Use It or Lose It

In this piece I ask, do we need to turn up to our page each day?

Use it or lose it, is a phrase that is often heard in relation to having learnt something new, and retaining what has been learnt. It is also said in regard to our brain, to keep it sharp, tackling cross-words / word searches or puzzles daily is a wonderful exercise. 

But when it comes to writing, does it apply? If you do not sit and write each day will your creativity be any less? This thought came to me at about two a.m. in the morning when it appears that’s when most inspiration strikes for writers. I had not written daily for a few weeks now and I wondered if this would affect my writing ability. Would I get back to my routine with my laptop, spilling my thoughts on to the screen easily enough or would I struggle with it all.

So do I agree with the use it phrase or not?

I do not believe my creativity in storytelling will disappear if I do not write daily. I do feel however, it loses its shine. If I haven’t put pen to paper or tapped on my keyboard each day, then my words and thoughts flow slower. They are sluggish, reluctant to appear. My thoughts and ideas are still there, but they emerge in a more meandering way. They enjoy making me work for abandoning them, so it feels.

Whereas if I give a dedicated time to my writing and turn up each day to face the blank page, then my words rush out, at times faster than I can write or type them. There’s never a moment without some plot twist or character action or a story idea in a writer’s mind, it is unending. But as I said earlier, these ideas do not play fair with a writer if they have not interacted with each other for a while.

So yes, it is important to use your writing talent each day, no matter for fifteen minutes or a few hours. Go meet your page, face it and make those ideas and characters come out to play with you. If you only make notes or a list, it is turning on the tap of words. Otherwise you will have many a sleepless night, sorry you didn’t write it all down.

Happy writing.

Men Hurt Too

Dear Readers,

Lacey is resting this week, she’s not coping very well with life at the moment, so it falls to me, her brother to write a few lines. I’m Robert, her older brother but you probably know that. She’s my baby sister, sorry, you probably know that too. At the moment all our lives are up in a heap after my mother died. Gosh how I miss her. I thought losing Dad was difficult but for some reason I thought Mum was going to last forever. Stupid, I know, I just didn’t want to lose another parent.

Today we have a letter from Lacey’s older brother, Robert.

Lacey Taylor is the star of her own series of books, first introduced in My Husband’s Sin before moving forward in Don’t Call Me Mum. With the Lacey Taylor story due to continue in book three next year, I thought it’d be a fun and enriching experience to explore her character and her backstory in more detail. And so was born Letters From Lacey, online exclusive stories from her past to run alongside the books. I’m delighted to dive deeper into this wonderful character as time goes on! And who knows, if all goes well, I may start expanding other characters from the books too!


Dear Readers,

Lacey is resting this week, she’s not coping very well with life at the moment, so it falls to me, her brother to write a few lines. I’m Robert, her older brother but you probably know that. She’s my baby sister, sorry, you probably know that too. At the moment all our lives are up in a heap after my mother died. Gosh how I miss her. I thought losing Dad was difficult but for some reason I thought Mum was going to last forever. Stupid, I know, I just didn’t want to lose another parent.

Being an only son, I guess it was seen that I step up to the table and be man of the house. No problem, was happy to do that, but God, it was hard. I had my moments too when I wanted to hide away and cry, in fact, I did. I hid my tears from others, silly now I know since there’s nothing wrong with grieving but I was young and saw it as important to man up.

Did Lacey tell you about Mum’s great revelation? Well she floored us. I mean we never saw it coming. Not a clue. I don’t know who to be more angry at, Dad or Mum. Both are to blame, both lied to us all. I can’t get my head around it so God knows what Lacey is feeling.

Look I do my best and guys it’s more than okay to show your hurt and grief, every tear you shed, is a tribute to the love you shared with the person lost. I have my days, but time helps to heal not that you forget, you never forget.

