2

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 

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

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 

6

Storytellers

  
I keep seeing memes online about the disaster that has been 2016. It really has felt like a year of ups and downs across the world. It seems a lot of us are looking forward to rolling over into the New Year soon.

This year my debut novel was published and I have been so grateful for all the support I’ve had from readers. Getting a message from someone saying they loved your book is the most amazing thing. Something I wrote connected with someone else. All I ever wanted was for someone to fall in love with a story I had written, as I have done so many times as a reader. Thank you so much everyone who has been in touch about the book, and everyone who picked it up in the first place! 

I love to write and I hope that I get to have another story out in the world one day soon. You’ll be the first to know when I do! It’s hard to have self belief as a writer particularly when you don’t set the bestseller charts on fire. It’s easy to doubt yourself at any stage of your journey I think. I wish I had a magic wand to wipe away all our doubts. All I can do, all us writers can do, is keep on telling our stories the only way we know how to do. And, hopefully, people will connect with them. 

The last few months have been a struggle as I’ve been ill and am hoping now my overactive thyroid is being treated I will soon be feeling more like myself. It’s been difficult to write when I’ve felt so out of sorts but it’s also been a way to take my mind off it all. 

I never want to lose my love of storytelling. I think you can get lost in worrying about publishing and achieving your goals whether they are getting an agent or a book deal or something else, but there’s really no point. We have very little control over anything other than our stories. So that’s what I’m going to be focusing on next year. 

Telling stories. 

  
I am looking forward to Christmas and I’m not going to lie am hoping that 2017 will be a healthier and a happier one. For ALL of us! 

Lots of love to everyone,

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Becoming a sensible writer 

This blog has been rather neglected of late. The past couple of months I’ve been feeling poorly and one thing that’s been getting me down has been shoulder and neck pain. And I think the culprit is writing. I have been a naughty writer – sitting at the dining room table or on the sofa or even in bed with my laptop and it’s taken its toll on my body.

So I decided I have to be sensible and change my writerly ways. I have invested in a desk and chair along with a laptop stand and separate keyboard and mouse in the hopes I can ease my aches and pains and stop them from getting any worse. 

Finally, I can do a desk selfie:

  
I love my new writer corner and can’t wait to put it use. Fingers crossed it helps me feel better and produces a bestseller. I might be pinning too many hopes on a piece of furniture but it’s good to dream big, right?!

Where do you write? Share your desk selfies with us in the comments!

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Do you care who an author is? 

There has been a fierce debate about  whether authors should be as well known as their work after an American journalist claimed to have discovered the true identity of the author using the penname Elena Ferrante. 

  
The author has always guarded their real name and has spoken about wanting the books to speak for themselves. I don’t agree with the article that claims to unmask her. If she wants to remain private, this should be respected. 

Why is there a need to know the author behind the books?

Nowadays authors are expected to be public. Authors are key to the promotion of their books we are told. We should have Twitter accounts and be open to book signings, readings, attending festivals etc. Because it’s so difficult in a crowded market for a book to stand out, authors are encouraged to shout about it themselves. But does knowing an author’s face, background and favourite books make you enjoy their novels even more?

I think books do speak for themselves. Obviously as a writer myself, I am interested in hearing other writers talk about their craft but knowing more about them wouldn’t make me enjoy their book more or less. It can be a bonus sure to converse with a writer you love, and fun to get your book signed by them, but still it’s their book that brought you to them in the first place.

And you can be successful without self-promotion. Look at Elena Ferrante or Suzanne Collins whose Hunger Games series is huge but I know almost nothing about her and she has no social media presence. 

Is it a myth that a more accessible author can make a book more successful? 

I think it comes back to the book itself and whether it connects with readers. Awareness of a book is key, adverts can make it more visible but I don’t think interviews or appearances by an author can make a huge difference. I think if an author enjoys doing them, that’s great, and I personally have loved meeting readers but if you don’t want to do that then you should be allowed to remain private.

We all want readers to connect to our books. Whether you use your real name or a penname, that should be all that matters.

Do you think she should have been unmasked? Should authors be public figures?

Victoria

xoxo