Category Archives: First Person Singular

Men in Kilts (and the women who love them…) by Emma Seaman

Many thanks to Emma for joining me on my blog and allowing me to share this fabulous post with you.  If you like Men in Kilts and novels about Scotland (good or bad), read on . . . 

One of the advantages of a Kindle is that the moment you’ve finished a good book, you can download the sequel, or more by the same author, right away. E-books can also be dirt-cheap, or even free, which gives me the impetus to explore genres and authors I wouldn’t previously have tried.

Screen-Shot-2015-05-11-at-10.56.47One of the downsides of the Kindle is the amount of (often self-published) weirdness out there…

I’ve been addicted to Diana Gabaldon’s fabulous ‘Outlander’ series since a friend recommended them last year. They hit every button for me – amazing settings, suspenseful plots, masses of fascinating historical detail, a strong-minded heroine and a frankly swoonworthy hero. The first book has just been made into a TV series (available on Amazon Prime) and though at first I had doubts about the casting of the book’s iconic Jamie Fraser, I’ve loved every minute. I’ve been saving the last (8th) book in the series to read later, because I’m pretty sure that either Jamie or the heroine Claire is going to die, and I’m not ready to lose them just yet… so I recently decided to browse on my Kindle for something similar.


The eternal fascination with what lies beneath…

Well, I have to say, I didn’t realise ‘Men in Kilts’ were such a big thing, if you’ll excuse the innuendo… I’ve always had a sneaking fondness for a man in plaid, ever since the Highlander film in the 1980s (my husband does a pretty good Christopher Lambert impersonation), but I had no idea that Gabaldon’s books had sparked such a surge of hormone-fuelled fantasy.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-28-at-16.57.23There are novels in every genre – from ‘Outlander’ time-travel copycats (though I haven’t found any as good as the original) to bodice-ripping drama and contemporary romance. As you’d expect, the quality varies hugely – I soon abandoned the ‘historical’ romances, which were often unreadably awful, with hideous ‘Forsooth, ma brae lassie’ dialogue and paper-thin characters. Authors, please note: a hero with a kilt, an accent and an improbably large sword does not make up for lousy writing.


Who designs these book covers? His boobs are bigger than mine.

Speaking of large swords, there is a frankly incredible amount of ‘Scottish erotica’ out there (don’t tell the Scottish National Party about this – they’ll only get ideas).  It seems the Highlands are positively awash with passionate Celts who will tear off their tartan at the sight of a heaving bosom.


Really? Surely no self-respecting gay man would wear THAT striped shirt with THAT tartan…

It’s not just ladies who like the idea of a laird – kilted gay erotica is  particularly popular, though queerly enough, much of it is still written by women – for women?


Eeuuwww. Wrong on so many levels.

There’s even a sub-genre of ‘Scottish Historical BDSM Fertile Erotica’, which is a very niche interest. Dearie me.

Screen-Shot-2015-04-28-at-17.04.09The contemporary women’s fiction scene is generally more wholesome (and rather better-written). Lizzie Lamb’s “Tall, Dark and Kilted” is a good, fun read with likeable characters, making great use of the romantic Scottish setting. I’ve also read a couple of entertaining supernatural stories where the kilted Highlander appears in ghostly form, to break a curse or charm the repressed English heroine.

If you’re more interested in the ‘real’ history of Scotland, you’ll find literary fiction re-imagining every era from the Picts to the 1960s, or you could venture into the murky realms of crime with Scottish Noir (though, to be fair, there’s not a lot of hot kilt-action in those).


Ouch. That’s what chaps were invented for

There’s so much kilted-ness to explore – I’m quite intrigued by the sound of the ‘Kilts and Quilts’ cosy mystery series, and more so by the probably dreadfully-chafed Cowboys in Kilts (c’mon guys – even Jamie Fraser wears trousers on horseback).

I’ve found Vampire Scots (do they bleed Irn-Bru?), Scottish Fairies (harking back to the magic of the standing stones in Outlander), Scottish Dragon-Shifters (Oi! Bob! Help me shift this bloody great dragon!) and even Footballers in Kilts (now that would REALLY liven up Match of the Day).


A kilt too far..