Thanks for reading, and remember no matter how bad life gets, it can and does get better. Watch out for my little sis, she deserves happiness, but sshh don’t tell her I said that, she’ll say I’m getting soft,

Robert Taylor


If you love Lacey as much as I do, be sure to check out her series and follow for more 😊 I plan to publish each week, alongside the usual writing tips and updates you’d expect. For fans of the series, be sure to share this with your friends and family… It’s more Lacey! And you won’t find these stories in her books…

Finding Mum

Dear Readers,

When I lost my father, my world exploded into tiny fragments that I could never gather up again. But with time comes healing. I really thought nothing so awful in life would strike twice, but I was wrong. I found mum that day, slumped over the chair. Seeing her slouched, still, she looked so small, like she was sleeping I suppose.

Lacey Taylor is the star of her own series of books, first introduced in My Husband’s Sin before moving forward in Don’t Call Me Mum. With the Lacey Taylor story due to continue in book three next year, I thought it’d be a fun and enriching experience to explore her character and her backstory in more detail. And so was born Letters From Lacey, online exclusive stories from her past to run alongside the books. I’m delighted to dive deeper into this wonderful character as time goes on! And who knows, if all goes well, I may start expanding other characters from the books too!


Dear Readers,

When I lost my father, my world exploded into tiny fragments that I could never gather up again. But with time comes healing. I really thought nothing so awful in life would strike twice, but I was wrong. I found mum that day, slumped over the chair. Seeing her slouched, still, she looked so small, like she was sleeping I suppose.

I know I screamed, but I’m sure I made no sound, do you know that feeling? Like it’s happening to someone else and not you.

The paramedics were amazing, so kind, so calm, so in control. A heart attack, it was, she went out like a candle. I remember thinking in the following days what was I going to do? Both parents gone and I was only twenty four. No dad to walk me down the aisle, no mam to go wedding dress shopping with, if it ever should happen for me. Oh if only I knew then what was yet to come, then I guess I would have not wasted a second grieving for her, not losing a heart beat in thought of how she died alone.

She deserved it, she did not love me, ha, how stupid and silly I was. What did she do? Oh you would not believe what she thought of me, read it all in My Husband’s Sin.

 

Not everyone is who they appear to be.

Lacey xxx


If you love Lacey as much as I do, be sure to check out her series and follow for more 😊 I plan to publish each week, alongside the usual writing tips and updates you’d expect. For fans of the series, be sure to share this with your friends and family… It’s more Lacey! And you won’t find these stories in her books…

My Siblings

Dear Readers,

Sitting in the garden at my parent’s house recently, I was thinking about all the fun I had as a child playing there. I have three siblings, Willow, Sally and Robert. Being the youngest in the family, they did spoil me. My brother is closest to me in age. We really had fun times, I even know the off-side rule in soccer because of him.

Lacey Taylor is the star of her own series of books, first introduced in My Husband’s Sin before moving forward in Don’t Call Me Mum. With the Lacey Taylor story due to continue in book three next year, I thought it’d be a fun and enriching experience to explore her character and her backstory in more detail. And so was born Letters From Lacey, online exclusive stories from her past to run alongside the books. I’m delighted to dive deeper into this wonderful character as time goes on! And who knows, if all goes well, I may start expanding other characters from the books too!


Dear Readers,

Sitting in the garden at my parent’s house recently, I was thinking about all the fun I had as a child playing there. I have three siblings, Willow, Sally and Robert. Being the youngest in the family, they did spoil me. My brother is closest to me in age. We really had fun times, I even know the off-side rule in soccer because of him.

He was amazing when our Dad died suddenly. It was a heart-breaking time for all and Rob, he stepped up. He made sure those horribly tough days of the funeral passed without a hitch. He has always been a listening ear for me while growing up, but more so after he saw himself as head of the Taylor family. He took it on to protect the family, to try and be what Dad was, our rock.

My sisters and I always teased him about being mum’s favourite, her little boy, he would laugh at us, saying we were just jealous, all harmless banter. Dad would be so proud of him, the way he has made a great success of his life, the caring way he watches out for us.

