M.B. Feeney: an interview

2uglwsxWelcome to another interview with one of the authors featured in the Where Words Fail Music Speaks anthology.

You can find the anthology on Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback.

I hope you’re enjoying the series so far. I’m meeting lots of new writers, which is really cool.

Today, please welcome M.B. Feeney to my blog!

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I’m too close to 40, I live in Birmingham (UK) with my partner of 16 years (get less for murder these days), 2 kids, 1 mad dog, and 2 chinchillas. I’m not working (other than writing) at the moment as my youngest is still in Primary school, but that may change when he starts Secondary – unless I sell the movie rights to one of my books hahaha.

  1. Why did you decide to be involved with the anthology?

My friend’s teenage son suffers with Cluster Migraines and I know how much he suffers with them. I suffer with migraine’s and can’t imagine anything worse, and hoped my short helps even just a little bit. I also used it as an excuse to push me out of my writing comfort zone.

  1. All the story/poem titles are 90s Brit Pop songs. How did you choose your song title?

I’d originally picked a different song. The story was similar, but I didn’t ‘feel’ it. Then, I heard taunts of ‘there she goes’ and the song and story idea were just chosen for me.

  1. How did your story/poem develop?

As mentioned above, I’d started the prologue, but once the first chapter was almost finished, it didn’t feel right, so I put it to one side for a few days. Eventually, the darker side of my story began to develop in my mind, and I just went with it. Not long after I finished it, I watched 13 reasons Why, and with all the discussion about the show, I’m glad I chose the direction I did, even if I don’t deal with suicide, the bullying is still the main thread of the plot. Due to word count limits, I’ve had to end on a slight cliffhanger, but I will write the second part and release the two as a complete story in the future.

  1. Does your submission in the anthology reflect your published work, or did you take the opportunity to experiment?

As I mentioned before, I used the anthology as an opportunity to move away from my comfort zone with my writing. Mostly, I’m a romance author, and while this story does have a little romance included, it’s not the main theme.

  1. As a novel writer, how did writing to a tighter word count feel?

The majority of my books are between 10-30k, so keeping it short wasn’t a problem, but it will be extended into a Part Two.

  1. Tell me about your last/next project.

My next release will be a ‘bromance’ set in 90s London. It’s an NA almost coming of age story – with a hint of romance of course. It’s currently going through self edits and beta reads, but I can’t wait for people to read it as I had so much fun writing it. Took me back to my teenage years!

  1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

Probably the creating side of it. I love thinking up new ideas – it’s so hard to find something completely original, so putting my own spin on a trope or plot is fun. Not always easy, but it’s my favourite part.

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (writing or non-writing answers allowed 😊)

Hopefully being able to pay bills with my earnings. I don’t necessarily want to be the next E. L. James fame and sales wise (although it’s nice to dream), but a steady and regular income would be amazing.

MB Feeney picAuthor bio:

M.B. Feeney is an army brat who finally settled down in Birmingham, UK with her other half, two kids and a dog. She often procrastinates by listening to music of all genres and trying to get ‘just one more paragraph’ written on whichever WIP is open; she is also a serious doodler and chocoholic. Writing has been her one true love ever since she could spell, and publishing is the final culmination of her hard work and ambition.

Her publishing career began with two novellas, and she currently has multiple projects under way, in the hopes that her portfolio of what have been described as “everyday love stories for everyday people” will continue to grow. Always having something on the go can often lead to block which eventually gets dissolved by good music and an even better book.

Her main reason for writing is to not only give her readers enjoyment, but also to create a story and characters that stay with readers long after the book is finished, and possibly make someone stop and think “what if . . . ”

You can find M. B. Feeney here:  Facebook // Twitter // Blog 


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Before you go, I just want to direct you to my guest post on The Bandwagon as part of Vikki Patis’s Cornish Reading Challenge.

I’m sharing my love for the Tamar Bridge!

Clare Dugmore: an interview

2uglwsxWelcome to another interview with one of the authors featured in the Where Words Fail Music Speaks anthology.

Have you bought your copy yet? How many of the authors have you read before?

You can find the anthology on Amazon, on Kindle and in paperback.

 

Today, I’d like to welcome Clare Dugmore to my blog… Hi Clare…

Thank you for having me on your blog, Annalisa. It’s great to be here to spread the word about The Where Words Fail, Music Speaks anthology, and why we chose to support ClusterBusters.

  1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Hey, I’m Clare Dugmore. I’m a thirty-something romance writer from the West Midlands, of England. I’m a married of mother of two, and in my spare time I enjoy binge watching shows with Hubby, spending time with my two sons, and playing video games.

  1. Why did you decide to be involved with the anthology?

Originally, I agreed to take part because I’d do anything Kyra Lennon asks me (😝), and I like writing for anthologies.

As I learned more about the cause, and how terrible cluster headaches are, I wanted to do something to help those who suffer from them.