Still, I think the prize for ‘freakiest kilt-related fantasy’ and possibly the oddest book title ever, must go to “Men in Kilts with Tentacles – and the women who love them”.


I am NOT going to download that one, BTW –  some things are definitely best left unexplored…





Emma Seaman lives in Devon with her young family, and is a freelance Marketing & Social Media professional. She has been writing fiction for ten years, winning awards including the Jeremy Mogford Food & Drink writing prize and the Wells International Literary Festival Award.

Her short stories have featured in eight anthologies published by Legend Press, Exeter University, The Yeovil Prize and The Harrow Press (USA), with another due this October from the Bath Short Story Award.

She finds inspiration in long walks on Dartmoor, lazy days at the beach, from the people she meets and the fascinating minutiae of everyday life.

You can discover more about her writing at: and her books at:


While we’re on the subject of Men in Kilts, dear reader, let me lead you gently by the hand towards my latest Scottish themed novel – Scotch on the Rocks which is available over on Amazon as a kindle download and as a paperback.

2015-07-23 22.01.21

Interview with Brea Brown – American author

Welcome to Brea Brown, author and fellow Chick Lit Goddess. Hi, Brea – thank you for crossing the pond to be on my blog. I hope you didn’t get too wet on the journey over. Come in, pull up a chair and tell us all about you and your writing while I make the coffee and get the biscuits.

1. Author photo

Hello – and thanks, Lizzie for inviting me to First Person Singular! I’m Brea Brown, an indie author-publisher from the U.S. (more specifically, Springfield, Missouri, which is smack-dab in the center of the country)

If I’m being honest, I feel a bit awkward here, because one of my favorite quotes of all time is this one, by Lillian Hellman: “If I had to give young writers advice, I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing.”

2. Lillian Hellman QuoteOh, gosh. I’m about to be one of THOSE authors talking about myself. Nooooooo!!!! Lillian’s right, of course. The young writer has to find her own voice. He has to figure out his own system. She has to find what works for her, not for Stephen King, Jennifer Weiner, or that new phenom everyone’s talking about. That being said, readers tend to want to know this stuff. Sarah Houldcroft, a Goodreads Librarian and Virtual Assistant for authors, said so right here on this very blog. According to her, the most sought-out information by readers from authors is:
What inspired you to write your novel?
How, why and where do you write?
Have you experienced first-hand any of the aspects in your books?
If so, was [one of those people] you?

Since I recently released my eleventh novel, Let’s Be Real, the answers would vary for that first question, but I can fairly easily generalize about my writing process for the other four. How, why, and where do I write? This is my current “office” setup, against a wall in my bedroom.


It’s not the grand office-library I always imagined I’d have, but it actually works okay for me right now. I don’t need anything fancy, just relative quiet, my laptop, my reference books, and the Internet (for impromptu research and fact-checking… because everything on the Internet is true, right?). I write every morning, from 4:30 to 6:30, before getting the kiddos up for school and getting ready for my day job as an administrative assistant for an environmental consulting firm. On the weekends, I sometimes escape to a nearby coffee shop, but that requires wearing a bra and shoes, which is usually not worth the trouble. (Don’t underestimate my laziness.) I don’t set daily word count goals for myself, but I try to publish at least two books a year, which means I can’t mess around. A good, solid weekday writing session is about 1,500 to 2,000 words. When I have longer than a couple of hours at my disposal, I like to double that. But again, not all writing is word production, so if I really nail a certain description or a section of dialogue, or I spend most of that time gathering some excellent data through research, that also makes me happy. As for why I write… it’s just what I do. Like breathing. I love it. And I love sharing stories with people.

Have I experienced first-hand any of the things I put my characters through? Oh, yes. I regularly take things that have happened to me and inflict them on my imaginary friends. I recently contracted strep throat for the first time in my life. It was hell. You better believe I gave one of my characters in my current work in progress that nasty little illness while the trauma was still fresh in my mind. After all, you have to make those things worthwhile.
Do I base my characters on real people, including myself? Of course, I do. Are there any characters in my books based strictly on one person or myself? No. My characters are amalgamations of different personalities I’ve encountered over the years. I don’t write people I dislike into my books only to kill them off (although it’s fun to threaten that).

