Anne Barwell – Juggling Deadlines

Hi, I’m Anne Barwell, and I’m thrilled that Lou has asked me to write a regular monthly blog post here at Authors Speak.

This month I’m blogging about something I find myself in the middle of a lot. I have a new release on 31 May—Shadowboxing, which is book 1 in my Echoes Rising WWII series. I’m also the middle of writing two books—Comes a Horseman, which is book 3 of Echoes Rising, and Sunset at Pencarrow which I’m co-writing with Lou Sylvre, and is a contemporary for Dreamspinner Press’s World of Love series.

Both have deadlines. Trying to juggle promo, writing, and edits and all the other fun stuff leading into a new release has been busy. More than busy, pretty much insane really.

Add to that working full time, family commitments and a couple of orchestra concerts.

With limited time for all of this, I’ve tried several ways to fit everything in. I start work at lunchtime and so I set an alarm and write before I have to leave for work. It’s a good time to focus on writing as I don’t want to start a long involved job and go in to work an eight hour day already tired. I work in a library so it’s quite a physical job, with a lot of time spent on my feet.

My weekends are my best time to write as I can get a few hours in at a stretch, although those are often full of interruptions such as grocery shopping, messages and housework. I love lists and always have a written to do list numbered by priority and due dates. I’ve also recently split these lists into two—long term and short term.

Usually I start my day with whatever needs to be done first on the list and get closer towards my goals each day.

But with two books deadlined, and promo posts still to write, and taxes due, all around the same time… I worked out how much I had to do and the time I had to do it in and came up with a plan. I figured out what needed to be done by when and broke it down into mini-deadlines, and gave myself a little extra time by taking annual leave from work and will take some time off from orchestra as I don’t play for the weekend workshop we’ll be practising for after this next concert anyway. I’ll work on blog posts, and taxes before work as leaving those mid-point isn’t as frustrating as not being able to finish a scene. I’m already doing website maintenance and updates—including hosting other authors—after work as that doesn’t take the same amount of creative energy. As I don’t get home until after 9pm, I’m too tired to write then. Until the blog posts and taxes are done, I’ll write on the weekends.

I’m looking forward to getting back to just focusing on the books I want and need to write. I have detailed outlines for both of them, and am ticking off scenes and chapters as they’re done.

Wish me luck, and I’d love to hear about the strategies you have in place to deal with this kind of thing….

I’m finishing with an excerpt from Shadowboxing to celebrate its 2nd edition from DSP Publications releasing 31 May.

Echoes Rising: Book One
Berlin, 1943. An encounter with an old friend leaves German physicist Dr. Kristopher Lehrer with doubts about his work. But when he confronts his superior, everything goes horribly wrong. Suddenly Kristopher and Michel, a member of the Resistance, are on the run, hunted for treason and a murder they did not commit. If they’re caught, Kristopher’s knowledge could be used to build a terrible weapon that could win the war.

For the team sent by the Allies—led by Captain Bryant, Sergeant Lowe, and Dr. Zhou—a simple mission escalates into a deadly game against the Gestapo, with Dr. Lehrer as the ultimate prize. But in enemy territory, surviving and completing their mission will test their strengths and loyalties and prove more complex than they ever imagined.

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The light on top of the confessional blinked off, and an old man walked out, a dazed expression on his face. He muttered something under his breath too low for Michel to hear, glanced behind him, rapidly made the sign of the cross, and then repeated it. He then, to Michel’s surprise, prostrated himself in front of the altar and called out in a loud voice, “God, I beg your forgiveness for leading such a boring life.”

Someone snorted. Michel turned in time to see the brunet he’d observed earlier roll his eyes. Whoever was in the confessional masquerading as the local parish priest had an interesting sense of humor. He wondered idly who was in charge of this mission. The brunet certainly didn’t seem surprised by what had just happened.

Michel tentatively opened the now-empty confessional and entered, wondering what he was getting himself into. Whatever the priest had said to the old man, it was definitely atypical of the penance Michel remembered receiving in the past, courtesy of the clergy of the Catholic Church. Surely they couldn’t be condoning this behavior, although he was sure Father Johannes would have agreed for someone to temporarily use the confessional as a meeting place. He’d helped the Berlin Resistance on more than one occasion.

