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The Creative Writer Interviews Kathleen McGurl, UK Author

Posted on : 27-02-2015 | By : admin | In : Author Interview

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Second novel by Kathleen McGurl

Second novel by Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, with her husband, sons and cats. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present., and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

When not writing or working at her full-time job in IT, she likes to go out running or sea-swimming, both of which she does rather slowly. She is definitely quicker at writing.

You can find out more at her website, http://kathleenmcgurl.com/, or follow her on Twitter @KathMcGurl .

Name: Kathleen McGurl

Writer Alias (If you are willing to share)  I don’t have one

Rough Idea of where you live: Bournemouth, UK.

1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?
As a child I was always writing stories, often for my own amusement. I
remember starting a novel when I was about 11, which was to be about a
highwayman’s daughter who became a highway-girl herself. I don’t think it
got very far. As an adult I started writing a novel when on maternity leave,
20 years ago, but then my son was born and took up all my time. But I knew I
was always going to be a writer some day. Eventually, when the kids were
both at school, I started writing properly and have not stopped since.

2. Has there ever been an unusual way that a story has occurred to you?
Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere but probably the most unusual was
one which occurred to me while I was swimming in the local pool. What if, I
thought, there was a ghost at the bottom of the pool in the deep end? By the
time I’d completed 40 lengths I had the full story planned in my head. I
sold that one to a woman’s magazine and also included it in my book Ghost
Stories and How to Write Them.

3. What is the best story title that you have never used? Is there a worst?
I am terrible at titles so I can’t say I’ve ever thought of a good one and
not used it. My books tend to have to put up with temporary titles until
they’re almost finished. The Emerald Comb was called The Next Novel for a
long time while I was writing it!

4. Which story would you love to have written?
Anything by Kate Morton. I love her books, especially The Secret Keeper.

5. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring authors?
Keep writing. If you want to be a writer, make sure you prioritise writing
over everything else.

6. What is your current project?
Having just finished my second novel for Carina UK – The Pearl Locket – I
have three more novel ideas to flesh out. At the moment I am not sure which
one I will start writing next, but it’ll definitely be another dual timeline
book as I love writing them!

Thanks so much for having me on your blog, Sarah!

Kathleen McGurl, Author

Kathleen McGurl, Author

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Author Interview – Meet Carys Jones

Posted on : 06-02-2015 | By : admin | In : Author Interview, Blog

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Carys Jones UK Author

Carys Jones UK Author

This week Carys Jones, author has agreed to answer my Author Interview questions. Carys has written three books about attorney Aiden Connelly in her Avalon series and Prime Deception. She is also about to branch out into Young Adult fiction with her first book, Dare to Dream due out soon. You can find synopses of Carys’ books at her website and they are available at Amazon.   Name: Carys Jones Rough Idea of where you live: I live in Shropshire, England, UK

  1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?

When I was about five or six I used to make little magazines about a stick character called Pod. He’d walk his dog, go to the shops, nothing too exciting but it was my first attempt at storytelling and I used to bind the pages together with staples and charge my poor Dad ten pence for each edition!

  1. Has there ever been an unusual way that a story has occurred to you?

A couple of my stories have occurred to me following a dream. I keep a notebook in my bedside drawer so that if I wake up from a particularly vivid dream I can hurriedly scribble down the details for future use.

  1. What is the best story title that you have never used? Is there a worst?

Some of my story titles have changed once the books were published which probably means that they weren’t the best titles originally; Not All Stars Sparkle became First to Fall and Maggie Trafford Dreams of Armageddon became Dare to Dream

  1. Which story would you love to have written?

It has to be Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. It is one of my all-time favourite books and is just so powerfully written. The great stories are always the ones which are most evocative, those which stay with you long after you’ve read the final sentence.

  1. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring authors?

Write. Write as much as you can as often as you can. There is no better way to learn about yourself as a writer than to write.

  1. What is your current project?

I’m currently writing the 4th book in my Avalon series, Fourth to Run, and editing my YA novel Dare to Dream prior to its release later in the year.

 

First to Fall by Carys Jones

First to Fall by Carys Jones

 

Second to Cry by Carys Jones

Second to Cry by Carys Jones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find out more about Carys at:

Thank you, Carys, for taking part in The Creative Writer author interview.

