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Stalking - It's Not Love

Posted on January 2, 2013 at 2:20 PM Comments comments (2)

Stalking.

The very word strikes most of us with a variety of negative emotions, most of them dominated by fear. All too often stalking incidents evolve into violence and even the death of the victim. There have been far too many examples of this, including some very famous people who had become the apple of some psychopath's eye.

But stalking isn't just something that happens to celebrities or people in the public eye, and it doesn't necessarily involve only strangers or psychopaths who take it into their heads to stalk someone for whatever twisted reasons may make sense to them alone.

Stalking isn't just a 'sport' for men - there have been many instances of women stalking men, or other women, too. It's been the theme of many books and movies.

Over the years attitudes have changed - stalking is no longer seen as something done by a besotted would-be suitor or lover - yes, once was considered almost flattering to have a stalker - at least, onlookers may have thought that. No-one who has ever been a victim of stalking would see it as in the least bit romantic or flattering.

Once upon a time, a woman complaining to the police about being stalked would have had a hard time getting them to take her seriously - a little like the victims of rape who also suffered from the macho attitudes prevalent.

I remember a case some years ago in a small town near to where I lived. A woman who was trying to get away from an abusive husband had gone so far as the get a restraining order preventing him from approaching her. He broke that order many times and the police seemed to be filing her increasingly panicked complaints in the round file. At least, they appeared to do very little to protect her.

And then one day, in broad daylight, he walked up to her in the street and stabbed her to death.

Proof that attitudes are changing is in a report by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, titled: Stalking - It's Not Love. This report talks about what stalking really is, the dangers, and what a person can do to stay safe. It refers to stalking as criminal harrassment, which it most certainly is!

There's another report available through the same RCMP site that is also useful - it's called family and relationship violence and the link is here.

Now you may be wondering why, in a blog that is mostly dedicated to writing and in particular, to writing romance, I should suddenly go off on a rant about stalking?

Well, the truth is that my most recent release, Saving Maggie (Crimson Romance) involves a woman trying to escape from a stalker. Maggie Kendall's stalker kills people he believes have hurt her, making her terrified of forming any close relationships (it's not unusual for stalkers to threaten those close to their victim). In this case, there's also a terrifying psychic link, forged by an experience in her teen years, between Maggie and her stalker. But Maggie and the killer both know that he will eventually kill Maggie herself if he's not stopped.

And, while the story idea came out of the blue - or so I thought - I suddenly remembered the young man who stalked me when I was seventeen. I was too young and naive to understand the dangers that can erupt from such a situation, but I found it frightening and embarrassing that this guy would follow me down dark country roads, turn up everywhere I went, and on one aweful occasion, went so far as to attack another boy who asked me for a date.

Looking back, I realise that this was luckily probably a mild form of stalking and the problem was sorted out after my older brothers took him  aisde for a quiet 'chat'.

But obviously this event had a greater impact than I had thought, because years later it sprang to mind in the form of a story idea! Here's a link to a blurb about Saving Maggie, here, and to a blog I wrote for Crimson Romance on the same topic, here.

If you have an opinion on stalking, or have undergone this kind of terrifyng experience, do leave a comment either here on on the Crimson Romance blog, and check out the RCMP site's information. I do believe that we can support each other and learn from each other's experiences, and by talking, we can perhaps help prevent another woman from becoming a stalker's victim.

Now that I've got this out of my system, I want to wish you all a very wonderful New Year - especially to the almost 16000 readers who were sweet enough to download a copy of The No Sex Clause, my Christmas romance, when I offered it for free a few days ago! Thank you!

Celebrate With Me!

Posted on December 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm celebrating the long awaited release of Saving Maggie,my latest romantic suspense from Crimson Romance, by giving away free copies of The No Sex Clause on Kindle! Drop by and get your copy of this warm Christmas romance for free, and enjoy an excerpt of Saving Maggie, too!

Okay, yes, I am so excited by this new release! Saving Maggie is out on Monday, December 31st - what a way to close out the old year and ring in the new!

Here's a link to The No Sex Clause - http://tinyurl.com/b8pbhn4 and if I've piqued your interest, you can see more about Saving Maggie here

Happy New Year!

The No Sex Clause - first chapter read!

Posted on December 3, 2012 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (0)

                      

 It started out as an experiment, and became an obsession.

I'd heard so much about Indie publishing from authors who taken the 'go it alone' route, In fact, right now the Web is just buzzing with excitement about changes like this to the world of publishing.

So when the idea for The No Sex Clause popped into my head, I knew this was it. The story idea I wanted to write for myself and publish independently. It's a love story, a sexy boy-meets-girl tale, a Christmas romance, and a coming-of-age story all rolled into one.

Here's the blurb from Amazon:

Anna Findlay needs a man.

