A Home For Misty

This month’s post is a piece I deleted from the first draft of my book Misty Dreams. For those of you who have read my book and have heard my story of how the first draft turned out to be a massive 360,000 words, this is one of the many scenes I regretfully had to cut out to make the book ‘marketable’. Every author knows how painful it is to edit off entire passages or ‘kill off’ secondary characters from a draft after becoming emotionally attached to them. If they’re anything like me, they’ve stored away these discarded bits like the broken pieces of a priceless ornament because they can’t bear to let them go. For those of you who haven’t read Misty Dreams, I hope this will entice you to check it out.

Image from Pixabay
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THE DESK

A flash memoir

Photo by Mishelved from Pixabay

Dad, I thought of you today, and for some reason my memory whirled back to the first few days we settled in a new country, after mom and I joined you there. We were so happy to be reunited! We hadn’t seen you in ten months, but it had felt like an eternity. You wanted to make up for lost time by doing something nice for us, so you took us out to the big department store in town to buy us gifts. Mom had pointed to an elaborate play tea set she thought I might like. It was pink and white and came with twelve doll-size cups and saucers and a plethora of accessories. I had never owned anything so extravagant. But my eyes kept straying to the small desk and chair on display in the educational section. I recall your surprised look when I asked if I could have that, instead. Mom was perplexed; a seven-year-old girl who preferred furniture to a toy? But you, Dad, you smiled, as if you understood.

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Things I Wish I Knew Before Writing a Book

Photo: Artem_Apukhtin from Pixabay

There are so many things I was unaware of when I started writing my romance novel, things that would have saved me a lot of time. But at the time I was writing for my own enjoyment. Not that I didn’t aspire to become a published author; I just didn’t think I had what it takes. I hooked onto an idea, dove headfirst into it, and didn’t let anything distract me. Now I realize I could have gotten to where I am today a lot earlier if I’d just believed in myself a bit more.

These are only a few of the mistakes I made along the way:

Feeling embarrassed for writing romance

I grew up in the seventies believing the romance genre wasn’t worthy, that it was looked down upon for being fluff, stuff for the weak minded. Although mine were squeaky-clean stories, it was still romance fiction, and most sub-genres of modern romance seemed to carry a stigma of being ‘rubbish’. I scoff at the idea today. After all, romance is among the most popular bestselling genres, making up 23% of the overall fiction market. But for years I didn’t open up to anyone about my passion for writing. In my teens I would invent stories and test them out on my closest friend, pretending they were books I’d read. Each time I hoped to fuel a spark of interest in her eyes, a sign that certified I was doing something wonderfully creative. But I never saw more than mild, polite interest. Eventually, I stopped telling her my stories. I didn’t know anyone who loved reading as much as I did, let alone who read romance novels.  I convinced myself I was part of a minority of dreamers who fantasized in private about romantic love and happy endings.

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Our Words Matter

This month in my post I’ve decided to touch on a topic most of us readers and writers are familiar with but that never gets too old: the importance of book reviews.

Photo: Ylanite Koppens from Pexels

As a self-published author, I have developed a new appreciation for book reviews. I have always been a voracious reader, but before I became a published author I seldom left a review. The books I usually read were written by established authors, authors whose books amasses hundreds, if not thousands of reviews. What difference would one more make to them? Why go through the trouble when an author or publicist might not even glance through it or give it a second thought? But all that changed after I, too, found myself in much need of those.

For new authors book reviews are vital. Emerging authors – especially indie authors – often don’t have the first clue how to get started showcasing their work and gaining visibility. They don’t have a publisher behind them backing their work. When it comes to promoting their books, they are left to their own devices. Reviews help introduce their books to a wider audience and potentially increased ratings. Without them, they not only lose out on sales, but risk fading away into obscurity.

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Love Secret Lies, a debut novel by Teresa Vale

As a reader, I’ve come across some great books that have left a lasting impression in me. Love Secret Lies is one that’s going to stick with me for a long time. It did more than entertain me; it propelled me back to my teen years, reminding me of my own upbringing in an African country. It was a bitter-sweet trip down memory lane, to a time the former Portuguese colony of Mozambique was a completely different place, a safe haven, until war and revolution shattered its peaceful existence and changed the lives of the thousands of people who were forced to flee the country.

For those reasons and because the book deserves to be read, I’d like to share my five-star review of the book.

Finally, a book that made me smile all the way through to the end. Love Secret Lies is one of the best books I have read so far this year. Having lived my teens in an African country around the same time as the protagonist, I found a bit of myself in the narrator as her stories allowed me to recall elements of my youth, pivotal moments that become the foundation of who we are as adults.

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