Monday, May 16, 2016

Misha Gericke & Writing Advice

Please welcome my good blog buddy Misha Gericke to the blog today!
About writing advice…

I like sharing writing advice, especially with new writers who are still finding their way. But when I know the writer asking for advice is very new, the best thing I (and any other experienced writer) can do for them is not to tell them how to write. 

Yes, I know. It’s so very tempting to want to make things easier for the new kid. I mean, we’re all a nice bunch of people. And we all remember (and still experience) the pain of having to find our way through our writing. 

But here’s the thing. “How do I write?” has about a million very complicated answers—all of which contradicting others in at least one way. The reason is simple. If a new writer asks “How do I write?” your answer will invariably be about how you write. 

So the safest answer to “How do I write?” would be: “I haven’t the foggiest.” 

As such, I have taken to advising new writers along the following lines: 

Find out what works for you. If plotting bores you, don’t plot. If pantsing gets you stuck and you hate that feeling, don’t pants. If you find yourself feeling trapped because you just want to get to the scene that inspired you, don’t write the story chronologically. If you feel writing chronologically helps you stay focused, then do it. If you feel like you keep killing your story because you’re editing too much too soon, find a way to prevent yourself from editing until the draft is done. Like… Whatever, man. 

There is no right or wrong way to write a book. The right way for each writer is whatever way that gets the project done. If that means that writer needs to stand on their head as they write, then so be it. 

But I think it’s absolutely wrong of writers (no matter how well-meaning they are) to act as if their way is the only one to succeed. So let’s see about stopping that trend, shall we? 

What’s the weirdest part to your writing method? (Mine is to write all rough drafts by pen.) 

About the Book

First, do no harm.” Blake Ryan swore that oath to become a doctor. Ironic, given that he spent most of his thousand year life sucking souls out of other immortals.

Things are different now. Using regular shots of morphine to keep his inner monster at bay, Ryan has led a quiet life since the Second World War. His thrills now come from saving lives, not taking them.

Until a plane crash brings Aleria into his hospital. Her life is vibrant. Crack to predators like him. She’s the exact sort of person they would hunt, and thanks to a severe case of amnesia, she’s all but defenseless.

Leaving Aleria vulnerable isn’t an option, but protecting her means unleashing his own inner monster. Which is a problem, because his inner monster wants her dead most of all.

About the Author

Misha Gerrick lives near Cape Town, South Africa, and can usually be found staring at her surroundings while figuring out her next book.

If you’d like to see what Misha’s up to at the moment, you can find her on these social networks:


This had to be what dying felt like. Floating outside my body, waiting for that final link to my life to be severed, only vaguely aware of indescribable pain. More screams than I could count rose up around me. Hundreds of footsteps beat against tiles. I couldn’t open my eyes if I wanted to. Not when it was easier to listen and wait. People shouted for a doctor or an IV, or a thousand other things that made no sense. I listened to all the chaos, trying to untangle it in my thoughts.

Soon, I could go. The peace around me was so relaxing, completely out of place in the clamor I heard. I wanted it. To rest forever in that peace. Why not? There was a very good reason, but I couldn’t call it to mind.

A numb buzz shot through my body and shattered my serenity.

It happened again. Only this time was more of a sharp pulse. The third time jolted like lightning. The fourth…Hell. Suddenly, the screams were coming from me. My heart’s relentless thundering added to my torment.



My chest burned like fire. It hurt to breathe. Cold air drove down my throat and into my lungs, amplifying the inferno in my chest. My skin felt scorched. It couldn’t be. It wasn’t right.

I had to see. I had to understand why pain dominated my existence like this. My eyes were fused shut. My breaths grew shallow, trying
to draw air when there was none. I tried to clench my teeth. I bit hard plastic. A pipe. Cold air suddenly forced back into my lungs, out of time with my own breathing. This was wrong. It wasn’t safe. I had to see. The best I got was a little fluttering of my lashes.

A high-pitched beep shot through my head. It repeated again and again. I wanted to reach over and slam my fist into its source. My arm wouldn’t lift. Something kept it trapped. A scream rose up from the depths of my soul, but the pipe jammed inside my throat stifled the sound. I only managed a whimper, trying my best not to gag. More air blasted into my lungs against my will. What was going on? I was trapped in my own body, but why?

I needed to move. I had to move. Now. Before… Even… Even though… Panic gripped me. The beeps increased at a frenetic pace. I needed to move. To be gone. Didn’t matter where. Just not here. Not defenseless. Not trapped.

The air sucked out of my lungs. I gasped, choking on nothing, strangled by invisible fingers. I tried to convulse my body. To twist myself free of what’s holding me.


The air rushed back in a cold flood. Seconds later it left, only to return in the same amount of time.