Anna has gone from being the bullied Mouse in a small town high school to the perfectly groomed and wealthy author of a pop psychology book on sex. When her publicity agent talks her into going to her high school reunion at Christmas, there are two problems - Anna hated high school, and she has no one to go with. So, in her own pragmatic style, she hires an escort from an agency - a move that wil change her life forever.

Anna finds herself revisiting her past and learning that she has never been comfortable in any of the personnas she has invented for herself. It takes falling in love - and Christmas - to show her that all she needs do is be herself.

And this is the start of the first chapter, and a link to the rest.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it :-)

CHAPTER ONE

“It’s just not good enough. We arranged 6 pm at my place, and it’s now 6.03 and there’s no sign of him,” Anna Findlay snapped into her cell phone.

The woman at the other end was painstakingly patient. “I’ve told you already, Ms Findlay, that he’s on his way. He should be there in three minutes. He’s delayed in traffic – these things happen.”

“Well, they shouldn’t….oh, I think he’s here now. A black tuxedo, you said?”

“Yes, you purchased our formal special.” There was no mistaking the relief in the other woman’s voice as she ended the conversation.

Anna pushed the phone back into her tiny evening bag as she watched the doorman open the door of a delicious black luxury SUV. Her jaw fell open as she saw the driver who unfolded himself from the vehicle and stood for a moment gazing up at the building. If ever a man was born to wear a tux, this was the one! My god, she could see why he made money at an escort agency – all he’d have to do is sit and look gorgeous all evening and who could wish for anything more? Especially when the deal had a No Sex Clause, Anna grimaced to herself. What on earth had she gotten herself into?

The doorman smiled respectfully at the newcomer and the two men exchanged greetings. Anna tapped her expensively sandaled toe against the marble floor and let out an exasperated sigh. The man was already four minutes late for their date, and he was casually chatting to the doorman! This isn’t going to work, she told herself. The words had become a mantra over the past two weeks, ever since her publisher’s marketing department had persuaded her to attend her high school reunion.

Yes, she’d known it wasn’t going to work, and a shiver of foreboding went up her spine as the black-haired hunk glanced at her through the double glass doors. Their eyes locked for a moment, and something sweet and sexy sang in the air.

This definitely isn’t going to work, Anna repeated again to herself. The last thing she needed was to react to her date on a physical level. She’d told the agency she wanted a Sex God, believing she was immune to all that crazy hormone stuff that afflicted other women, thank you very much.

Now she was getting shivers looking at a total stranger who wasn’t even polite enough to arrive on time. What was she thinking? Anna straightened her shoulders and drew herself up to her full five feet nine inches before striding out to the sidewalk, where she found herself standing by, ignored, as the Sex God and the doorman stood and chatted about the latest baseball scores. This was just too much! Fuming, Anna coughed loudly to attract their attention. The green gaze of the Sex God landed on her like a warm hand. Anna shivered.

Donald, the doorman, smiled benignly at her. “Good evening, Miss Findlay…what can I do for you?”

“You could open the car door, for one thing, and let me get in out of the cold,” she said, knowing she was being rude but then, that’s what doormen were paid for. Looking over at the Sex God, she said coldly: “You’re already late and making us later while you stand here chatting on my time. Do you mind if we get moving?”

She enjoyed the look of shock on his face. Obviously the Sex God - whom she really must start calling by his proper name, Bob Goulding – wasn’t used to assertive women. No doubt he was used to getting away with all sorts of nonsense while women drooled over his good looks. Well, not this woman. Anna Findlay was finished with being a doormat for good looking men, and this one was about to feel the sharp edge of her tongue if he didn’t hop to it and get on with his duty.

Oops, now there was a double entendre if ever there was one. A blush rose up Anna’s cheeks, making her even more irritated. Her blood pressure soared even higher when he replied with a double entendre of his own.

“I’m sorry, Ma’am – just what is it you’d like me to do?” And that lazy smile and toffee-soft Western drawl suggested women often wanted him to do all sorts of things – and that sometimes he willingly complied. Anna ground her teeth.

“I want you to get into the car and get to work.”R\

Read The First Chapter Here

 

I'm Doing It Again - Naked Writing Is Going Free!

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 2:40 AM Comments comments (1)

By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell

I'm very proud of Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book. It's my very first Indie publishing attempt, and has done pretty well on Amazon in its niche as a book on writing.

Writing itself is a solitary kind of occupation, and to prevent myself becoming a total recluse, I got involved some years ago in teaching creative writing. I did it in the classroom at third level with some wonderful adult students, then moved on to teach the course online. The payback went far beyond the cash (which is always nice!) because I not only met some terrific people from all over the world; I also learned a great deal about the craft as I taught these new and enthusiastic - and talented - writers. Quite a few have gone on to be published; some just wanted to write for themselves or for their children; others wrote fascinating family histories using the techniques of creative writing.

