Mastodon The Writing Desk: December 2013

30 December 2013

Special Guest Post: On Becoming A Writer By N. Gemini Sasson

What if you could remember another life? What if you could re-live it and find love again? 

In The Time of Kings: The new time travel romance adventure
set in medieval Scotland from N. Gemini Sasson
is available now on Amazon 

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On Becoming A Writer

When Tony invited me to guest blog, I said yes immediately. For ten days, I kicked around ideas, rejecting one after the other. I felt like it had all been said before. That writing, the process of it, really isn’t all that exciting. If you asked me what my work day is like and I told you, you’d probably yawn.

Then today, a friend asked me how I went about becoming a writer. Such a simple question, and yet … so profound. Well, there is no one way. There is no formula. You just sit down and do it. Day, after day, after day. Word after word. Page after page. Book after book.

You do it when you don’t believe in yourself. You do it when you don’t feel like it. You do it when you’re afraid to show it to anyone for fear they’ll erupt in hysterical laughter or tear apart every phrase you toiled over. You do it even when you’re not sure your story will ever be read by another human being.
To get past all that, you have to understand why it is that you want to write.

Do it because you have something to say. Something to share. Pain you need to heal from. Hope you keep close to your heart that things can turn out for the better, even if only in a fictional world. Do it because you believe in true love, conquering fear, happy endings and good guys saving the world. Write to connect with others. Because whatever you feel in the deepest, most hidden recesses of your soul, someone else has probably felt that way, too.

The Best Stories

The best stories reveal truths about ourselves and our worlds that we weren’t aware of before. They bring us closer together. They move us emotionally.

When I was a teenager, I was in love with the idea of being a writer. I had a typewriter and desk tucked away in my closet. I’d write a page or two of a story and abandon it. I didn’t yet understand that writing a book was a long and often tedious process.

That dream, though, of being a writer eventually drew me back – but not for another twenty plus years. Even at thirty, I didn’t yet possess enough confidence in how to portray my ideas, or understand the parts of a story, or have the commitment to write an entire book. To those of you at this stage, don’t let that stop you. Start somewhere. Write journal entries, write articles, write blog posts. Just … write.

Write as if no one but you is ever going to read it. Because when you start to worry about criticism, rejection or disinterest, you aren’t going to write in your most authentic voice. When you worry about even finishing the blessed book, the whole task can seem so daunting that you chuck it early on to save yourself the grief. 

Take it one paragraph at a time

A writing instructor once asked the class I was in what defines you as a writer. Most of us said having a book published. His answer was: Writers write. Plain and simple.

Now, becoming a ‘published author’ is another matter. Luckily, it’s more attainable than ever these days. Computers, the internet, and digital self-publishing make it a thousand times easier than it was a decade or two ago.

Just remember, before you can become a published author, first you must write.

Until later,


About the Author

N. Gemini Sasson is the author of six historical novels set in 14th and 15th century Scotland, England and Wales, including The Bruce Trilogy and Isabeau, A Novel of Queen Isabella and Sir Roger Mortimer (2011 IPPY Silver Medalist in Historical Fiction).

Her latest release is Uneasy Lies the Crown, A Novel of Owain Glyndwr. Long after writing about Robert the Bruce and Queen Isabella, Sasson learned she is a descendant of both.

If you'd like to learn more about N. Gemini Sasson's books, visit her website or blog and find her on Twitter @NGeminiSasson

24 December 2013

Book Launch ~ Forever Doomed by MaryAnne Kempher @MaryAnnKempher

It's not wise to wander the cruise ship FOREVER alone at night.
You might not live to see daylight.

Detective Jack Harney agrees to do an old Army buddy a favor. Curt Noble had some personal business to attend to, he didn’t say what. What he did say was he needed someone to temporarily take over his duties as head of security on the struggling cruise ship Forever. Jack hesitates, but he owes Curt his life so agrees. 

He’s told the worst mischief he can expect to encounter will be the occasional shoplifter, or drunk. Instead, one week into the cruise, a beautiful red head and a member of the crew are ruthlessly murdered. Are the two murders connected? It’s up to Jack to find out. He must find the killer before the ship returns to Tampa’s port, or worse, before another dead body is found. This won't be easy. The ship is old, it's security systems outdated, and clues are few, or so it seems at first

It’s not just a sense of obligation that motivates Jack to agree to Curt's request; Jack moved thousands of miles, started over, and still can't get Amy O'Brian out of his heart or mind. When she shows up on the ship, as part of a large wedding party, Jack must fight to stay focused. To make matters worse, Amy isn't his only distraction; a sexy and mysterious woman has made it her mission to seduce Jack.