As Kyra said in her interview, clusters aren’t widely known about, and not enough treatments have been developed to combat them. I hope our contribution can spread awareness, and raise money for more research to be done.

  1. All the story/poem titles are 90s Brit Pop songs. How did you choose your song title?

I had a really hard time with the song, which is funny, because I was a teen at the height of 90s Brit Pop, and a HUGE fan of one of the most popular Brit Pop bands, Blur. Alas, I couldn’t find anything from the Brit Pop era that fit my story, and instead settled on Letters to Cleo’s cover of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me,” which is featured in the movie “Ten Things I Hate About You.” I love the song, I listen to it a lot, and it fit perfectly with my story. 

  1. How did your story/poem develop?

My story is an idea I’ve had rattling around in my head for a while now, ever since I read an article about a guy who realised he wasn’t as straight as he thought, when he started getting jealous seeing his roommate with another guy.

As soon as I read the article, I had a “What If?” moment, and everything else sort of fell into place.

What if you’ve repressed your true sexuality, and unknowingly fallen for your best friend/ roommate?

I mean, it happens often enough in heterosexual friendships, when one of them develops feelings for the other? But my story added the layer of my main character, Joss, having to work out that she’s bisexual, and then dealing with the fallout of coming out to her conservative parents.

  1. Does your submission in the anthology reflect your published work, or did you take the opportunity to experiment?

Yes and no. This is the first LGBT story I’ve written, and I hope I did it justice, especially with Joss grappling with her sexuality and coming out to her parents. In other ways, it was typical of what I usually write in that it was a romance, with some angst keeping the two characters apart.

  1. As a novel writer, how did writing to a tighter word count feel?

I think I’m getting better at it. At least, I hope I am. This story was great, because the plot felt perfect for a short. I don’t think it needed to be long and drawn out like a novel, so that made it easier for me.

  1. Tell me about your last/next project.

My most recent release, ALL IT TAKES, was on February 14. It’s a new-adult romance, about a uni student who gets pregnant from a one-night stand with an MMA fighter, and how they navigate having a child together, when they’re not actually a couple.

Right now, I’m working on an age-gap romance about a twenty-five-year-old makeup artist, who falls for a former rock-star twice her age. Trouble comes in the form of his ex-wife, and their attitude-filled fifteen-year-old daughter.

I hope to begin serializing it this summer.

  1. What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The escape. I read and write to escape, to get away from life’s stresses for a few hours, and go into another world. I hope my stories offer that escape to other when they read them. 

  1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time? (writing or non-writing answers allowed 😊)

EEK! I’ll be almost 40!! I hope not too much changes, because I’m happy where I am right now. I hope to be thinner (I’m currently doing the keto diet, and have lost two stone already.) I hope in five years, I’m at a healthy weight.

Writing wise, I hope I’ve made a bestsellers list, somewhere. New York Times and USA Today are the dream, but I’d settle for Amazon right now! Lol

 

Clare Dugmore bio PicAuthor Bio

Clare Dugmore is an author of all things romantic; be they contemporary, paranormal, fantasy. She loves a good love story!

Her novel, ALL IT TAKES, a dual-POV new-adult, contemporary-romance about responsibility, love and discovering who you are in life, released on February 14, 2017.
Clare is a thirty-something, married, mother of two from the West Midlands, of England. In her spare time, she enjoys binge watching shows with her hubby, spending time with her two sons, and playing video games.

You can connect with Clare at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

The anthology launches!

I’m excited to be taking part in the release blitz for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is out now!
Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.
Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.
Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Ker Dukey, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry.
All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.
 

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks – Cover Reveal

Yes, I know, I’m late to this particular party – a cover reveal for an anthology I’m going to be included in! I had Tuesday’s post for Theresa Milstein scheduled weeks in advance, the only post currently scheduled for the rest of the year! It’s a bit like that story/urban myth/utter truth that the first two cars in Ohio managed to crash into each other.

However, there might be people who haven’t seen the cover yet, so without further ado here’s the cover for the Where Words Fail, Music Speaks Anthology, which is scheduled for release April 21, 2017.

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Where Words Fail, Music Speaks is a collection of short stories and poetry by writers from all walks of life.

Each story is based on the titles of 90s Britpop songs, including Come Back To What You Know, Bittersweet Symphony, Animal Nitrate, Disco 2000, and more.

Our list of authors is: Kyra Lennon, Clare Dugmore, Annalisa Crawford, Wesley Copeland, Robb Turburville, D H Sidebottom, Audrina Lane, M.B. Feeney, Karen Frances, S.J Warner, Scout Dawson, Kimberly Morgan, Maddie Wade, Rebeccalou Heronpontin, Andrea Coventry

All proceeds from the sales of this anthology will go to Clusterbusters.

