Tag Archives: Writing

My musie has come back!

Of course, that’s not to say the wonderful darling has abandoned me completely in the last couple of years, but she has been, shall we say… resting.

Two years ago I wrote a book called The Stars Are Falling. I wrote that book start to finish in ten days. Prep, research, planning, writing, and even the first round of editing.

But then I stopped. It is natural to need a break after such a mammoth task, but for the past two years I haven’t written anything over a couple of thousand words. I have tried. And I have failed.

At first I thought my musie has simply gone away on a well needed holiday and would be back. At the end of year one, I wondered if that holiday was a permanent one.

It wasn’t until earlier this year that I realised what the problem was. Stress. Now, my life is pretty easy, in my mind. I look after my husband, I cook, I clean, I read, I write. I sit at home a lot of the time with nothing more to do than watch the TV and write. Which is how this writing thing got started again: because I was sick of doing the housework and having a spotless house.

So what exactly happened?

I had a guest in my spare room. The first one moved in when I was writing The Stars Are Falling. And I was fine for a bit. Then she moved out, and six months later, my friend moved over from Germany and stayed with me for a while as she got herself sorted. Then over Christmas last year a friend of mine was made homeless, and so stayed with us until he got himself sorted.

The problem wasn’t that there were extra people in my house, it was that they were in my writing space. I recently moved from a three bedroom to a two bedroom house. So my husband lives under the stairs. (Before you consider calling the police on me, he has a desk in there and a chair and a whole bunch of teddies, there are no locks on the door, and he is free to come and go as he pleases. I mention this because in the past saying my husband lives under the stairs has caused some issues and earned me something of a reputation where I live.)

So I no longer have a dedicated writing spare where I am surrounded by books and an endless selection of wine. At least, I HAD no dedicated writing space. Not whilst I was living in one bedroom and someone was in the other. All of the writing was done in the living room, under the watchful eyes of whoever was in the house.

But it’s been about a month now since our homeless friend became not so homeless. This evening, something beautiful happened. I had inspiration. Nothing big (lord knows I have enough ideas in the ideas folder begging to be written!), but something.

Someone asked me to what mulled wine was. So I described it. Not just what was in it, but what it tastes like: it tastes like snuggling up under a warm duvet on a cold winter morning when you don’t have to get up.

And just like that it hit me: my mind was working again. It was alive with colours and descriptions and a way of looking at the world that I have sorely missed lately. And all without going off the wonderful medication that keeps me going and stops my mind from wandering too much.

So after almost two years of my musie being in a huff at the invasion of people, she finally has her space, I have my writing room back, and there is a whole trove of ideas that are begging for attention again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Michelle Birbeck

Why I will always do some work for free.

You’ve probably heard the saying ‘if you love something never do it for free.’ And the various renditions of said quote. Well, I disagree. Pretty much entirely.

I love my job. I get to wake up in the morning, put my jammies on, sit down on my couch, load up my laptop and go to “work.” I make stuff up for a living. What’s not to love about that?

So why exactly do I do it for free?

It’s no secret that not everyone makes the huge figures by writing. There are hundreds of books released every day, and only a small percentage of those ever make it onto the best sellers lists. So in theory, I should be charging for every piece of work I do no matter who it is for. But that’s not the case.

I have three short ebooks that are free. I recently gave a short story to an anthology for free. I have given numerous short pieces to charity anthologies, and all for free. I will never see a penny in royalties for those pieces of work. And these aren’t shorts that took me ten minutes to write, didn’t get any editing, and don’t have covers or formatting. These are short stories between 1000 and 4000 words that have been edited, the free ebooks have covers and have been formatted. I have put hours of work into each of those pieces. All for nothing.

And that’s what isn’t true. they have not all been for nothing. What many people seem to think is that if you aren’t getting paid you aren’t getting anything out of it. That is not true.

People are far more likely to give my other works a try if they have enjoyed one of my free short stories. My name is out further about in the world due to the anthologies, and my shorts being included in charity anthologies has helped raised money for people in need.

So far from getting nothing out of working for free, I am getting exposure, the chance to reach new readers, the opportunity to help others when I perhaps don’t have the money to just give to charity. Not to mention the feel good factor of helping others.