4. killer author t-shirt

Most of the time, though, especially with protagonists, I start with a trait I can identify with, one that I can write convincingly (being Type A, for example), and I then add others that may be a bit more foreign to me (like being germophobic), to make things interesting. I’m generally more interested in getting inspiration for characters from watching strangers and wondering what their life is like, then running with my own version of their story. I try to avoid basing any character solely on someone I know, because if it winds up being a less-than-flattering portrayal, and that person recognizes himself or herself, things can get awkward. Plus, it’s a lot more fun to pick and choose traits and make original characters.
If you’d like to explore the products of my process (a.k.a., my books), check out my website. You can also connect with me on social media at the links below. Please say hi if you stop by!

5. Book Ribbon

Brea Brown lives in Springfield, Missouri, with her husband and three  sons, but her international support network stretches as far as  Australia. She’s an administrative assistant at an environmental  consulting firm for forty hours a week and a writer all the other waking  hours of the week not taken up by motherhood, wifedom, reading, and  watching cheesy TV shows like Sleepy Hollow. (That leaves a surprisingly large number of hours, believe it or not.) Her published novels are Daydreamer,  The Secret Keeper, The Secret Keeper Confined, The Secret Keeper Up All  Night, The Secret Keeper Holds On, The Secret Keeper Lets Go, The  Secret Keeper Fulfilled, Plain Jayne,Quiet, Please! Let’s Be Frank, Let’s Be Real. Her twelfth book, Out of My League, is set for a Fall 2015 release.

50 Shades of Reader – What makes a great Bestseller?

New Romantics Press

Having had 50 Shades of Beige and 50 Shades of Greece, today we welcome Sarah Houldcroft to our blog with 50 Shades of Reader!

auburn haired lady reading 650Are there really 50 shades of reader or do we all basically want the same thing from the books we read?  The vast majority reading this blog will know of the hype surrounding 50 Shades of Grey and possibly a large number of those will have read the book, but is an almost equally large number criticising the way it was written?  It would appear so. There were, apparently, a large number of readers who were dissatisfied with the book, but it was still a runaway bestseller.

This would suggest that the style of writing does not necessarily dictate how popular a book will become. The ‘action’ and characters, in this instance, caught the imagination! But is that always the case? What makes a Bestseller?

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My Writing Day – with Carol Hedges

Author Carol HedgesLizzy, thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog. I hope there will be cake and coffee shortly. And an appearance by Jasper the parrot!

You asked me to describe a typical writing day. I’d answer that it depends on where I am in the writing process. If I’m actually writing a novel, I try to put in a good four hours of solid work – afternoons are my best time. But there are other times, like now, when a book is being planned, when I might just read, download articles form the internet, and do some preliminary sketching. And I frequently take the plot for a long walk, just to straighten out bits when I’m not sure where it’s going to go.

Most writers when planning a book start at the beginning of the story and work their way through a sequential narrative until they reach the end. Crime writers do it backwards. We start with the crime, and who perpetrated the crime and then work out how and why it happened. This is why for all my books: the four Spy Girl books, the ebook Jigsaw Pieces and my latest novel Diamonds&Dust, I write the last page first. Then the ‘’hook’’ at the beginning. Then the rest of the story.

I like this sort of methodology, though I can understand that for the careful plotter it might drive them mad. Sometimes I haven’t a clue what is going to happen next as my teenage or adult protagonists study the facts and decide on their next move. I like my writing to challenge me as well as the reader – I could never be one of those writers who has to make 50 pages of notes before placing fingers upon keyboard. I’d get bored. Very bored. I like to walk away from every writing session thinking: OK, how the heck am I going to get my people out of this?

Of course, around and beyond every book, there has to be the marketing! I love social media, and use different forums for different approaches. Facebook is great for posting news, family pics and seeing what everyone else is up to. Twitter is wonderful for meeting people other than writers and engaging in witty (!) banter. And I have a weekly blog, where I can invite writers – you sat on The Pink Sofa recently- to showcase their work. I also use the blog to publish short funny pieces about the lunacy that is my life.

I really try not to ‘’sell’’ my stuff too pushily on any site I use. Some writers do and it turns people off. You sell more by being a fun person and interacting with others, I think. Then they get to know and like you, want to read your stuff, and end up doing the ‘selling’ for you!
If I were starting out writing now, I think the best advice I could give to myself is to keep going and believe in what I was writing. It seems daunting with so many new books coming out every week, and so many ways of publication. And yet, there’s always room for one more lovely book …. so place backside on chair, place fingers on keyboard…..and go for it!