Subscribe to the newsletter for up-to-date information on this blog.   If you would like to take part as an author/freelance interviewee then email me at sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.co.uk

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Freelance Interview with Sarah Arrow of Sark e-Media

Posted on : 29-01-2015 | By : admin | In : Blog, Freelance Interview

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Sark e-Media Logo

Sark e-Media Logo

Sarah Arrow of Sark -Media has agreed to be my next interviewee. I hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did.

Name: Sarah Arrow

Writer Alias (if you are willing to let us know)

I have several, including Sarah Stanton, Danielle Stanton, Danielle Field and few others that I’d rather not mention.

How long have you been a writer?

Erm, I’m not sure. I’m not sure that I even like writing at times! However I just can’t seem to leave it alone long enough to allow something else to take over! Rough idea of where you live: I live in Essex approximately 12 miles from London. Which is close enough to love the City, but far enough away to breathe. My house is on a golf course and in the summer I write in the garden, watching the golfers play. The 8th hole is at the bottom of my garden, so the last 10 feet of it is a no-go zone when they play. Sometimes I sneak to the fence and throw a ball back onto the green when they’re not looking.

Are your clients local, global or a mix?

My clients are a mix of global and local. The power of the internet means we can do business anywhere that speaks English.

1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?

My first piece (that I can recall) was an article on Henry VIII. I grew up in East London which is rich in history from the Tudor period. Roads are named after his first two wives and many of the landmarks are related. I found it compelling, yet gruesome to be a Queen in those times and I was thankful to be born now. I still have a fondness for Katherine of Aragon, and I often wonder how England would have looked if she’d have had a son. Did you know she was Regent of the country for a while and she martialled an army to repel Scottish forces? She won.

2. What made you realise that you wanted to write for a living?

It crept up on me! One day I was on maternity leave and playing with the children, the next day I was a blogger! I write prolifically as I’ve found when you do something more you get better at it.

3. How did you get your first client?

My first client came from a blog post and that fascinated me, I wanted to pick apart why that post worked, why the person contacted me to work with them… The rest they say is history.

4. What do you wish that you had written?

Where do I start! Harry Potter (for the money), I wished that I’d written that. I love how children worldwide started to read again with Harry Potter, proving that they don’t need dumbed down writing, but books that make them feel, and understand those feelings. I’d also loved to have written Philippa Gregory’s books, she writes very readable historical fiction. There are so many wonderful women writers, and I’m going to read Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel next and by the end of it I’m sure I’ll wish that I’d written that as well! If it was a non-fiction book, then Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art. It’s the book I read the most, I have it on audio and I pick it up at least once a day. I have a handbag edition, a car edition and an under-the-bed edition (for when I lack motivation). To write this book, I’d have had to live a full life and then share my wisdom, and that’s part of the reason I love it so much.

5. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring writers?

To keep writing. The words are no good if they’re in your head. So write them down, type them.. Just get them out of your head and onto the page. Don’t be scared to experiment, don’t think you can’t self-publish as that’s not real writing (look at E.L James she did it and now lives in the centre of London in a fab home), you can do anything you want to do, but if you keep the words locked up… No one will ever know your brilliance.

6. What is your current project?

Aside from my 30 day blogging challenge, I’m writing an alternate history book about a famous English battle. I’ve mapped the book out, the characters and the basic plot and I’ll soon be ready to start filling the pages!

Sarah from Sark e-Media

Sarah from Sark e-Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can find Sarah at her blog, Sark e-Media where she is currently running a 30 day blogging challenge.

Thank you, Sarah for agreeing to be on my blog. There will be more author/freelance interviews soon so keep checking this page for more details.

Subscribe to the newsletter for up-to-date information on this blog.

If you would like to take part as an author/freelance interviewee then email me at sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.com

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Freelance Interview – Meet Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing.com

Posted on : 23-01-2015 | By : admin | In : Blog, Enjoying Writing

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Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing.com

Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing.com

Name: Anne Wayman

Writer Alias (if you are willing to let us know) I use my own name

How long have you been a writer? 30+ years

Rough idea of where you live: San Diego

Are your clients local, global or a mix? Mix

  1. What is the first piece of writing that you remember doing?

A news story for the 6th grade newspaper.