Which is all why when people say if you love something never do it for free, I would like to remind them all that just because you don’t get any money out of it doesn’t mean you didn’t get something out of it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Michelle Birbeck, Publishing

The Stars Are Falling, it’s finally here!

The Stars Are Falling
Michelle Birbeck

“Is saving the one she loves worth killing the whole world?”

Release Date: 3rd July 2014

Genre: Young Adult/Sci-Fi
Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop

Available from: AmazonKoboBarnes and Noble, and TWCS PH

Jenny is content trying to survive university and sneaking glances at her housemate, Dale, in between hours spent watching the night sky. When the first meteor streaks through the night, landing close enough to shake the house, however, everything changes.
What’s left in the crater isn’t a lump of rock from outer space, but something that looks like a man. Soon after, the killing begins. Anyone who gets in their way is disintegrated with an all-consuming light so hot nothing remains.
Hundreds more descend from the heavens, bleaching the night sky, shaking the ground. They want to eliminate all threats to Earth, starting with the biggest one: the human race.
Jenny and Dale know a way to do both: save Earth and stop the human race from being wiped out. They just have to stay alive long enough to convince the falling stars to spare the human race.

Author Bio: 

Michelle has been reading and writing her whole life. Her earliest memory of books was when she was five and decided to try to teach her fish how to read, by putting her Beatrix Potter books in the fish tank with them. Since then her love of books has grown, and now she is writing her own and  looking forward to seeing them on her shelves, though they won’t be going anywhere near the fish tank.

Connect with Michelle Birbeck on: 
Facebook, TwitterWebsite and Goodreads

Giveaway Link: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

Video Trailer:



Leave a comment

Filed under Michelle Birbeck, Publishing

The Stars Are Falling

With three days to go until the blog tour begins, and just ten until the book comes out, things are, in a word, hectic at my house. I have stock to catalogue, freebies to organise, freebies to finish making, food and caterers to organise, lifts to arrange, hotels to pay for, and a whole list of things on my to do list that make it look like a marathon not the sprint that it is going to be.

So what’s all the fuss about?


The Stars Are Falling

The Stars Are Falling, Young Adult Science Fiction that is fantastic. It’s fast paced, exciting, thought provoking, and is a great read.

And it is out on July 3rd, just in time for the US holiday weekend, and in perfect time for the coming summer here in the UK. (You can click the pic to preorder the paperback or just check out the summary on Amazon UK).

So for the blog tour, I still have a couple of dates open (27th, 29th June, and 6th, 8th July). So if you have some space on your blog, and would be willing to host a guest post, excerpt from the book or just a general promo spot, please contact me on faerie_kitten (at) hotmail (dot) co (dot) uk and I will add you in.

Also, if you can’t host but fancy helping out, please also email me, and I will send you the release day blast HTML file for posting on release day.


Leave a comment

Filed under Michelle Birbeck, Publishing

Writing Process Blog Tour

I was invited to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour, where I get to talk about my writing process. I then get to tag three authors to do the same! Unfortunately with my birthday and everything else, I forgot that today was Monday, so I only have one author. But if you are reading this and want to take part, please feel free!


Thanks to Sydney Logan for tagging me. Here’s a bit about her:


Sydney Logan is an Amazon bestselling author who may or may not have an unhealthy obsession with music (seriously, she loves everything from Eminem to Johnny Cash). She also has an amazing husband and a ridiculously spoiled cat, both of whom join her in soaking up the stunning views from their East Tennessee front porch.


Find her on Amazon, iTunes, B&N, and TWCS Publishing House or at her website.


What am I working on?


My main projects at the moment are my imminent releases: The Stars Are Falling, Playthings, and The Perfect Gift. They are all written, all edited, and mostly formatted, but there are some final touches that need adding before everything is final. The Stars Are Falling is with my publisher, all shiny and ready to be printed, and I’ve already seen the very pretty ARCs. Playthings has been coming for a long time now, so I am excited to get that underway and formatted and actually in print. And The Perfect Gift is actually going to be a free ebook short horror story. It’s been a while since I released one of those, and as the anthology I wrote The Perfect Gift for ran into some complications, I decided to set it free into the world.


