I am pleased to host Sue Bentley, the author of “We Other” for a Guest Post on her writing routine. @rararesources @suebentleywords #WeOther

We Other - Sue author pic 5

My writing routine – Sue Bentley

I write something every day. When I’m hard at work on a novel, I aim for around 1,000 words, at a stretch. If things are going well, I sometimes do more – but I find it works for me to stop in the middle of a scene or even a sentence. That way, when I return to the narrative the following morning, I’m not faced with a blank page. Carrying on from where I left off, tricks me into believing that I’m straight into ‘proper’ writing – even if I might have to go back and forth through the text to pick up the thread.

I do my best work in the mornings and try to stay off social media or dealing with emails until the afternoon. Not always successfully, I admit.  If I’ve been invited as a guest by a book blogger or someone’s been kind enough to post a review, I’ll be tempted to re-tweet it and say how delighted I am. Reviews in particular are so important for an author, because they really help with book sales and to get the title onto best-selling book lists. After you get a certain number, Amazon with promote the book. That’s how you get to see books images as ‘you might also enjoy’ titles, when browsing or buying books online. I used to think this happened by magic.

So I attempt to tear myself away from any such bookish business, and discipline myself to do some proper work. I remind myself it’s better to write rubbish (it’s usually better than I think when I re-read it the following day) than to write nothing and then feel annoyed for having made no progress.

Even though I’ve been published for over twenty years and have written a lot of books for children, YA and adults, I still struggle to be disciplined and find the impetus to keep on and finish a book. Every book throws up its own challenge. I find it easier to apply myself when I have a deadline, but it’s been a while now since I’ve been commissioned to write a novel. So when writing ‘on spec’ I have to keep faith with my WIP and just write the best novel I can. I’m a perfectionist, so a first draft will have had many re-writes and edits before I submit it to my agent. Some parts of my WIP will have been seen by members of a monthly writers group. It’s so helpful to have Beta readers to give constructive criticism and toss ideas around.

I don’t have a particular reader in mind while writing. I write the sort of books I enjoy reading. I like to read about strong characters who are often troubled or fighting their own demons. I like rich, complex settings. These can be contemporary, historical or fantasy, but there has to be an element of suspense or danger, and a definite broad brush-stroke of darkness and hint of the extraordinary.

If I reach a sticking point in my WIP, I might write a new chapter to slot in at a later date. Or work on a short story or a feature, or the content for an author event. I might research something for a later scene or work on the outline of my next book. I find that exercising the ‘writing muscle’ in any way staves off the dreaded writer’s block. If I really can’t move the narrative forward, I’ll go for a walk. Which I find clears my head – something about the movement and fresh air allows ideas to rise and take shape. If all else fails, reading a good book always work for me. Something I read might inspire a chapter or relate to one of my characters. Just a word or phrase might provide the basis for a fresh scene.

I need my own writing space, where everything’s to hand. My spacious workroom looks out onto the front garden. A wildlife hedge has grown into tall tree cover, so I’m semi-secluded, but can see people walking past. I like the feeling of being in the world, but not off the world.

I type straight onto my desktop PC with its lovely big monitor at eye level, to reduce neck and eye strain. On my desk it’s organised chaos, with stacks of research books, containers of pens and pencils and piles of scribbled notes on scraps of paper. There’s a print-out of my WIP, once I’m reasonably happy with them. Like many authors, I hold a lot of the book in my head and I like to see the pile growing. It makes the book seem more real.

I have far too many books. My bookcases and full and there are stacks of books on the floor. I cannot resist buying books or rather I choose not to. It means that inspiration is all around me. And the crammed shelves of my own novels and many foreign editions remind me on bad days that I’ve done this before and can do so again.


Thank you so much for hosting me on the We Other blog tour.


A spot light on Susan Sage, and my review of A Mentor and Her Muse, by Susan Sage @SusanSage #TuesdayBookBlog

I would like to Spot Light Susan Sage, Author of “A Mentor and Her Muse”.

I asked Susan how she came to write “A Mentor and Her Muse”, and if she had a muse when writing this story, who it might have been:

I’ve often heard that novels begin with questions, so here were a few of mine: What would it be like to spontaneously take a road trip? Where would I go and who would I want to go with? I’ve always enjoyed traveling, though trips I’ve taken with my husband have always been pretty well-planned out – especially longer ones. It was easier for me to write about places in Ohio because I’d been there, but well into the first few drafts of the novel, I’d never been to North Carolina. Internet research came in handy regarding a few of the places I wrote about, though I have to admit that the area I wrote about outside of Asheville was a little less populated in my imagination. Also, I’ve never taken a long road trip by myself, though it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. What prevents me is that, like my main character, Maggie, I don’t like driving much. However, she’s definitely the sort who can ‘throw caution to the wind’ way more than me. She doesn’t back away from obstacles, even if it means breaking the law, something I would never do. She chooses Taezha to accompany her primarily because she regards ‘Tae’ as her muse. But I don’t think I would’ve had Maggie take the trip, had it not been for Tae.

