Getting it Done #amediting #stopwastingtime

It’s amazing how easy it is to waste time. The other day I was distracted by a photo of a moose.

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Okay so it is an awesome moose photo and it’s a moose so points for that. However I have lots of other things to distract me, I don’t need a moose (said no one ever!!!). In the last week I have started a new (gone back to an old?) job, sent the kids back to school, labelled and contacted too many books and stationary items, walked the dogs and organised myself.

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Well tried to organise myself. What I really needed to be doing was finishing my editing. Well today I finally did that. Okay I have finished, but I still have to type the changes. Then all I am waiting on is my front cover – reveal soon!!!!!! I am pretty excited. I really want my book up on Kindle in the next week or so. I also want to have the print proof ordered so I can get it published in print too. So I need to get some work done. Not to mention the other two books I need to complete…. Or the drafts awaiting editing, or the next lot to write. I have enough to keep be busy all year that’s for sure. Which is actually pretty exciting, but I need to stop looking at moose and get the work done!

What distractions do you need to avoid???

Would love to know, more updates soon. In the mean time have fun!

Happy Australia Day #Aussie

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Australia is a great place to live. It’s full of adventures, amazing places, people and things to do. It’s easy to come up with great story ideas in a place like this:

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There are unique animals:

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Being Australian means a lot to me and it is something everyone in this country should be proud of. So how do we celebrate Australia day? Well everyone is different, but this year we are having a big Aussie BBQ breakfast with friends. The water slide will be out for the kids (big and little), there will be lots of food, drinks and laughter. The sun will be shining and it will be a fantastic day. So to all Aussies here or abroad I wish you a very happy Australia day! As always have fun!

Stitch Says Book Review: The Wishing Coin #novella

Stitch here:

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I’m happy to be getting back into the swing of things. Today I bring you the review of The Wishing Coin by Antara Man:

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Did you ever wish your life was different? What if you could change the whole course of your journey by purchasing a special coin. A coin that can make all your wishes come true. Sound good? Or does it sound a little too easy. Julia Preston, a TV reporter discovers just how easy that can be. She also finds out that having all your wishes come true is not all it is cracked up to be. This is a lighthearted novella that will capture the imagination. This short story twists and turns and keeps the reader guessing. If you are looking for a light, but entertaining read this is the book for you.

Stitch Says gives it four woofs!

You can check it out for yourself here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Wishing-Coin-Modern-Novella-ebook/dp/B00RNF4D0I/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

If you would like an interview or book review from Stitch then email his human at Ashley@ahowland.org places are limited. Keep reading, keep writing!

Stitch Says Author Interview: Antara Man #authorinterview

Stitch here, kicking off the new year:

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Today I have an author interview with Antara Man, let’s go and meet her:

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When did you decide to become an author and what impact has this had on your life?

I consciously decided to be an author when I was nine years old. I started writing at the age of seven but when I was nine I felt my calling was to be a story teller. There is an anecdote from my life that I always remember when I go back to these days. One day, back when I was a kid, I was in class and our teacher gave us the task to write on a piece of paper what we wanted to become when we grew up. One of my schoolmates suggested that we should write down that we didn’t want to grow up; that we wanted to remain what we were then. She was urging me heavily to do it but what I wrote on my piece of paper was “I want to become a writer”. I knew I was already one. The teacher explained to us she was collecting all those paper pieces so that if one day she saw any of us and asked “What have you become?”, she would be able to show us our answers.
For me, being an author essentially means to be able to craft and tell compelling stories. Regardless of whether one writes fiction or nonfiction, everything comes down to this very point – the story. In order for one to tell interesting, unique and controversial stories, one has to gain a lot of experience, to travel, to change cultures and explore new horizons. Maybe my adventurous spirit is influenced by that and it explains my constant desire for change.

The great thing about being a writer is you don’t have to grow up!