Diamonds & DustCurrently, I’m working on the third book in the Diamonds&Dust series. The first book, published by Crooked Cat Books and available in print and ebook, is set in 1860 London. It tells the story of two women, Josephine King, an orphan and heiress, and Lilith Marks, a jewish prostitute. Their lives cross when Josephine’s uncle and Lilith’s lover Herbert King is brutally murdered one night. Set against the backdrop of the great gas-lit city, the two women are drawn together in their quest to discover just wo killed the man they both loved.

The second book, which features the same pair of detectives: Leo Stride & Jack Cully, is set in 1861. The third will be set in 1862. Diamonds&Dust has been very well received, given that it is not the traditional run of the mill historical crime fiction. The biggest buzz has been the number of Twitter readers who’ve let me know how much they’ve enjoyed it. My publisher has been inundated by Tweets asking when the next one is coming out. Such a lovely and totally unlooked for compliment! (The answer may be Nov/Dec this year).

I am amazed that at my time of life (I’m pushing 64 but not speeding) a whole new writing career in historical adult crime fiction has opened up. Hopefully other older writers might look at my writing trajectory and be inspired. I’d be overjoyed if that happened.


Spy Girl BooksCarol Hedges is the successful UK author of 11 books for teenagers and young adults, one ebook and one adult historical novel. Her books have been shortlisted for various prizes and her YA novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal. Diamonds & Dust, A Victorian Murder Mystery is her first adult novel. It was published in 2013 by Crooked Cat Books, and is available as book and ebook on Smashwords, and or to order in bookshops.
Find Carol on Twitter:
Read her award winning blog:
Send her a Friend request on Facebook
Visit her Amazon author page:

Yes, it’s the RNA Conference, July 2014

Yes, it’s the RNA Conference, July 2014.

Welcome to Rosie Amber


rosyamberMy name is Rosie Amber, I’m an author, book reviewer and blogger. I live in the county of Hampshire in the UK. Blogging opened up a whole new world to me and I have met some lovely people. I try to publish a blog post every single day because my blog is still quite new and I need to keep readers interested. I began my blog primarily to help promote my own book, but it has become a much bigger part of my life. I’m now able to use my love of reading and my blog to help promote other people books too.

TalkoftheplaygroundMy first published book is called “Talk of the Playground” ( & is a fun tale of the ins and outs of an English village school. I call it my work of love rather than my work of art because it meant so much to me at the time. I learnt a lot about writing and self-publishing and have learnt even more from blogging and reading other writers work. Now I’m working on a big edit of my book because I love evolving as a writer.

I love reading. In the Goodreads 2013 challenge I read 154 books, this year I expect to increase that number. Nearly every book I read gets a review on Goodreads, Amazon and my blog, with links to my Facebook author page, Google+ and Twitter. I also do Guest Author Interviews and take part in book related tours.

In 2013 I was lucky enough to be invited to write a monthly book review page for a local magazine called “Fleet Life”. 5000 copies go out locally and the magazine has an online version too, I usually review 5 books of my choice per month for the magazine. In 2014 I also picked up its sister magazine Elvetham Heath Directory which has 2000 copies and an online version, I do a different set of reviews in each magazine.

I love keeping my blog fresh; in April 2013 I took part in my first April A to Z Challenge and I blogged my way through the alphabet matching book titles to the letters of the alphabet. This year I took part for a second year and again promoted books using all the letters of the alphabet, it is a great way to meet lots of new bloggers from all over the world.

Never one to stand still for long I recently completed a year-long challenge that I set myself on the day I began reading a book called “A Year of Doing Good” by Judith O’Reilly.

Judith challenged herself to do Good Deeds for a whole year and wrote a truly inspirational book about what happened. Judith undertook giant acts of good, my own challenge was to do just 1 Good Deed a day for a year. Every Sunday I updated my readers with my latest deeds. On April 16th 2014 I celebrated completing my challenge and am now carrying on for a second year. Do come and check it out.