Having a big brother is wonderful, I feel safe and loved and I’ve always someone to watch the rugby and soccer with at the weekend. Have you got a sibling you are close to? I hope so, we all need someone. Must go now, some tidying up to do, the house doesn’t clean itself my mum always said.

Later,

Lacey xxx


If you love Lacey as much as I do, be sure to check out her series and follow for more 😊 I plan to publish each week, alongside the usual writing tips and updates you’d expect. For fans of the series, be sure to share this with your friends and family… It’s more Lacey! And you won’t find these stories in her books…

Where to start with Character

In this post I share basic and simple ways to create your characters, whether for short stories/novels. I’ve included also a basic CV that you can use while working on who will be in the story.

TIPS ON CREATING A CHARACTER

  • Introduce your main character in the opening of your story.
  • My notebook with details of the characters of my first novel, My Husband’s Sin

    Characters through their dialogue move the story forward and gives an insight into their personalities. Their slang, tone, vocabulary, all is unique to that person.

  • Write someone who the reader will identify with, then give that character a crisis to overcome and so your story begins.
  • Naming your character, put thought into it. Make sure the names you choose suit the era of the story (make sure it’s in existence for the time set, modern may not have been heard of historically)
  • When thinking about the characters in your story, it helps to make a CV, so you can refer to it when moments of recall escape you, be it the simple colour of their eyes to which leg was their tattoo on.

CHARACTER’S CV:  A character’s CV is a list of their features, likes, dislikes family status etc. 

  • Eye colour, Hair, Height, Age
  • Temperament
  • Date of birth
  • Moral/ethical/religious beliefs
  • Political stance
  • Hobbies/Interests
  • Habits good or bad, (biting nails,)
  • Quirks or eccentricities
  • Likes/Dislikes
  • Fears/Phobias
  • Short or long-term goals in life
  • Hope and dreams
  • Look at people around you, what are they wearing? How do they behave?
  • Look in magazines, cut out photos that resemble your character (See accompanying image for mine)
  • Where does your character live?
  • What is his/her family relationship like? With friends, work colleagues?
  • What does he/she work at?
  • Where did they go to school/university?

When Dad Died

Losing a loved one is never easy and remembering them is constant, especially as their anniversary comes round. That’s what I’m facing shortly, Dad was taken quickly from us. He was young, not that it’s ever a good age to lose someone who is your world or otherwise.

Lacey Taylor is the star of her own series of books, first introduced in My Husband’s Sin before moving forward in Don’t Call Me Mum. With the Lacey Taylor story due to continue in book three next year, I thought it’d be a fun and enriching experience to explore her character and her backstory in more detail. And so was born Letters From Lacey, online exclusive stories from her past to run alongside the books. I’m delighted to dive deeper into this wonderful character as time goes on! And who knows, if all goes well, I may start expanding other characters from the books too!


Dear Readers,

Losing a loved one is never easy and remembering them is constant, especially as their anniversary comes round. That’s what I’m facing shortly, Dad was taken quickly from us. He was young, not that it’s ever a good age to lose someone who is your world or otherwise.

I was very close to him, he hugged me each day, and never a night went by that he didn’t say how much he loved me. At times it seemed like he was compelled to say it. That reassuring me was important to him.

Guess I was a Daddy’s girl really. Mum never cuddled me or showed affection. I wonder did I remind her of something or someone, was my birth such a terrible memory?

I hated dressing in black for the funeral, the serious ceremony, the emptiness in our home. Willow and Sally, my sisters cried their eyes out for days upon days. Robert, my darling brother tried to act the man of the house and take control but failed. His heart too was broken.

You see we all adored our father, now he was gone without warning. Snuffed out like a candle.

Life with mum was always a puzzle for me but with dad out of the picture, she grew more cold and distant towards me and I could not understand why. If I asked her for a hug, she would shrug and say she was busy.

How do you handle it? The loss of the most important person in your universe, (Dad was mine) and the rejection of another (my mother) whose role it is to sprinkle you with unconditional love?

Have you suffered loss? The pain, the physical pain never leaves, it subsides but always there lurking, splintering your heart, your life for evermore.