Tell us about your latest work and what motivated you to write it:

My first (yet) published work is The Wishing Coin – a fairy tale/fantasy novella. The idea for it came one early morning when I was heading to work. Looking out the bus window, I saw a female TV reporter and two cameramen waiting to begin a live broadcast. The TV reporter was discussing something with the cameramen.
The revelation hit me: “I will write a short story about a TV reporter. She will work at Good Morning America (Later I changed it to Good Morning USA to avoid legal issues) and she will be struggling to get more screen time.”
As the day went on, I came up with some more: She’ll fail to be promoted to have her own TV show, and her ex will start dating the rival reporter who stole her slot. I began with the first tragedy following the famous three-act tragedy structure. I didn’t have the whole story outlined yet, but I had something better — the energy that would let me write and finish the story. Later that night I came up with more scenes. The TV reporter would meet a strange vendor who’d sell wishing coins on the street. The protagonist would buy the most powerful one; the one that fulfils all wishes, no matter what they are. My idea was to present three different pictures: in the first, the protagonist is unhappy; in the second, she has everything she wishes for — the dream job, the wonderful boyfriend, etc; and in the last, her desire for control and power corrupts her. The character’s wishes have a harmful effect on the people around her and she regrets that she bought the coin.

I have read The Wishing Coin and there will be a review soon.

What are your future aspirations as an author?

I am in the final stage of editing my second novella, a time-travel fantasy which I am going to release quite soon. Right now I am writing a physiological thriller and I’ve developed a very good plot for a dystopian young adult sci-fi novel. Of course, one of my highest priorities is publishing Alice in Sinland – a 95 k word novel which I wrote a year ago. I intend to publish it by the end of 2015.

We wish you all the best for that adventure.

Where do your ideas come from? What experiences or aspects of your life influence your writing?

I have always wondered about it myself. Ever since I was seven, the ideas I receive have come as a form of revelation. The inspirational moment is like a flash of creative impulse. For a few seconds, I see the story unrolling in front of my eyes like scenes in a movie. It grabs all my attention and my mind becomes one-pointed. I think creativity comes from the subconscious and unconscious levels of our existence and that’s how the works of artists capture the minds of millions of people. Unfortunately, we are often unable to receive inspiration from our own powerhouse (the deeper layers of our mind) because we are entangled in materialism.
A long time ago , I overheard someone ask my Guru: “Are artists yogis?”
He answered that artists must have been yogis in their previous lives, because the ideas they receive come to them as revelations. He added that though it’s not always the case, quite often this is how the works of many great artists were revealed to them.

What do you do to improve yourself as a writer?
I will quote Stephan King: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” Reading a lot of fiction, especially in the genres you like, and putting the words out on paper or in whatever software you use, is preliminary and compulsory. With reading you expand your horizons, identify different styles and connect with authors. The other thing that helps me a lot is editing and “killing my darlings”, like Bob Cooper once said. He advises authors to look at every word in a sentence and decide if they really need it. To be ruthless is a great technique; actually, it’s mandatory. No one has extra time for you anymore. If you don’t hook the reader right from the start, chances are that they won’t read any further.

Reading and writing are essential to all writers.

What inspires you to write?

I want to tell compelling stories, to make people think about good and evil, about brutality and kindness etc.

Where can people contact you?

At my website: www.antaraman.com, on Twitter @Antara_Man or alternatively on Facebook.

Did you publish with a traditional publishing house or did you go the indie route?

Indie all the way!

What works best for you when writing? Meaning do you outline or write freely when you feel inspired to do so?

I stay off the Internet. I unplug the Wi-Fi router and then I am able to focus on my writing.

Excellent way to avoid distractions.

For other authors who may be struggling what advice can you on handling rejection?

Everybody is initially rejected. J.K. Rowling was even rejected 13 times! Traditional publishers are called “gate keepers” for a reason. One way to skip that is to publish your book(s) independently but be prepared and read Write Publish Repeat before you opt for the indie road.

Some great advice. Thanks for joining us here are Stitch Says. There will be a review of The Wishing Coin soon, until then, keep reading, keep writing!