My most recent addition to the blog is a page I’m building on resources for writers. It features people who offer editing services, marketing, promotion, book covers, book reviewers etc and I shall be adding more.


Welcome to Alex Gutteridge

Firstly, a big thank-you to Lizzie for having me on her lovely blog.I think she would agree with me when I say that, for many people, writing is a vocation. It is chosen for you and not by you. Many months or years can pass without you following that dream and it can be interrupted mid flow by unforeseen circumstances but, in your heart, the desire to write will not let go of you, despite whatever life path you may be led down.  Some stories are like that too. They hover at your shoulder, waiting for their moment. They provide valuable lessons in patience and perseverance, amongst many other things.

LastAngelLast Chance Angel was like that. The beginnings of this story go back to when I was living in Oxford and taking my A’levels. I was on my bicycle and involved in a collision with a car. I had a lucky escape and my good fortune was constantly at the back of my mind over the following years. I had no idea that this would be the catalyst for a story which has now been short-listed for five awards including the Romantic Novelists’ Association Award in the young adult category. In some ways I consider it a miracle that this story was completed at all, just as it was a miracle that day that I was not seriously hurt.

Once I actually put pen to paper, (and I do always begin my first drafts in this way) it took many more years before the book was ready for submission. This book was witness to many ups and downs in my life, both personally and professionally. In the middle of it I stopped writing altogether and wondered at times if I would ever find the strength and resilience to once again take up the reins of my writing life. But, little by little I did and it is thanks to this book. This was a story which would not let go of me and for my own self-respect I knew that I could not let go of it.

Moi!2 014I had no idea whether anyone would want to publish it but I promised myself that if no-one did,  I would publish it myself. I had formed a bond with Jess, my main character; I wanted her voice to be heard and I wanted my hours of work to see the light. I hoped that a few people at least might enjoy reading it.  I was incredibly lucky to find a mainstream publisher and not just any publisher, but the right one for this book. Templar have supported me every step of the way. It has been an amazing experience and I cannot thank them enough.

This book will always hold a special place in my heart because it’s the one that got me back into writing. To any writers out there who are sitting at the page and thinking ‘is this really worth it?’ or those of you who say to themselves and others  ‘I’d love to write a book but don’t think I could’ I would say this; it is worth it and yes you can. Do not look back in years to come with regrets; follow your dream; dig deep when times get tough and even if you have to step aside for a while, make yourself a promise not to give up.

You can find out more about my writing life at and follow me on Twitter at alexgutteridge1

What Every Reader Wants

What do readers really want – a reader’s point of view

Sarah Houldcroft with Boot Camp BrideI am delighted to welcome Sarah Houldcroft to my Blog today. Sarah, a Goodreads Librarian and Virtual Assistant for authors, tells us what she thinks our readers want from us.

‘You are so lucky – I would love to write a book’

How many times you, as authors, have heard that phrase, I wonder.  Perhaps you smile and think to yourself: ‘God, if she only knew the hours and hours of stress, torment and sheer hard work I have had to go through…’  But we, as readers, don’t know.  We simply cannot comprehend, it is not important to us.  All we see is the end result and the author becomes a special gifted individual who can reach down into her soul and haul out people and feelings, emotions, happenings, and create a whole new world for us.

photo 2For the booklover, the reading experience begins way before the first word in the book.  These days with so many more opportunities to read, the first question may be ‘How am I going to read my next novel?’  Paperback, Kindle, tablet, phone, PC?  For me, there is nothing better than holding a printed book in my hand, the feel of it, the smell of it, even.  And that wonderful action of turning the page to discover what happens next.  However, there are an awful lot of booklovers who now just read books on their Kindle or other e-reader.  Makes sense, you don’t have to lug an extra suitcase with you on holiday just to transport the books you want to read over the coming two or three weeks.  Easy, a click of a button online and you can start reading, no need to wait for the post to deliver your next read.  Personally, I am torn between the two methods.  I do have a Kindle which is particularly useful when I am reviewing books for authors abroad as they can just send me a digital file and away I go.  But, as I said before, my true love is the printed book, of which I have hundreds and hundreds.  I am not alone either, although millions of ebooks are downloaded every year, the printed book is still managing to hold its own.  But as readers, we like to be given the choice of how we read our next novel.  So the more formats in which you make your book available, the better.

