The Stories that Haunt Us

This weekend I was all set to write a book review for my next blog post. I had one drafted, I’d given it a lot of thought, and then on Saturday night I found myself with a rare stretch of time and no pressing tasks or engagements. Now what, one might wonder, does Veronica do when she’s got time to herself? Well, I should be writing, buuut … nah. Movie night! And I’ve been dying to see Brooklyn.

Do you know Brooklyn? Have you seen it? Ever since I first saw the trailer, it looked like a movie that would be right up my alley. It’s a historical drama, a love story, an Irish story, and it stars the object of my girl crush: Saoirse Ronan (I mean, really, what can this girl not do? Whether she’s precocious Briony Tallis in Atonement, murdered teenager Susie Salmon in The Lovely Bones, or the bad-ass government-agent title character in Hanna, she’s a brilliant, sensitive actress with an fresh, honest beauty … but I digress).

Back to Brooklyn … I LOVED Brooklyn!! I watched it three times on Saturday night, and then twice again on Sunday (not counting the two additional times I fast-forwarded through the film to watch my favourite parts). As far as the story goes, there’s not much tension or suspense, romantic or otherwise. But that’s okay. This is the kind of movie where you don’t need suspense. Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan) is a young woman bound for America against the backdrop of 1950s Ireland. It’s a time and place where economic possibilities for talented young women are regrettably limited. Battling a crushing homesickness and having no friends or family to lean on, Eilis struggles to acclimatize to her new life in Brooklyn, New York, before meeting Italian-American Dodgers-loving plumber Tony Fiorello (Emory Cohen). Slowly, without even realizing it, Eilis allows Tony to show her that home doesn’t have to be a place. And it takes her a trip back to Ireland and a glimpse of the life she might have had to realize where her home truly is.

The story itself was achingly sweet. And the likability of all the characters drew me in. I fell in love with every member of the supporting cast (which includes Julie Walters as Mrs. Kehoe, Jessica Pare as Miss Fortini, Domhnall Gleeson as Jim Farrell, and Jim Broadbent as Father Flood). I even liked unlikeable characters Miss “Nettles” Kelley and odd-bird Dolores. Most importantly, I appreciated that the integrity of the story was not diminished by having any one character be the conventional antagonist. Instead, it was Eilis’s homesickness that was the source of conflict.

But I have to own up here as the die-hard romantic that I am: It was the love story between Eilis Lacey and Tony Fiorello that did it for me. That was what made this story stay with me above all. Saoirse Ronan and Emory Cohen were magic together! From the moment he sees her, Tony is head over heels in love with Eilis. And my goodness, didn’t that have me squealing and sighing and giggling all the way through and well into the next day! Just take a look at this exchange between them, and tell me this isn’t adorable:

Eilis: You remember that, after I had dinner at your house, you told me you loved me? [Tony nods, sombre and nervous.] Well, I didn’t really know what to say. But I know what to say now. I have thought about you. And I like you. And I like being with you. And … maybe … I feel the same way. So the next time you tell me you love me – if there is a next time – I’ll … I’ll say I love you too.
Tony: Are you serious?
Eilis: Yes.
Tony: Holy shit! Excuse my language, but … I thought were having a different kind of talk.
Eilis: Can I go home now?
Tony: You love me?
Eilis: Yes. But don’t ask me anything else. And don’t talk about our kids being Dodgers fans.

… Gosh, I love Brooklyn!

Watching one movie five(ish) times in a row was enough to get me thinking. What is it that makes some stories stick with a person over others? We all have our weaknesses, of course – mine is a good love story. It is my Achilles Heel, and I won’t apologize for it. But not all the stories that stay with me are love stories. There are those rare outliers that, for one reason or another, grab at my soul and won’t let go, even though they have nothing to do with romance. And as much as I hesitate to admit it (you know, given my profession and chosen genre) … it’s those stick-in-my-head non-love-stories that are more meaningful in the end. Their power to haunt me is more enduring.