How does my work differ from others of its genre?


If there’s one thing I enjoy about writing, it’s taking the rules and throwing them out of the window. Horror stories are generally dark and set in dingy locations, so I like to set them in the middle of summer in a bright and happy place. And with my paranormal works, playing with the mythology and making it my own is half the joy of writing it. Rules were made for breaking, and my favourite part of creative writing is having the freedom to break any and all rules; providing there’s a reason for it, of course.


Why do I write what I do?


Because if I don’t the voices in my head won’t leave me alone. In all seriousness, when an idea gets stuck in my head it will not go away unless I write it. So when those ideas get in there, I sit down, write them out, and see where they go. I also have a thing for creating characters and then breaking them, pushing them as far as they can go and then throwing them off the edge. I love to explore how people would react in difficult situations, what their limits are, and just how far they can be pushed before they themselves become what most people would consider a monster.


How does my writing process work?


That depends on what I am writing and what my deadline is. If I don’t have a deadline, then it is a long, slow process that spans a good half year or more. There’s writing, rewriting, editing, and then editing again. But if I have a deadline, whether it’s self-imposed or not, then there is planning involved. It’s actually the only time I do any planning. I will normally begin with an image in my head, of somewhere in the middle of the book, and then write my way to that image, and write my way out of it. But with deadlines, and especially with The Stars Are Falling, I need to know where I am and ensure I haven’t missed anything.

The Stars Are Falling was written in 10 days. That’s a lot of writing every single day. So in order to make sure I got in all the relevant plot points in, I wrote a plan so detailed it might as well have been the actual story!

But when I’m not working towards a deadline, I like to let the story take me wherever it wants to go.


Next on tour:


Bonnie Ferrante

Hi, I’m Bonnie Ferrante, a hybrid author, mostly writing YA and picture books. I was a grade school teacher for thrity-three years, ten as a teacher librarian. I am a Jodo Shinshu Buddhist lay leader.


Facebook Blog

Leave a comment

Filed under Michelle Birbeck

Writing Tips – Indie Block party

Today we are talking hindsight. The things we wish we knew before we began. There’s really only one thing that I can think of, and it’s not really a before I started writing type of thing.


Editing. I learned so much through my first round of editing, that I wish I had done it before I submitted anything to any publisher. So what I would recommend is if you have the money, speak to an editor. Get someone to look over your work and give it a professional edit.


Not just a read through from a friend to tell you what they think. Or even a proofread for grammar and spelling. A full, in depth look at everything. Context, wording, character, plot… anything and everything. Because once you’ve had a professional edit, and seen those little things that everyone learns the first time around, you will be better set for future works.


And on the plus side, you’ll have an edited manuscript that is in even better shape for submitting to publishers!


Filed under Michelle Birbeck

Social Media and Networking Tips – Indie Block Party

This is the last post for the Indie Block party! Social Media and Networking Tips. There are so many things that you need to be doing when it comes to marketing, too much really to give you in one blog post. The biggest thing you need to know is this: start now.
Whether you’re an author who’s been published three times, or someone who’s just written the first line of their first book, start now. Get a twitter, get a facebook page, and get your name out there. It is never too early to start promoting yourself as an author.


You can share snippets, adventures, pictures, inspiration, daft stories, or anything else that takes your fancy. The important thing is getting people to remember your name. That way, when your first or next book comes out, people will look and go, I know who that is!


Don’t be an ass, however. If you post nothing but buy links on your twitter, people will unfollow you. Of course, being outspoken and being an ass are two different things. You can have a strong opinion about anything, so long as you remember to respect that everyone else also has an opinion and they may not share yours.


Networking. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong. Go to an event where you sell nothing at all. Turn up somewhere that might be interested, and if they’re not, spend the day anyway.


I’ve been to a number of events now where I’ve sold maybe 1 book. But at each one, I’ve come away with names and numbers of other people who might want me. When contacting people, if you can say, so-and-so said to contact you, it gets you a foot in the door. You’ve been recommended to them, and that helps. From agents to publishers to libraries and festivals. Having a foot in the door is a great thing. And the way to do that is to talk to people, go to events, and see what other people are doing.


