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The RoNA awards 2017

Last night, I made my way to London Town for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards as my novel The Second Love Of My Life was on the shortlist for the Contemporary Romance award. 

Here are all the books in my category: 

  

The professional photos with the other nominees:

  
  
Obligatory pre-event selfie:

  
The event was held in a lovely building in Whitehall full of original features and it all had a Beauty and the Beast feel to it.

  
If only I had a library like this. Swoon.

  
  
Sadly, my book  didn’t win (I was robbed, obvs 😃) but it was lovely to have been nominated and it’s always lots of fun meeting other authors and publishing peeps. Plus there was pink fizz to be had!

  
So happy it was finally warm enough to wear my new jacket! 

Here I am with lovely author Ali McNamara:

  
With my agent Hannah Ferguson: 

  
And, here are the three of us!

  
It’s always fun having a glamorous writer night out. But tonight it’s all back to normal and I’m slouching on the sofa in sweats watching Netflix with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. 

You’ve got to keep it real folks. 

Victoria

xoxo 

0

Books read in February 2017

First of all – happy World Book Day everyone! A perfect day to look back on the books I read in February I think.

  

It wasn’t a bumper book month for me. I was concentrating on editing my own book but I managed to read three novels and one non-fiction – a humorous self-help guide. 
  
My favourite of the books I read is this little gem. It’s not released until May but a proof arrived at work and I’m so happy it did!

  

I don’t want to talk too much about it as it’s one of those books that you should just read and fall in love with but essentially it’s about a woman called Eleanor who lives a lonely life in Scotland and how she comes to terms with her past and opens up her heart finally. It’s almost a coming of age novel although she’s grown up. 

It’s funny in places and so moving in others and I had tears in my eyes at the end. It’s really original especially Eleanor’s voice and I hope it finds lots of readers when it’s published.

What book did you love this month?

Victoria 

xoxo 

8

How do you put positivity into action? 

This week, my year of positivity has hit shaky ground. Fed up of worrying about health issues and not focusing as much as I wanted to on editing my new book, I’ve not been in the best frame of mind. I wish I didn’t find it so hard to stay positive when weeks go this way but I do. 

I’ve been trying to steal some positivity and inspiration from other people. But it’s easier said than done. I admire them, I agree with what they say but then I go back to my life after leaving their story and struggle to change a thing! 

  
I really enjoyed this article by C.S Larkin (@livewritethrive) on how to be positive as writers. Read it here: 

http://www.livewritethrive.com/2017/02/13/3-tips-to-help-writers-adopt-positive-thinking/

I really liked her idea of ‘faith it till you make it’ – so by telling ourselves we can and will be productive and overcome any obstacle in our way, then that belief will make it happen. This idea has come back to me time and time again reading non-fiction books. That by making positive statements like “I can finish editing this novel by the end of the month” and even writing it down, sticking it by your laptop and repeating it to yourself everyday, then you’ll believe you can do it and so you will do it. 

I seem to be collecting a fair few self-help and inspiring true stories to read. I’m definitely hoping that following advice from people who have put positivity into action then I can too. But it still feels just a theory to me. It’s as if I know what I need to do but I’m still stumbling with actually doing it. I am shaking my head at myself as we speak! 

I don’t know how to reprogram myself into not worrying, not being negative, not focusing on things going wrong etc into a brain that is positive and optimistic, focusing on good things, who believes that everything will work out okay. I just hope acknowledging that I am the biggest barrier to being positive is that first step in the right direction. But what is my next step after that? 

So, do you guys have any ideas? How do you turn advice from people into actions by yourself? How do you make positivity happen?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Victoria

xoxo 

2

Celebrating the small (and the big!)

  
I was wondering what to post next in my Year Of Positivity series when it was announced that my debut novel The Second Love Of My Life has been shortlisted for an award! It is shortlisted for The 2017 Contemporary Romantic Novel Award by The Romantic Novelists Association. Here’s the announcement in The Bookseller: 

http://www.thebookseller.com/news/rna-shortlists-480346

It got me thinking that celebrating positive news should be mandatory. And we shouldn’t just stick to “big” things but all positive moments can be marked in some way. At the very least we should recognise them if we are hoping to keep a positive mindset. It’s so easy to just think about and remember and go over the bad bits of our day that we can forget all the times we smiled during it. 

I am thrilled that my novel has been recognised in some way. It makes me remember that my novel is out there in the world and people can still discover it, and hopefully enjoy it too. It’s also a lovely acknowledgment of all the hard work I put into the story plus I get to go a ceremony in London next month and hopefully raise a glass of bubbly to the characters I spent so much time with.

I’m the midst of polishing a new story and it’s forever tricky for me to be confident with my writing and not let the self-doubt monster suck me into its clutches so I took a moment today to remind myself that I wrote a novel that not only was published but has found some readers who fell in love with the story, and I should never lose sight of that.

Celebrating all the moments that put a smile on our faces should be a big part of our year of positivity. I am going to really try to make sure I do this and try to find some time in each day to recognise everything good that happened. 

What has happened to you today that you’re going to celebrate?

Victoria 

xoxo 

1

Books read in January 2017

A new year means new books hurrah! I want to read a few more nonfiction books this year as well as my usual pile of novels, and I’ve made a start on that this month.

Here are all the books I read in January. The novels are on the left and the non-fiction on the right.