  1. What made you realise that you wanted to write for a living?

I never liked the idea of working in someone’s office

  1. How did you get your first client?

They came to me

  1. What do you wish that you had written?

Still working on stuff.

  1. What is the one tip that you would give aspiring writers?

Write, read and write

  1. What is your current project?

Forum for writers

Anne’s Contact Details:

Anne Wayman

anne@annewayman.com

www.annewayman.com

www.aboutfreelancewriting.com

619 434-6110

Many thanks, Anne for taking part.

There will be more author/freelance interviews up soon so keep checking this page for more details.

Subscribe to the newsletter to get up-to-date information on interviews and other articles.

If you would like to be interviewed as a freelancer or an author, then email me at sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.com

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Blog Review: About Freelance Writing.com

Posted on : 19-01-2015 | By : admin | In : Blog

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By Sarah Charmley. One of the first bloggers I found when looking for blogs on freelance writing was Anne Wayman’s About Freelance Writing. I found it to be full of information and helpful advice. Anne gave away a book which offered ‘3 Keys to Making Your Writing Pay’ when you subscribed to her newsletter and I downloaded it and found it useful. This book is still available for new subscribers today. Anne is very good at responding to people who comment on her blog. She is usually quick to continue the conversation and this suggests that she is online frequently. She checks her blog regularly and makes sure that no comment goes unnoticed. Anne used to offer freelance writing job listings, but no longer does so. She has however written an e-book which details the links that she used to create these listings. Some listings can be found for free under the tab ‘Jobs and Pay’. These are a great starting point when looking for freelance jobs, although looking through job listings can be time-consuming. The website hosts a ‘5 Buck Forum’ which enables freelance writers to meet and share experiences. This costs around $30 a month for joining a professional forum. It can be a useful way to meet others who do what you do and to learn from others. This is a great website for those who want to start a career as a freelance copywriter. The final tab offers a list of articles which will inform you all about the ‘Business of Writing’. Subjects such as what to charge clients, how to educate clients on what to expect from their freelancer and why freelance projects fail are all useful subjects that can help potential freelancers learn more about their ideal career. Anne’s newsletter always offers some interesting articles for freelance writers and she also runs courses. If you are looking for a blog owned by someone who is approachable, helpful and knowledgeable then Anne’s blog would come highly recommended by this writer. This review is based on the opinions of the author and is offered as free and unbiased. On Friday, Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing.com will answer my freelance writing interview questions. Thank you, Anne.

Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing.com

Anne Wayman of About Freelance Writing.com

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Time to Change…

Posted on : 13-01-2015 | By : admin | In : Uncategorized

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It’s time to change. This blog has been getting a bit stale recently and I have decided that 2015 is the year that things are going to be different. Here are some of the brilliant things that will be happening around here this year.

  1. There are going to be interviews with authors, freelance writers, copywriters, entrepreneurs and small business owners. I am looking for good advice, interesting facts and great responses and in return you can showcase your latest product. Email me at sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.com to take part.
  2. I will be recommending some of the blogs that I follow. Do hop on over and check them out.
  3. I will be reviewing books that you may find useful for your business. If you have a book that you would like reviewed, then email me at the address above.
  4. There will be other articles of interest to freelancers, writers, authors and small business owners.

I have a very busy year planned for 2015 and I look forward to taking my blog to the next level. I hope you will come along for the ride.

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Five Ways to Refresh a Stale Home Business

Posted on : 18-09-2014 | By : admin | In : Blog, Writing Help for Businesses

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English: Autumn fallen leaves of Zelkova serra...

English: Autumn fallen leaves of Zelkova serrata 日本語: 枯葉 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes you just have to start again. Every autumn feels like a new beginning as the summer comes to an end, the leaves begin to turn multi-coloured and the kids go back to school. If you are a home business owner, your time is your own again and you can breathe and think.

  1. Check the State of Your Business

Are you where you want to be? Are you managing clients, marketing for work and extending your network or does your business feel stale, stagnant and underachieving? It is time to take a good look at your business and see what is working and where processes can be improved. Decide if there are any training courses you could take, online reading that you would like to do or further services that you could offer. There is still time to significantly improve your bottom line during this financial year.

