Monday, 25 April 2016

What do you write? How do you begin?

There are always two burning questions for new writers; what do you write? And how do you begin?

The answer to these questions might sound a little trite, but it is true and quite simple.

Write about whatever is in your head to write.

Now I know you want to reach through the computer screen and strangle me now, but before you do that, let me explain…
Only you know the story you want to tell. If you gave the same story synopsis to 3 different authors, you would get three different stories.
No one writes in the same way that you do. No one will ever write in the same way as you.

Therefore, I cannot tell you what, specifically, to write, but I can help start you off.

I know, you have this fantastic idea in your head for a novel, or you wouldn't be here reading this blog post. So let's go into your mind and think about that fantastic novel…
What is your absolute favourite part of the story?
Is it a bit of action?
Is it violence?
Is it a love scene?
Is it a huge argument?
Is it a car crash?
Whatever your favourite part of the story is, think about that… Go on, think about it. Immerse yourself in it completely. Imagine yourself there with all the characters, in the middle of the action, or as one of the characters.

Now, think about how you would describe that. What triggered off the violence? Did one of the characters lie to another? Was that the trigger?
Describe something like a bead of sweat running from your characters forehead down his temple and the side of his face into his beard, perhaps. What about the light in the room? Are they even in a room? What can you smell?

Jim watched Andy's eyes flick back and forth staring at the ground as he fought to find a lie in his head that would excuse him for what he did… Something like that, perhaps?

The key is to start with one sentence. It doesn't matter where, precisely in your story, you begin, you can sort all of that out later. But it is important that you start something.
I just gave you an example sentence there. It's not perfect, but it's a start.

Then what happens? What's the next bit? Does Andy speak? Does Andy's behaviour trigger Jim to react in a particular way? The point of view in that sentence was Jim's, so how does he feel? Is his blood beginning to boil? Does he clench his jaw? Does his hand tighten around the lead piping he is holding?
These are all questions you can answer with the next sentences that you write.
Why is Jim angry at Andy? Why does Jim even have lead piping in his hand? Why would Andy want to lie?

The only person who can answer these questions is you. You are the only person that knows the entire story.
The reader wants to know what you know; you have to put it down on paper.

Begin with one sentence. Begin with your favourite scene. Then, like a spider's web, watch it grow from there…

Let me know what your beginning sentences and scenes are. I'd really like to hear from you.
Most of all, I'd like to hear about what you're writing and I wish you all the best!

Happy writing!
Karen x

Monday, 18 April 2016

Useful tips for aspiring authors!

Over the past couple of years, it has been my pleasure to help other authors with a few hints and tips that would have made my life so much easier, had I known them in the beginning.

I decided, instead of just giving a couple of people these tips that I would write them down here in the blog.

This is not a definitive list of hints and tips, but it's a pretty good place to start!

So, you have this burning desire in your heart to be a published author.
You've had an idea for a novel going around your mind for years.
Where do you begin?

Whether you decide to self-publish through KDP select, Smashwords, or Draft2Digital, or if you decide to try your hand at submitting to a publisher, it is good to get yourself organised.

Every writer will tell you that one of the biggest hurdles to overcome is procrastination. Hence the fact for tip number one. I always say get a diary — a big one.

  1. Get yourself a big diary. Get one of those large ones it has an entire day per page. That way, you will be able to plan your week and pencil in things to do in the future. Don't worry, this isn't as scary as it sounds.
  2. Get a blog. Choose either WordPress or blogger, unless you know some other ones, set it up, make it beautiful, but don't worry that it has no content yet! (Notice I said YET!)
  3. Start an author page on Facebook. Facebook is a great place to actually talk to people. I know, I know it's only typing, you're not face-to-face, but this is very interactive and readers really appreciate that.
  4. Start an author Twitter account. Love it or hate it, Twitter is a useful tool. Other authors love it and we would be foolish to ignore it.
  5. Go back to Facebook and link your Facebook author page to Twitter, so that every time you post on Facebook, it automatically tweets for you. Now, this is a little complicated, but there are some excellent tutorials on the Internet to help you do that.
  6. Write. In fact, the best thing to do is to put that in your diary. Put it in your diary ever really single day. What do you write? My next blog post will be about that! ;-)
  7. Go back to your diary put in 'write something' on every page; Monday to Friday, if those are the days you wish to work. (You can choose any days of the week to work, that is entirely your choice!)
  8. Write a blog post once a week, at least. In the beginning, you can chart your journey as a writer. Write down how difficult it is to begin. Tell people what it feels like to have writers' block. The most important thing is that at least once a week, you write something. One great tip for this is that while you were reading other people's books, especially in the genre that you plan to write in, you put a review on your blog. (don't forget to also put the review on Amazon or whichever site/place you bought the book from.) I will also write a blog post about that, too ;-)
  9. Set up your blog so that it will post to Twitter, Google plus, Facebook etc. etc. Then, when you have made your post, you can share it with the social media world. 
  10. Post updates on Facebook and tweet them. There are some fantastic little blog widgets out there that will help you to keep track of your word count. These are great for visitors, as they show how much you've written and are a) Encouraging for you and b) help to show those who are interested in reading your work that you are still writing.
Wash, rinse, and repeat! 