My muse for the novel was a girl, younger than Tae by a few years. I met her at an urban school where I was an educational coordinator.  I coordinated field trips, tutored, and ran an after-school program. One of the fifth graders in the program was a girl who had just discovered that she wanted to become a writer. She often stopped by my desk with her poems or stories, and it impressed her because I read what she wrote with interest and my full attention. Who doesn’t want to be taken seriously? She knew I had published some of my writing and had lots of questions. Yet it wasn’t simply her writing interest that caused her to become my muse. She had this great, positive energy, and a lovely laugh! After I left my job to work at another school, I lost touch with her, but her memory burned bright – and it was then she became my muse and I came up with the idea for A Mentor and Her Muse.

I had little doubt who would accompany Maggie on her journey. (Tae was definitely more an older version of the girl from the north side of Flint than Maggie was me.) I’ve had way more mentors in my life than muses. The trick of having a muse is that we can’t get to know them too well; if we do, they can no longer fulfill that role – or at least not as well. Hope this isn’t too much of a spoiler alert!

A Mentor and Her Muse

My Review:

Taezha Riverton, a young girl who wants to become a writer. She lives in Flint Michigan. She’s a bright girl, a talented young writer, and according to Maggie, an “intellectually curious” young girl. She lives with her mother and three sisters, although she questions whether Quintana is actually her mother. Taezha befriends Maggie Bennett, a woman in her 50’s who works at the school Taezha attends. Taezha (Tae) has discovered in Maggie something that has been missing since her Aunt Serafina died. She looks to Maggie as an Aunt, and she finally feels like someone cares about her.

Maggie Barnett works at Jefferson Middle & High School in the library. She has met several smart and talented students, but none have effected her as Tae has. Maggie is a woman who is rarely settled in her life, she published a book and just about the time she thought it was beginning to take off and become a top seller, it stopped. Maggie decides that she wants to take Tae on a road trip and help her become a great writer by seeing life and living in on the road. She also tells Tae that she will take her to meet her Uncle Tyler, a very good friend of Tae’s Aunt Serafina.

This was a different story from what I normally read, but it was a good read. I found myself questioning Maggie’s motives of going on the road trip with Tae. Was she really looking at Tae as her Muse, or was she trying to find something that was missing from her life, like a family? It is clear that Maggie cares for Tae, but is it a healthy relationship for either of them? Is Maggie trying to recover her youth, her writing, or a family that she was denied for so many years due to her lack of finding the right man for her, and the fact that she has no living children of her own. I give this book a 4 star review. Ms. Sage did a great job of painting the picture for this book. Her description of Maggie was so detailed that I could almost see her in front of me.

If you enjoy women’s fiction and psychological novels, this is a good book to read. It a book about social norms, obsession, and the ambition to succeed.


A Guest Post on The Importance of Beta-Readers – Parallel Lies by Georgia Rose @GeorgiaRoseBook

I do tea break writing. Much of it is piecemeal and most of the time I have my manuscript open and if an idea pops into my head when I’m working I quickly flick across to it, add whatever it is in, then turn back to what I was doing. Sometimes I manage two hours writing in one stretch then do nothing for a week.

As you might imagine working like this is hardly conducive to keeping a hold on the threads of a story. And this is why I use beta readers (test readers) at a very early stage.

I finish my first draft, then I do a quick edit. Because of the way I write I have been known to stop part way through an idea or peter out mid-sentence so I like to make sure I have actually completed the story. It’s not much to ask, is it? And then I send it to my beta readers. Now, some of you will be gasping in horror at the thought of showing anyone your first draft but I do tidy up behind myself along the way as I write so it’s really not that bad. The important thing for me is that being so short of writing time I need input early on. I don’t want to waste time rewriting or editing pages that don’t work in the first place.


I also want to gauge reader reactions to my story and the characters. For this I need to know that I can trust my beta readers to tell me the truth. I understand could be difficult for them as they are people I know in real life, but those are the rules and with each book they get better at doing so.

My betas have a month (although one of them took far longer than this…ahem… resulting in me tapping my foot, somewhat impatiently!)

I ask them to read it as a reader would. I don’t care at this point about the misuse of apostrophes, the lack (or excess) of commas or anything else (although some of them simply can’t help but wield the red pen!) I just want them to take in the story and flag up anything that hits them in the face as unrealistic, a contradiction, a repetition or just plain wrong.