  1. Take a Look at Your Website

It may have been a while since you updated your blog or added some new content. Check out your pages – are they current or do they need some updating? Take some time to think through the purpose of your website and whether it is achieving that purpose. What kind of traffic are you hoping to attract through your website? Check the stats to see whether that is what your website is achieving. Take some advice, read some articles or employ an SEO expert if your website needs some work. Your website is the first contact that many clients may have with you, so make sure that the experience is a positive one.

  1. Reach out to Old Clients

Target your old clients with new offers. Put together a package specifically for each client. If you are offering further services, then let them know. Ask if they know anyone who is hiring in your line of work at the moment. Referrals can be a great way of getting more work. Reaching out to old clients can be a great way of generating more work.

  1. Research some new clients

Search for some potential clients to approach if you have a service business. List the benefits that you could bring to their business if they choose to hire you. Create some new marketing materials, reprint your business card and update your look to reflect a modern, up-to-date business.

  1. Go to a Network Event

Take some of your new marketing materials and meet people. It gets you out of the office and into the community and may inspire you to try new markets. You may get some sales, but you will definitely get some new contacts and this is a great start to rejuvenating your business. Networking is a great way to pick up new tips for your business and it can be encouraging to meet fellow business owners and exchange experiences. This business review can be done at any time of the year and should be done regularly. It can be easy to let the business just carry itself along without any real purpose or direction. By analysing where you are and where you would like to be, you can halt the lack of direction and begin to build a healthier business. _

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Book Review: Engagement from Scratch by Danny Iny of Firepole Marketing

Posted on : 04-10-2013 | By : admin | In : Blog, Enjoying Writing, Writing Help for Businesses

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Engagement from Scratch

Imagine sitting in a room with lots of successful bloggers. Your tiny little blog is small and insignificant to theirs – why would they want to take notice of you? And yet – something wonderful happens! Those successful bloggers begin talking about what they would do if they were to start up a blog again with the knowledge that they now have. They share their successes and failures, their best blog posts and how to engage a blog audience from scratch.

Buying this book is like sitting in that room. The book is divided up into sections: General Principles, Know and Love Your Audience, Why and How to Do Content, Why and How to Do Social Media, Be Your Passionate Self, Stories and Lessons Learned and finally Step by Step which asks successful bloggers to offer steps to building a successful blog.

There are not just one or two successful bloggers here, there are many and all of them have something interesting to say to the would-be blogger. I think the book’s strength is that it talks to so many people and includes many different ways to build a successful blog. The over-riding theme however is that it is important to care for your readers. Offer them valuable information and engage and respond with readers. Essentially a blog is nothing if it is not read by anyone.

Danny Iny from Firepole Marketing has put together the book. Some digital copies have been given away for free and if you are lucky enough to get one of these then you have something very valuable there. This book is worth paying for because you will refer to it again and again. It’s a great read.

I am not affiliated with Firepole Marketing in any way. I am reviewing this book as a helpful resource for bloggers.

The book can currently be downloaded for free from Firepole Marketing

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Set up Your Own Business When the Kids Go Back to School!

Posted on : 20-09-2013 | By : admin | In : Blog

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Picture: Autumn’s Leaves by Carsten Tolkmit. Licensed under Creative Commons.

Flickr_-_Laenulfean_-_autumn's_leaves

Well they looked smart on their first day at least! The house is quiet and their pyjamas have been left where they dropped them when they got dressed. The kids have just gone back to school.

What about you? What have you got planned for the week? Perhaps your little one has gone off to school for the first time, perhaps you already have a job, but you want something more flexible that will work around the children?

Many people decide to start off a new business because they feel it will be easier to fit around the children and childcare. Perhaps you bake brilliant cupcakes, you have wonderful craft and sewing skills or you are able to create websites and you wonder if your skill might transfer into a business that will enable you to be around for the children.

Build Your Own Business

It could be a great idea, but it is important to look into it properly and decide whether it truly is for you. Businesses, even small ones can mean a great deal of work and this will be in addition to all you do for your family. You will need your partner onside as he may have to help out more than usual, and money may be tight for a while as you put money back into the business.

If you are daunted by the thought of starting your own business, then I can understand that. It is scary. Things will go wrong and you will find some things harder than you think. However there are also some great rewards and there is nothing like the thrill of successfully landing a client who enjoys what you do.