I send hugs, thousands of hugs to you dear, Readers, who know the pain of loss, and to you who have yet to endure it, wrap my hug around you and know life will be cheerful once more.

Lacey xx

 


If you love Lacey as much as I do, be sure to check out her series and follow for more 😊 I plan to publish on a Monday and Friday, alongside the usual writing tips and updates you’d expect on a Wednesday. For fans of the series, be sure to share this with your friends and family… It’s more Lacey! And you won’t find these stories in her books…

The Street I Grew Up On

Lacey Taylor is the star of her own series of books, first introduced in My Husband’s Sin before moving forward in Don’t Call Me Mum. With the Lacey Taylor story due to continue in book three next year, I thought it’d be a fun and enriching experience to explore her character and her backstory in more detail. And so was born Letters From Lacey, online exclusive stories from her past to run alongside the books. I’m delighted to dive deeper into this wonderful character as time goes on! And who knows, if all goes well, I may start expanding other characters from the books too!


Dear Readers,

The street where I grew up on was once filled with the noise of laughing children. We would be in and out of each other’s houses, playing in the back gardens, eating dinner in which ever friend’s house we were at rather than break the fun and go home.

Sounds so idyllic and it was for my older sisters and brother. Not so much for me. I did have friends, lovely friends, people I was in school with. But mum never liked it when they came to my house. She would discourage it not by saying anything but by the frosty cold air that followed us as we would venture out to the garden or into the sitting room. I was never allowed bring them upstairs. So after a while my friends stopped calling over to mine. It was better if I went to theirs.

Willow, Sally and Robert, my siblings were always enjoying their friends over, even up in their bedrooms listening to music, but not me.

Our house was built in the late fifties early sixties, I heard Dad talking about it one time. It’s in south Dublin, a sought after area my mum kept saying. It is red brick front and detached, has a garage too. We were considered posh because of that, having a detached house. Flower beds that winded around the two cherry blossom trees in the front garden filled it with colour.

There’s a gravel driveway and I remember listening out for Dad’s car as he returned from work. He was wonderful, full of fun and hugs. Always telling me he loved me.
Later when we were older, the bus service put a bus stop close to our house and my mum went berserk, how dare they! The traffic became heavier too, we no longer had the quiet residential street of my siblings’ youth. Lots of things were different when I was growing up from their time. Guess that’s what comes from being the baby of the family.

Keep in touch and let me know if you have any questions from my story in My Husband’s Sin or Don’t Call Me Mum.

I so enjoy writing to you on here.

Lacey x


If you love Lacey as much as I do, be sure to check out her series and follow for more 😊 I plan to publish at least a couple of these letters each week, alongside the usual writing tips and updates you’d expect 🙂 For fans of the series, be sure to share this with your friends and family… It’s more Lacey! And you won’t find these stories in her books…

Getting out and meeting others

Bestselling UK author, Adele Parks and writer, Mary Angland, at Wexford Lit Festival 2018

We all know that writing can be an isolating career, cutting ourselves off when penning our novels, and then once the story is finally down on paper we have to go back in and edit. The editing is intense and draining for many and the ‘editing cave’ is often a term used by writers when they cut themselves off from society as they tackle their project.

So getting out and meeting others is very important. We need it to refuel, to charge up our writing batteries and just to feel human again!  This is where festivals and events come in to their own.

Sharing news and celebrating wins and awards let us know that our work is valued, that time locked away, (well it feels that way) has been worth it. But you don’t have to wait for a special occasion, join your local writing group. If you don’t have one, consider setting one up. Libraries love to have groups meet in them, and staff are always so helpful.

APIBA short list event 2018, with writer, Marie O’ Halloran and multi bestselling author, (TV series, Taken Down) Jo Spain .

By meeting fellow writers, you will be rewarded, not just with tips and hints on to improve your writing but making new friends, actual friends in the flesh, not just little thumbnail photos on social media.