Here are a few stories, in no particular order, that have stuck with me over the years and which have nothing to do with romantic love. Once you see mine, I’d love to know what your stick-in-your-head stories are.

Watership Down

Written by Richard Adams and published in 1972, Watership Down is a literary classic in which the characters are rabbits. Yes, rabbits. The plot follows the adventures of a group of rabbits through the English countryside after their warren is destroyed and they must seek to establish a new home elsewhere. In the book, the rabbits are anthropomorphized, and have a culture and language of their own. While this type of novel is not my typical pick for entertainment, I have to admit I was drawn into the story and kept there long after I’d read the last page. The depth of each character in the novel is profound, and the fact that the characters are not even human adds an intangible quality to the story that make it truly haunting. It was intense, deeply moving and ultimately wonderful.

The Crow

I was in the ninth grade when I saw The Crow with my best friend (on VHS, on her small TV in her childhood bedroom). Musician Eric Draven and his fiancee are brutally murdered the night before their wedding by members of an inner city gang. On the anniversary of his death, Eric rises from the grave to become The Crow, a supernatural avenger. Now, if you know the movie, then you may be tempted to assume that the reason this story stuck with me is because of its connection with actor Brandon Lee’s untimely accidental death. Believe it or not, that’s not it. There’s something about the combination of the story, the set and the music that I couldn’t get out of my head. It’s the forlorn little graveyard in the middle of a decaying gothic city. It’s the persistence of beauty in the midst of ugly violence. It’s the innocence of youth and the refusal of love to die despite time and distance. It may be based on a comic book series, but The Crow in its cinematic iteration is a visually and musically mesmerising, soul-wrenching story.

The Crying Game

I only saw The Crying Game within the past year, even though it was released in the early nineties. It was the premise of the IRA which inspired me to give it a try (I am intensely interested in “The Troubles” of Northern Ireland) but it was not the IRA connection which ultimately drew me into the story. When IRA member “Jim” bungles a kidnapping and indirectly causes the gruesome death of his victim, he makes a trip to England to find his victim’s girlfriend, Del. Though it wasn’t his intention originally, Jim begins a relationship with her … only to find out that Del is actually a man. From there, Jim and Del’s conventional romantic relationship comes to an end. But that is only the beginning of a relationship between them which is based on less definable parameters. The deep mutual respect between Jim and Del is unforgettable and profoundly moving. Theirs is neither a romance nor a friendship, but something that floats somewhere between the two. And that is something which I find amazing and captivating.


Sleepers is a dark tale about stolen innocence. It has harsh themes including organized crime, judicial punishment and rape, and is difficult to watch at times. Ultimately it is about the bonds of friendship that endure through time, and about how doing wrong can sometimes be right, if it’s done to even the score. When childhood friends Lorenzo (“Shakes”) Carcaterra, Mikey Sullivan, Tommy Marcano and John Reilly are sentenced to a year in a juvenile detention centre for a prank gone terribly awry, they are singled out and sexually abused by four of the guards at the facility. The boys promise one another never to talk about what happened, but the experience leaves its scars with each of them. Years later, Tommy and John are on trial for murdering the head guard, Sean Nokes, and Mikey and Shakes hatch a plan to not only free them, but expose the crimes of the guards, and the horrors of the facility in which they worked. For me, it was the characters of Tommy Marcano and John Reilly that endured. As men they are hardened gangsters, murderers, drug abusers, and all-round bad guys. But even though we know that about them, we cannot forget the innocent young boys they were, nor can we forget the scars they carried which forged the men they became. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, then I won’t tell you how it ends. But I will say that the final scenes are deeply moving and very sad.

So there they are: Four stories that have nothing to do with romance, but which I’ve never been able to get out of my head. What about you?