Eventually, what you will be doing is filling your diary with little things. You only need to be adding one or two things in your diary every day. For example, post a review, tweet your word count for the day. But what this does,this not only helps you to get yourself organised and beat that evil procrastination that lurks around every corner but also begins to build up interest in what you were doing. At the end of the day, that is your objective; to build up interest in your work, so that when you are ready to put it up for pre-order, people actually want to buy it. They will have been on this journey with you and they want to see the end result.

As I said before, this is not a definitive list. This is merely a list of 10 hints and tips that will help to get you organised and get you thinking in a productive way.

The key here is; LITTLE AND OFTEN!!

Rome wasn't built in the day so don't expect your novel to be written in a day, or you're following to be huge in a day.

It will happen. Keep writing. Let people know you're writing. 

I wish you all the best!

Let me know you are writing, too! I want to know if this list has helped you! I would also like to know if you would add anything to this list. Anything can be improved if we all get together and help each other!

Happy writing  — Karen x

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Preorder links for The Spice Bride!

As promised here are the preorder links I have for The Spice Bride!

It's so exciting to have a new book coming out after so long, let alone it being the first of a trilogy!

I will add more links to this list as and when they become available.

(These links are 'intelligent links' which take you immediately to the online store in your country rather than you having to trawl through lists of links to find the one you want! :-) Simply click on the icon below of your preferred store!)

PS - The Spice Bride will also be available in paperback! I will post links for that as soon as it becomes available too!  xxx

Please go ahead and share this post everywhere! Google+ it, tweet it, facebook it... however you want to share, please do!

Together we can get the word out about The Spice Bride!!

Happy Reading! 

Monday, 11 April 2016

Hear me read!

Hear me read a snippet from The Spice Bride and introduce you to The Emberton Brothers Series

I really hope you enjoy this!  If you do, please let me know and I will record more! :-)

(It's not perfect, so please bear with me.)

Grace remembering the plantation in India....

© 2016 Karen Aminadra

Click on these links below to preorder!

Amazon - 
Barnes & Noble

Friday, 8 April 2016

Cover reveal for The Spice Bride!

I could cry!  I seriously could actually cry!

I couldn't be happier with the result. It. Is. Stunning!

When I received the invoice from the cover artist, Miranda Stork, she even added a note, "I love this cover!"

I wholeheartedly agree with her!  I LOVE THIS COVER!

So, without further ado... I present to you the cover for The Spice Bride book 1 in The Emberton Brothers series!!!

With three ships sunk in one year by Napoléon’s navy, Richard Emberton is desperate to save his spice importation business.
While collecting his daughter from boarding school in England, George Hayward is on the lookout for a new exporter for his spice plantation in India.
With benefits to be reaped by both sides, Richard agrees to marry the plantation owner’s daughter.
Certain that her chance at love is being sold to the highest bidder, Grace Hayward feels little more than a slave and is determined she will never be happy again.
With such an inglorious beginning, can love flourish?

Pre-order details will be coming as soon as I can get it all organised!  How exciting is this?!!
Keep your eyes on this blog or on facebook for more information!

Thank you for taking this journey with me!

Karen xxx

Monday, 4 April 2016

Characters have a mind of their own!

One of the greatest things about being an author is having the freedom to create any character you want to.

If I wanted to, I could combine a Dr Frankenstein character, a Jane Eyre character, with a Doctor Who character to create some crazy kind of fun in a book! The freedom is mine to choose.

However, the ability to tell my characters what to do is not mine. It never has been and it never will be; if my characters have anything to do with it!  And they have, I can assure you!

Each one of them has their own personality. Those personalities drive what the characters will and will not do, what they may or may not say, and most importantly where their story takes them.
Yes, I know I'm the author and I can jolly well write what I want to, but you tell them that!!
They won't listen to anybody!

Most of them are stubborn. They get that from me. I'm their mummy after all! 
Some of them are funny - note I did not say all of them. Some of them like to think they are funny, but they are not. At all. Ever.
And they can be foolish. Quite often, actually. 
Most often they get mad at me for making them do what they don't want to do, so they rebel against me and get themselves into all sorts of trouble. I mean, just look at Wickham and Lydia! All I asked them to do was get their acts together, get on well, and be nice to people. Could they? Could they 'eck!

So, what can I do about it?  Absolutely nothing! Nada! Zip! Niente!
If my characters want to behave foolishly, wantonly, and downright murderously, then that is up to them. Who am I to stand in their way if they wish to murder their way through the entire novel?

Thankfully, not all my characters are murderers or philanderers. To be honest, most of them quite likely would enjoy that. But, I have to put my foot down with a firm hand and say no! Enough is enough!
From now on I am the boss... yeah, right!

