Thursday, 13 June 2013

We all feel like the worst writer in the world (but we're not)

Sometimes we feel downright stupid as writers, and it always occurs at similar stages of writing patterns. Sure we feel amateur when we start out, but that may be accurate considering we have learnt so little and have so much more room to grow.

But I'm talking about times we feel -- without exaggerating -- that we are literally the worst writer in the world when it's just a knee-jerk reaction. It happens/happened to me when:
  • I read a Colleen Hoover, Khaled Hosseini or Jodi Picoult novel;
  • when I wrote my second full-length manuscript; and
  • every time I get past the 25% mark in my current draft.
Does this happen to you, too?

overcoming writer's block - crumpled paper on ... I needed to write this post because I always feel like it's just me. I believe I personally cannot be a great writer unless I read lots of different types of books to refine and grow my style. I read traditional books and self-published depending on what story catches my eye or what book a friend refers to me. So it comes as no shock I sometimes stumble across modern classics that blow my mind.

How the hell can I write that good?
What's the point when I can tell my writing sounds flat and boring?
I'm just me and I always sound like I'm trying too hard to sound good -- but never do.

Guys, all normal!

I'm not sure how many of you know but I've written lots for years although I'm only 22 ½. I wrote fan fiction of a Charmed episode when I was 11 (30,000 words). I started/tried to write a novel when I was 14/15 and pushed working on that until I was 18 or so (42,000 words). Between those years I started many manuscripts and failed.

"Writing", 22 November 2008
(Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)
My first serious manuscript I started, finished and edited/revised to high heaven and back was Pulling Me Under (book #1 in the series; Precise is the prequel, book #0.5). As with all my other manuscripts I got the dreaded Writer's Block. It took 4.5 months to finish it. I freaked out the next few drafts. Cut thousands of words from the start. Added necessary scenes later.

The thing is it doesn't get easier as you go on. Well, not how I foresaw it would. I assumed I'd get so much practise, become so talented and knowledgeable that I'd learn what amateur mistakes not to make (show vs tell, character quirks, character likeability, story arc, balancing storylines, etc). But I didn't see that the growing would still continue as much as I learnt initially in my writing life still 3 years later from my first serious manuscript.

Guys, here's the thing. I know this will sound like a bit of a brag, but my latest novel, Drowning in You didn't quite sink. On June 7 (American time) it became an Amazon bestseller (Top #57 out of the entire Kindle store).

Yet, my current working manuscript, Being Kalli, almost didn't happen during my third draft because I was like, "It's soo crap!". You heard right. Only because of extreme circumstances and even better friends did it not end with the fate of the big "delete" button.

I had thought my writing was  more refined than ever before, the story was killer and unique... 

...and then I got beta/critique comments back for it. Man, I have some very smart and astute writing friends.

I almost caved in.
  • Too much to change.
  • I didn't have enough talent.
  • It sounded too crap.
  • People wouldn't like it enough.
These are whiny, untrue excuses, Rebecca.

You can do it!!
You can do it!! (Photo credit: Abi Booth)

Because you can do it. If I can, you can. It took a month of crying and whining and possibly losing friends because of my attitude, but I made it and I am shocked at how great this story has turned out. There is absolutely no way I would have stepped up to the next level in my writing career if I didn't hit this low.

It's not just a cliché! You absolutely will not become a better writer until you hit the lows. You can't improve until you learn both from the good and bad.

Trust me, you can do this and I know it even though I may not know you, because if you're as hungry for writing success as I am, you'll make it.


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Rebecca Berto is the author of the novella, Precise and the New Adult Contemporary Romance, Drowning in You

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Thursday, 28 February 2013

Cover reveal: EMANCIPATING ANDIE by Priscilla Glenn

One of my favourite authors, Priscilla Glenn, author of the bestseller, Back to You has a new cover to reveal for her second novel, Emancipating Andie!

I present ...