Revamping My Blog

If you read one of my more recent posts, When It’s Time to Make those Tough Decisions, you may recall that I have recently taken a hard look at what I’ve been spending my writing time doing, and had concluded that I need to cut a whole bunch of starchy, superfluous “stuff” from my plate. Translation: I dove too deep into the freelance content writing. I was good at it, sure. But I dreaded doing it as much as I dread going for blood work (or some equally distasteful activity … like bone re-setting or dental surgery). Because so much of my time was focused on content writing, I was not spending enough time on my books and my blog.

How did I pigeonhole myself into that one?? I mean, I never set out to be a content writer in the first place, if I’m being honest.

After much soul-searching, I refocused my efforts, and began pumping out my own blog posts. But now that I’ve started this again, I’m wondering if I’ve perhaps misdirected my refocused efforts. You see, for whatever reason, the blog posts I’ve been writing are feeling a lot like the content writing I just swore I’d back away from. It’s gotten to the point where I actually dread writing my own blog posts.

I just can’t win!

In the beginning, I struggled with what my blog should be. I don’t mind saying it. I even wrote a post called Struggling With My Niche … What IS My Niche? In that respect, I suspect I am like a lot of other authors out there, not sure what their blogs should be, or why they are keeping at them, other than a general notion that “blogging helps.” As I got deeper into my own blogging, however, and as I experimented with different topics and themes, I began to learn what drove traffic and what didn’t. Naturally, I began to tailor my blog content, gearing it towards those topics which tended to be popular.

Here’s the kicker: that popular content that gets lots of traffic and comments and shares and likes … well, I freakin’ hate doing it. Or at least I hate doing it on a mass scale (as mass as a staff of one can manage, that is). In anticipating what my audience wanted and writing towards that … I forgot to write for me. And that’s a huge part of what blogging for authors really should be.

How did I manage to stray so far away from that one?

Let me take a minute and go another direction here. One of the posts which was not my typical content marketing, social media, career building for authors type posts was called 5 Novels that Inspire Me as a Writer. It surprised me how much interaction this post earned, how many page hits generated, and social media shares it resulted in. And you know what? It was a heck of a lot of fun to write!

So while I am re-evaluating my writing time and my writing goals, I’m returning to my root reasons for blogging. Simply put, I like to interact with all you wonderful people, and I am so much more than the books I write. Really, I am!

I read a ton
I coach U10 co-ed soccer
I’m on the board of directors at our local hockey league
I play bluegrass music at top volume in my car
I’m addicted to bacon and eggs
I have a cat that’s twenty-two pounds and blind in one eye
I’m a certified lifeguard but am terrified of lakes

I am all these things and more. I have lots to share. Some of that is the knowledge I’ve gleaned on my writing journey about career building, social media and marketing for authors, true. And I like writing about marketing for authors. But just like I’m many things, my blog should be many things, too.

When I first had this idea that I needed to revamp my blog, I did a Google search to see what kind of author blogs were out there. Luckily, my search turned up several listicles with “The Best Author Blogs.” Many of them, quite surprisingly, were nothing more than simple, amusing updates. Wil Wheaton’s blog, for example, had its latest entry about what he’s been doing lately and how he’s been feeling.

I’ve been reminded that, as authors, our blogs are a chance to showcase ourselves. We spend so much time creating worlds and lives and stories and characters, and sometimes we forget that we are characters, too. Our stories deserve to be told as much as our characters stories do. I think to truly get back to enjoying blogging, I need to take the time to muse and to update, and not just to give advice on career building and writing and marketing. I like those things too, but they’re only a part of what my blog is about.

You know what? Writing and authorship is a journey. Well, right now I am in the middle of my own journey. I’m okay with accepting the fact that I don’t have it perfect yet. I mean, really, who does? But I feel good about having come to this conclusion about my own blog, and I’m excited to see what becomes of it.

Here’s to musings!

What about you? Do you feel stuck in your blog? Have you lost your will to post, or are you not quite sure how to begin the whole blogging process? Or have you figured it out, and do you have any words of wisdom?

Personal Branding for Authors: Fake It ’til You Make It

Personal branding. It’s a big thing these days. It doesn’t matter what you do, what you are or what you want to become, you can develop your very own personal brand. And you should. I’m not the only one who thinks that, there are hundreds – nay, thousands of blog articles on Personal Branding 101.

