All posts by Sacha Black

Writespiration #137 52 Weeks in 52 Words Week 42

writespiration-20172017 brings 52 challenges over 52 weeks. Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less. Submit your entries in the comments or on a blog post and I post them the following week with the new prompt. You have until Sunday to enter.

Next week we will have missed Halloween, so today’s challenge is to write 52 words of a character that is utterly terrified.

5 Top Tips To Improve Your Sentence Quality #Amwriting

A little over a year ago, I saw a guest post on one of my writing heroes websites: writers helping writers. Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi announced their brand new writing Coach residency. The coaches were HIGHLY esteemed with the likes of James Scott Bell and C.S Laiken.

When I saw it I was so excited. I thought it was amazing that they had brought together such an insane line up of coaches and I’d get the benefit of learning from all their tips. I also made a promise to myself that day. I swore that whether it was in five years, fifteen years or fifty years, I would be able to call myself a writing coach. I didn’t know how I’d manage it or if I’d ever be good enough to call myself that. But that didn’t matter. I wanted to be one and I was determined to help others.   So I was totally and utterly mind fuggled when a few weeks ago, an email from Angela herself dropped into my inbox asking if I’d join their coach programme… UMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM Let me think about that…!

From Gify

FUCK YEAH I WILL. Need I say more! I’m still in shock, I was in shock when the new coach line up was announced, and I was even more shocked when yesterday my first guest post went live. I’m in amongst some ridiculous talent, I can’t quite get my head around the fact mug shot is in amongst a CRAY CRAY line up, but there we are. In my first guest post, I’m talking about how we as writers often focus on story and character arcs and forget that one of the fastest ways to improve our novels is to focus on the detail. If you’d like to check out my 5 top tips and instantly polish your craft, go check out my first coach post:

Getting Jiggy With The Nitty Gritty, or, Improving Your Sentences

  You can also find me on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoodreads Don’t forget, 13 Steps To Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains the textbook AND workbook are out now. Click this link for the textbook  Click this link for the workbook You can also get a FREE villains cheat sheet by joining my mailing list just click here. SaveSave SaveSave

Putting Theory into Practice – 13 Steps To Evil Workbook Launch

How do you become the best writer you can? Is a question I constantly ask myself in my quest to write full-time. One of the most obvious answers I’ve discovered is by continuing to learn lessons and develop your craft. But lessons only take you so far, right? Why? Because you have to put them into practice.

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At the tail end of May, I released 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft Superbad Villains which was jam-packed with resources and tips to improve your villains and help you take them to the next level. But what was missing from that book, was a way for you to put those lessons into practice. I promptly rectified that, which is why today sees me launch:
If you’d like to buy a copy of the workbook, you can find it here.
Or, if you never got round to buying the original 13 Steps, you can save yourself a few dollars and buy the complete boxset here. If you do purchase a copy and you have a few spare minutes, I’d really appreciate a short review on the site you bought it. Reviews are like currency for an author. Want to know a little more about the 13 Steps To Evil Workbook? Amazon Book Blurb: Sacha Black’s book 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft A Superbad Villain showed writers how to create their ultimate villain in an easy and humorous, step-by-step guide. This workbook puts those lessons to use by building on each chapter in 13 Steps To Evil and guiding you through the development of your indisputable bad guy. It’s time to get to the core of your villain and supersize that evil. Inside the workbook you’ll find hundreds of thought provoking questions, exercises and creativity boosting prompts. This resource will help you:
  • Choose the perfect villain traits
  • Create sinister character histories and motives
  • Avoid pesky clichés
  • Design conflict and tension that grips your reader
  • Build your market knowledge so you create a villain that sells
Craft your characters through easy to digest exercises that empower you to conquer your villain for life. Read the 13 Steps To Evil Workbook today and start creating kick-ass bad guys. I also run a Facebook group where you can work through any villainous issues you might have with me and the others in the group. If you’d like to join the group, click here. And in case you missed them, here are those links one more time: Workbook
Complete boxset 
You can also find me on FacebookTwitterInstagramPinterestGoodreads SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave

Writespiration #136 52 Weeks in 52 Words Week 41

writespiration-20172017 brings 52 challenges over 52 weeks. Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less. Submit your entries in the comments or on a blog post and I post them the following week with the new prompt. You have until Sunday to enter.

