Posted in In which Anna vomits her thoughts at you, Writing advice that may or may not be completely wrong

It’s Not Easy Being Green – Author Envy

Authors on the whole are a neurotic, anxious bunch. Okay, most aren’t quite as bad as me, but nearly all of us fret. A lot.

Maybe it’s because we’ve trained ourselves to scrutinise our words and the impressions they make, and that extends into over-scrutinising everything. Maybe it’s because publishing is like war – 5% terror and 95% waiting – and in those periods of waiting we inevitably overanalyse and catastrophise everything. Maybe it’s Ebola. I don’t know.

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Whatever the reason, one of the consequence is that most of us suffer from author envy at some point. Maybe at every point. When you’re unagented, you’re jealous of authors with agents. When you’re agented, you’re jealous of authors with publishing deals. When you get a deal, you’re jealous of authors with bigger deals. When you get a big deal, you’re jealous of authors with… better hair, or something. Those coiffured bastards.

Who are they sleeping with, huh??

Publishing is so insanely competitive that it’s natural to think of other authors as our competition. Number crunchers estimate that one in 4,000 manuscripts ends up published, and once you learn that, the natural step is to find 3,999 other wannabes and destroy them along with everything they hold dear.

What? What do you mean, “No, no Anna, that’s not a natural step?” Go and marry that damn judge if you agree with him so much.

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But once you have successfully murdered the competition and you get your deal, you’d think it’d be over. It isn’t.

There’s some trite saying about how happiness isn’t a destination but a frame of mind. And as trite as it is, the older I get the more true I realise it is. As a fatty, I spent many wasted years thinking my life would be great and I would be happy if only I could lose weight and be thin. Spoiler alert: I lost weight, but life wasn’t great and I wasn’t happy. Because being fat wasn’t the problem. Caring so much about what other people thought of my appearance was the problem. It was only when I stopped caring that I was actually happy. And I’m fatter than ever, by the way.

Publishing is the same. We’re all trying to reach our goals and we feel like if we get The Thing – the six-figure advance, or the starred Kirkus review, or the movie – that we’ll have done it. We’ll be a Successful Author and we’ll no longer worry and no longer compare ourselves to others.

It’s not true. There will always be a new goal, another author doing better. Find your readers, give them the best books you can write, and stop worrying what Author X is doing. Or how good his hair is. Wanker is probably wearing a toupee anyway.

And in the meantime? When you feel the green-eyed monster, go and publicly support another author. Leave a nice (and honest) review. Pre-order their next book. Tweet about how great you enjoyed their last book. Offer to beta read a manuscript. Not only will it slay the monster, or at least keep it at bay, but most of the time it will actually bring YOU closer to your own goals. Authors are nice. We’re supportive. When you support authors, authors support you back, and more readers find you.

If that doesn’t work, indulging in a little light murder every now and then is fine, too.

Posted in Author interviews

Interview with Kate Sherwood, author of LAST CALL

I’ve had the pleasure of reading a pre-release copy of LAST CALL, the next M/M romance from Kate Sherwood, and she even agreed to answer some of my fangirl questions! …And also one question from the group I founded, ‘The Squirrel from Mark of Cain Appreciation Club,’ which currently consists of just me but I think that’s only because I haven’t publicised it. Or maybe because I set the joining fee at £5,000. I have expensive cats, okay?

Kate is the author of more than 30 novels and novellas, including those under her other pen names, Cate Cameron (M/F romances) and Catherine Dale (YA). Her next release, an M/M romance, is out on 21 January and can be preordered now. It’s very funny. And also hot.

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Ethan is living the good life as a student at Montreal’s McGill University. He’s out every night, partying, dancing with his friends, and meeting guys. When he sets his sights on Alex, the world’s hottest bartender, he expects a good time, and nothing more.

But things aren’t so simple with Alex. He’s been hurt too many times and he’s protective of his heart. He certainly can’t let himself get attached to a party-boy like Ethan. Except… maybe there’s more to Ethan than there seems.

As the guys grow closer, it’s harder and harder for Alex to keep the darker parts of his life away from Ethan’s brightness. But Ethan proves that he’s tougher than he seems on the outside. And maybe that means Alex can save the soft place in his heart for Ethan.

1. Where did the idea for Last Call come from? 

Continue reading “Interview with Kate Sherwood, author of LAST CALL”

Posted in In which Anna vomits her thoughts at you

5 Horror Movies to Watch this Halloween

I’m a horror junkie. Yeah, I know: I write fluffy romcoms and I don’t believe in ghosts, demons, or anything supernatural, and any serial killer trying to abduct me would need a winch and a high tolerance for whining.

But I love horror. Gorefest or fade-to-black mindfuck. Serious or satirical. Hollywood or made in someone’s garage with a £10 budget and a bit part for Dave’s mum because she made all the sandwiches for the three-person crew.

The only thing I don’t do is Generic Monsters – zombies, vampires, and werewolves can all fuck off. Notable exception 28 Days Later, which is definitely worth a watch.

So, here are my recommendations of five movies to watch for Halloween…

THE POWER OF ANNA COMPELS YOU (to watch)

1. Severance (2006)

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Continue reading “5 Horror Movies to Watch this Halloween”

Posted in Book Reviews

Ghostly Cephalopods, Ghastly Castrations, and Graffiti Cocks

I’m a tad behind with my thoughtful and intelligent book reviews. By a tad behind, I mean I’ve read 72 books this year and reviewed about three of them. I’m nothing if not an epic procrastinator.

By the way, have you added my book on Goodreads and preordered it from the book retailer of your choice, including B&N/Nook or Amazon? If not, why not? Is it because you don’t want to and you will spend your money on whatever you damn well please? Well, that’s fair enough. Don’t let yourself be bullied.

First up in this month’s deeply analytical reviews is:

The Haunting of Toby JuggDennis Wheatley3/5 it’s a fucking octopus on dry land, what are you scared of?

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Continue reading “Ghostly Cephalopods, Ghastly Castrations, and Graffiti Cocks”

Posted in Anna's books

NOT OK, CUPID Now Available for Pre-Order!

Today is my 30th birthday, and I got the best present ever: Not OK, Cupid has been released for pre-order!

I’ve been neglecting the blog partly because of getting the book to this stage, partly because I was on holiday (being #SmugAsFuckInGreece as my Twitter followers will wearily attest), and partly because work has been crazy and even the ducks had to pitch in.

First, my wonderful editor Kate sent me the cover, which I am totally in love with: Continue reading “NOT OK, CUPID Now Available for Pre-Order!”

Posted in In which Anna vomits her thoughts at you

I Made the Headlines

Well, okay, just one. I’m super proud to announce I’m now an author with the Headline Publishing Group, along with authors like Neil Gaiman, Jill Shalvis, and Martina Cole.

Can I just reiterate: I CAN PUT MY NAME ON A LIST WITH THESE AUTHORS. I CAN’T EVEN.

My wonderful agent Amanda Jain announced the deal yesterday and no, it wasn’t an April fool. Don’t think THAT thought didn’t keep me up all night, ’cause it did.

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Join me in screaming incoherently and still a little bit worrying it was an April fool!