I never win anything!

The last thing I remember winning was a bottle of Babycham from the Summer Fair raffle when I was at primary school. It promptly vanished and I never got to enjoy my prize, although my parents seemed quite chuffed (!) But, I can now say differently as I recently won a critique from a professional editor on the first 5000 words of my WIP!

I came across the giveaway on Kristin McTiernan’s new YouTube channel. Kristin is a professional editor and fellow author I know through Instagram (@kristinmagoo) and when she announced her new channel I immediately subscribed. I now eagerly await her videos to be uploaded. As someone who is self-editing one book and writing another, I devour any hints and tips I come across from editors and authors. Anything to help me improve. Her channel is no different.

One day whilst listening, I heard her mention a giveaway: a critique of 5000 words! I immediately entered with all my fingers and toes crossed. I’m nowhere near sending my manuscript off to editors, but I knew I would benefit from a professional’s opinion. Days later, a notification came through that I’d actually won!

After taking the weekend to make my first 5000 words as good as I could, I nervously pressed ‘send’ and a week later my critique arrived!

I received several pages covering “First Impressions”, “Grammar/Punctuation/Mechanics”, “Characters”, “‘Grab’ Factor” and “Editing Recommendations”.

As a teacher, I understand the benefit of constructive criticism, so the process didn’t faze me at all. It was great seeing the opening chapters from someone else’s point of view. Sequences and reactions were questioned which I would never have considered. Kristin herself was friendly with her critique but honest; the perfect combination needed to get manuscripts looking their best. I would highly recommend her and can already see improvements in my manuscript. All in all, it was a really positive experience. (Phew!)

If you’re in need of an editor or simply want to reach out, her website is can be found here.

Today I created a #hashtag!

Today I created a hashtag for Urban Fantasy authors: #urbanfantasyauthorcommunity

I’d been think of creating a hashtag for a while but thought I was being silly. Then yesterday, I received a message from a fellow author who said how glad she was to meet a fellow Urban Fantasy author and it struck a chord. So, on checking Instagram and seeing no hashtag had been created, I created a post and made one myself. The response has been overwhelmingly supportive and I’m so excited where this could go!

NaNoWriMo 2018

As the dust settles for those who completed NaNoWriMo 2018, I’d like to reflect, as one who didn’t take part.

As a semi-full-time mother (with a broken laptop!), I knew there would be little point me taking part this year as I rarely get time to read let alone write, especially with Christmas on the horizon. But I’ve been watching colleagues on Instagram take part and following their journeys.

I won’t deny to being a smidgen jealous of those with the opportunity to take part, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them reflect and clock in their daily achievements. It’s been great seeing people post their graphs and their winner pages and being part of such an amazing journey. Because it is. Writing 50+K in a month is no mean feat!

So, will I take part next year? Honestly, no. I can’t see my situation changing that much to allow such dedication. (Though I do hope to have a new laptop soon!) My family comes first. People might argue that that shouldn’t be the case, that writing should be the most important thing in my life, but I can’t let it. Not when my child needs me. One year, I will get the opportunity so I shall enjoy that adventure when it happens.

If you are toying with the idea I would highly recommend it. The NaNoWriMo community is very supportive on Instagram (from what I saw), and would help make the experience even more special. Visit http://www.nanowrimo.org for more information. Happy writing!

#oktowrimo

I’m quite a visual person, so I’ve been enjoying completing photo challenges in Instagram. This month’s challenge has been #oktowrimo by @author_r.c.martin and has involved a mixture of challenges regarding my WIP and Halloween. I’ve really enjoyed it, plus I’ve got to know some great people.

If you’re on Instagram please follow me and say “hi!”

Instagram photo challenges

Sorry! I’ve been a bit quiet on here this month. I’ve been wrapped up with my first round of self-editing plus I’ve been busy on Instagram, taking part in two photo challenges #bawritinglife and #fantasywipseptember

Whilst the two challenges have varied in length they have both been enjoyable and enlightening. Although I reflect daily on my story, its world and characters, I’m not accustomed to sharing my reflections. So it’s been good practice for me. Plus, it’s been great meeting so many nice people!

Have a look at my Instagram Feed for my contributions and posts.