Seriously, though, as an author, I create characters and, like real people, they have their own set of dreams and desires, likes and dislikes. There are only so many places you can go with them. The mild-mannered sweet heroine of a book cannot, ever, be turned into a murderess - unless, of course, you had already decided on making her a mild-mannered gentlewoman by day and a rakishly wanton highwaywoman by night... that's an interesting thought! ;-)

One of my favourite reviews states that I make the characters leap off the page. I like that. I want, more than anything, for my characters to be real and relatable. After all, if you can't relate to a character in and book, you won't care what happens to them for good or for ill, will you? Heck, I won't even care what happens to them, either, I suspect!

Here is a snippet from chapter 26 of Wickham to illustrate my point.... I cannot, ever, and will not ever, change Mr Darcy's character. He is, and always will be, a perfectly kind gentleman.

Mr Darcy took pains to speak with Lydia that evening, much to her agitation. “Mrs Wickham, please forgive my impertinence, but seeing as we are brother and sister, I wondered if I might enquire as to whether all is well with you. You seem out of sorts.”
If any person other than Mr Darcy asked her such a question, she would not have minded in the least. As it was, she found Mr Darcy highly ill-mannered in his assertion of her being out of sorts. “I beg your pardon, Mr Darcy?” she said testily, arching her eyebrows.
Mr Darcy seemed nonplussed. “I asked if you were well, Mrs Wickham.”
His affability disturbed her. She wanted to hate him as much as Wickham seemed to, but on each occasion they met, he was gentlemanly and kind to her. According to her husband, the man standing before her with a look of pure concern on his face was the means of ruining his future. “I am very well, Mr Darcy. I thank you.”
“And are you quite recovered from the grippe?” His eyes searched her face for she knew not what.
“Quite,” she replied curtly.
“I am heartily glad to hear it.” He smiled and Lydia warned herself not to fall for his kindness, as the rest of her family seemed to have done. “My dear Elizabeth tells me that you would like to visit with us at Pemberley…whilst your husband is away at war.”
She cleared her throat, remembered her manners, and smiled at him. “Yes, if that is amenable to you.”
“Of course it is.” His smile widened and she could see how easily it was to trust this detestable man before her. “We would be delighted to have you and your son to stay with us a while. I believe my sister, Georgiana, whom you know lives with us, too, will enjoy playing with him, I am sure.”
Why is he being so nice to me when he dislikes my husband so? “I am sure that he also will enjoy all the attention.”
Mr Darcy laughed. It was a laugh that melted the hatred she felt for him a little more than she was comfortable with. She rebuked herself inwardly for such foolishness. Do you not realise he is drawing you in? He is trying to make you like him, and then he and all those who believe his lies about Wickham will work to convince you to think as ill of him as they do! Her thoughts brought a lump to her throat.
“Truly, are you well?” he asked.
Embarrassed that he saw her inner struggle, she shrugged it off. “Yes, quite well.” She decided to press him. “It is merely the thought of enjoying ourselves while dear Wickham is in some foreign land fighting…” The tears fell down her cheeks, and she was pleased to see that her ability for producing crocodile tears was still as strong as ever.
“Calm yourself.” She thought he, at least, had the good grace to frown and look discomfited. “It will do you more harm than you can imagine to fret about such things.” Mr Darcy did something then that truly eroded her hatred for him further. He reached into his pocket, withdrew his handkerchief, and offered it to her. “Here, take this and dry your eyes, sister. War cannot be avoided, and we know the tyrant must be stopped. However, you may take comfort in the fact that your husband is doing the country a great service. I believe all men who fight for freedom are heroes, are they not?”
There, he had accomplished his aim, she felt. Lydia looked up at him through her tear-soaked lashes and saw him differently. He was encouraging her to see Wickham as a hero, when he was the one person she never ever thought would say anything positive in connection to her husband. “Yes, I suppose you are right, Mr Darcy. I did not think of that before.” She smiled despite of herself. “Indeed, my Wickham is a hero.”
Mr Darcy bowed slightly. “Then we will see you happy at Pemberley, I am certain.”
Lydia watched as he turned away back to his wife, who also smiled at Lydia. Is it kindness, or do they pity me? She could not fathom why they would be kind after the majority of her own family had disparaged her husband so cruelly in her hearing. Yet, the evidence before her very eyes was of a kindness she never thought to see.     © 2014 Karen Aminadra

Mr Darcy is always politeness personified. Mr Wickham is always a rake. Lydia is always flighty. No matter what I cannot change them, neither would I want to. However, as we read in the passage above, Mr Darcy's personality has an effect on Lydia's. This is always fun to see play out in a novel!

One of the great things I can do as an author is to create new characters. I have thoroughly enjoyed doing that while writing The Emberton Brothers series and really hope to bring you news of book 1 The Spice Bride soon!

I have so many stories within me to tell. I can't wait to see where my characters take us! 

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