A quick refresher: On the subject of personal branding, contributor to Forbes magazine Lisa Quast says, “The overall goal with branding is to differentiate yourself (the product) in the market so you can attain your objectives, be those landing your dream job or becoming a famous singer. The process includes defining your brand and brand attributes, positioning your brand in a different way than your competitors and then managing all aspects of your personal brand.”

Of course, on my blog we’re talking about personal branding for authors and writers. And personal branding and how to do it is something I’ve blogged about before, with posts like Does Content Marketing Really Work for Writers? and Make Sure Your Content is Tweetable, so I won’t go into the “hows” in this post. Instead, I want to talk about personal branding at a higher level.

If you write, then you already know what your objectives are, and what your personal brand is (… I hope … right?). But what astounds me from making connections with some great authors (published, self-published, aspiring, etc.,) is that far too many of them appear to have a distinct lack of self-confidence that they are a brand worthy of developing. One author friend of mine even admitted that she felt like a phony by trying to give writing advice because she only had one published book (soon to be two) under her belt.

My internal reaction: *Sob* Really? Only one book? Sweet friend, no. You already have one published book (soon to be two) under your belt!

Here’s the thing: Personal branding, especially for authors, requires self-confidence. Writing for Personal Branding Blog, contributor Ken Sundheim says, “Self-confidence, while hard to build, is a key component to any personal branding. In nearly any type of business, successful job search or fulfilling career, when we are confident in our personal brands through a strong sense of self-worth, our capabilities are as limitless as our imagination. Conversely, when we lack the self-confidence necessary to succeed in today’s business environment, that insecurity quickly becomes apparent to potential buyers, employers and co-workers, and just about everyone else. Self-confidence can never be faked.”

(That bolding, by the way, is his formatting choice, not mine.)

And, no offense to Mr. Sundheim, but I strongly disagree. At least where we scribblers are concerned. It’s the age of the internet. If we know anything, it’s that you don’t have to answer to anybody when posting content, Tweeting, sharing on Facebook, etc. You absolutely can fake it!

Let’s make a critical distinction, though: As an author or writer, you’re not faking your personal brand. It’s not like you don’t have anything to say or share. You do. You’ve written, or are writing, a book, for crying out loud. How many people wish they could do what you do? How many people try to do what you do? You are a superstar, no matter where you are in your career. You do have something to share, whether it’s writing advice, life musings, poetry, marketing tips, whatever.

What you’re faking is your confidence.

I firmly believe that it doesn’t matter how you really feel inside. Pretend like you’re the best damn author out there. The amazing thing about faking self-confidence is that, after a while, as people start to comment, share, repost, etc., you no longer need to fake it. You actually do become self-confident. And as you begin to be more active on social media, as you write that next book, as you host that next giveaway, or as you sign that long-awaited publishing contract (or whatever it is you do and however you do it) … your personal brand will begin to take shape.

I know it’s a cliche, but really … fake it ’til you make it!

child using laptop

What advice do you have for your fellow writers and authors on how to project self-confidence? Do you have any anecdotes to share about how you found the courage to become self-confident?

Twitter for Authors: The Unending Debate | #ContentMarketing #SMM

I have my fellow Boroughs Publishing Group authors to thank for this post. As a member of the Boroughs Author Group private Facebook page, I got to listen in on a debate that was raging about the value of Twitter for authors.

downloadThe original post which sparked this lively debate wondered why only followers who had been followed back were retained. It also questioned whether Twitter was an effective sales tool. It’s a common misconception, one that I see far too often, unfortunately. It hurt my heart to think that my fellow authors were having difficulty with Twitter because they weren’t using it in the most effective way. Moreover, that they could be using it very effectively if they only changed their mindset about what it is and how it’s valuable.

Because I’m all about helping others, I felt compelled (at the risk of sounding like a know-it-all) to put in my two cents. I thought I’d share my response on my own blog, in case anyone else has had a similar debate.

