The Importance of Writerly Friends

Ellie Gray

The importance of writerly friends – a joint post by Detty Tyler and Ellie Gray

Filey_1 Rugged beauty atop Filey cliffs

What a fabulous weekend! A perfect mix of all things writerly – planning, discussing, editing, reading and, of course, writing. Having used a precious day of annual leave, we headed off on what has become our annual writerly weekend away.  Armed with our laptops, notebooks and a variety of coloured pencils, we made our way to the glamorous resort of Filey, where we had booked ourselves a fabulous little cottage just five minutes’ walk from the stunning clifftop landscape of East Yorkshire, and with an onsite pool, sauna and steam room, no less! Oh, we like to do things in style.

And so began three fabulously indulgent days of discussing our writing, worrying about our writing, reading each other’s writing and even…dududuhhhh…writing!

Of course, this was helped along with much…

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Finding inspiration for creating a sense of place in my novels

Excellent piece on observation, think I will have to follow your example Ellie, next time I’m out for a walk.

Ellie Gray

What a beautiful, sunny Spring day it was yesterday. Even so, when my partner, David, suggested driving up into the Wolds for a walk, I have to admit to being a little unenthusiastic. Having been suffering with a heavy cold all week, I was looking forward to spending Good Friday lazing in the conservatory. However, I agreed to go and, despite spending a good deal of the journey sitting in stationary traffic (the 30 minute car journey took an hour and a half), it really was well worth the effort.

It was as we were walking through the woods that I found my thoughts turning to how we, as writers, Middleton Woods 25 April 16_12ensure our books have a real sense of place. I thought about the books I really enjoy reading, and what it is about them that makes them come alive. Certainly, it is about characters that we connect with, and about…

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Interview with Ellie Gray, author of Beauty and the Recluse

Great interview guys, can’t wait for your next book Ellie, loved Beauty and the Recluse 😊

Christy Jackson Nicholas, Author and Artist

Today I am interviewing Ellie Gray. She is the author of Beauty and the Recluse. Come join us!

Beauty and recluse

Following the recent death of her father, and in need of both a job and somewhere to live, Kiya takes a housekeeping job on the spur of the moment.  She soon finds herself living in a beautiful but neglected mansion, working for a strange and reclusive man.

St. John is a man scarred by the past, both physically and emotionally, and is determined to live out his life alone.  They are two very different people, drawn to each other almost against their will, but can Kiya convince St. John that he is not the monster he believes himself to be? 

  • Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I have lived in East Yorkshire for most of my life and, although I enjoy travelling and seeing new places, I love…

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Beauty and the Recluse – Virtual Book Tour!

Ellie Gray

Book Review TourFebruary 16 - February 27

To celebrate the launch of my debut novel, Beauty and the Recluse, I’m starting a virtual book tour from February 16th to 27th 2016. I’d love you to join me and leave a comment or two!

February 16 – Reading Addiction Virtual Book Tours – Kick Off

February 16 – Awesome Book Assessment

February 17 – Romance Writer and Lover of Books

February 18 – Texas Book Nook

February 19 –  A Life Through Books

February 20 – A Writer’s Journal

February 21 – Coffee Book Mom

February 22 – Musings From an Addicted Reader

February 23 – The Indie Express

February 24 – The Butterfly Reads

February 25 – Jeri’s Book Attic

February 26 – Bobbies Book Blog and Reviews

February 27 – RABT Reviews – Wrap Up

I’m also running a little ‘goodie bag give away’for one lucky romance reader. To be in with a chance…

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Patience is a virtue…

patience10

I suppose the big news this month for me is that I have now submitted Safe and, although I’m sure I have many qualities; unfortunately patience isn’t one of them.   However, once you’ve pressed the SUBMIT button, the fact remains there is little to do but wait, and so my test begins.

Luckily there is still plenty for me to do as I continue my edits, with invaluable feedback now coming in from all my wonderful readers (ten so far), who have given me their thoughts, suggestions and general feelings about the book.  This has been interesting, as some of their views were the complete polar opposite of each other, which made me realise how important it is that you understand why you’re writing the story in the first place, what is its’ purpose from your own point of view, particularly regarding your potential audience.  Luckily for me they all managed to pick up a number of general errors with their eagle eyes, most of them spotting something different, which goes to show that no matter how many times you think you’ve got it right, you still miss something.

I will definitely be asking people to read my future work, as I found it to be an extremely useful exercise and it’s always lovely to chat about your story with such great people over coffee, cake and the odd glass or two.  I would add that some of my readers were friends of friends, so I wasn’t really sure what they would think of Safe and I didn’t tell them any details in advance, as I wanted to get a wide range of perspectives.  However, it’s safe to say they were probably my most nerve-wracking conversations, but again, proved to be extremely helpful discussions that gave me a broader insight into what readers looks for.