I know that some of these books, while they may never go public, will be treasured family heirlooms for years to come.

I also get a kick out of seeing the names of former students appearing on book lists!

Naked Writing is a compilation of all I learned in the nine years I worked this course, from everything I learned as I built my own writing career, and the insights I garnered from my writing students.

It's a lovely feeling, helping someone to fulfill their dream.

So, once again, Naked Writing is going free! Check Amazon in your area on Sunday & Monday, Oct 14/15, and pick up the ebook, totally free, with my compliments.

And if it helps you fulfill your writing dreams, do let me know and I'll celebrate with you!

You Can See Naked Writing here on Amazon.com or here for Amazon.co.uk. It's also available on other Amazon sites, including Germany, France, Italy, and India!

Labels: Amazon, creative writing, dreams, free books, Glenys O'Connell, Naked Writing, writers, Writing Book, writing classes, writing skills

 

THE GENTLE ART OF CRITIQUING

Posted on September 12, 2012 at 6:35 PM Comments comments (2)

By Glenys O'Connell

Critiquing is a skill and done well can provide the person whose work is being critiqued with some very valuable feedback. Critiquing can smooth out the glitches, help with story and plot points, make characters more believable, spot errors and generally polish up someone’s work. It can renew the writer’s enthusiasm and confidence. Or it can destroy them. Depending on how it is done.

Professional critiquing always looks to the positive – even busy editors rarely advise a writer submitting work to them to take a job, any job, except writing – although best selling author David Gemmell was once told by an editor to stay with his job as a trucker’s mate! Usually they will wish the writer luck in placing the work elsewhere, perhaps advise them to consider taking a creative writing class, etc.., even if the work submitted seems beyond redemption. The point being, the writer and their future work are not beyond redemption, and do not deserve to be terminally put down because of one piece that does not hit the spot.

The Rules

The first rule of critiquing is to consider .......

Read full article here

eBook Magic!

Posted on June 5, 2012 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

If you read my last blog, you'll know how excited I was to announce the publication in print of my first Indie publishing effort, Naked Writing - The No Frills Way to Write Your Book!

Well, the magic continues - No Frills is now on Amazon Kindle! And it's a steal at the special, limited time price of 99 cents US - go take a look here , or if you're in the UK, it's on Kindle, also at a super sale price, here .

I thought being published the traditional way was a rush, but it's amazing just how exciting it is to work on the whole process yourself, and publish independently. I now see what it has generated such excitement among the many talented writers who have gone this route.

Yep, I can see I'll do it again.....

 

 

New Book Here At Last!

Posted on May 24, 2012 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Naked Writing: The No Frills Way to Write Your Book: The No Frills, No Nonsense Way to Write Your BookFinally, after much hard work, editing and re-editing, writing and rewriting, and hours and hours of agonising, the Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book! is here!!

(Drum roll, please!)

This book is a compilation of nine years of teaching creative writing, boiled down to all the things my students found most useful in their journey towards publication.

Here's the blurb:

A straightforward, no nonsense guide to writing - and finishing - your book, no matter what your experience level. All over the world, at this very moment, thousands of writers are starting a novel, full of enthusiasm for their ideas. But the vast majority of those novels will fizzle by Chapter Three – an estimated 98 per cent! And their disappointed creators will put their work away and give up on their dream. It's not that they aren't talented and it's not that they don’t have good ideas - what they lack are the basic tools.

 In this book you'll learn how to:

* Each chapter comes with assignments that help you apply what you've learned to your own new or work-in-progress book.

 * Identify the kind of novel you want to write, and understand the elements of a good, workable idea

* Understand story structure and how to use it to make your novel flow

* Create an outline that will get you through the dry spells of Writer's Block

* Know the important elements you must have at the start and end of each chapter

* Build characters you'll love to work with - and readers will love to read about

* Points of View - just who's telling this story, anyway?

* Develop plot points and sub-plots to add texture to your story

 * Understand the two different types of character motivation - and how to use them

 * Tap into the magic of dialogue, and learn when narrative and backstory can help, or hinder, your story

* Keep your story flowing to a satisfying ending with all the loose ends tied up.

 * By the end of the book, using the assignments, you should be working on your own chapter three and ready to sail through to The End.

The creative writing course itself is usually $140.00 but the book can be used for a mere $9.99!! The only thing that's not in the book but in the course is, of course, moi!

However, if you want to talk writing, you know where to find me, right?

And here's where you find Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to Write Your Book: here.

End of blatant promotion. Thanks for reading :-)

The Gentle Art Of Critiquing

Posted on March 27, 2012 at 1:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Critiquing is a skill and done well can provide the person whose work is being critiqued with some very valuable feedback. Critiquing can smooth out the glitches, help with story and plot points, make characters more believable, spot errors and generally polish up someone’s work. It can renew the writer’s enthusiasm and confidence. Or it can destroy them. Depending on how it is done.