Regardless of the format of our next read, if we don’t know what to read next, or a friend has not recommended an author or book then odds are we will end up on Amazon.  And that is when the next phase of the pre-reading experience begins.  What to choose?  Ok, we may have a particular genre in mind which could narrow it down, but with so many books to choose from these days we will be scrolling down the list at some speed until a book cover catches our eye.  Yes, the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’ doesn’t quite hold true these days.  If we don’t like your book cover we will pass over you and keep scrolling and that applies to print books too.

Scott Pack, a former Waterstones buyer sums it up quite nicely here  and offers some useful tips for authors to consider.

Katie Fforde's Book Signing at Mk Harborough 024 copyOf course, the one really wonderful thing about having a printed book is that we booklovers may be lucky enough to have the book signed by the author. This is so exciting for a reader, particularly if we have actually met the author in person which is an incredible experience in itself.  This is something that ebook producers have considered and it is now possible to have an ebook ‘signed’ by the author too using

These days the reading experience doesn’t necessarily have to stop once the book has been read. Traditional publishing tended to keep the author at arm’s length from the reader, unless they were lucky enough to attend a book signing.  These days with social media, websites like and the explosion in self-publishing, authors can be far more accessible and that is what readers like.

photo 1What Readers Want to Know

  • what inspired you to write your novel?
  • how, why and where do you write?
  • have experienced first-hand any of the aspects in your books?
  • did you base your character on a real person
  • if so, was it you?

I think booklovers have always thought these questions, but have not had the opportunity to ask until recently.  And now we can, we want more.  Yes, we will respect your privacy, but we want you to reveal more than just the contents of your latest novel.  The author who embraces this new way of doing things, particularly the self-published author, will always win out over those who prefer to keep their distance.  They will turn their readers into raving fans who in turn will review their books and talk about their books and encourage others to read their books.

READERS – do you agree?

**Sarah Houldcroft is proud to be an Author’s Envoy and particularly likes to promote self-published authors.  She offers services to authors to help boost their online presence through and her new website which will be a place where authors and readers can connect, read, write and share.  She lives in Leicestershire with her teenage son, two bunnies, an aging gerbil and hundreds and hundreds of books!


ILABioPicIsabella, could you tell us a little about yourself and why you created your wonderful blog, Chick Lit Goddess

In 2009, I created Chick Lit Goddess. While I planned to use it as a personal blog, it quickly turned it into more than that. With inspiration of my favorite website, Chick Lit Plus, I started featuring reviews, authors, and their books of the following genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romantic Comedies, and Women’s Fiction! To this day, I’m overwhelmed by the love and support of my of my Chick Lit Goddess site. When I created the name CLG, I didn’t know at the time that I’d created a brand for my books and myself. My other website is under construction and I’m planning to launch it soon!

What is a typical writing day for you:

I really wish I could say that I have a “typical writing day”, but I don’t. Since I’ve been editing for what seems like forever, the last time I really wrote anything was in November, during NaNoWriMo. I missed it so much, so I took full advantage of it. While I wrote my next book in seventeen days, which for now is titled “Cards from Khloe’s Flower Shop”, sitting down and actually doing the work was what I needed for me to see how my “typical day” could be if I really focus.

 How the writing process works for you. Plotster or panster?

 Before I wrote “Cards from Khloe’s Flower Shop”, I was a panster who really had no process. I’d simply just sit in my chair and wait for something to come to my mind. Often, it was stressful, but I managed to do it. However, that changed in November when participated in NaNoWriMo. I never outlined anything, nor had I really had an idea of where my story lines were going, but on November 1st, I started outlining and it changed my life as a writer. I bought a lot of lined paper, colourful pens and tabs, and started jotting characters and ideas down. It was an amazing experience, and who knew I could love office products to much?!

 Social Networking – a help or a hindrance?

Both! While it can be helpful to gain fans and help promote, social networking is also a huge distraction for a writer.

Some advice for fledgling authors, please:

I used to think that when someone would say to “just write”, they were crazy. It turns out that they weren’t. It’s true…all you have to do is write your first draft.

What are your top five writing tips?