As the body count rises, and time slips away, Jack has to ask himself, “Did someone commit the perfect crime?” 

10 5 * reviews on Amazon US - 'It will keep you guessing until the end.' 

Forever Doomed is available on Amazon US and Amazon UK

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About the Author

MaryAnn Kempher's writing is infused with mystery and romance. She spent her teen years spent living in Reno NV where her first book, Mocha, Moonlight, and Murder is set. The setting for her second book, Forever Doomed, was inspired by her love of the ocean. Her writing influences include favorite authors Agatha Christie, Jane Austen and Janet Evanovich. Her guilty pleasures include any and all sweets, including a good cup of Mocha. She is married with two children.

For more about MaryAnn Kempher, visit her author Facebook page find her on Twitter @MaryAnnKempher and visit her website:

Purchase MaryAnn’s books here:

If you purchase Forever Doomed in paperback for uner $11, you can get the Kindle version for just 99 cents.

22 December 2013

Forced Entry (MP3 Download) by Michael Brookes @TheCultofMe

Forced Entry audio short is now available! 

Terrorists have seized a suburban dwelling and a special forces unit is despatched to rescue the hostages. They're trained for every conceivable eventuality, but they haven't trained for the horror they encounter. Inside the house they find a sealed basement door and a trail of blood leading to the bedroom. None of them were prepared for what awaits them: Mystery and unimaginable evil...

Forced Entry is only £1.99 and can be downloaded from The Radio Theatre Workshop online store
  • Running Time: 18 mins
  • Cast: Janet Westwood Wilson, Benjamin Goodman, Liam McCauley, Christopher Jarvis
  • Adapted and Directed by Christopher Jarvis
  • Music by Allen Stroud.
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Writers: If you would like to discuss producing a high quality audio book get in touch with specialists The Radio Theatre Workshop HERE or find them on Twitter @theradiotheatre 

13 December 2013

What are you waiting for? START WRITING! ~ Guest Post by Madeline Courtney

Hey, guys! This is my first guest blog, so here goes. My name is Madeline Courtney and I'm a Writer from Carthage, Missouri.  I'm seventeen years old and I'm self-publishing my first novel, THE CASE OF IRENE ADLER, which is a retelling of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A SCANDAL IN BOHEMIA. It is also the first book in my Sherlock Holmes series.

So, I'm going to blog about Writing and my routines. I chose this topic because a lot of people (followers on Twitter, emails, etc.) have asked me how I make time to write a whole novel and continue going to school. My answer to this question is always the same. If you really want to do something then you'll make time. It's also easier because, after suffering from very serious bullying at school, I am being homeschooled and taking classes online. Because of this, I am not only publishing my first novel, but also graduating highschool a whole year early.

I have a very strict schedule, as all Writers should, and I follow it completely.

As of lately, my grandparents have had the laptop so I've been having to use the desktop (not fun, as it is located right in the middle of the living room, where everyone likes to hang out.) 

I force myself to push through it by plugging in my headphones and turning them up all the way to drown out the noise of the TV and family talking. My family know that if they want to talk to while I'm writing they either text me or wait until I'm done.
Usually I try to write two to three hours everyday without a break except for more British Tea. I guess, what I'm trying to say is, if you want to write a book YOU HAVE TO HAVE A CAVE. There is no other way around it. At least for one hour a day you have to go into The Cave and just WRITE because if you don't you never will. If you want people to take you seriously as a Writer, you have to take being a Writer seriously.

Ksenia Anske (@kseniaanske on twitter) is a big inspiration for me because she helped talk me into writing to deal with my depression.  If you can get past the Blocks, the lack of confidence (we all get it!), and everything else you should really try Writing. It's a wonderful way to relax and it's brilliant for therapy (part of the reason I started!) Writing THE CASE OF IRENE ADLER has helped me escape my depression. My best friend Melissa has always been supportive of my dream and for that I am thankful. I guess you could say I write because I have to. 