Write about what happens next:

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Writespiration #135 52 Weeks in 52 Words Week 40

writespiration-20172017 brings 52 challenges over 52 weeks. Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less. Submit your entries in the comments or on a blog post and I post them the following week with the new prompt. You have until Sunday to enter.

Write about the day you ignored the ‘KEEP OUT’ sign.

#Win Signed Paperbacks – YA Fantasy

I’ve been talking about Keepers, the first book in my  YA fantasy series forever, and finally it’s coming to the rainforest bookstore in just a few weeks. November 17th heralds my first fiction release and I couldn’t be more excited. As part of the launch, I decided to run a giveaway competition to win…       

1 of 2 signed paperbacks or

1 of 5 eBook copies

  If you’d like to enter, all you have to do is sign up here. That’s it. Simple. Competition closes 10th November at 12 pm. Winners will be notified at 7:30 pm BST on the 10th. Books will be shipped no later than 3 weeks after the 17th November (author copies take a while to arrive). Here’s the book blurb: Eden’s life is balanced… …until her soul is bound to her enemy. When her parents are murdered, the realm of Trutinor is threatened. Then a mysterious human arrives and changes everything. As Eden’s world spirals out of control, she doesn’t need a charismatic Siren from her past returning to complicate life. Now, saving Trutinor is the last thing on Eden’s mind. Three boys. Two murdered parents. One deadly choice.   You can also add Keepers to your Goodreads list, here

Celebrating Your Achievements with Self-Help Author, Shelley Wilson (@ShelleyWilson72) #BlogTour

I am terribly ‘un-present.’ I roll from one project to the next, never stopping to appreciate the mountain peak I’ve just climbed. I finish and move on. It’s unhealthy and it’s probably one of the reasons I’ve spent most of this year either burnt out or close to a burnout. Shelley Wilson, Bloggers Bash committee member and fellow non-fiction and YA Fantasy writer is here today to tell us a thing or two about why we need to stop and admire the view from the top. Listen up folks, don’t be a dufus like me. Shelley knows her shit! To buy How I Motivated Myself to Succeed AmazonCOM AmazonUK Thank you so much to my lovely host, Sacha, for being a part of my blog tour for the release of my latest non-fiction book, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed. Here’s a guest post I’ve written about celebrating your achievements. We set goals, and we work hard to make them happen, and then we arrive at that wondrous day where it all pays off and we achieve a dream. That dream could be losing weight for a special occasion, publishing a book, running a marathon, or something as simple as getting to the bottom of the ironing pile! As children, we were often rewarded with a small treat when we achieved something wonderful. Celebrating achievements is not a new phenomenon and yet we shy away from congratulating ourselves on a job well done. I often blog about self-sabotage and comparing ourselves to others on my motivational blog (http://www.motivatemenow.co.uk) and the common thread running through the comments often turns to the theme of limiting beliefs. ‘I can’t possibly tell anyone I’ve lost four stone in weight because my other friends who struggle with their weight might not speak to me.’ ‘If I tell my friends about that two book deal with Penguin Random House they might think I’m bragging.’ Releasing these thoughts can be tricky as we have conditioned ourselves over many years of watching, listening, and learning. However, it’s relatively easy to rethink how we handle certain situations, and I believe that learning to celebrate your achievements is the best place to begin.

Image from Amazon

Here’s a brief excerpt from my new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed:
“One of the most important discoveries I made during my year-long journey was the value of celebrating my achievements – however small they might be. I always took a moment at the end of every month to write a summary post and absorb the implications of what I’d just achieved. In my first month’s challenge, I lost ten pounds in weight, for month four I gave up alcohol for thirty days. These aren’t massive accomplishments, but they were important to me and meaningful for the voyage I was on. Observing the progress you make daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly keeps you focused on your destination, but allows you to enjoy the journey.”