Playing the part of a priest would be the safest way of doing this for the person on the other end of the confessional, especially if he were caught. Father Johannes too, despite his protestations, knew to deny knowledge of anything or anyone if that happened. He would do his people more good here than in a Gestapo cell or a camp.

Michel knelt as the priest opened the small mesh window dividing the two compartments. Searching his memory for the correct phrasing, Michel spoke the precursory words for the sacrament. Confession might be good for the soul, but in his occupation, some things were better left unsaid, even to a priest.

“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” he began. “It’s been two years since my last confession and—”

A bored-sounding voice interrupted him. “Just get on with it, will you? I hope your sins are more interesting than the last person’s. I damn well hit my head when I started to drift off….”

The priest paused to catch his breath, and Michel spoke quickly, before the man could continue his tale of woe. “I’m homesick, and I’m often tempted to click my heels together and say ‘there’s no place like home.’”

There was a moment’s silence, followed by what sounded suspiciously like a very loud sigh of relief. “The answer to your problem is to follow the yellow brick road.”

Michel arched an eyebrow in the half darkness. Was this his contact? “Toto?” he asked.

“In the flesh. What took you so long? You’ve no idea what I’ve been through in here.” There was another moment of silence. “How can I help you, my child?” The man snickered. “Sorry, I’ve always wanted to say that.”

A loud creak was followed by the sun streaming through the now open confessional door. Michel blinked rapidly at the sudden change in light. The “priest” standing in front of him proffered his hand in greeting, although he was careful to keep his voice low so they couldn’t be overheard. “Matthew Bryant. Matt.”

“Gabriel.” Michel considered giving his name rather than his codename, but he didn’t trust this man or his team that far as yet.

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning.

In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra.

She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.

Anne’s books have received honorable mentions four times and reached the finals three times in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical.

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Elizabeth Noble—Ringed Love Blog Tour


Hello and thank you Lou for hosting me today. The first chapter of Ringed Love is posted on Dreamspinner Press, so over the next two weeks I’ll be offering the first one hundred or so words of each subsequent chapter.

Today’s excerpt is from chapter 11.

Todd regarded the note in his hand and flicked at the corner of the paper. He sighed and squared his shoulders before meeting the gaze of the man in front of him. “You sure about this?”

The sheriff nodded. “Is Nick home? I wanted to talk to him as well.”

“Um, yeah, sorry, come in and be comfortable. He’s out in the barn. I’ll go—”

“We can walk out there,” the sheriff said and put one hand on Todd’s shoulder. Todd realized it was partially to steer Todd to the barn and partially to steady himself. His limp was worse, but Todd didn’t mention it, not wanting to embarrass the other man.


New Colorado Protectorate fell with the assassination of Chancellor Clarke. Like many others, Todd and Nick Ruger left the land of their birth and made a home to the north in Yellowknife. Their world was ever changing. The time came to say a sad farewell to some of their friends and loved ones, but they were taken in with open arms by others and in turn offered shelter to yet more. Through the years they remained steadfast in their duty as sentries to protect and defend those that needed it the most.

Time marches on but through it all they hold each other dear and cherish the love they’ve shared. There are still angry ghosts, Windigos and water spirits to contend with. Their lives change, offering them new roles. When the time comes, they do what sentries have done for generations prior and teach others the skills to carry on as sentries. The Rugers lives were rich and their hearts full with their devotion and love for each other. The tradition of the sentries lived on forever. It was the legacy of Todd and Nick Ruger. That was the way it was always meant to be.

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Elizabeth Noble started telling stories before she actually knew how to write, and her family was very happy when she learned to put words on a page. Those words turned into books and fanfiction that turned into a genuine love of M/M romance fiction. Being able to share her works with Dreamspinner is really a dream come true. She has a real love for a good mystery complete with murder and twisty plots as well as all things sci-fi, futuristic, and supernatural and a bit of an unnatural interest in a super-volcano in Wyoming.

Elizabeth has three grown children and is now happily owned by an adorable mixed breed canine princess and her sidekick, tabby cat. She lives in her native northeast Ohio, the perfect place for gardening and winter and summer sports (go Tribe and Cavs!) and stargazing all year long. When she’s not writing she’s working as a veterinary nurse, so don’t be surprised to see her men with a pet or three who are a very big part of their lives.