Add to your Goodreads to-be-read list: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34409894-where-words-fail-music-speaks

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks

clusterbusters-facebook-header

Two lovely author friends – Kyra Lennon and Clare Dugmore – are editing an anthology, Where Words Fail, Music Speaks, in aid of research into cluster headaches, a debilitating condition suffered by more people than you’d think. Kyra knows at least a couple of people who suffer which inspired her to create the anthology.

And one my of stories is going to be included!

The cover reveal is scheduled for 14 March, and we would be so grateful if you are able to share it on your blog/website. The sign up form is right here!

Thank you!

 

 

My tips for submitting

My last post, My rules for writing, was quite popular, so I got cocky and started thinking maybe I could actually help writers.

Here are a few tips about how to submit your work, because this seems to cause either rejection-quote-2-picture-quote-1agony or resentment, as your darlings are repeatedly rejected. These tips will work just as well for online and print journals, small press publishers and agents.

(Note: some of these tips might sound harsh, but they come with love as – as I shared in the last post – many, many, many years of experience)

  1. Just as with editing, you need to distance yourself from your manuscript when you’re submitting, because your first-choice agent/journal is not obliged to accept your work. You have become a salesperson, they are your customer. If they don’t want it, you can’t force them, and it isn’t personal. How many times have you said ‘no thank you’ to a cold-caller offering double glazing? When you submit, you are the cold-caller.
  2. Follow the individual guidelines of each market – word counts, ms layout, and extra requirements might all be mentioned specifically.
  3. Be professional. Check the name of the editor/agent, and begin your email ‘Dear…’ or if that feels too fusty, perhaps Good Morning… or Good Afternoon. Never Hi, or Hey or skip that part altogether. Your first approach should be formal; once you have a relationship (or even a second/third email) you can relax a little.
  4. End your email similarly with Regards, Kind Regards or Faithfully/Sincerely if you wish. Bonus points to anyone knows the correct context to use Faithfully and Sincerely!
  5. First names are fine, I think, these days. But Mr/Mrs/Miss are traditional and formal. And using first names avoids the need to know whether your female recipient is married or not!
  6. I like to have a list of markets for the same book/story, so that if I get a rejection I can send it out again straight away.
  7. If the reply is a rejection, do not enter into correspondence with the editor. I know most people wouldn’t do this, but there have been instances, and those instances somehow find their way into the public domain for everyone to see. Worst case scenario, you may find yourself blacklisted by all editors or agents if your conduct is very poor.
  8. Try not to weep and wail and throw away every scrap of writing that you’ve ever done. This is one person’s view of that one story on that one day you sent it. If it had reached them the day before or the day afterwards – or if their dog hadn’t died, or their car hadn’t broken down – the outcome may have been different.
  9. Although, some chocolate/wine/coffee is allowed.
  10. Don’t give up. It might be tempting to self-publish at the first sign of rejection, but before you do, ask yourself if that’s what you really want. If it is, awesome, go for it. If you have a yearning to follow in the footsteps of J.K. Rowling, keeping trying. After all, J.K did!

Can you add any other tips that have worked for you?

 

My rules for writers

A couple of days ago, I stumbled upon Zadie Smith’s Rules for Writers, and, coupled with a conversation I had on Twitter last night, I thought I’d give my own list a go.

For those of you still new to me, here are my credentials: I’ve been seriously writing for publication since I was about fifteen (which is 27 years and pre-internet!), have received at least 300 rejections, had two major writing breaks, and suffer writers block every time I finish a project.

4-book-web-site-picI’ve also had 12 short stories published in small press journals; 19 short stories long-listed, short-listed and placed 3rd, 2nd or 1st in competitions; and three books published by small/indie publishers and one book self-published.

  1. Don’t aspire be the next [insert best-selling author in your genre], be the first you. By the time you’ve read that author’s latest book, and been inspired to write something similar, the industry has moved on to the next big thing. Don’t you want to lead rather than follow?
  2. Don’t expect your first draft to be perfect. Most books go through at least several drafts before they are published. Mine go through many
  3. Don’t be afraid of rejection. I wrote a post about that…
  4. Read, a lot – in your genre, outside of your genre, non-fiction
  5. Don’t force yourself to write if you don’t feel like it. I’ve read a lot of advice that says you should write every day, but it doesn’t work for me, so I don’t do it
  6. In fact, ignore any advice you don’t think will work for you
  7. Know the rules of good grammar, and then break them, if it works in your story
  8. Know the rules of submission etiquette and stick to them. Agents and editors have a preference, for their ease, on how they want to be approached. Don’t give them a reason to reject you before they’ve even read your manuscript. Janet Reid has a lot of advice. Personally, I learnt from Writing Magazine.
  9. Take regular breaks, preferably outside. You don’t want to look pasty in your promotional material
  10. Don’t give up if things don’t go exactly to plan. Think of plans more as a guideline.

Bonus tip: Enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy writing, if it causes you misery or heartache or depression more than it brings you joy, consider whether it’s really the path you want to take.

 

What would you add to this list?