Think about some of the things you’ve achieved recently. Perhaps you’ve made progress with a writing project, or survived your first day at university! Have you finished knitting that scarf, or completed a jigsaw that was thwarting you? Celebrations can take many forms, from sharing a coffee with friends to buying something special. It’s your choice how you celebrate but never skip this step in your personal development. You’ve worked hard, and now it’s time to celebrate! No matter what you hope to achieve, recognizing that you are making progress is an important step. There were many times when I wanted to throw my manuscript in the bin but I’m proud of myself for powering through the self-doubt until I arrived at the finish line. I’d like to end with another thank you to my delightful host, Sacha. Thank you for reading and be sure to check out the other host spots for more inspiration, motivation, and a sprinkle of fun. If you would like to read more about Shelley’s celebration techniques then take a look at her new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, out now in paperback and eBook, and packed full of information on self-care, freeing yourself from fear, organizing your life, and much more. To buy How I Motivated Myself to Succeed AmazonCOM AmazonUK More About Shelley: Shelley is a multi-genre author of non-fiction self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. Her latest release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed is being dubbed as the sequel-that’s-not-a-sequel to her bestselling book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. She writes a personal development blog (www.motivatemenow.co.uk) as well as an author blog (www.shelleywilsonauthor.com) where she shares book reviews, author interviews, and random musings about writing. Shelley was thrilled to win the Most Inspirational Blogger Award at the Bloggers Bash in 2016, and to scoop second place in the same category in 2017. She is a single mum to three teenagers and a black cat, loves pizza, vampires, and The Walking Dead, and has a slight obsession with list writing. You can find Shelley here: Website, Writing Blog , Motivational BlogTwitter, Facebook YANon-Fiction  You can also see more of Shelley’s fab tips on her blog tour here:   So, are you a celebrator or an ignorer like me? Let Shelley know in the comments below. SaveSave