EmancipatingAndie amazon

Title -- Emancipating Andie
Author -- Priscilla Glenn
Genre -- Contemporary Romance
Age Group -- Adult
Cover Designer -- Okay Creations;  Okay Creations website
Expected release -- March 2013
Links to find the book -- Goodreads and Facebook


Book Description:

Ever since the one time Andie Weber threw caution to the wind – and paid the price for it – she’s learned that it’s safer and smarter to live life playing by the rules. Now she’s got a great apartment, a steady job, and a wonderful boyfriend in Colin; he’s sweet, stable, and essentially perfect – except maybe for the fact that his best friend is Chase.

Chase McGuire lives his carefree, unstructured life strictly for himself. Dripping sarcasm and oozing wit, he refuses to censor his feelings or opinions for anyone, making no apologies for either and wearing his abrasiveness like a badge of honor. No one has ever gotten under Andie’s skin the way Chase does – and vice versa.

So when Andie and Chase find themselves forced to take a two-day road trip together, they are already dreading an inevitable all-out war. But as the trip progresses, and the undeniable friction that has always defined their relationship slowly begins to wear away their preconceived notions of each other, Andie and Chase discover they both have a lot to learn about life, courage, happiness, and the age-old battle between logic and love

About the author:

Priscilla Glenn
Author, Priscilla Glenn
Author Priscilla Glenn[/caption] Priscilla Glenn lives in New York with her husband and three children. She has been teaching English Language Arts at the middle and high school levels for the past eleven years while moonlighting as a writer, mommy, coach, student, and professional laundry-doer.

If you catch her when she’s feeling sophisticated, she’ll tell you her favorite things are great books and good wine. In the moments in between, she’ll admit her love for anything Ben and Jerry’s, UFC fights, and Robert Pattinson.

Glenn is also the author of the contemporary romance/YA crossover Back to You.



DrowningInYou AMAZONBuy on Amazon! <<< Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow my blog by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

>>> Add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 12, 2013)

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Book review: A Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles

A Song for JuliaA Song for Julia by Charles Sheehan-Miles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The First kiss...

Kiss gif. photo kiss.gif

Sometimes you expect to find a ten dollar note in your wallet but you retrieve a fifty. This is how I’d describe A SONG FOR JULIA. Finding a ten dollar note is fine, but when you realise you have fifty to spend, a little spark fires up inside and you have a grin on your face that whole day.

Let me start the review by saying Charles Sheehan-Miles can WRITE! My, my. His words are perfectly crafted into sentences that deliver blow after blow of poetic, deep connection to your emotions. Which become paragraph after paragraph of writing so easy to read yet so full of meaning you wonder how it’s all packed into one story.

My favourite stories are those that have a few aspects perfectly written—characters, plot and theme.

The leading characters, both alternating narrators, Julia and Crank were mostly loveable (Julia only more loveable towards the end when I really got her), they have faults, and issues which stop them from doing the things us objective readers know they should just do, but they’re always strong and the types of people you come to love for everything they are perfect and everything they aren’t. I think I love them more knowing I got frustrated with them, because watching them make bad choices and struggle and come out on top made me appreciate them more. I appreciate being able to read such characters I could connect with on many levels.

But main characters aside, many readers found this, and I wasn’t immune: Julia and Crank’s little brother, Sean. Ahhhhh.

I may love them almost better than I love Julia and Crank as a couple. Julia is a normal girl by many standards, but she’s broken on the inside by a past we’d never want happen to us. Sean? He’s seen as different on the outside because of his autism. Though they are opposites in this way, they share a commonality: feeling alone, not fitting in. I really am not doing justice to their dynamic. I’ll leave it to say that A SONG FOR JULIA was “that bit” better for me because of how much deeper Charles went in creating loveable supporting characters. I touched on loving Sean’s character, but Crank’s mom and dad, and his band member, Serena … so many more who enriched the story with their impacts.

And on to Crank and Julia. I love a couple who you can tell (without so many words from the author saying so) that they need to be together and giving up easily by breaking up won’t work. It’s so intense while you’re reading, watching their relationship build (not to mention how much of the real world you miss increasingly).

Julia got on my nerves and when I finally “got” her, I felt rude. That girl has got to be one of the strongest female leads. Pretty uncommon. I am thrilled to have experienced such a great read. Crank’s family troubles, which tie him and Julia together, forcing them into yummy situations, only got more and more intense.