I do a feedback session with each of them once they have completed their task to see what they made of it all. This can be pretty brutal (and generally puts me in a terrible mood) but it’s essential as it gives me an initial insight into what the wider reader reaction is going to be.

Reader 1

This time I’d given out five paper copies and one digital copy as I’d given them the choice but in hindsight I think paper copies work best as they are easier for people to scribble over with notes and reminders of what they wanted to say to me.

The feedback is always interesting as without fail every reader picks up something different. I had a wide range of reactions to Parallel Lies. One pretty much loved it all and I think given the changes I then made to it will be even happier with the ending. One truly hated it. They didn’t like Madeleine or what she got up to one little bit. Although they did admit to liking the last third of the book. The others were all somewhere between those extremes but fortunately towards the upper end of liking it.

As writers we know we can’t please everyone. It would be ridiculous to think we could so I was happy with this and it has helped prepare me for what may follow from the readers that pick up Parallel Lies.


It’s easy to dismiss input if it is not what you are wanting to hear but I was particularly interested in the feedback from the person who hated it. The protagonist in Parallel Lies is Madeleine and she is concerned about how she would be judged in the community she lives in if they found out what she really was so this beta-reader of mine showed that concern to be completely valid. Job done.

Beta readers are invaluable to me as part of my book writing process and I’d be very interested to hear if anyone reading this uses them, and if so how they go about doing so?

Parallel Lies Ebook Cover Small

My name is Madeleine, Madeleine Ross. It is a name chosen with thought and because it is classy, and that is what is needed here…

Madeleine Ross has life exactly as she planned it.

Cosy cottage, friendly village, satisfying job.

Company… when she wants it.

It’s an enviable existence for an independent young woman, and one she’s keen to protect.

Enter Daniel – strong, dependable and a danger to everything she’s built. He’s not something she was looking for, but hearts can’t be controlled and maybe, just maybe he might be worth letting into hers.

But, all is not what it seems. Because Madeleine is hiding a lifetime of secrets. Deep secrets.

And they never stay buried for ever.

Her darkest secret returns, like the proverbial bad penny. He is her first love, shadowy, dangerous, the baddest of bad boys. No matter how far she runs, or how well she hides, she can never escape him.

Or her past.

Here he is, on her doorstep, with a proposition she is powerless to resist but which could devastate the future she hoped to have.

Can Madeleine satisfy the old love while keeping the new?

You can’t always get what you want but, desperate to preserve the life she has worked so hard for, Madeleine is willing to risk everything to prove that she can.


Pre-order Parallel Lies by Clicking Here

But wait! There’s also a Giveaway for you to enter, should you wish


Georgia Rose 7

Georgia Rose is a writer and the author of the romantic and suspenseful Grayson Trilogy books: A Single Step, Before the Dawn and Thicker than Water. A short story, The Joker, based on a favourite character from the series followed and is free to download from Amazon.

Her fourth novel, Parallel Lies, a standalone to be released on 12 September 2017, encompasses crime along with Georgia’s usual blending of genre.

Georgia’s background in countryside living, riding, instructing and working with horses has provided the knowledge needed for some of her storylines; the others are a product of her overactive imagination!

She tempers her dislike of Trifle (particularly the jelly soaked cakey bit at the bottom, shudder!), kites and the word wipe, with her love of milk chocolate (nothing fancy mind), anything horse related and the word loquacious.

Her busy life is set in a tranquil part of rural Cambridgeshire in the UK where she lives with her much neglected husband and dog. Their son, currently at university, comes and goes and their daughter, having delighted them all for long enough, has eventually moved out, got married, and is discovering the joys of being all grown up and having a mortgage!


Thank you for inviting me on your lovely blog, Karen, it has been a pleasure to visit you and get to chat to your readers.

Thank you for visiting Georgia. I am glad that you had the time.

MY Review of Parallel Lies:

Great book! The life of Madeleine Ross, Maddy, is complicated and secretive. She doesn’t let too many people know the real her. She thinks her life is perfect the way it is, now that she has a home of her own and is on her own. She ran away from a man that she felt wasn’t right for her and she created a life for herself in the Country. Although she does worry about how her new neighbors and friends will look at her should her past or real job be discovered. She lives a simple life, has friends, a job she enjoys, and sex on her terms. Things are changing for Maddy though and she has to decide if she’s ready to share the past or her job with others and let them in all the way.

There are a lot of things going on in this book. It is well written and keeps your attention throughout. I give this book a 5 star review because I loved reading about Maddy and her life. She has to figure out if Dan, her new boss and love interest is the “One”. When she figures it out, will it be too late? I look forward to reading more of Georgia Rose’s books and I really hope that there is more to come in Maddy and Dan’s lives. I would like to see what will happen now.