  
On the non-fiction front, I finally read The Secret to help with my year of positivity. The main premise is that you can have anything you want if you ask the universe for it and really believe you’re going to get it, even act as if you already have it. I’m trying to keep all my goals in mind and believe they are going to be achieved. 

  
I also read Capture Your Style, which is written by Aimee Song who has a huge Instagram following. It’s all about how to create a great Instagram and I picked up some helpful tips. Have a look at mine and tell me what you think! (https://instagram.com/p/BP53xQKAKDJ/)

I read some great novels this month. There was a thriller theme to my reading as you can see – just one romance read. The Roanoke Girls is a controversial book that I’ve seen talked about a lot online and a proof came into the bookshop, which I read and I was gripped all the way through.

  
My favourite book this month though was The Trap by Melanie Raabe. It’s about a reclusive author who sees the man she thinks killed her sister years ago on TV. She decides to write a novel based on the murder and invite him to her house to interview her. I am always intrigued when the main character is a writer and thought this book was really cleverly done, and I couldn’t put it down! Definitely recommended.

Have you guys read any good books this month? Do you try to mix up novels and non-fiction?

Victoria

xoxo 

2

When Positivity Runs Away

I have been writing about how to stay positive this year and continuing the series, I thought it would be interesting for us to talk about what we can do when we have a day when positivity runs away. It’s inevitable that there will be both good days and bad days during our year of positivity.

everything

I think being aware that you’re struggling on a bad day is half a step towards turning that day around. It’s good to acknowledge you’re struggling whether it’s because you’re not feeling well or your latest project has hit a standstill or something has gone wrong at work or even as simple as the weather is cold and miserable. It can all add up to making it really hard to keep that smile on your face.

When we realise we’re not 100% ourselves, we can think of ways to try to turn the day around. I thought I’d share my ideas and I’d love to hear yours too!

Here are my five top tips for turning a bad day around:

1.Look after yourself: Self-care is needed on a bad day so pour that bubble bath, make a large cup of tea, or just have an extra hour in bed.

2. Put a smile on your face: Curl up with Netflix and watch an episode of your favourite sitcom or pop a DVD in of a film that always cheers you up. One of my top comfort films is You’ve got Mail, or Disney is always a good bet to cheer yourself up.

3. Step away from the project: If you’re struggling with self-doubt or writer’s block or a work project isn’t going your way, have a break from it. Do something else like write a blog post or just read a book and come back to your project with fresh eyes the next day. Sometimes just having  break from whatever is getting you down will help you come up with the solution you need. Daydreaming counts as writing remember!

4. Change the scene: A good old fashioned walk in the fresh air can do wonders for turning a bad day upside down or go and get a hot chocolate from your local coffee shop. Even if it’s pouring down outside, you can change your scene by leaving your office and curling up with a blanket on the sofa and have that slice of cake you know you want!

5. Talk about it: Sharing the bad days can help push that negativity away. Get online and share your block with other writers or talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling. A good cry on someone’s shoulder can really help. And don’t forget that pets are there to cuddle and are guaranteed to cheer you up when you need it!

I hope that helps if you’re trying to catch that positivity. I think positivity is something I need to work on keeping hold of every day so when I’m struggling I’m going to try and do the above and hopefully it will come back to me.

What other things would you recommend doing when you’re having a bad day? Post in the comments below!

Check out the last post in my positivity series here. And please come and say hi on Twitter and Instagram too.

Victoria

xoxo 

 

 

 

1

Focusing on Goals 

  

 This year I decided my main New Year’s resolution would be to be more positive (https://victoria-writes.com/2017/01/05/the-year-of-positivity/) so I’ve been thinking since about the ways I can do this.

It’s not easy to always be positive. Life gets in the way. I am still battling my overactive thyroid and some days it’s hard not to dwell on my health. I think distracting myself is key. Keeping busy doing positive things so I don’t focus on the negative instead. Goals mean I can focus on then instead, try to be productive and look at what I can change, and achieve, instead of things that are just out of my control.

I’ve had a few days off from the bookshop and I’ve been trying to focus on finishing my new novel. I’m on that tricky final third where you’re trying to wrap up everything in a satisfying ending as well as trying to ignore the self doubt telling you it’s all rubbish (hope this isn’t just me!) My main goal is to secure a book deal for this story this year, of course, but I think smaller goals will also help keep me feeling positive and having fun.

I’ve decided to work on my Instagram account (https://instagram.com/p/BPc7GhXAL1h/), for instance. I really enjoy going on Instagram but I’ve been a bit lax in creating a good account myself so I’ve been enjoying taking new photos and playing around with themes and filters etc. Do come and say hi if you’re on there too!

When I asked you guys for tips on how to stay positive, I had a few mentions of gratitude as a suggestion. Being thankful for what you have, counting your blessings, can definitely help you focus on things that are good in your life and take your mind off of the not so good things. I don’t know why it’s easier to dwell on negative aspects of your life sometimes but I am really trying to turn that around. It will continue to be a work in progress this year I’m sure, and I want to keep you all posted on how I do as well as keep reminding myself of my resolution! 

  
My main goal this month is to finish my book and hopefully send it off to my agent soon after that. 

I’d love to read your goals this month and if you have any more tips on staying positive please share in the comments! 

Victoria 

xoxo