13 Steps To Evil #Writespiration Writing Competition Winners

It’s been a little longer than I anticipated due to an untimely bout of burnout followed by shingles. But nonetheless, back in June, I announced a writing competition to celebrate the launch of 13 Steps To Evil and we now have winners! I was amazed at the number of entries and the quality of all of them. It took me three nights to choose winners because I loved them all. I want to thank everyone who participated and say that even if you haven’t won, your entries were excellent. Before I announce the winners, here’s a little reminder of what you’ve won: Prizes: 1st Place
  • Signed paperback of 13 Steps To Evil
  • £20 Amazon voucher
  • A first chapter or 1000 word critique from me
  • Your choice of a critique of your book marketing plan or an hour skype advice session on marketing your book. (Some pre-work will be needed if you choose a skype session)
  • Publication of your winning entry on this website
  • Critique of one of your villainous characters (either by a summary or selection of 3 key chapters with your villain in them)
2nd Place
  • Ebook copy of 13 Steps To Evil
  • A first chapter or 1000 word critique from me
  • Publication of your entry on this website
3rd Place
  • Ebook copy of 13 Steps To Evil
  • Publication of your entry on this website
  TO THE WINNERS First Place: Diana Wallace @DWallacePeach Diana’s entry is so visual and sinister, I absolutely loved it. Her flash evokes strong and twisted images in my imagination and I pictured every single moment of it. A fantastic writer and utterly brilliant villain.
Barus by Diana Wallace The woman studied him in silence. Barus sensed her eyes on his face, begging for a glance, on his hands as he cleaned the delicate needles and polished his blades. He possessed exquisite hands, long-fingered, soft and nimble. Hands for caressing the cheeks of children and lovers. His preparations complete, he faced his charge. “Are you comfortable?” Her brow furrowed, and he sighed, for how could she answer such a question? “An unfair inquiry. My apologies. Are you in pain? Thirsty?” She shook her head, the gag preventing all but a muffled reply. “You must understand the empire’s need for a flaying, a warning to all who flirt with rebellion. Your ordeal will save hundreds, perhaps thousands of lives.” He took a stool beside her chair, brushed a bright tear from her eye, and stroked her iron-bound arm. “I shall be quick.” Her fingers curled into a fist. He withdrew his touch, the time for compassion ended. The life of his young son depended on unbearable pain, and he, the emperor’s latest executioner, would comply. He unbound her gag, and she spat in his face, cursed his spirit to the shadowlands. He smiled at her prophetic appeal. Needles first, then knives. The entire city would hear her scream.
Second Place: Charise de Becker Charise’s villain is deliciously evil. I love the concept behind it and the nasty habit of finger collection. It made me smile and shudder and laugh at the mention of 13 Steps To Evil.
Evil At Your Fingertips by Charise de Becker @RiesieDe Clive was awkward but careful, an avid reader with an insatiable appetite. He had other collections, besides books, the ultimate being his collection of fingers. Gazing at the neatly labelled digits, magnified by formaldehyde, he caressed each one and reorganised them chronologically. Holding on to the most recent jar, he imagined he could feel his victim’s power, their skill through their fingertips. The irony was, growing up he was always surrounded by pointing fingers, accusing stares, vicious whispers – he was the killer’s kid – but unlike those fingers, these ones gave him a sense of purpose and peace. Hearing the rusty post box, he replaced the jar and headed to the drive to retrieve his package. Slicing through the box, Clive withdrew his copy of ’13 Steps to Evil’ and held the book up to his nose, he breathed in the new book smell, caressing the cover with his scarred finger tips. It would make excellent reading for his long trip to London. Tucking it away in his on-board bag, he turned to his computer, bringing up his favourite blog page and zooming in on the author. She was brilliant.  With brilliant, skilled fingers.  His new thrill now, was getting one of those delicious digits through customs.
Third Place: Judy E Martin aka Edwina’s Episodes @Edwinasepsiodes Judy took me by surprise, and that’s why I loved her poem. She’s a fantastically witty poet, and her ability to rhyme, unrivaled. But how could I not give her a place with the winners with her choice of villain? An awesome poem that I will laugh at for a long time. A truly wicked one too! 
The task this week should be a breeze Though it is not in my realm of expertise But I’m ready and willing To write a bad-ass villain So, the taskmistress, I can appease!   Every week she gets more commanding You’d think she’d be understanding Always upping the ante #Writesiration vigilante Her standards are very demanding!   Did you know she has a committee? The members of which I do pity They do as they’re told Or terrors unfold I’ve heard it  gets rather shitty   She plays nicely once every year When at the Blogger’s Bash she appears In her  killer black heels Oozing charm and appeal While plotting her evil ideas   Sometimes there is some relief Although it is often quite brief She tries to beguile Being kind for a while But wickedness still lurks underneath   She has just written a book And I have already taken a  look 13 Steps to Evil Caused me quite an upheaval She knows how to create a good crook   Now just between you and me So many similarities I see With the villains and her I’m sure you’ll concur They are all based on her, can’t you see?   Now I know you’ll think I am whack The worst villain is Sacha Black!
Thank you once again to everyone who entered and congratulations to the winners I will be in touch in the next couple of days to give you your prizes. SaveSave SaveSave

Writespiration #134 52 Weeks in 52 Words Week 39

writespiration-20172017 brings 52 challenges over 52 weeks. Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less. Submit your entries in the comments or on a blog post and I post them the following week with the new prompt. You have until Sunday to enter.

Write about the night you accidentally spent in a museum.

Writespiration #133 52 Weeks in 52 Words Week 38

writespiration-20172017 brings 52 challenges over 52 weeks. Your challenge is to write your story using the weekly theme/prompt and write it in just 52 words…. EXACTLY, no more, no less. Submit your entries in the comments or on a blog post and I post them the following week with the new prompt. You have until Sunday to enter.

This week I want you to write about the weird kid at school