Chaos or calm? The bookcase debate.

Hello everyone. I wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who visits this blog and shares it with friends and family. I will be blogging more about my writing journey this year, but I will still be shouting out about new books I discover and other author’s work.

       

I’ve been having some really fun-filled chats with the book loving community on Twitter, about colour-coded bookcases. Some people are horrified by the idea, as they sort their books in alphabetical order, or by the height of the spines. Others love to store them with similar shades of cover design. I enjoy the organised chaos of a colour coded bookcase, by book spine. This doesn’t mean I don’t read or respect the books, it just means seeing the covers makes me smile. I know which is which and often grab them to read, but I know this might make other people’s head spin.  Those who are possibly more organised than me! My house is full of colourful art that I’ve painted and I love handmade crafts from artisans, so it’s definitely not for everyone, but I love it. When I walk into a room and see the book covers, they lift my mood, as I know each cover has such magic hidden inside. How do you store your books at home, or at work? I’d love to know.

   

Wishing you all an amazing weekend. I hope you find time to relax and enjoy some great new books. Happy reading!

You can find more colourful bookcases here: Lizzie’s Pinterest page. 

The healing power of romance.

Hi everyone. How are you all? I hope 2022 has started off with some happiness.

There was an article in the media recently, about how forgettable romance books are and it hit a nerve with me. A few weeks before Christmas I was told I needed a biopsy and another procedure and I spent New Year’s Eve attending an anaesthetist appointment. I didn’t tell many people, as I didn’t want to worry them, or spoil their festivities. Isolating during such a busy time of year wasn’t much fun, but having these reads beside me helped my mental health.   I chose books by Heidi Swain, Katie Fforde and Mary Jayne Baker and all three caught my imagination, kept me turning page after page and eased a stressful situation.

I tried my best to enjoy every minute of the festive season, but worry simmered under the surface each day. I found it difficult to concentrate on writing my own romance novels, but turned to reading the books of other authors, to distract my mind with their beautiful stories and to give me moments of peace.  I even sat and read them as I was waiting to go into theatre, to help ease my nerves! These are books I will never forget. The NHS were absolutely incredible and I’m happy to say that my results are clear, which I’m very thankful for.

Romance novels make us happy and help us through hard times. The stories give us time to step away from worries and travel to places we’ve never been to before. They offer us comfort when we feel down and let us know we are not alone.  I have recently spoken to others who have also found solace from romance books before surgery. Any book of any genre, that brings enjoyment to our lives, is just as worthy as the next.

I’m very proud to have been writing romance books for about ten years now and the community of writers and readers I’ve met along the way, are something really special.  I write books to make people smile and if a story I’ve written, feels like a hug to the reader, then I’m happy. It doesn’t make the story or genre, any less important, if people enjoy it. Even if someone else doesn’t.

‘We can’t make everyone happy, we’re not pizza.’

Monday Motivation.

57805407190__B22E2D13-6368-45A0-BB33-D95CFC4ED674

Happy new week everyone. I hope you all had an amazing weekend.

I drove to Norfolk at the weekend, stood in freezing cold field for five hours watching sports and then drove the two hours home again! I tried to find a little corner to sit and write in, but it was so cold outside that there were about ten people in my tent after five minutes. Needless to say I found a little coffee shop and drank about four pints of coffee to keep warm. I also scoffed at least twenty little biscuits after eating a salad, as they were so small, that I felt they didn’t count for calories. 🙂

IMG_2868

I’ve now updated my first three books and will have paperbacks going live over the next week. Babe Driven already has a beautiful new paperback version and Finding Gina and Love’s Child will be available in paperback soon. It’s exciting to have all of my books in more than one format. This also now means I can complete my latest work in progress and I can’t wait to write the last pages of this story. The main character is fiery and has a lot to deal with, so I’m happy to be able to bring her tale to a satisfying conclusion.

New FB header 2019

Have a great week everyone.

Monday Mojo. 4/1/19

bad hair day meme by Lizzie Chantree

Hello everyone. I was reading an article recently about making your home your haven and it made me think about my writing space. I made myself a really long desk out of an old piece of kitchen worktop and was so excited to have room for my computer, printer, paperwork etc. The problem is that now I have all of those, plus a banana, a cup of tea, a set of keys, a ruler, four notebooks, sellotape, an inhaler, a pot of pens, hand cream… the list could go on for a few pages at least! My point is that to work efficiently, we need a clear mind and some space around us that isn’t cluttered. I know that some people work well with trinkets around them, but I’m not one of those people and I feel happier and more alert when my desk is clear.

