9 “UM’s” in 1:45 minutes!

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I’m seriously thinking about contacting Guinness World Records after creating this video yesterday. I am convinced I have set some kind of world record.

My publisher asked me to make a quick video introducing my book, Burning Moon. Sounds simple enough, right? The final product is only  1:45 minutes long, but despite this, I managed to accomplish something truly remarkable… drum roll please…

I, Jo Watson, usually articulate member of the human species, managed to say “UM” nine times.  Twice might have been acceptable, three times is maybe pushing it… but NINE? That’s just downright irritating and I want to apologise in advance to anyone brave enough to make it to the end… all 105 seconds of it.

After watching the video back for the first time, I decided to attempt another one. But my mind was so preoccupied with the word “UM” that I started to sound like the Borg. (You remember them, creepy, pale- faced, half-robot aliens from Star Trek)

“We are Borg. You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.” 

In my case, resisting the desire to say “UM” was indeed, futile. So I had no choice but to turn this little gem over to my publishers, and now it has gone live on Facebook for the world to see. For the world to see that I am a chronic “UM” abuser, and I’m not sure there’s a 12-Step program for it.

So here it is. (Watch at your own peril) I do promise that the book is not as “UM” heavy… at least I hope not.

https://www.facebook.com/eternalromance/?fref=ts

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out 2 August and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1472237927/ref=s9_simh_gw_g14_i1_r?ie=UTF8&fpl=fresh&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_s=desktop-1&pf_rd_r=5Z8030KXJAWVWBDGVKAN&pf_rd_t=36701&pf_rd_p=26de8ef0-2ad7-412c-8634-6cd03b7b73e2&pf_rd_i=desktop

 

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What I’m going to do with my MILLION Dollar book advances?

It’s Monday, so let’s play a fun game called ‘Imaginary Monday’. Today I shall imagine that I’m the next J.K. Rowling. I’m selling books like tasty little hotcakes and everyone is talking about me. And when I say everyone, I just did Ellen last night (she’s not as funny in real life btw) I’m doing so well, and am so hot and famous right now that even Kanye wants to be my friend (I would consider it, but alas, he comes with Kim Kardashian)  My books are number #1 on Amazon and I’m trending on Twitter #BestAuthorInTheWorld. (Step aside Donald Trump- you’re yesterday’s news)

So what is an author like me going to do with my Ba-Zillions of delicious Dollars? Let’s go!

  1. I’ve always fancied myself a private island kinda gal. So I’ve just gone shopping on this website that caters for rich people, like me, http://www.privateislandsonline.com, and bought this sweet, little gem.  I liked its round, distinctive shape, hopefully this will make it visible from space so passing aliens will also know how rich I am and how well I’m doing. (Mmm, perhaps there’s a potential interstellar market for my books too?) Screen Shot 2016-05-09 at 11.55.40 AM

2. Unfortunately, this particular island has no residence, so I’m going to have to built. But I just can’t decide between a gorgeous beach house….

louis-viutton

A floating villa….

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And it’s always been a childhood dream to live in a treehouse…

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But man oh man, I do like the idea of being underwater too. Nothing makes you feel more powerful than staring into the eyes of a shark and living to tell the tale.

the-world-s-most-incredible-underwater-hotel-rooms

BUT WAIT…OH LOOK, my book just sold another 10 million copies (I think I’ll build all 4)

2. But of course I’m going to need a yacht to get around- and why not get the most expensive one. I mean, who would settle for a 100 million Dollar yacht… please. (Now Kanye really wants to be my friend- still a pity about Kim though)

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3. And who doesn’t hate the damn inconvenience of airports, pesky customs officer’s and not to mention the fact that standing in long lines is just bad for your back.  And then, even when you’re traveling Business Class, you still can’t walk around naked. So how about this modest little jet.

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4. Traffic! Rush hour! Taxis! All that time you waste NOT checking your social media platforms because they have that silly little law about not driving while looking at a mobile phone  (tisk)  Solution… ? Self-drive car. Mercedes has this darling little number. Yay! #blessed

Mercedes-Benz F015 - Luxury in Motion

Mercedes-Benz F015 – Luxury in Motion

5. World hunger, poverty, refugees I hear you ask? OF COURSE.. why not, Paramount just bought the movie rights and are turning my book into a trilogy starring hot, young Hollywood actors (the teens are gonna flock)

6. And being an Absolute Addidas Addict, I think I’ll buy myself a whole shop so I can wear a brand new pair of sneakers every day. In fact, I might as well just get Jeremy Scott to design me a whole new wardrobe. (Jeremy, you’ll have to call my rock-star agent if you want to get hold of me xoxo)