So, without further ado, here’s what I said (excusing, please, the loosey-goosey grammar that I didn’t bother to check before posting🙂 ) …

Hello my fellow Boroughs author friends. It’s me, Veronica Bale. I wanted to weigh in on this Twitter debate because I think it’s great. Thanks, [Fellow Author], for opening up the conversation, I love these kinds of topics!

As a content marketer by trade, I know that Twitter is one of the most misunderstood media platforms. Truthfully, it is only really valuable if you’re going to maintain a content marketing campaign as part of your overall author marketing strategy. To do this, you want to be creating useful, valuable content (usually on your blog) and sharing it on Twitter, in order to lead people back to your website/blog where (hopefully) you’ve optimized the crap out of it (ie your buy links are prominently displayed). By valuable content, I don’t mean anything about your book. Your content should be something that others will find interesting and useful. Me, for example, I blog mostly about marketing for authors. What’s great about this approach is that not only do I share my content on Twitter, thus inviting people to check my interesting blog post out (which has all my books and buy links in the side bars), but my blog followers also share my content on Twitter for me, thus extending my reach.

The purpose of Twitter is not to sell your books. It’s a conduit to lead people back to your website. So often, authors post about their books on Twitter. As much as we like to think that making our books visible will get people to check them out, this is the wrong approach. It’s actually the other way around – by only talking about our books and ourselves as authors, we tend to turn potential connections off checking us out. It’s seen as selfish by the general populace (even though the Tweeter didn’t mean it to be, that’s how it’s seen). The general social media best practice is the 80/20 rule: 80% of your social media activity should have nothing to do with you or your books. It should all be for the benefit of others. Sharing useful content that has been tweeted by others and tweeting about your own useful content.

I’ll give you an example of one of my most successful posts. A while ago, I blogged about the 4 Things Publishers and Agents Want in a Writer. I scoured the web for tips, and provided links in my post back to those agents’ own websites. It was a very popular post, and got shared a whole bunch of times on Twitter by my followers (not to mention the retweets when I shared it myself). But the best part was that one of the agents, who uses a ping-back service, got notification that her post had been linked to by mine. She then shared my post on Twitter, which got shared by a whole bunch of her followers! All this meant that there was potential for people to find me and my website. Nowhere in this post did I talk about my books or my writing or anything I’m doing as an author. But I had huge traffic to my site that day, and I did see a small jump in my sales.

Social-Media-Touch-HD-ForWallpapers.com_-1024x719Twitter is about establishing connections and creating brand loyalty (by that, I mean your author brand). It’s a long-term commitment, too. If you’re only posting about your books, and where you’re guest posting and all that, you’re going to bore people because it’s all about you. Instead, create valuable blog posts that help your readers, and share the valuable posts of others (I would suggest manually retweeting rather than hitting the ‘retweet’ button – you elevate your visibility, and maybe get a ‘thank you’ from the original Tweeter). That way, when you do have something to post about yourself, a book release or cover reveal for example, you are more likely to find support from the followers you’ve managed to attract and retain.

One more thought from me on following back. It is best not to be selective about who you follow back. There is no benefit. I never look at my feed for information to share and post, I always search Twitter for keywords and hashtags. If someone has followed me who has anything remotely to do with my sphere, I follow back. Bloggers, authors, avid readers, content marketers, book promoters … if they have a legitimate account, I follow them. Why? Because it’s about making connections and establishing relationships. It has to be give and take.

Anyway, those are my two cents, and they’re founded on years of content marketing, seminars, content writing and social media workshops. And no, I do not follow my own advice nearly as well as I should🙂

Hope that was helpful, and hugs to you all.


Have you had the Twitter debate before? What are your thoughts about the most effective way to use Twitter as an author?

Available for Pre-Order: The Ghosts of Tullybrae House

11224228_566228346853195_3182921007723976945_nIt is with immense pride that I announce my latest book, The Ghosts of Tullybrae House, is now available for pre-order and scheduled for release June 1, 2016.