  1.  Use a timer! To cut back on distractions from my phone and computer, I bought a cheap timer at the grocery store and set it in 35-minute increments, dedicating myself to my WIP. I use it so that there’s no Facebook, Twiter, or any type of distraction. I love it!
  2. Talk about your books! I’m a shy person, so this is hard for me to do, but the more and more you discuss it with someone, the more you feel like a writer/author. Most of the time, you’ll end up getting more ideas, too.
  3. Take it one day at a time! Accept that there are going to be bad days. Your writing might not be good, but being a writer isn’t easy. Just knowing that tomorrow is another day can help lighten the weight of stress.
  4. Read! For me, reading a good book by your favorite author can help inspire you. Before you know it, you’ll be saying, “Hey, I can write, too!”
  5. Do not let your writing consume you! Everyone needs to go out with friends and make new memories. You might tell yourself that you can’t go out and play because you have a book to write, but don’t. Instead, pretend you’re going out to do research for a character or storyline. Oh, and have fun, too! ☺

Who has inspired you the most?

I have so many people who have inspired me, but I’d have to say my parents.

If not a writer – then what?

Geez, this is a tough one. I guess that if I had to pick to be anything other than a writer, I’d be an editor of a magazine.

isabellaanderson_therightdesign_ebook_finalBlurb and link(s) to your current book

Blurb: Interior designer Carrie Newman’s day starts out perfectly. For their sixth anniversary, her boyfriend, Roger, gives her diamond earrings, but the sparkle is lost later that same day when she catches him in the act with another woman. Heartbroken and in disarray, Carrie chooses to leave the past behind, possibly forever. She lands in ritzy Palm Beach, Florida where a new job and new client leave her wondering if THE RIGHT DESIGN for her life has finally been found.

Some reviews of your work (if you don’t have any, as yet, please tell us what YOU look for in a great book)

I don’t have any reviews yet but the one thing I look for in a great book is the happy ending. While I do care about how the story line gets to the ending, after it’s over, I (the reader) want to know that the characters are happy. Years later, I want to be able to look back and know that the Hero and Heroine are still together, living a wonderful life together.

Links to your blog etc



Facebook – Fan Page:



Twitter – Chick Lit Goddess:

Finally – what are you working on ATM? 

I’m about to start working on the next draft of “Cards from Khloe’s Flower Shop”.  I’m very eager to get back to it.

Author bio:

Isabella grew up with a book in her hand, and to this day nothing has changed. She is a member of the Romance Writers of America and has been featured on several blogs. While Isabella doesn’t blog a lot, she focuses her time on featuring other writers, along with writing and editing.

She lives in Dallas with her husband and cat. She enjoys spicy Mexican food and drinking margaritas, and can be found spending time with family and friends, cheering on the Texas Rangers, and reading.

Isabella’s short story, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, was featured in Simon & Fig’s Christmas anthology, Merry & Bright, in November 2013. 

The Right Design will be her first novel.

Twitter Tips For The Newbie Writer


Firstly, I’d like to thank Lizzie for asking me to appear on her blog, and her suggestion that I give my ‘five top tips for tweeting’.   As Twitter is a huge galaxy containing many, many sub-communities, I’m going to relate my tips mainly to the world of writers and readers, as this is the one in which I am most often found.

There are thousands, and probably millions, of self-published books out there, as many blogs, many of which are tweeted on a daily basis.  So how do you make yours stand out and, thus, make people want to click on the link to your book/blog?  It’s hard – very hard.  As I always say when giving advice, I am no expert, but I have found the majority of my regular readers via Twitter and my blog gets lots of views, so I hope I can help a bit.

Here goes!

1. Your tweet is an advertisement for your book.  If it contains punctuation or spelling errors, incorrect spacing in order to get all the words in, text style abbreviations or bad grammar, how can you expect someone to want to read anything else you write?  It’s quite a challenge to fit the right wording into those a hundred and forty characters whilst leaving room for the link, but you can play around with it until you get it right.  I see the tweet almost as an art form!  You can also save your best ones in your ‘favourites’, to use again, but please vary them; even the most perfect tweet loses its impact if you see it every other day for three months.