And lastly, before I make your head explode with all the information, be seen. Not as in have your name everywhere and being there, but be seen as in BE SEEN.


I can’t tell you then number of times I have seen pictures of events and everyone has all their books flat on the table in piles. Get a flat pack stand. Get a big poster to stand behind you. Get a banner with your name and website across it. Get a table cloth with your own details on. Yes, they cost money, but most of them only cost money once.


Build a display, something that will draw the eye and stand out from the crowd. If you stand out, people are more likely to see you.


Filed under Michelle Birbeck

Top 5 Books – Indie Block Party

Today on the Indie Block Party, I’m talking about my top 5 favourite books. Except that I’m changing it up a little. Instead of just books, I am going with series, otherwise you’d be seeing 5 books out of a series instead of something different.

So let’s have a look at who’s first up on the list, though they are not in any particular order:


The Chronicles of Narnia is a set of books I have been reading for what feels like my whole life. I love them. It isn’t one thing in particular about them that I love, just all of them. Voyage of the Dawn Treader is my favourite of all the books. The whole series has something magical about it, and if you haven’t read it, then I recommend going and getting the books right now.

The Nightworld Series by L.J. Smith. This was my first foray into the paranormal, and I will always remember it as such. I was fifteen, and got all the books from the library and read them as often as they would let me take them out. Then as soon as I had money of my own, I bought them for my own library.


Third up has to be The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice. After I read the Nightword series by L.J Smith, I discovered Anne Rice, and have never turned back. If you’re into the paranormal and haven’t read these, then you are absolutely missing out.


And another of the series I love is the Black Dagger Brotherhood. I’m not going to say much on the subject, because otherwise I will be here all day and this post would be longer than all the rest of my posts combined. So I’ll leave it as this: Warrior vampires who kick ass and wear leather and have some fantastic sex.


Then lastly, is an author rather than a series. Richard Laymon. I have his entire paperback novel collection, and I love every single one of them. They’re horror books, but not as dark as Stephen King. They are a combination of human monsters and actual monsters and magic and everything in between. Highly recommended read if you like horror with not too much bite but enough bite to leave you stinging.




Filed under Michelle Birbeck

What am I currently reading? – Indie Block Party

Well, the short answer to that is nothing. Which doesn’t really sound right as an author, but the truth is, I’m not reading anything new at the moment. I get months like this, where the only thing I want to read is something where I know what’s happening. It’s generally when I’m busy or stressed, and I’ve got a lot of both at the moment.


I seem to get into this funk, where my mind gets bored with new things in about half a second. So it doesn’t matter how good a book is, if I’m in a funk then I’m not going to enjoy it. However, I am currently rereading some of my favourites. It’s one of the reasons I keep the books I buy, so I can reread them when I want to.


Of course, the other thing I have when it comes to new books, is it has to be something I want to read. If someone tells me that this book or that book is fantastic and I have to read it because I will enjoy it sooooo much… then you can count on me not reading it. Best way to put me off anything; tell me over and over again how much I’ll enjoy it. For me that inflates what I expect from the book, and rarely do these things live up to expectation.


So at the moment, I am not reading anything new outside of the blog, but I am rereading some of the books I love.


Filed under Michelle Birbeck

Readwave Launches Writing Challenges

If you recall, I posted a while ago about a new site called Readwave, offering authors a chance to showcase their work. Well now, Readwave are bringing you writing challenges! Read below for more information, and check out their site!

ReadWave has launched a new hub dedicated to weekly writing challenges. The weekly challenges are designed to inspire you with writing prompts, and to motivate you to sit down and write at least once a week.

ReadWave is a place for writers to share articles and short stories with the world, and is now home to tens of thousands of stories which are collectively read over 200,000 times each month.

The first ReadWave challenge asks: if you could be born in any year, past, present or future, what year would it be? The best entries will be posted up on the ReadWave homepage and showcased to the entire readwave readership, and the author will be interviewed on the ReadWave blog. Enter the challenge here.

Contact:  Robert Tucker  Community Manager www.readwave.com



Their latest challenge can be found here: http://www.readwave.com/challenge/4/near-death-experiences/


Filed under Guest post