All posts by Jenny Schwartz

Jenny Schwartz, author of Australian Coastal Romance

Yellow Rose Hunger

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Your Yellow Rose Week will be a bit unsettled; like having the mid-afternoon munchies. You’ll be restless and wanting something, but unable to decide quite what. Resist the chocolate! There is something good out there — something you desire — but you have to refuse a fleeting pleasure/distraction to acquire it.

Yellow roses traditionally mean friendship, and we’re all hungry for acceptance, kindness, laughter and a sensitive challenge to be all that we can be. We want people to appreciate us. And we want to trust others; to be able to unfurl our petals and share some of our secret selves.

Maybe that’s your hunger this week?

If you’re searching for a soul friend, your anam cara, there aren’t any guarantees that this special person will reveal themselves this week. But the search is important. Readying yourself to be brave, generous and attentive can only help all of your life.

Hunger isn’t always a bad thing. It can tell us what we need. Remind us what is important.

Identify your hunger and then decide how you’ll satisfy it.

and speaking of hunger and the trouble it can get you into, here’s the Cookie Monster :)

 

Visual Sells

In the last couple of months I’ve been trying to catch up on how to use social media. What’s hot, what’s not, and how to run fast enough to only fall a little behind — that’s how swiftly social media is changing. All of this reading has become jumbled in my mind, so I don’t have links, but a few themes really stood out.

First, you need images.

Second, why aren’t you on Pinterest if your target market is women? (I’m on Pinterest)

Facebook has ads. Love them, loathe them, you can’t really ignore them.

I’m more in love with Canva.com than ever. They have templates for creating things like Facebook ads.

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Moving beyond visuals alone, YouTube is huge. Call me daunted. I’m never going to be a video star and I can live with that.

Goodreads ads, those small side ones, don’t engage readers (I’ve tried).

Be super careful and respectful of copyright. A lot of work goes into creating images. Credit people and follow their guidelines on how or if they allow resharing.

Social media can chew up time. This is not a new thing to note, but I’m wondering how much of my social media time is now passive consumption as opposed to interaction. That seems to me to be worst of all, as if the TV has been pushed aside for a new idiot box. I’m being babysat by marketers!

So my final learning is to disengage. Turn off the electronics and walk away. Or in my case, because my writing schedule is so far behind, turn of the internet and type like a fiend!

PS how do you like my new website header? I think it’s really conveying who I am and what I write, along with my new tagline: A Hopeful Romantic. So true :)

 

 

A Bold Tulip Week

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Tulips make a big, bold splash of colour.

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It’s time for you to do the same.

Be daring! Be happy — and show people that happiness.

The world can be so depressing. The news on TV is awful. But really it’s the nature of our day-to-day encounters that colours our mood. Tulip Week is the time to kickstart everyone’s better mood by boldly declaring yourself happy — and no, I don’t care if you’re not happy!

Pretending that you’re happy can make you feel happier — there are scientific articles on the topic, but I’ll direct you to something easier to read, The Daily Mail! So being Tulip-bold and faking happiness can initiate an upward spiral for you. And you know yourself that being around happy people makes things better (unless you’re really down in which case (((hugs))) and keep fighting. You’re not alone).

Okay, so we’ve gotten a bit serious here. Back to the tulips!

There’s one last thing to remember about a Tulip Week: at some point in the next seven days you MUST wear that ridiculous piece of clothing you bought because you were feeling brave, but have never taken out of the cupboard because you’re not that brave. Yes, you are! Wear your orange polka dot purple shorts and be proud. Just don’t wear them with ugg boots ;)

*My sister and I have a running conversation re ugg boots. She thinks you can wear them in public. I don’t!

Enjoy your Tulip Week. And remember …

 

A Wandering Week

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This gorgeous little wildflower is called Happy Wanderer and that is so right for this week. Prepare to amble down some strange paths in the next few days.

Forget the old adage that curiosity killed the cat, and indulge yourself.  What is just over the horizon? at the end of the rainbow? around the corner of the curving path in the park? Stretch your world just a little and go and see.

Some people call it following your bliss.

We tend to be curious about things that we need to know or experience. That’s the wiser part of ourselves (the scary brave bit) pushing us to be everything we can be.

There’s no need to put yourself under pressure this week, but when the opportunity comes up to wander along a wilder path — take it! Your ordinary everyday world will still be there when you return. And you may appreciate it more :)

 

*Remember: Flower fortunes are fun, but common sense is probably a better guide when planning your week.