Professional critiquing always looks to the positive – even busy editors rarely advise a writer submitting work to them to take a job, any job, except writing – although best selling author David Gemmell was once told by an editor to stay with his job as a trucker’s mate! Usually they will wish the writer luck in placing the work elsewhere, perhaps advise them to consider taking a creative writing class, etc.., even if the work submitted seems beyond redemption. The point being, the writer and their future work are not beyond redemption, and do not deserve to be terminally put down because of one piece that does not hit the spot.

 The Rules

 The first rule of critiquing is to consider the ways the writer can use these positive points to improve their work. The second rule is to be constructive – critique criticisms are more along the lines of:

 “Well, I think if you fleshed the character Jed out, gave him more background and motivation, it would really work.”

 Rather than:

 “God, I’ve never seen such cardboard, one dimensional characters! What ever were you thinking? Jed has no personality, he ruins the entire story – not that there’s much to ruin!”

 See the difference?:D

 The second rule is to listen carefully to what is said (or read carefully) so your critique is accurate. And before you give a critique, think about what you are saying and how you would feel if it was said about your work. The general idea is to be constructive, to help a writer improve their work, not to humiliate and put them off writing anything more creative than a grocery list. Critique unto others as you would have them critique unto you!

Never interrupt with a point while someone is actually reading their work aloud. Take notes instead. Remember, your reaction to someone’s work is very subjective. There will be some styles of writing you do not like, some subject matter you would not choose to read. So critiquing has got to take your own personal tastes into account so it remains balanced and impartial.

 Critique Points

 Listening carefully and home in on the following points:

 The Hook: Does the opening of the work grab your attention? Is it interesting? Does it make you want to read on? If it is non-fiction, does it still catch your eye? Again, with non fiction, does it sound plausible and factual?

 The Body of the Material: Does the material that followed the hook lead you into the story, or does it jolt you out of it? Is it in the same style as the hook, or do you suddenly think you are reading a completely different story? What is the pacing like? Does it keep up the momentum you were promised in the beginning?

 Setting: Do you think the setting compliments the story? Does it seem accurate? Too much or too little description?

 Characters: Do you like them? Do you care about them? Do they seem real? Are their physical descriptions consistent? Do they behave “in character”? Can you make any suggestions that might improve them?

 Dialogue: Is it plausible? Does it sound the way you would expect these characters to talk? Is there good use of dialogue for introducing back story and other details? Are there too many tags – i.e., he said, she cried, he growled, she giggled? Can you tell who is actually speaking? Is there an over use of dialect or foreign languages?

 Plot: Does the plot interest you? Even if it is not the kind of story you would normally choose to read, does it seem interesting? Is it plausible? Do the story events carry the plot or conflict with it? Are there any glaring errors you can see?

 Subplots: Are there subplots? Do they work with the main plot, or do they overwhelm it? Are they worth while, or do they create a distraction? Are there too many subplots, making the storyline confusing? Is one of the subplots more interesting than the main plot?

 The End: Does the ending match the rest of the story? Are all the loose ends tied up? Does the story flow towards this ending? Is it logical, following on from the events, or does the conclusion depend heavily on last minute happenings, like the cavalry arriving to rescue the wagon train from an Indian attack when no one has called the cavalry?

 Overall Feeling: Did the story interest you, make you feel good? Did you like the characters and were they in character all the way through? This is where you reprise what you have said earlier, wrap it all up with a few nice comments, and be willing to answer questions the writer may ask about your critique.

 All these critique points can also be applied to your own work, as well. When it comes to polishing your manuscript, read it through with a critiquer’s eye. That way you will catch any glaring problems before anyone else sees your work.

Romanticjourney blog....

Posted on February 27, 2010 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm blogging over at www.romanticjourney.wordpress.com/ about the manuscript that never quite gets finished. You know, I think every writer has one -it's a story you like too much to scrap, but somehow it's never just right enough to be submitted anywhere and winds up being like a ghost at the wedding - making you ever so slightly uneasy in a guilty way because you've not handled it well enough....drop over and take a look, and leave a comment!

Naked Writing is Free on Amazon Today!

Posted on Comments comments (0)

By Glenys O'Connell @GlenysOConnell.com

You've heard me talk about my first Indie Publishing venture: Naked Writing:The No Frills Way to QWrite Your Book, which is compiled from nine years of teaching creative writing.

Well, if you don't have a copy already, here's your nchance to get it for free!

For One Day, on Wednesday, August 29th, the ebook of Naked Writing is available for free on Amazon.

More details here

Or visit Your Usual Amazon Outlet.

Enjoy!