This book has been a challenging project for me. It is a slight departure from my normal Highland historical romance. It’s been a labour of love and has taken a lot of soul-searching to write. In the end, I’m so very pleased with how it has turned out.

I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. And as always, I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Reserve your copy of The Ghosts of Tullybrae House here.

Read an excerpt from The Ghosts of Tullybrae House.


Why Authors Who Blog Should Avoid “The Listicle”

Ah, the listicle. Do a Google search on how to increase your blog traffic, and chances are you’ll see listicles that advocate “Write your blog post as a listicle.” It’s true, listicles generally increase blog traffic. They’re not called click bait for nothing, after all. But as an author, mass traffic to your blog is not necessarily the reason you’re blogging. And because that’s so, the listicle is probably not going to be of much help to you in the long run.

The listicle in action

As a freelance content writer (or, more appropriately, a freelance content writer on indefinite hiatus, if you read my last post, When It’s Time to Make Those Tough Decisions), I’ve written my fair share of listicles. But these posts were for sites where mass traffic was appropriate. Why? They were news portals whose main revenue streams came from selling ad space. Some sites sold products to the consumer market, and some were selling SaaS (for those who don’t speak B2B, that’s Software-as-a-Service; think Google Apps, Salesforce, Citrix GoToMeeting). All were sites where indiscriminate traffic would either indirectly boost, or result directly in, sales.

But as an author, what’s the likelihood of selling your books to the masses that flood your blog because you’ve written a listicle? What’s the likelihood that you’ll retain a loyal following to the hordes that swarm your site because you told them the “Five Ways to Create Character Conflict”?

Slim to none? Yup.

The listicle exposed

Here’s the thing with the listicle: it’s almost always going to be watered down. You only have 500 to 700 words to capture and retain readership—that’s the unofficial blog post “sweet spot” (as I outlined in an earlier post What Do I Blog About—Overcoming “Epic Post” Syndrome). I’ve read enough listicles where, about half-way through, I gave up because it was so topical. “Where are the examples,” I wanted to shout at my computer screen. “Give me a live case study, show me how to do it.”

If you’re writing a listicle, you can’t really dive into each point, flesh it out, expose the meat. Believe me, I know this first-hand. The listicles I wrote received praise from my various editors. They were attractive to readers. They glossed over all the main points with enough detail that they looked substantial. But they weren’t. There was so much more I could have said about each point, but didn’t.

In the end, I felt like I was cheating the audience.

The author’s blog is different

If I felt like that as a freelance writer, where half the time my name wasn’t even attached to the published article, there is no way I would present a watered-down listicle on my own blog. The whole point of blogging as an author is to attract and retain a loyal following. I ask you, how loyal a following can an author expect to have if his or her posts are as topical as most listicles are?

What’s the better option? Instead of a listicle, I suggest that you write an individual post on each list point. You can even write them as a series. That way, you will a) have far more material over a longer period of time, and b) end up providing individual posts that are fleshed out enough that your readers will actually benefit from them.

Now don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying that the listicle is always bad, and that you should always avoid it. The listicle can be useful and fun in some cases. For example, I wrote a post a while ago called 5 Novels that Inspire Me as a Writer. It’s technically a listicle, and it is a good example of how a listicle can have a place in the author-blogger’s repertoire. My point is that the listicle shouldn’t be your go-to, or even a frequent format. They’re usually not as helpful as they could be, and for the author, they usually don’t attract the right kind of traffic.

If you’re an author, your blog should showcase your personality, your expertise and your voice. Make sure each post you write is a solid example of who you are and what you have to say.


When it’s Time to Make Those Tough Decisions

Have you ever had so much on your plate, so much to do and so much you want to do, that you’re overwhelmed to the point of paralysis?

I never thought that would be me, but there it is—the explanation for why I’ve practically dropped off the face of the earth … or at least the digital version of the earth.