2. Always, always, think about what would make you click on that link.  Just tweeting “Check out my book ‘Another Vampire Novel’” isn’t going to stir up much interest.  Try to summarise what the book is actually about, in as punchy a way as possible.  Alternatively, you can quote from a particularly original review – emphasis on the ‘original’; please, please, not “I couldn’t put it down” or “it really drew me in/kept me turning the pages”.  If someone’s likened your writing style to a well-known author, you can use that; but don’t forget to put quotation marks around any quotes, or it looks as though you’re saying it about yourself.  If you have a large number of five star reviews, or the book has been shortlisted for or won an award, that’s a good thing to mention.  I don’t think referring to your book as a ‘five star read’ is a very good idea, because virtually all books have at least one five star review.  If you’re tweeting about a blog post, it’s much easier to get people to want to look at it – think newspaper headlines!  As an example, which one of these two tweets for the same post and would make YOU want to read it?

New blog post: the results of my KDP free promotion (link)

How I got 5 thousand copies of my book downloaded in 3 days! (link)

3. This next tip is about generosity.  If all you do is schedule churned out tweets about your own book by one of the various apps available, hardly ever actually appearing ‘live’ on the site, it is likely you will find yourself, within a few months, thinking, so much for that.  Didn’t work for me.  Twitter is not a free advertising tool, it’s a social networking site.  Talk to other people.  Take an interest in what they’re writing about.  Read their blog posts.  Help other people promote whatever they’re doing, too.  As with any other community, the more you give out, the more you will enjoy what you’re doing, and make interesting and helpful online friendships – and, with luck, people will want to read what you’re writing about, too.

4. Retweeting is one of the keys to making Twitter ‘work’ for you, but don’t go over the top.  I did; I used to do two or three sessions of a hundred retweets per day.  No wonder I got unfollowed a lot!  Think about it – imagine you’re just using Twitter to be social and read the odd interesting article, and you only choose to follow about two hundred people.  If one of those people starts bombarding your feed with endless retweets from people you haven’t chosen to follow, you won’t be pleased, will you?  Yes, yes, I know you can still follow someone while choosing not to see all their retweets, but most people don’t know this, alas!  Some of those people who unfollowed me might have been potential readers, but I would imagine I put a fair few of them off.

5. My last ‘Twitter Tip’ is a quick list of other things NOT to do!

  • Send auto DMs.  You know the ones: “Hey, great to meet you!  Please like my Facebook page, follow my blog, buy my book, attend my garage sale and come round for tea on Saturday.”  Awful.
  • Directly flog your wares via tweet, to complete strangers: “Thanks for following!  I’ve just published my debut novel – please check it out! (link)”  Ditto directly asking strangers for RTs: “Please retweet this video of my precocious kid singing some crap song on youtube”.  Both equally awful.
  • Retweet people’s random bits of conversation because you can’t be bothered to look for something they might want to be retweeted.
  • Expect amazing results by tweeting about something once a week.  The average life of a tweet is about 15 minutes, I believe.  After that, your message will be lost forever.  Of course we all know that we mustn’t keep shoving things in people’s faces, but there is a happy medium to be found.
  • Forget to consider your fellow retweeters.  If your timeline consists of fifty retweets of others, thirty “Thank you for followings”, etc, a twenty tweet long conversation you could have had with your friend via email or text, all before anyone can some original content to retweet, they’ll probably give up.  We’re all busy – before you log off, leave something you’d like retweeting at the top.
  • Fail to un-tag people from conversations in which they are not involved.  On Fridays my interactions page is jammed up with people I’ve never heard of thanking other people for #FF mentions, because they couldn’t be bothered to erase everyone else’s name from the group.
  • Hassle people to follow you back.  People can choose to follow, or not, who they want.
  • Fail to look at what you’re retweeting.  The other day I got about 20 RTs for a promotion that had occurred two weeks before, even though I’d put the date on it.  Pointless and irritating!
  • Include the phrase ‘buy it at’ in your bio.  Yes, of course you must put your links to your books, but the bio should be about YOU, not an invitation to purchase your wares.

Okay, I hope that’s been a help!  There are many other posts about self-publishing, Twitter, etc, on my blog on the UK Arts Directory and I also have a personal blog, on which I write about many different topics – relationships, nostalgia, the odd rant, funny bits….

If you would like to look at my books, here is my author page and my author page.

Many thanks to Lizzie, once again!

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