Apparently a few tricks and small changes can ensure that the space where we work actually enhances our ability to get on with the job and not hinder it.

Here is why clutter is not good for our creativity:

It is hard to navigate the space. It collects dust. It makes the environment we work in chaotic, which drags our focus from our work.

Do we actually need all of the things on our desks? I certainly don’t need the banana or the tea as I only ate breakfast ten minutes ago and the hand cream is probably ten years old. In reality, I only need one pen and a notebook, plus my computer and printer and I’m all set to go.

Top tips for an easier work flow:

Declutter.

Connection with the outdoors if possible, as this helps with the feeling of contentment. Sitting by a window is productive apparently.

Smell can have a positive and negative impact on your mood, so stick with soft fragrances. Peppermint, lemon and rosemary are good for productivity.

Add visual prompts that remind you to relax your mind, like family photos or art that makes you smile.

Remember that your work environment is important to your wellbeing and if you can take a few moments to make it your haven, then hopefully it will show in your work.

Have a great week! From Lizzie. 

 

Monday Marketing.

Lizzie Chantree Monday Marketing2

Happy new week everyone. Today’s post is about how you can help yourself with your marketing approach. When I published my first book, I didn’t know where to go to for help with marketing and I felt quite isolated. I then joined a book group called RRBC and also some Facebook groups and found that there is a lot of help out there. Here are my three top tips for marketing that have worked for me.

  1. Shout out about other people’s work on social media, but always remember to tag them in on it by adding their Facebook page name or Twitter bio name with the @ symbol in front. This disappears on Facebook once you type the name, but it tags the person you are talking about. More often than not, people will see that you are trying to help promote their work and do the same for you if they can. This is all about helping each other. It doesn’t mean spend all day tweeting or posting about other people’s work, but a few choice posts will make others see that you are willing to help them. They might check out your work, tweet about it, or share it on their Facebook timeline.
  2. Join groups on Facebook. You will often find people who have similar interests to you here, and if you are a writer, most groups about books will be full of other authors and readers of different genres. Just type something like romance readers book group etc in the search bar and ask to join. I have a book group and FB have just dropped 60 of my members without my knowledge, because they weren’t active, even though they may have enjoyed reading the posts. This seems to be a new thing, so if you want to stay in a group, be sure to post in it every now and them or join the group discussions. My book group is full of marketing tips for writers and book suggestions for readers. Lizzie’s Book Group. Feel free to join if you want to.
  3. Have bookmarks or business cards made up – not just with your business details, but make them interesting! You can put quotes, photos and anything that will make other people pick them up. Leave them in coffee shops, on notice boards and in shop windows. These are often free or cost as little as 50p per week to post.

Monday Marketing News.

IMG_1288

Today is very exciting as I’m featured in the beautifully glossy and very informative Writers’ Forum Magazine! Author and regular contributor to the magazine Paula Williams interviewed me for her blog and column and I was thrilled to have been asked.

If you haven’t come across this magazine before, it’s packed full of advice for writers and has news, competitions and workshops to get involved in.

writers forum

Monday Marketing. 3 Quick tips.

Hello everyone. I hope you had an amazing weekend. On Friday, and over the weekend, my publisher did a free book sale with lots of their authors. I was lucky enough for the two books I had in the sale, Ninja School Mum and If you love me, I’m yours, to both rise to #1 on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com in multiple categories on the first day of the sale. Ninja School Mum is now #11 on the bestsellers lists in paid sales and IYLMIY is in the top #42. I decided to go all out and try some new ideas for the sale, so here’s what I did for the sale:

  1. I redesigned all of my social media headers. This was time consuming, but across all of my platforms the theme matched. As it’s nearly Christmas, I made them festive. Whichever page you looked at for my social media, you would have seen a complimentary design. I offer a design service for anyone who doesn’t know how to make social media headers or graphics and ads, but you can make free designs on places like Visme or Canva
  2. I made myself a slogan. I chose, ‘A gift for you!‘ This told my readers that I had something for them, to say thanks for being such wonderful readers. It also fit perfectly with my Christmas theme.
  3. I made Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, blog posts. These all matched my social media headers. I made several, so that I didn’t spam my timeline with the same content over the three day sale.