I am a Writer. I am a survivor. And I hope everyone who reads my novel will finally understand the real me.  If you ever want to talk about Writing or publishing or just need to talk I am on twitter  @MaddieC123  my blog is and you can email me

12 December 2013

A Dylan Odyssey ~ A Series of Unique Dylan Thomas Inspired Tours

To celebrate Dylan Thomas’ centenary in 2014, Literature Wales presents A Dylan Odyssey,a series of twenty three totally unique and extraordinary events which will take visitors to the very heart of Dylan Thomas’ worlds, exploring the richness of these places by boat, canoe, horse-drawn carriage, bus, steam train, foot and even on horseback!
Tours will be guided through the eyes of some of Wales’ best living artists, including comedian Griff Rhys Jones, author and scriptwriter Andrew Davies, actor Helen Griffin, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke, former Archdruid T. James Jones and writer Owen Sheers.
A formidable voice when it came to the literature of place, Dylan Thomas left an imprint on the memory of the vast seascapes, village tracks, urban greys, dusky moorlands, brimming meadows and lush parklands he knew, from Wales to England and the United States.
A Dylan Odyssey will run from May to November 2014 and forms part of the Welsh Government-led Dylan Thomas 100 Festival. One day tours range from £7.00 - £47.00 in price. In partnership with Rare Hospitality, Literature Wales is also offering a range of residential packages incorporating the Welsh Rarebits and Great Little Place country hotels, historic inns and boutique townhouses. 
For further information, see or download the brochure here or send a self-addressed envelope to: Literature Wales, Cambrian Buildings, Mount Stuart Square, Cardiff, CF10 5FL or email

6 December 2013

New Book Review ~ Elizabeth of York by Alison Weir

One of the good things about the BBC’s well-intended series ‘The White Queen’ is it made a lot of people take a new interest in learning more about the women behind the thrones of medieval England.  They need look no further than this highly readable new book from Alison Weir, Elizabeth of York – A Tudor Queen and Her World.  

By my calculations this is her sixteenth non-fiction history book and her experience shines through. Alison has been accused of writing ‘popular history’ but there are worse insults levelled at authors. I particularly like the way we are drawn in to the excitement of her research. For example, Richard III was being dug up in a car park while she was writing about him – and there is the ‘startling’ new connection to the mystery of the princes in the tower (which I shall leave for readers to find out about.) 

It is also interesting to wonder how different things would have been if Elizabeth had been allowed to rule in her own right (like her granddaughter) as she was on of up to thirty people who arguably had a better claim on the throne than Henry VII. I did smile a few times at Alison’s love of noting the very precise details from the records of the time. (We learn not only that 156 pounds of wax were used for Elizabeth's embalming but also the details of where it all went.) 

This is an indulgent book but also one you will return to and learn more on a second reading. Elizabeth died young, on her birthday 11th February 1503, living long enough to see one son die but not long enough to see what became of her youngest boy – but of course that’s another story.  

Available now on Amazon UK and Amazon US

4 December 2013

Book Launch ~ Josephine: Desire, Ambition, Napoleon by Kate Williams @KateWilliamsUK

The incredible rise and unbelievable fall of a woman whose energy and ambition is often overshadowed by Napoleon’s military might. In this triumphant biography, Kate Williams tells Josephine’s searing story, of sexual obsession, politics and surviving as a woman in a man’s world.

Abandoned in Paris by her aristocratic husband, Josephine's future did not look promising. But while her friends and contemporaries were sent to the guillotine during the Terror that followed the Revolution, she survived prison and emerged as the doyenne of a wildly debauched party scene, surprising everybody when she encouraged the advances of a short, marginalised Corsican soldier, six years her junior.

Josephine, the fabulous hostess and skilled diplomat, was the perfect consort to the ambitious but obnoxious Napoleon. With her by his side, he became the greatest man in Europe, the Supreme Emperor; and she amassed a jewellery box with more diamonds than Marie Antoinette’s. But as his fame grew, Napoleon became increasingly obsessed with his need for an heir and irritated with Josephine’s extravagant spending. The woman who had enchanted France became desperate and jealous. Until, a divorcee aged forty-seven, she was forced to watch from the sidelines as Napoleon and his young bride produced a child.

Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateWilliamsUK  and visit her website