A SONG FOR JULIA is incredible. I received an eBook review copy but had to buy the paperback since this novel went to my Best Everrr shelf. I’d give it more than 5 stars if I could.

View all my reviews
Like my review of A Song For Julia HERE.


Buy the eBook:

Buy the physical book:
Amazon: Hardcover $20 | Paperback $15.95 The Book Depository: Paperback $13.99

Stalk the author:


Buy on Amazon!
Buy on Amazon!
Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow my blog by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

Add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 2013)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

10 secrets about FOREVER MY GIRL and Heidi McLaughlin. Plus, an excerpt from book 2!

Author: Heidi McLaughlin
Author: Heidi McLaughlin

I have author Heidi McLaughlin on Novel Girl today, author of the USA Today and Amazon Kindle Top 100 bestseller, Forever My Girl.

This post is filled with so many cool exclusives! Keep reading for secrets (muahaha not anymore) that you probably didn't know about, and for an excerpt from The Beaumont Series #2.


Five truths about Heidi McLaughlin:

  1. Forever My Girl was written in 24 days;
  2. Heidi is actively trying to develop a diet that consists of cake, cookies, brownies, ice cream and pie;
  3. Heidi submitted her last story to agents and was rejected 42 times;
  4. Two years ago Heidi quit drinking caffeine; and
  5. Heidi have two personal Facebook pages and an author page.

Five truths about Forever My Girl:

  1. Forever My Girl started out with just Liam telling the story;
  2. Josie was originally married to Nick;
  3. Noah wasn’t originally Liam’s;
  4. Sam returns!; and
  5. The Beaumont Series does not take place in Texas.


Forever My Girl (Book #1)
Forever My Girl (Book #1)
Unedited & subject to change: The Beaumont Series #2

I look up quickly, expecting him to smile or change his expression, but he doesn’t. I remind myself that this is my job and he has the answers I need to get my job done; and as much as I don’t want to sit in my office with him, while he leans over me, it has to be done.

I nod and lead the way. I count the steps to my office and then to my desk; twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two. He pulls out my chair. I make the mistake of looking at him as I sit down. He looks happy to be in here and I know this by the slight turn of his lip. He beat me into my office and I don’t know how. Was I really walking that slowly?

He pushes my chair in slightly and leans over me. I try not to breathe in his cologne. I don’t want to know what he wears, but he smells good. I lean away, closer to my screen and he leans in too. I wonder if he knows what he’s doing to me. Doesn’t he know I’m trying to avoid him? That we can never be anything?

Harrison tells me what site to bring up and I do. Except my fingers aren’t working and I have to type the web address repeatedly. He moves his fingers over mine, I pull them back instantly, afraid for him touch me. My hands rest in my lap.

“Sorry, I was just trying to help.”

I nod and realize how stupid I’m being. We can be friends, right?

He brings up the website and walks me through how to order a custom charter. He says that they’ve used this company before and to call and ask for Larry, he’ll make sure we get what we need and in time. I write down what he tells me and he laughs. I turn slightly, but think twice and focus on my paper.

“I think I can take it from here.”


The sound of his voice, the way he says my name, low and sweet with just enough mystery, makes me look up at him causing me to mentally kick myself.


Book links:
Amazon US (mobi)  |  Barnes & Noble (ePub)  |  Kobo (ePub)  |

Author links:
Website/Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Pinterest  |


Buy on Amazon!
Buy on Amazon!
Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow my blog by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

Add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 2013)

Friday, 15 February 2013

Cover reveal: DROWNING IN YOU + *excerpt*

I present to you ... my own book cover reveal!