 

Twitter header:

Twitter book header Lizzie Chantree.png

Facebook header:

Facebok Free book header. Lizzie Chantree.png

Facebook and Twitter timeline graphics:

Instagram post:

Instagram free book meme by Lizzie Chantree.png

Life of Writers.

Happy new week everyone. Today for my Monday post, I’d like to introduce you to a website that is really informative for writers. I’m going to be judging a writing competition for them in the new year, but I thought that you all might like to know more about the site and how helpful it could be for anyone’s writing journey, as a place to find advice and support.

dreamstime_s_12726801.jpg

Over to Life of Writers:

Hi

I’m the founder of LifeOfWriters.com and I’m very happy to be here today on Lizzie Chantree’s blog to let you all know a little about LifeOfWriters.com and how aspiring writers – published authors can benefit from the site.

One of the main goals with the site is to meet other writers and share the journey of writing and having their work published. There are several ways to connect with others, like on the different kinds of forums, where you can help others by answering their questions or ask questions yourself. Another way to connect is to join the monthly free writing contest. According to the subject you write maximum 1500 words. One of the criteria for each contest is that you read the other submitted stories and give them constructive feedback. Every contest is judged by a published author who will select the top three. This is an exciting way where you can connect with other writers but also get your writing out there.

On the site it is also possible to write a book review, so have you read a book recently then head over to the book review part and let us know how it was. At the same time, you can catch up on the latest book reviews and be inspired for your next read.

LifeOfWriters.com also has a blog. This is one of the areas we are most proud of. On the blog, there are 2-3 times a month posts from published authors. It might be as an interview, where we get to know all about their writing life, how do they spend their day writing, what is their best writing advice and so on. It is greatly inspiring. It can also be a guest post from an author or someone related to writing where they let us know about their job and how a writer can benefit from their experience.

 

I hope this post has intrigued some of you to pop over and have a look, you might even want to join the writing contest? Just register for a free account to get started.

Most important is- Keep writing.

Kind regards

Founder of LifeOfWriters.com

Introducing, Emma Jackson.

This week I’m thrilled to be able to introduce you to Essex Life Magazine’s book reviewer, Emma Jackson. I thought it would be really interesting to find out more about how she chooses books to review, what the pressures of her job are and what surprises her about the books she’s sent to read. I’ve been lucky enough to have two of my most recent books reviewed in this wonderfully glossy and popular magazine, so I asked Emma if she could share some insights with other authors, to help with their writing journey.

20180904_155843.jpg

1-How did you become a book reviewer for a magazine?

I was very lucky when I became a book reviewer, I had emailed a few magazines and the Essex Life was one that got in touch and I’ve been doing it for about four months.

 

2- What are the biggest pressures you face in your job?  

The biggest pressures I have in my job is reading and reviewing three books in a month as well as holding down a full time job and doing my coursework!

 

3- Do you have to read genres you don’t enjoy?

I’ve actually been lucky with the genres as I’m happy to read anything. I struggle more with history but I’ll still give it a go.

 

4- What makes a book stand out to you?

The books that stand out for me is when the front cover catches my eye with the captions on them, it gets my attention and and I’m instantly intrigued with the book.

 

5- What would make you put a book down and stop reading it?

The only things that make me want to put a book down is if it’s slow pacing and doesn’t flow, or if it’s got too much swearing in it. I know sometimes it’s if a character is portrayed that way and I understand that bit if it’s for the sake of it I’ll put it down. 

 

6- Have you got any tips for other writers for submissions to magazines? 

When you submit your submissions to a magazine, my tips are to write it and leave it for a couple of days, then go back to it and do the finalizing. Make sure that the guidelines, word count and genre etc are what they’ve asked for. 

 

7- How do you find time for other writing projects?

Finding time for my other writing projects is a nightmare! Though I did get told to spread my work out a bit and to set an alarm so I’m not over doing it.

 

8- What are your plans for your future writing career?

My plans for my future writing career would be to write and sell my own book/books and to carry on book reviewing.

 

9- Have you ever been really surprised by a book?

I’ve been surprised by many books but the ones that surprise me the most seem to be rom-coms as I’m not a particular big fan of them. 

 

10- What qualities do you look for an author to be showcased in a magazine? 

The qualities I look for in an Author to be showcased in a magazine is someone who is genuine, friendly and approachable. 

Not only do the book reviews Emma writes go in The Essex Life Magazine, but  she very kindly puts them on her Facebook page which is called Loulousbookpage. They also go on goodreads and Amazon. You can also find Emma on Twitter: Emma-Lou @loulousbookpage