So look up what’s on near you and consider attending, your mental and physical health will benefit and your writing will be inspired with new ideas.

5 Beginner Tips For Becoming a Writer

At the beginning of your writing career, you are writer, agent, bookkeeper, marketer, web designer, social media manager, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Today I hope to make that a little easier of a burden to bear, with 5 beginner tips for becoming a writer.

When becoming a writer, we hardly expect to be millionaires. Well, maybe we do, but only because we don’t know how impossibly hard it is to reach that status yet. Once we do, we accept that we’re here for the love of the craft, for the need to create. Money is the bonus that comes at the end of hard work and persistence, but certainly not the driving force. That said, you should treat your writing as a serious business. It involves time management, connections and correspondence, a budget, and marketing efforts. At the beginning of your writing career, you are writer, agent, bookkeeper, marketer, web designer, social media manager, and pretty much anything else you can think of. Today I hope to make that a little easier of a burden to bear, with 5 beginner tips for becoming a writer.

TIP #1  Setting A Budget 

This year I entered short story competitions and I shall be doing so again. It’s a good way of getting your work out there and by writing to different guidelines, it expands your writing experience too. But entering these competitions can be costly so in order to do that I don’t go crazy with my hard earned cash, I set myself an annual budget and I stick to it. Not all competitions cost money, many are free to enter so I suggest checking websites by putting in Free Writing Competitions or something similar. So that is my tip #1, set a budget that you are comfortable with and that way you stay in control.

TIP#2  Maintain A To-do List

We all live busy lives and without my to-do list I would be running around in a panic. It is invaluable for my writing. Each evening I write my list for the next day such as, emails I must send/reply to, stories to send out, fill in my worksheet, phone calls to make/return etc. If I have not ticked off all on that day’s list I carry them over to the next day. If I have not completed a task and it has been carried over for two/three days then I make it a priority to be dealt with first on the list. The satisfaction of ticking off chores is delightful and it gives a sense of achievement at the end of the day. Of course to-do lists are not for writing only; it is a very useful habit to have to keep check of daily life in general.

TIP#3  Keep A Writing Record  

I would be lost without Excel. On it I have entered the title of my stories, where I have sent them, Accepted/Rejected, Competition/Magazine, Payment/prize etc. So at a glance I know where each story is. There are many different programmes you can use, find the one you feel comfortable working with. If you find it difficult you can always use a large A4 book and using a double page spread, mark it in to different columns and title each column, then fill in the details beneath. It is another useful tool in keeping me organised and one that I would encourage any writer to have. Of course it works for submitting to agents or publishers, poetry, songs and plays also.

TIP#4  Always Say Thank You

In a fast changing world many of life’s little things can get lost. Saying thank you can be one of those basic little things. In connection to writing, I believe saying thanks is important. When I receive an email whether it is bringing rejection of my story/novel or telling me my story/novel is accepted, I like to reply with a thank you. By saying thank you, I am acknowledging the time and response that was given to me. I make a connection by doing this and if you are a nice person to deal with, you will be remembered. After all part of being a writer is building relationships and making connections. So whether it is a nay or yay, a thank you can go along way and it costs nothing to be nice.

TIP#5  Reward Yourself

Right, you have worked hard all week. You have been writing furiously, finishing that story/letter/poem and you have watched your competition budget and also entered any work that has gone out/returned into your records. You even remembered to say thank you. It is now reward time. You are entitled to a treat, some new lipstick/ magazine/CD/DVD or a cupcake or two, even time out to read or walk, meet a friend for coffee and a chat. It doesn’t have to cost money; it only needs to make you feel good for all your hard work. There must be enjoyment too from your writing apart from getting acceptances which is the best reward of all. So, little treats now and then encourage us to carry on through the tough times.

So there you have my 5 beginner tips for becoming a writer. As you can see, writing is filled with its own unique highs and lows, but with a little management, you’ll soon have a portfolio of work you can call your own! Happy writing lovelies, and feel free to ask about any and all things writing. As a published author, I understand the stumbling blocks more than most!