Writing Workshop Ideas #amwriting

I am going to make my website more interactive. I thought one way to do this would be to include some writing workshop ideas to download. It’s the teacher in me, but I think they could be fun. So what would you be interested in?

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I have some ideas based on my books, which could support teachers who read my books to their class. However I was hoping to add more than that. My ideas include developing characters, locations, plots and even some editing tips. Would love some feedback. What are the areas you want to work on as a writer?

Post your ideas here and have fun!

Breathe #getitdone

I am reading a really cool book to my girls at the moment. It is set in a school with a most unusual teacher. His first lesson was to breathe.

My girls thought it was really funny – he did fall out a window… I just loved the idea. Sometimes we just need to take time out and breathe. Then we can sit back and decide what needs to be done with a clear head.

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This can be pivotal in any line of work. I think when it comes to writing it is really important. If you are going to put yourself out there and your heart into your words then make sure you breathe.

Writing is best done with a free spirit and an open mind, so get to it and have fun!

Follow the scent #getwriting

I often get asked how I come up with ideas for writing stories. I follow my nose and chase it down…

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Or sometimes it just comes to me…

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Other times I have to go on an exploration…

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On occasion it is staring right at you…

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Most of the time I find it best just to read lots and write things down. The ideas flow at the most unusual times. Just go with it and have fun!

What’s in a name? #gettingitright #amwriting

Names are so important. As new parents you troll through different books, websites and everything just to find the perfect name for your child. Sometimes names are just right, but other times it is a struggle. I guess in some ways it is the same for an author. How do you choose your character’s name???

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This topic came up on a recent group – except it was about dog names and whether writers are more creative. The end verdict was yes, based on the lack of predictable dog names. I was interested to see some names for dogs. It is always fun to think up new names and show names too.

I have recently been working on a plan for a new chapter book trilogy and have some unusual names in there. They are completely different to my super hero’s villain names, which are based on their disguises. It’s actually a lot of fun coming up with names and characters. Do you have any favourites?

Here are some of the names I have used in stories:
Dog names include – my boys Obi, Stitch, Chewie. Then there is Rigger, Stormy and Max who are al names after real dogs I have worked with. In Ghostnapped I used a friends dog’s name – Thuds. It just fit perfectly.

My super heroes – Lighting Lilly and Princess Seea were names by my daughters. They also names the villains, Dr Ani Mal, Mr Irele Phant and Miss Al Paca.

So now I am working on my pirate names….

Have fun!

Stitch and Chewie back for 2015 #authorshelpingauthors

We’re back!!!

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We had a great Christmas and New year. Our puppy sitters spoiled us. Of course the other humans came home and we suddenly had to be dogs again. We still love them. We’ve even had a new years bath and defluffing. So not going to stop us from dropping fur every where!

It wasn’t all fun and games on our break though. We’ve already read one great book that will be released in February and have another to get on with now!

As part of our desire to help promote authors we will be running our blogs once again. We offer:

Stitch Says – Stitch will do author interviews and review books, preferably children’s books!

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Chewie’s News – Chewie will chomp out a promotional book blast for you, again preference to children’s books

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Please remember we have kids to play with, books to read, people to get cuddles from and other important things to do. We do our interviews and reviews as fast as we can! To take part in our promotional services please email our human and author Ashley Howland at ashley@ahowland.org

We look forwards to helping more authors in 2015 – keep reading, keep writing!

Getting the new year started #timetogetmoving

I said goodbye to 2014 with a smile… and a few friends!

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Now it is time to get started with the new year. I began my first few days by collecting inspiration for my next challenge. A trilogy of chapter books about pirates, treasure, kids and adventure. I am planning on getting my first draft of these three stories down in march. It will be part of the Chapter Book Challenge for 2015. Which means I have a few months to get organised and plan my stories. Some of my inspiration will come from my new years adventures:

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I have some great ideas for this story and am really excited to get planning and writing again.

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I have heaps of other projects to get on with too – more information soon and hopefully some big announcements.

I would love to know how you all spent your new year, in the mean time have fun!