African Hearts

Core values

A few years ago I didn't understand what core values were. I hadn't consciously thought about what I believed in. Why? For many reasons that I will talk about in future posts. In order for me to understand my core values, I used my alone time to understand who I am.

Passion

Let passion be at the centre of your life.

Let passion be at the centre of your life.

Do you have a passion? A passion to write, to paint, to create something the world needs? Have you followed that passion?

My passion started in year one at school when I opened my first reader. Who were the people on the page and what was their life like? It sparked a curiosity in me that has been with me ever since. In year four I walked into the library and I found rows upon rows of books. Intimidated by seeing so many books, I stepped cautiously into that world of silence. My pulse raced as the different coloured spines drew my attention. The more spines I looked at the more overwhelmed I became. How I was ever going to read all those books? My teacher assured me I only had to read the ones I was interested in and it would be a good idea to read something outside my interest every now and again as I grew older, she said.

I took her wise words to heart and I lost myself in the world of words, characters and foreign lands. This passion for reading has led me to write and now writing is as much a need for me as breathing. The simple task of sitting at my keyboard and typing words or using a pen, which I often do, puts me into a different level far away from my everyday life. You could call it escape, but that's what I want to do: help my readers escape from their everyday struggles and take them on an emotional journey where they will become good friends with my characters so that they live in their hearts for a very long time.

My next novel, Mr Bojangles is the sequel to African Hearts. I've been writing this story on and off while I wrote Dusty. Justin and Kizza floated into my mind every now and then reminding me their story wasn't complete. I pushed them back saying I wasn't ready, but they insisted it was time, so here I am enjoying being with them as they take the next step into the future out of their village, Gumboli to Bond University at the Gold Coast.

My process with this novel has been different. I've made notes whenever Justin and Kizza have entered my conscious and taken time to write a few scenes. This week I looked at these scenes in detail and discovered they don't fit the story I want to tell. These young people aren't just learning about medicine, they are learning about themselves and growing in ways they had never thought. They are young people with loving hearts and the desire to be loved by their peers. This need for acceptance challenges them in ways that have surprised me. Their presence is so strong now they have overtaken the story showing me their journey into the future instead of me writing the story.

My passion for writing this story is well and truly on fire and is all consuming so that I now can't not write the book. Has your passion taken hold of you and consumed all of your waking time? Is it a passion or is it something you think you'd like to do because you've seen others doing it? A passion will grab you and it won't let you go no matter how hard you try to push it away. A passion demands attention and you had better give in to it and follow it, otherwise you will be miserable. Are you feeling lost and irritable and unable to focus? I used to be like that when I was in the world of numbers. It has taken me a long time to take that numbers shirt off and put on the words shirt. It feels good in my words shirt. I've come home and I've settled in with Kizza and Justin and I have accepted they have as much to teach me as what they will learn on their journey.

So what's your passion? Are you following it? What's stopping you? Start making small changes toward your project and eventually you will find your passion shirt is just the right fit for you. I'd love to hear how well your shirt fits in the comments below.

 

For You...

Readers are awesome!!!

Thank you for buying my books.

Readers are special

Readers are special

Without readers I have no one to write for, and that prompts me to ask,'what am I writing for?'; and 'for whom am I writing?'

I write to entertain and to encourage my readers they aren't alone with their thoughts and ideas, that life gets in the way and the journey can sometimes feel insurmountable. At the end of a story, I hope my readers feel satisfied they have had a good read and are entertained for the few hours they've spent between the pages in my imaginary world.

I'd like to know if I'm achieving this for you, and what you would like to see in my books in the future. So don't be shy! I look forward to hearing from you.

Ouch...Rejection Hurts

In the beginning of my fiction writing career, I wrote five novels and had them all rejected. My motivation dived and I though I would never pick up a pen again. So how did I keep my motivation going to write that next novel and win that publishing contract?

Motivation helps us to achieve our dreams.

Motivation helps us to achieve our dreams.

I knew I wanted to be a writer. Ever since I started reading in year one at school, words had captured my heart and I had to read every day. I loved writing stories and I would get carried away in my own little world. My teachers said I had a vivid imagination and encouraged me to keep writing stories.

The journey to publication has been one of the most difficult adventures of my life. My first five novels were rejected. It hurt and with each subsequent novel I wrote after each rejection, the writing became harder. Once I realised my first five novels were my apprenticeship and that  I had to learn how to write scenes that had a beginning, a middle and an ending; and the ending of the scene, had to hook my reader so that she had to keep reading the next scene and the one after that, until she finished the book, I was on my way to achieving my dream.

I learned how to create characters and how to develop them throughout the story so that they had grown by the end of the story. I learned how to structure my story of where the crucial high and low points of the story occurred. In this apprenticeship there was a lot for me to learn.

So how did I deal with the rejection letters? I gave myself permission to be disappointed and to shed a few tears. Life is about rolling with the good and bad times and being emotionally honest during those times. In the privacy of my own home, the next step was getting mad at the editor for rejecting me, and then mad at myself for being so naiive thinking all I had to do was write a couple of drafts of a book and send it off to a publisher. I was on a steep learning curve. After I nursed the hurt, I asked myself why I was writing and was I prepared to put the extra hard yards into the work?

I write because I feel compelled to write. A day without writing is like cutting off my right hand. I'm useless. I wander around lost and confused. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing than writing. I also write to entertain and to encourage people in their own life's journey. So, that left me with no alternative than to learn all I could about the writing craft and keep practising until I became published. I am a determined person and I don't accept defeat easily. I read every book I could get my hands on to learn my craft.

Because of my perseverance I was rewarded with a contract for African Hearts. What a thrill that was, but success came twenty long years after I started writing. I knew I wanted to succeed but I had to get over the pain of rejection first, develop a thick skin and believe that I could do the job. The most important lesson I learned was to keep writing, every spare minute I had every day.

Do you believe you have the perseverance to be a published writer? How have you handled your rejection letters? What motivated you? I'd like to hear your story.

Meeting You On The Web

There's only a couple of weeks until the official release of Web of Lies. I'm blogging at various sites throughout the web from today as follows:

Drop by, leave a comment and go in the draw to win a copy of one of my books.

I want to leave you with a quote from the Bible, Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 to meditate on this weekend.

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

Start writing the next exciting chapter.

Start writing the next exciting chapter.

A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace."

The life journey is different for all of us. Where are you in your journey at the moment?