Elizabeth received several amateur writing awards. Since being published two of her novels have received honorable mentions in the Rainbow Awards. Her novel Jewel Cave was a runner up in the 2015 Rainbow awards in the Gay Mystery/Thriller category.

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Writing From Home with Tempeste O’Riley

Hello everyone *waves* Thank you for stopping by on my first monthly visit here at Authors Speak. It’s hard to believe it’s May! I grew up in the South (yes, it’s capitalized lol Winking smile) and I’m still not used to this nonsense of it being 32°F on May 15th! Nope, ‘tis not natural I tell you!

However, that just makes more all the more thankful for how I do my work. Now, that doesn’t mean my schedule isn’t hectic—because it is—but at least I don’t have to brave the cold just to get to work. Doesn’t help with doctors, sadly, as the days of them coming to you went the way of wagon trains and such :/ Right now is extra insane as I had a release last Friday… yes, on Friday the 13th, and Dreamers’ Destiny has dream walking, a touch of dream weaving, and a fun and quirky Wiccan coven that helps the MCs in their time of need, so I consider it a win on the date. (I’ve always considered the 13th to be lucky :D)

Meanwhile, I write. I attempt to keep to a schedule (haha). I am my own boss, really, though I have to answer to my publisher (whom I adore!) and to my readers (love love love y’all!) all while working around my health and my kids. Trying to manage a career, home, life, etc. is an interesting feat, let me tell you.

A lot of people work from home, whether they are their own boss or work in a job where they can “telecommute,” managing your time, your life, convincing your family that yes, you are working when you are “playing” with the computer. No, you are not goofing off. Yes, you really do need to be left alone while you finish this scene. No, little ones barging in while you try to write that sex scene is not helpful…. But hey, at least I can work in my PJs, right?

Some of the things I’ve done to help me create my “office” both for me and for my family—and to help all of us focus on when I need to write—are the following:

  1. Set Goals. (And post them where they are visible to everyone in the house.) I have a ‘post-it’ on my laptop that has my current writing projects list and both the word and date goals. This mimics the list that is up on the wall in the living room of my home. My kids get a kick out of getting to add or remove things as I either finish a project or come up with a new idea.
  2. Make a Plan. You can’t just make a goal, you have to make a plan for how to make the goal into a reality. How many days a week are you going to write? How many hours or words? How are you going to decide what a “full day” is?
  3. Organize/Stick to the Plan. Google Calendar is my friend. Full stop. Once I have my plans, I then need to make sure I know day to day what I need to do. With all the doctors appointments, kids stuff, etc. I also have to deal with, that can be hard on a non-work day, add in trying to write and yep, no way will I remember what I’m supposed to have on my list. CRS (can’t remember $hit, right?) :/ So I have all kinds of planning to my calendar and then my laptop, tablet, cell… all remind me and can be a source of “yes, I am free then,” or “no, sorry, I am already scheduled out that day/time/etc.” It helps, because with my health, there is just no way I can do the back-to-back running on fumes I did at one point. Plus, it just makes life a lot easier.
  4. Designated Workspace. Now, I don’t have an “office” per se. What I do have is an area or two that I use, depending on what floor in the house I chose to work on, and ways to designate to the rest of my family that I’m working as opposed to it just being “fun” time on the laptop. I envy those authors that have a designated office and all the fun things that go into having an office. I used to have an office and all the fun bits, but I can’t do that anymore. I can make sure I have coffee, water (a must!), footrest, pillows to prop up on and get comfy, and my laptop, of course. I also have an “At Work” sign, so there’s no mistake that it’s now office hours, lol.

The biggest thing for me is to make sure that I remember to take care of what I can and not push too hard. That’s been a huge challenge. So, do you work from home? How do you keep yourself on track?

That’s it from me for this month. Questions, feel free to leave a comment or to email me (tempeste.oriley @ I’m always willing to talk with readers.

Click to learn more about Dreamers' Destiny

Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.

Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life—especially now that they have joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® (as Novice Sister Eroti-Quill… can’t imagine where that name came from).

Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit

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