The Writer’s Craft

As a novelist attempting to carve out a public profile and establish my books as must-buys with readers I write both fiction (my novels and short stories) and non-fiction.KIB3

What sort of non-fiction? This kind. Blog posts, ezine articles, Facebook updates, twitterings and copy for promotional graphics to share on sites such as Pinterest.

I consider my fiction to be the product I’m aiming to sell, and my non-fiction to be a key element in reaching customers.

Both are part of the writer’s craft. A carpenter might have the luxury of outsourcing her marketing and promotional efforts. I don’t. Because writers’ tools are words, we don’t get to pick and choose which words customers judge us by. So every word we use must serve a purpose.

This is a high standard and one which tired, over-busy brains can’t always sustain, but there are ways of building our own safety nets and this is where talk about marketing strategies, social media strategies, audience identification, discoverability, etc explode.

For a long time this sort of talk baffled me. I was in Las Vegas mode: Write the book and they will come [please, there is no double entendre intended. I don't write erotica ;) ]

But the truth is all these strategies prop up an author’s day to day activities, especially when she is super-busy and distracted. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that they’re part of the writing craft – the next step after we’ve mastered how to tell a story and wrestled our grammar under control.

Because when you boil down the strategies, here’s what I think we have:

  • Who is your customer? Who reads your books?
  • What is your promise to them? What do they expect when they read your books?
  • How do you communicate your promise? This may be what is called ‘author brand’. It’s more than words.
  • How are your customers changing? Neither your readers, your books nor your strategy can stay the same.
  • How are you changing? You and your books do evolve – check that you’re evolving with your readers and/or clearly signalling to new ones.

If you can answer all of these questions, then your fiction and non-fiction will mesh in a coherent message (or author brand) and this is the heart of the writer’s craft: to tell a satisfying story. You are telling the story of YOU — and your books, of course.

Red Rose – Thorns & Passion

Steampunk inspired. Though obviously not steampunk, just an old flat iron with roses.

Red Rose Week and expect the unexpected — from yourself! Life gets a bit prickly and so does your mood.

Fantastic!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes the expectation from those around us that we’ll just get over our grumps is exasperating. Guys, I’m grumpy for a reason!

This is the week to look out for thorns, swear at them and then bleed creativity.

Oh yeah. This is a week filled with passion — and passion isn’t always “nice”. Pay close attention to what is most impacting you: fear, desire, anger, disappointment. There’s something there and it’s the door you can open to change things. You’ll find your passion in the thing that upsets you the most. Turn it upside down and inside out this week until you’ve shaken loose your own passion.

Tap the energy that is just waiting to explode. The energy that says to heck with being sensible, I’m going to do it! Whatever “it” is.

Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter Life Crises don’t get the media coverage of Mid Life Crises, but they should. Oh boy, should they!

A Quarter Life Crisis hits in your mid to late twenties as you come rocketing into life — relationships, kids, career twists, debts — and suddenly hit a wall.lip

Sometimes it’s a bouncy castle wall and you spring back up laughing. Count yourself incredibly lucky. You’re one of those people who are exactly where you need to be and your Quarter Life Crisis is more happy fluffy puppy than snarling attack dog. You have a look around and realise that you’re on the path that’s right for you.

For many of us, that’s not how it goes. Life drops us off a cliff and we don’t bounce. We hit every rock on the way down and wail loudly as we go. Landing hurts.

But this falling down — our expectations being thumped by reality — is a gift. We can take the time (from our moaning agony at the bottom of the cliff) to double check what it is we want from life, the chasm between our dreams and our reality, and what we’re going to do to build a bridge.

Talking to people about Quarter Life Crises I’ve had them lean across the coffee table and go “YES! When I was twenty seven…”. It seems we all experience the crisis of who are we and what value do we bring to the world. How we respond to the challenge is the fascinating bit — and that’s why I wrote Kiss It Better.

Romances work best — tap our shared experience and engage our emotions — when they take a key life change as their motivating conflict. So that’s what I did.

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Revisit gorgeous Jardin Bay with Jenny Schwartz’s fabulous new novel. The town may look like paradise, but for one nurse, it represents only broken dreams.

All Cassie Freedom wants to do is save the world, and she could, if only she were able to. But her dream of nursing in Africa is shattered, and she returns home to Jardin Bay, where familiarity, security, and a sense of her own failure threaten to drown her.

Dr. Theo Morrigan knows a thing or two about responsibility, leaving his own medical practice to take over a family business. He knows his mind, his future, and how he wants to live his life – until an old secret resurfaces and rocks his whole world.

Suddenly, the man who needed no one needs a broken-hearted nurse, and a nurse who thinks she’s too weak will find her own strength.

Release date: 1 October 2014