So far I’m happy to report that there are no major re-writes needed, although there are a few areas for further development, and the general thoughts are that it’s a page turner with strong characterization, a unique plot, although makes for uncomfortable reading in parts (but that’s as it should be considering the subject matter) and the writing is good…phew!!

Other than that it’s business as usual.  I’m happy to report that I managed to drop the Christmas excess, although whether I can keep up with all this healthy living malarkey, remains to be seen, and this afternoon I’m off to a Spa hotel for an afternoon with my lovely colleagues from work (Living Social special deal), where I plan to relax reading someone else’s story – Girl on a Train, who I’m sure at one point, before they got their publishing deal, also found themselves questioning whether patience was indeed one of their virtues.

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Counting down to Release Day

And its count down time for the launch of Ellie Gray’s debut – Beauty and the Recluse, read her latest blog to find out what she’s got planned!

Ellie Gray

So, where did January go? It seems to have  flown by in the blink of an eye. And that means….. yes, release day for Beauty and the Recluse is almost here! I can see 12th February on the horizon.

Gosh, what a roller coaster of a ride it is being an author. I’m filled with excitement as the moment when I officially become a published author draws nearer. And yet, I’m also filled with trepidation – what if no-one likes it? What if I get awful reviews?

So far, though, excitement is winning and this cold and blustery start to 2016 has seen me promoting Beauty and the Recluse through a variety of mediums – Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and Instagram, trying to keep to the 80/20 rule – no shoving ‘buy me’ ads down follower’s throats (I hope I haven’t anyway). I’ve also looked at how other authors promote their…

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Happy New Year!

Hello and thanks for visiting my website and reading my very first post.

As always on New Year’s Eve, I shall be making some New Year’s resolutions.  But first I’d like to reflect on some of the writerly things that happened to me in 2015.

I attended an amazing writing retreat in the Cotswolds, led by Janet Gover and Alison May and discovered how much I still had to learn about the craft of writing itself.  How can I have been writing for so long and not know what POV (point of view) means?  Therefore after a minor breakdown and a complete revision of my work in progress, I at least have a better understanding of why I need to put the word aspiring before author when referring to myself.

I was also interviewed by my friend, Darren Squires, for his TV series, The Reading Room, which was aired on Estuary TV in November.  This was quite nerve-wracking to say the least as I hadn’t seen the final edits and, as we did the interview back in May time, I’d forgotten most of what I said.   However, although I began watching myself through the gaps between my fingers, I don’t think I came across too badly and that in the most part was due to James’ fantastic editing and Darren’s skills as an interviewer.

I took myself off to Scarborough, to the Grand Hotel no less, where I spent five days solid revising my work in progress – sorting out the POVs, timelines, crying, sorting out the POVs again, while a rather inquisitive seagull kept an eye on me from my window to make sure I got on with it and didn’t just sit watching TV and drinking red wine.

However, eventually I completed my third novel – Safe, a psychological tale of two people who meet in unusual circumstances and the disturbing events that follow.  Well, when I say completed, I mean it’s currently being read by a fabulous group of people who have volunteered to give me feedback on the plot, characters, start, finish, accuracy and what I can do to improve it before I finally submit it in 2016.  Still, this time last year I’d only done about 15,000 words and my New Year’s resolution then was to get it finished and up to at least 85,000 if possible.  Currently it’s at around 87,000 and I’ve a feeling there will be a bit more work to do on it after my readers’ get back to me.

Which brings me onto the subject of this year’s resolutions, but don’t worry I’m only going to focus on writerly ones.

My main resolution is to spend a little time each day focusing on writing.  That might not mean actually writing of course.  Sometimes it is just impossible for many good reasons to sit down and physically put words onto paper and I must not feel guilty about this.  However, there are plenty of other things I can do to help progress my story other than just writing it down.  There are many things that can be achieved by thinking!  Plot lines that need working out, characters which need developing, ideas to create the impressive first and last chapters, places to visit, research to be done.  Thankfully the list goes on.  Sometimes I don’t write a word for weeks, however I do try and make a few notes about what thought I’ve had, otherwise I end up forgetting them!

I’m always looking for new ideas for future stories and have three in my head at the moment. But if you’re struggling for ideas, then spend some time searching for ideas.  My suggestions would be to read the papers, people watch, record your dreams, talk to people, look at what ideas you can gather from where you work, or volunteer, ask your family about what stories there may be hidden within your ancestry.  Find what works for you and don’t despair, your stories will come, you just need to be ready to catch them, develop them and yes, eventually you do need to write them down.

Some of my resolutions of course, remain the same as always, my main one being to find an agent for my work and, hopefully a publisher.  And, after everything I’ve learned this year, I feel that may finally be within reach.

So it just remains for me to wish you a very Happy New Year, keep safe, healthy and happy and I hope you achieve whatever goals you have set for 2016.

See you next year!

Detty x