I’m a writer and a content marketer. I have tons of tips, tricks, advice and experience when it comes to cranking out manuscripts, articles, and being generally productive and prolific. So imagine my surprise when I realized that I’ve fallen victim to that dreaded Bitten-Off-More-Than-I-Can-Chew syndrome!

But that’s exactly what I’ve done. My career as a freelance writer, my career as a fiction writer, my volunteer work with my son’s local hockey organization, my volunteer position with Coffee Time Romance and More … somewhere in the process of trying to build my career, I’ve taken on so much that it’s actually had the opposite effect. My career has stalled. I now cower at the prospect of having to write another blog post, check my Twitter, update my Facebook page. I shut my eyes, burrow under the blankets, and succumb to a state of inactivity and reruns of Big Bang Theory.

It’s time for a change. Over the last week or so, I’ve taken a good hard look at everything I’ve accomplished, everything I haven’t accomplished, and everything I want to accomplish. And I’ve come to the decision that …

I gotta quit some stuff!

Sad Goodbye to Coffee Time Romance and More

It is with a heavy heart that I recently resigned from my position as a book reviewer for Coffee Time Romance and More. I’ve enjoyed my time with this wonderful group of readers immensely, and I’m going to miss the friendship and community spirit I’ve experienced there for more than a year.

Originally, I joined CTR as a motivator to keep blogging. I figured that, if I was reviewing books on a regular basis and being held accountable for delivering reviews on a schedule, I would end up having book reviews to post on my own blog. It was a good idea, and panned out based on the original purpose. But what I didn’t anticipate was how much time I would spend reading … at the expense of my writing.

After much debate, I’ve decided that being a member of CTR is no longer right for me, but I wish this fabulous site and all its wonderful members much success and happiness long into the future.

Trimming Back on Freelance Writing

As a freelance writer, you want to have a large client base, right? A varied portfolio and a robust platform. It’s what I’ve aspired to. And now that I’ve achieved just that, I’ve realized that it’s what is holding me back from furthering my writing career.

Some of my client relationships span as much as five years. I’ve enjoyed working with them, but unfortunately I haven’t always enjoyed the subject matter. Because my focus is my books, I’ve decided to part ways on good terms with several of my freelance writing clients, and to keep only two key clients. It’s these two publications that I truly enjoy writing for, and I can’t imagine giving them up.

Happily, I’ve left things on a good note. My career as a freelance content writer is there to pick up again, should I have the time and the drive in the future. I hope that I do.

Focusing on Writing

I feel lighter already! And now that I’ve refocused my efforts, I’m excited with how my two works in progress are coming along.

First, there is A Noble Treason, which is the second book in the Douglas Clan series. The manuscript has gone through the developmental editing stage with my editor, the lovely Jenni Hendricks of Boroughs Publishing, and I’m awaiting the verdict on the copy edit. I’m very excited. For those of you who have read A Noble Deception, I can’t wait for you all to meet Dougall and Eleanor properly.

Also, I am about three scenes from completing The Ghosts of Tullybrae House. I am very excited about this one. It marks a slight departure for me from the traditional historical romance novels that I’ve written in the past. Tullybrae is a manuscript which has been delayed significantly by my recent state of overwhelm … ness? ishness? Whatever the noun is. Had I focussed better on it, it would have been done and released by now. But there is no point dwelling on what has not happened, so I’m pleased to announce that it should be ready for release within a month.

Final Thoughts

Everyone, at some point or another in their career, is going to hit the wall I’ve hit. It’s a daunting wall, and sometimes you can’t imagine how you’re going to climb over it. You might even be tempted like I did to lay down at the base of it, curl up into the fetal position, cover your ears and hum dementedly to yourself. And if you do that, it’s okay. I’m not going to stand here and tell you “This is how you pick yourself up.” Everyone comes back to writing on their own terms and in their own time. What I will say is this: Do what you’ve got to do. Take the time you need. And here’s to you finding your way back.

I think I’ve found mine.


Author of Highland Historical Romance