***Please scroll down for an my first published excerpt (unedited as yet) plus more links***

I happen to love the cover a lot. So much love to my cover designer, Sarah Hansen of Okay Creations. and to the photographer -- the wildly talented Jacqueline Barkla.
Here it is in all its prettiness (full paperback wrap):
"Drowning in You", Rebecca Berto

And here's the front, eBook cover:

DrowningInYou AMAZON

Title -- Drowning in You

Author -- Rebecca Berto

Expected release date -- April 12, 2013

Genre -- Contemporary Romance

Age Group -- New Adult

Cover Designer -- Okay Creations.; Jacqueline Barkla Photography

Reveal organized by -- AToMR Tours

Click to add to Goodreads
Click to add to Goodreads


Book Description:

Secretly crushing

Crushed by a tragedy

Charlee May’s been crushing on Dexter Hollingworth since she was fifteen. Five years later, a horrific skiing disaster at Mason’s Ski Lift Resort leaves her millionaire dad critically injured and her mom dead at the hands of Dexter operating the lifts. Charlee is suddenly the sole caretaker for her little brother while their world falls apart.

Dexter couldn’t be more different from Charlee. He’s tattooed, avoids exclusive relationships and his Dad has a fair share of illegal dealings. With Dexter’s reputation, almost everyone believes he planned the Mason’s skiing disaster.

And after all these years he’s still crushing on Charlee May, the girl who’s too good for him.

When this cruel twist of fate ties Charlee’s family and Dexter’s reputation together, Charlee and Dexter wonder if their feelings are reciprocated, while Dexter discovers his dad is trying to steal the May’s millionaire fortune.

But like an addiction, one look, one touch, one taste—they’re hooked no matter the consequences.


About the Author: 

Meee :)
Rebecca Berto writes stories that are a bit sexy, and straddle the line between Literary and Tear Your Heart Out. She gets a thrill when her readers are emotional reading her stories, and gets even more of a kick when they tell her so. She’s strangely imaginative, spends too much time on her computer, and is certifiably crazy when she works on her fiction.

Rebecca Berto lives in Melbourne, Australia with her boyfriend and their doggy.



It would be so easy to slip into her car. I’d make her laugh again, so she’d do that thing where she would grin and tuck her chin into her chest, yet she couldn’t wipe me from her mind, and then I could brush my fingers over her cheeks to behind her neck where I could pull her to me. I know girls like that.

But this can’t happen. I killed her mom, I am responsible for her dad’s life hanging in the balance, which I hear about thanks to mom’s updates, his nurse. I deserve punishment. Why am I allowed to live my life as if nothing happened? I hate being let off without resolution. As much as I didn’t want to lose my friends, and hate the stares, the egg-throwing and mass public hate, it gives me something to feel. I should be hated for ruining Charlee’s family.


Have you joined the cover reveal party on Facebook? I'll be giving away free Kindle eBooks and a winner's choice of any paperback from The Book Depository. Join HERE.

Organised by AToMR tours
Organised by AToMR tours

Please share on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest!


Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon
Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow my main blog on WordPress by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page.

Add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 2013)

Monday, 11 February 2013

Cover reveal: FAKING IT by Cora Carmack

OMG! I have the cover reveal for Cora Carmack's second novel, which is the sequel to Losing It.

This novel is called Faking It and I jumped all around -- albeit being still stuck on my desk chair -- when I saw this one. There's so much prettiness! Ahh, and the blurb is amazinggg. :D

If you don't know Losing It, it's a New York Times and USA Today bestselling novel. 

... And here is the cover for book #2, Faking It:


Faking It by Cora Carmack

Releases June 4, 2013 from William Morrow Paperbacks
Mackenzie "Max" Miller has a problem. Her parents have arrived in town for a surprise visit, and if they see her dyed hair, tattoos, and piercings, they just might disown her. Even worse, they're expecting to meet a nice, wholesome boyfriend, not a guy named Mace who has a neck tattoo and plays in a band. All her lies are about to come crashing down around her, but then she meets Cade.

Cade moved to Philadelphia to act and to leave his problems behind in Texas. So far though, he's kept the problems and had very little opportunity to take the stage. When Max approaches him in a coffee shop with a crazy request to pretend to be her boyfriend, he agrees to play the part. But when Cade plays the role a little too well, they're forced to keep the ruse going. And the more they fake the relationship, the more real it begins to feel.
Click to add to Goodreads


Extra! Extra!

*** The Losing It paperback releases in the U.S. on February 26, 2013! ***


Buy on Amazon!
Buy on Amazon
Buy Precise from Amazon for kindle or from Smashwords for all types of eReading devices. Or, follow Novel Girl on my main blog (by the buttons in the top left corner of the home page).