There was a rhythm to the air. In… out... in… out… The breaths were slow—sleep-like. I concentrated on this rhythm, striving to clear my head. If I wanted out, I needed to think. Calmly. Clearly. Eventually, those irritating beeps slowed. I tried to focus past the sound.

Voices buzzed about me, adding to my need to see, to do something to protect myself. No one seemed to pay attention to me. Good. I could use that to my advantage. 

I centered my every thought on moving my little finger. It finally jerked, but collided against something solid. So the thing trapping my arm was physical and too heavy for me to lift. It was better to be trapped than paralyzed. With luck I could escape my restraints. I tried my other hand, but it was cemented stuck as well. Right leg. Left leg. Damn it! Both trapped. I had to move!


No, I needed to stay calm. I tried to make larger movements, biting the pipe in my mouth against the urge to scream in pain. There was no wiggle room.

Fearing that I might be blindfolded, I focused on blinking. It worked. My eyes opened and the blur faded, revealing ceiling tiles. Why would there be tiles? Where was the canvas of hospital tents? The distant sounds of bombs dropping? The power of their explosions rushing through my blood?

No. That wasn’t right. I wasn’t there.

Where was I, then?

Can't wait Misha!!!

What about you? What's your favourite (or least favourite) piece of writing advice?
I always roll my eyes when I read the "Thou Must" lists. I've never followed a regular pattern in anything else in life, why should writing be any different?

Monday, May 9, 2016

Rachael Thomas & Backstory

Please welcome Rachael Thomas back to the blog today!
Digging Deep Into Your Characters Backstory.

One of the first things to ask yourself when creating your characters is what’s their backstory? What happened to them before they arrived on your page? You need to know all there is to know about them in as much detail as you can. Why? Your character’s past will have shaped the person they are now as you begin to write. It will determine how they react to situation that will arise within your story and also the person they will be as you write the final chapter.

Each and every one of us will have experienced situations through our lives which have changed who we are and it needs to be the same for your characters. These can be good or bad experiences, but both will have an effect on your character.

Maybe your character is afraid of heights, the dark or thunder storms. What you need to know as the writer and creator of that character is, why? You need to delve deep into their past and find out everything. Once you are armed with this information you know exactly how your character will react when confronted with going to the top of one of the city’s tallest buildings, or being lost in the woods on a dark night when not even the moon is shining. By knowing every little detail about that past experience your character will react in a way that is real and convincing to the reader. They will come alive on the page.

As your character progresses through your story he or she will come up against things which challenge them. They will face fears which will have held them back and this in turn will change them, allowing them to grow and change as they progress through the story, so that by the end they have faced and conquered fears and become a stronger, better person.

It will be the same with good events in their lives. Your character may associate certain places with good memories or people they’ve loved or shared happy times with. Events in your story which threaten such memories, people or places they associate with happy times, it will give your character room to grow and show the reader who they are now.

So, you have your hero and heroine, you’ve named them, but how do you find out all this information to create their backstory?

For me it is a gradual process and one I do in the planning stage of my books. I have sheets with questions that are designed to create more questions and yet more questions. Gradually their past begins to show itself. It doesn’t matter how you do it, but in order to create real and believable characters you must know who they were before they appeared on your page.

However, it is important to remember the backstory isn’t the main story. It mustn’t be allowed to overpower the story you want to write. Neither must it be dumped on the reader in big doses. It should be weaved into the main story, giving the reader tantalising insights into what made the characters they are now.

Happy Writing!
Connect with Rachael Thomas on the web:
Website         Blog         Facebook           Twitter          Goodreads

The Sheikh’s Last Mistress Promoted to Princess! 

Destiny Richards knows she is playing with fire when she accepts charismatic Sheikh Zafir Al Asmari's job offer, but it seems like a fair price to pay to start her life over again. Until the temperature reaches the boiling point and Destiny finds herself spending one out-of-this-world night with the sheikh!  When powerful Zafir seduces English rose Destiny, he never anticipates she'll hold the title of his Last Mistress. But their scorching affair has shocking repercussions. Now, before their nine months are up, Zafir must convince Destiny to make their arrangement more permanent!

Read Reader Reviews 

Buy Links:
Amazon Kindle     Amazon Paperback     M&B UK
     M&B Aust     Harlequin US     B&N

 Goodreads Giveaway:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Sheikh's Last Mistress by Rachael Thomas

The Sheikh's Last Mistress

by Rachael Thomas

Giveaway ends May 31, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Thanks Rachael!
The first novel I wrote had a prologue AND at least twenty pages of backstory before the story finally started!! Boy, I've learned a lot since then!

How about you? Any more hints for backstory? Any horror stories like mine?