Here are five tips to help you on your way to starting your own business:

1. Have a great idea

 Everyone has a dream job: something that they really feel that they could put their heart and soul into and make a success of. Often it can be linked to our hobbies or a skill that we feel we really excel at. Use the internet to find examples of people who are already using the skills that you have to make a business. Check out their websites, how they do things. Keep a notebook or folder on the computer and make a note of really attractive websites that would tempt you to look into hiring this person. Find things you like and things you don’t like, looking at the websites critically.

2. Check out the Competition

 If there are websites out there which already display your idea then there will be a market for it. The trick will be to decide who you need to market to and aim your marketing towards them. If for instance you bake great cupcakes, then start off talking to mums at school and offering to make birthday cakes. Take pictures of your creations and keep a folder of them which will serve as a portfolio later down the line. Marketing to people you know can be hard at first, but then so is running a business. Pluck up your courage and talk to your friends. They may be more encouraging than you thought. Talk to your partner about your ideas – he could also spread the word at work and help you find clients.

3. What Legal Information do You Need?

When you have your idea and you have some support and some evidence that your idea may work as a business, then you need to check out the legal side. What insurance might you need? Most home insurance policies require you to declare working from home, although some do now ask the question. Do you need any training? Making cakes in your own kitchen requires scrupulous cleanliness and the freshest ingredients. There are internet courses that you can pay for and take so that you have a certificate that will show you know how to use ingredients safely.

Find out about the tax laws in your country. Here in the UK, HMRC runs frequent courses for new businesses starting up so that they understand their obligations when it comes to self assessment. Keep good financial records, receipts and bills and if you need an accountant then find one. It is best to take a recommendation and there is always the possibility that you might find one at the school gate.

4. Set up a Website.

 If this is something that you are unsure of doing yourself then ask around – someone somewhere will know a budding web designer. Decide on a name for yourself and buy a domain name. There are companies that offer domain name searches and you can easily check what is available. You will need the name and somewhere to host it. The cost can be as little as £30 a year. Putting your website together may take a little time, but go back to the websites that impressed you at the beginning of your research and take the best bits of them. Choose a colour for your theme and take your web designer’s advice on what works.

5. Have some business cards made and start to give them out. Ask your friends to spread the word. Find new ways to advertise. You can set up a Facebook page for your friends to like and join Twitter. Link up to like-minded people but be yourself. Deciding to take the first step is always difficult and no matter how much work you put in there will be more to come!

How did you decide which business to start up? Let me know in the comments below.

 

Sarah Charmley is a freelance copywriter who would love to help you make your dream a reality. For great web content contact sarahthecreativewriter[at]gmail.com.

Connect with Sarah on Twitter @SassieC43

 

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Five Things to Keep in Mind when Composing a Guest Blog Title

Posted on : 08-11-2012 | By : admin | In : Blog, Writing Help for Businesses

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With visitors taking even less time than usual to stop by a new website and look around, it is really important to offer a great title when writing a guest blog. You can have written the most informative article in the world but if the title does not instantly grab a reader, then there will not be many people willing to read on. The title has to be worth their while.

Here is The Creative Writer’s guide to writing a great guest blog title:

1. Make sure the title reflects the article content accurately. Try and be too clever and you might leave a reader puzzled as to how the title fitted in with the rest of the article. An article on the ‘Five best Toddler Drink Cups’ is expected to have something on drink cups in there somewhere.

2. Make sure the language is suitable for the audience that you want to attract. A title aimed at a teenage audience is very different from one aimed at the small business owner market. You want your blog post to be authoritative and to offer information that your readers need. You should therefore choose your language carefully.

3. Puns are out! Well, ok probably not out completely, but a bad pun can put people off reading an article. Puns are plays on words that make you groan rather than laugh. People who are groaning may not read on.

4. Don’t be too clever if you play on words. It is easy to get carried away by your own brilliance and leave your audience puzzled. Some plays on words work, others should be cut in the edit.

5. You won’t always get the perfect title straight away. Sometimes you need to work on it a little. Using numbers can help – ‘Five Ways to-‘ or ‘Ten Perfect Blog Titles’ but it’s not always essential. It is more important that your title reflects your article and that it will encourage visitors to your site to read on.

Sarah Charmley is a UK-based freelance writer who offers guest blogs as part of her services. To discuss your blog requirements either use the contact form or email sarahthecreativewriter(at) gmail.com.

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