Add my New Adult Contemporary Romance novel, Drowning in You to Goodreads. (Coming April 2013)
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Monday, 10 September 2012

Book giveaway and review for THE ENCHANTED ORCHARDS by Kristin Maddock

It's my absolute pleasure to host this book giveaway (see bottom of post) for The Enchanted Orchards by Kristin Maddock. I haven't been this wowed by a book since reading The Memory Keeper's Daughter or a book by Rosamund Lupton.

TitleThe Enchanted Orchards
AuthorKristin Maddock
Rating — 6/5 stars!
Pages — Estimated 307 pages on Kindle
Genre — Literary, Coming of age


Book description:

When Fern’s sister died, she left more than a void—she left a dark secret. As the one year anniversary of her death begins approaching, a haunted Fern’s only goal is to survive the summer in her beloved peach orchards without a mental breakdown; a difficult task as her family is unraveling at the seams. But that is not to be her only challenge: two visitors arrive, one her childhood crush, one an intriguing stranger—both stirring up more than just trouble and emotions for Fern. Suddenly, her life and town are turned upside down.

As the days lengthen and the breathless heat of summer swallows up the orchards, Fern tries to navigate her way through a maze of grief, friendship, love and guilt. But as the past is revisited, secrets are revealed, and soon, Fern finds herself at a crossroads with some tough decisions to make.

Sometimes all of life’s answers can be wrapped up in one hot summer. Especially if peaches are involved…
My thoughts:

Kristin Maddock (Image credit:
The Enchanted Orchards had me at the prologue. It's this tiny thing—not even a page—yet Kristin Maddock has your heart aching before you get to Chapter One.

Then it struck me. I've read a book that hurt so much to read in that first instance. Fans of Rosamund Lupton (Sister and Afterwards) and The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards will, guaranteed, be left sleepless whilst reading The Enchanted Orchards.

Let me describe. This book is genius, yet easy to read for hours at a time. The message Kristin spills onto every page about death not defining how people live after suffering such loss is just ... magical. It's magical that she can make you feel that sense you've actually lost someone—that empty, angry, guilty distant-from-everyone-else feeling.

The Enchanted Orchards is many things. It's a self-help for those struggling to find who they were, who they feel they should be after losing someone. It's watching your heart break page after page. It's a warming love story. It's a story about how humans are living without life when too focused on the death.

Most of all, this story feels like my past memory, and something I'll forever treasure, and always keep in mind for the rest of my life.

Fern, the main character, is too easy to fall into. That's the trouble with this novel. She speaks directly to you, and you love it or hate it. Let me tell you, this isn't someone else's story. The Enchanted Orchards is already within your heart from the moment you open it.

Fern's pain, grief, loss and misplaced feelings towards her sister's, Lily's, death is yours and you ride this journey with Fern meeting Rocky, who should be her match made in heaven; with her best friend, Fancy, who's old enough to be her grandma in biological years, but is an eighteen-year-old in her heart; and with the parents who live quiet, mechanical lives, living each day because it'll come and go regardless, while Fern is forgotten and left to drown in her own grief and trauma about Lily who's forever changed her family's lives.

Best of all, this novel is also about love romantically (Fern and Rocky) and platonically (Fern and Fancy), and will make you as giddy in love as it will be raw through troughs of rip-your-heart-out sadness.

I can't praise this book enough, and YOU guys can win this book. Free. Just see below.


Giveaway details

To celebrate how much I love this book, I'm hosting a book giveaway so ya'll can read this stunning debut novel from Kristin Maddock too! See the rules below. And trust me, you don't want to miss this one.

  • The winner of the competition will receive The Enchanted Orchards as an Kindle (mobi) file — BUT don't stress! It's non-DRM enabled, which means programs such as calibre or other eBook file conversion software will be able to convert this file to ePub, PDF, etc. (For your personal use only. Sharing is criminal activity.)
  • You must complete the mandatory fields to be In It To Win It.
  • I suggest completing all steps for a better chance at winning!

Here goes ...


Book links:

Author links:

Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway