

 

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3 Ways to Keep Track of Your Stories

I’m currently tying up loose ends in my two novels before I continue writing the third novel in the Shadow Knight Series. After being away from my second WIP – Mischief and Mayhem to tighten up the premise of the first novel – Secrets and Shadows, I’ve come across a problem.

I’m struggling to remember tiny details about the different realms. And as the series develops not only is the world-building expanding, but changes continuously evolve.

This is also true for my characters. Remembering eye and hair colour is easy enough. And I’m confident in remembering my MC traits and personality types. The trouble lies with minor characters. Plus changes in hairstyles and costumes in particular scenes are starting to become problematic.


So today I’m considering different methods to store all the relevant details for your stories.

pexels- ideas, pin-board, character files, novels, writing

  1. My good friend and creative writing tutor Judith Barrow is an advocate for the Pin-board Method. Above her desk, directly in line of sight, Judith uses notes and images to mind map her novels. A quick glance forward and all the information is to hand. Dates, Places and characters… whatever information deemed necessary.

book pen artist writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance novel YA

  1. Some of us aren’t lucky enough to have a cosy desk. So, for the more technological-minded writers they can use apps compatible with their computer or tablet. Similar to the Pin-board Method, except all the information can be stored in one easy accessible space. Great if you’re a writer on the go, maybe you write in a cafe or at your work during your lunch break. Carrying notebooks and files everywhere is impractical and a nuisance. Why not try one of the following?

OneNote – Notepad Classic – Code Writer – Sticky Notes – Evernote Touch

maps-desk-notes writing novel ideas

3. My current method, The File System. Many authors love printable lists or a one page character summary. Where they can jot down character attributes, personality traits, fears, goals and flaws.

And they’re great to get the ball rolling, but I needed something a little more intricate. So I’ve been compiling information about individual characters. Copying descriptions and quirks from my novels and pasting them onto a document. These are then printed off and filed. So the next time I need to jog my memory about a setting or character, Instead of trawling through my novels using the find feature, I can flip open the relevant section of my folder and have instant access.

I’ve also discovered that by having bullet-point sections listing the descriptions, I can maintain continuity and eliminate plot holes.


Which of the three methods do you prefer? Or do you have another method? If so, why don’t you share it with me? You know I love to hear from you.

Until next time, Much Love my people.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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

 

Novel Story Worldbuilding Fantasy

Whats your favourite pitch? #PitMad

Calling all writers ready for pitching and all book bloggers – help me pick a pitch.

The first #PitMad event of the year, hosted by @pitchwars, is coming up soon! June 7th kicks off the first round at 8am – 8pm EDT. Stay up to date on events by following @pitchwars on Twitter or by checking out the #PitMad page at pitchwars.org/pitmad. For more information about the event head over to www.polishandpitch.com

So what is #PitMad exactly?

Well polish and pitch say: #PitMad is a Twitter hashtag event used by agents and unsigned authors alike with the goal of connecting the two. During the event, unagented writers are invited to share their story pitch via tweet with the #PitMad tag. Agents will be spending the day reading tweets with these tags, “liking”… the tweets that they are interested in and eager to receive further material from. Best case scenario, an agent likes your tweet, loves your additional material, and then offers you a contract!

valkyrie_3_by_lamuserie-Fantasy-Writer-Lorraine-Ambers
Artwork attributed to LaMuserie http://www.lamuserie.net

1. Lovesick, princess Alysia escapes the siege, when her coveted guard Sander, becomes fatally wounded. She must choose between saving his life, fearing he’s involved in the massacre or focus on rescuing her father, the King.

2. Sheltered princess Alysia bargains with a magician to save her beloveds life, knowing any vows made will have powerfully binding consequences for her kingdom.

3. Lovesick, imposter, guard Sander must choose to reveal his identity to his coveted princess or risk his magician brother capturing her to steal her powers and kingdom.

4. Telepathic princess Alysia’s kingdom is overthrown but she escapes. Should she sacrifice her freedom & powers to save the king or rule in his stead?

5. Princess Alysia’s kingdom is overthrown. Should she sacrifice herself to save her realm or place her trust in a deceitful guard, knowing his magician brother is responsible?

6. Guard Sander’s identity is jeopardised when the place is conquered. Should he unite with his brother, the one responsible for the attack, or defeat him to save his secret love the princess.

Ok guys, there you have it. I can use three variations to help me hook an agents interest.

What are your favourites?

I need your help.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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

 

 

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

Query writing tips

I’ve been stuck in the query trenches for a long time. I’m determined to be represented by an agent and my perseverance has taken me on quite a journey. My next step is to submit to American agents. I’m finding this process similar yet different. Let me explain.

Unlike British agents who ask for a synopsis of one page. Agents in America tend to allow 3-5 pages. Meaning on top of revealing the plot, character arcs can be shown. Read my post How to Write a Synopsis for more details.

paper pen writing novel author fantasy Lorraine Ambers

Agents in America will only ask for a partial or full manuscript based on the query. Some agents ask for the first five pages of your novel, perhaps the first chapter – but no more. It’s a great way to ensure that writers utilise every word in a concise and intriguing way.

The query pitch has a slightly different format too. Over at Query Shark, hundreds of queries are critiqued by willing participants. The agent’s comments are brutal but honest. By reading through examples you can learn the best way to introduce your main character, how to reveal the stakes and let the reader  care. Of course, it goes without saying, a great hook is universal. And knowing your premise is the first place to start.

I highly recommend my fellow writers to take a look. Even if you’re planning to self-publish, the tips are helpful for blurbs too – the writing on the back cover of a novel that entices readers to by your book.

Happy writing fellow authors.

Remember, for dreams to work – you must too.

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2018.
paper pen writing novel author fantasy Lorraine Ambers

Discovering my story’s premise

Every story has a beating heat. And though every story has been written before, it has not been written by you. Therefore, each story takes on a unique premise. Now I’ve hear this a million times, but honestly I’ve only just grasped the concept. The importance of hooking readers with the premise, by either immediately revealing it or by sowing the seeds throughout the opening pages. Allowing the premises butterfly effect to ripple through your story.

If you like, it’s the first building block of your story. I thought I knew my story. I thought I’d nailed my hook. I was wrong.

YA fantasy romance Author Lorraine Ambers Desk

If you’re struggling to identify your premise, then read this great post on: How to Find Exactly the Right Story Hook by Helping Writers Become Authors. It’s written eloquently with great examples. Honestly K.M Weiland is my go to bible for writing tips.

I didn’t know this until I sent my submission package to a literary agent to be critiqued. A service Writers & Artists provide. I’d come to a dead end with my first MS. It has been rejected by 30 agents with no feedback. It was either shelve it and focus on my second novel, or give it one last attempt. And I’m not a quitter.

Debut Novel NA fantasy Author Lorraine Ambers Beta Reader

So I took a bold move and opened myself up to feedback from Sallyanne Sweeney from MMB Creative. She taught me a valuable lesson about the first few chapters. I hadn’t introduced the premise. I hadn’t introduced my hook. Therefore, I hadn’t rewarded my readers with the foreshadowed inciting moment. Which also came in too late, chapters 4 and 5. Huge mistake!

I had opened with a fast paced scene believing that was the premise. Wrong. It was simply the first domino effect of my story. Then my story floundered to world build, without teasing the reader with my premise. Therefore the story lacked enough tension to drive the plot forward to the all-important inciting moment. The protagonists call to adventure.

Now, I knew what was coming… but my readers had no clue…. worse still, they might have given up and put the book down.

Once I discovered my premise, the revisions came easily. And now the antagonist, the conflict and goal are easily identified within the first few paragraphs. And my story is much stronger for it.

Thanks for reading and best of luck with your WIP. Remember, failure is proof that you’re trying. Don’t ever be afraid to grow and learn. 🙂

Author Lorraine Ambers - YA fantasy romance writer

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

 

 

Creating a Logline for a Novel, The Perfect Pitch

5 tips for overcoming doubt

Sometimes we are our own harshest critique. I’ll never be good enough. I’m not successful. Or popular, clever, talented…

We’re all aware of the horrendous things people say, but ignore or enforce the ones we say to ourselves. How would you feel if a stranger said your writing was crap? Seriously, how? Hurt. Angry. Crushed. And yet when we say those same things to ourselves, about our own writing, we allow it. Even back it up with reasons why it’s rubbish.

If only we were taught as children to see the best in ourselves. To see failure as progress. And to problem solve our doubts away.

I think we’d take that nagging critical voice and lock it in a cupboard. Or we’d shout back at that voice: How dare you speak to me like that. I deserve more respect. I’ve worked tirelessly on my writing and I will continue to improve.

Now that’s a world I’d like to live in.

Key to success Author Lorraine Ambers fantasy writer

Here are my top five tips on beating doubt and crushing that nagging internal voice. Because we can, and we will succeed.

1. Realisation. When we pay attention to doubt we can stop it dead in its tracks. I don’t mean get out your pompoms and cheer along with it. I mean, pay attention to the times it kicks in. Acknowledge it and then kick it to the curb. The next time your inner critic starts shouting, try visualising a giant red stop sign.

2. Write a list of all of your accomplishments and what makes you great. I bet being creative comes to mind, because creative folks tend to struggle with self-doubt. But that’s ok, find the positive and jot it down. From being a great listener to passing your driving test, or finishing the first draft of a novel. Be proud of the small and major things that define your life and who you are. The next time doubt comes calling take a look at your list and remind yourself of how great you are.

3. Inspirational quotes. Not only are they great pick-me-ups, but they also make us realise that everyone struggles with similar issues. We are not alone in our doubts, but we can overcome them. So pop over to Pinterest and find your favourites. Try printing some out and pinning them on the wall by your desk, or saving one as your home screen. Let the positive words shine brighter than the negative.

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4. Take some time to relax and unwind. When I burnout, I crumble. Therefore learning to stop before stress becomes a major factor is important. Equally important is to give yourself a break, if you do burnout, that’s ok too. Forgive yourself, Love yourself and take a dame break. The housework, your MS and the 101 other things that are building up will all be there tomorrow. I grant you permission to eat chocolate, watch Netflix and hug a pet or pillow.

5. Set goals and work towards them. Bite-size steps give us attainable and realistic expectations. Make them too big and we give up with the knowledge that we we’re right. We’ll never amount to anything. And that’s not what we want. But chop your dream into tiny pieces and celebrate each small success is how we can achieve even the largest dream. Maybe it’s to write 500 words per day, or join a creative writing class, or send your work to a beta reader. Whatever the step: it’s you building upon your dream and making it a reality.

So take that doubt. We’re crushing you and working our way up the success ladder.

I hope you found my tips helpful. I’m sure there are many ways to overcome doubt, why don’t you share some of your tips 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.
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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.