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7. Life is so full of mundane and terribly boring little tasks- like renewing your driver’s licence, paying taxes, paying your speeding fines, going to the shops, cooking dinner and all those other snooze-worthy adult things. So why not hire a team of personal assistants, shoppers and chefs to make your day just a little bit easier? Better still, let’s make them all easy on the eye too. (Who doesn’t love a photoshopped James Franco dressed in a Christmas hat, wearing a teeny red speedo and holding a fluffy little kitten)

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6. And most importantly, above all else, entertainment for my birthday party a la Depeche Mode- only the greatest band in the universe. At a mere 1 million dollars for 4 songs at your private bash, I might as well have them for my book launch too. (Yes, I just signed another multi-seven-figure, ten book deal with my publisher)

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So there you have it, my Monday Imaginings. What are you going to spend your first million dollar book advance on?

There are only so many ways to say penis! (sex scene writing woes)

The hard, pulsing shaft of his manhood sought out her most intimate part. The glistening pearl of her womanhood, moistened by the fiery furnace of unbridled passion.  He impaled her on his hot sheath touching her secret centre through the plump, velvet folds of her slick core.” 

penis

No, this is not a competition to see how many euphemisms I can come up with for the act of sex. It is, in fact, a sex scene I manufactured for the purpose of this blog using actual words and phrases I found in real romance novels.

I get sooooo bored writing sex scenes, mainly because there are only so many ways of describing them- hence the use of wild euphemisms above. Think about it from a purely biological perspective, ‘it goes in and it goes out‘ (repeat action several times- hopefully more). Try find interesting and unique words to describe that! I dare you.

As an author, I also find myself faced with a slight predicament. I don’t write category style romance, the traditional Mills&Boon stuff, and I don’t write erotica. I sit somewhere in between the two conventions, so whilst I can’t use words like ‘cock’ and ‘pussy’ and ‘she came like a fucking steam train‘, I also can’t use phrases like ‘sunk into her core’ either. And let me tell you, ‘core’ is a very popular way of describing the vagina (Nb- don’t use that word either). Because there is nothing sexier than saying Penis and Vagina in the middle of a hot love scene. Nipple too, in my opinion, is right up there. But I also cannot bring myself to write “rosy buds” either.

I often find myself sandwiched between a rock and a hard place (see what I did there?)  I do write romance, some might call it chicklit, and sex scenes are a prerequisite! So what is an author like me to do?

Well, I recently did something terrible in a book I posted on Wattpad. Allow me to tell you about the book first (it shall remain nameless) because it is the cheesiest, most ridiculous thing I have ever written.  I vowed I would never venture into the realm of the billionaire -playboy- prince as I like to write about ordinary, flawed characters. But I did. And to top it off, it was a cliched lump of Cheddar. I took the most overused tropes and squished them all into one book.

But it seems that people like cheese, with over 400k Wattpad reads in about a month, it’s safe to assume that readers enjoy some cheese on their reading menus. (Bring on the nachos)

But back to the truly terrible thing I did; when I came to one of the sex scenes, I was so over writing them (I had put 3 in already) that I left the chapter blank. I called it “The big sex scene”  and told my readers to either use their imaginations, or write it themselves! What a cheek, and something I could only get away with on Wattpad.  Imagine doing that in a published book? Whilst I would love to, not so sure my publisher would be down for that.

So as long as I write the books I do, I will probably always have issues with those pesky sex scenes. Perhaps there are ghost writers out there willing to write me some? I can keep them all in a drawer and pull them out when needed.

And if you are struggling with your sex scenes too, please feel free to use my handy euphemism list, it is complimentary with this blog post.

PENIS

  • fiery swollen staff
  • hard pulsating arousal
  • bulging fullness
  • engored fleshy sword
  • rock-hard tumescence

VAGINA

  • apex of her legs
  • damp petals of her needy place
  • the portal to her moist womanhood
  • molten heat within
  • passion-moistened depths of her secret centre

SEX

  • He possessed her Lilly
  • He rose up to meet her hot, burning need
  • plunged into her sacred petals
  • love’s hot lava flowed
  • slipped into her moist tenderness
  • she strained against his impaling shaft

Have fun writing your next sex scene! I know I won’t!

Vampires vs Books

VS

There are several surprising similarities between your book and the dark, clandestine Nosferatu.

  1. Let’s start with the fundamentals. Vampires are bloodsucking, demon soul usurpers. They suck you dry and bleed the life out of you. Just like your manuscript! If you’re anything like me, you will have experienced that moment in which the book you are busy working on feels like it’s killing you- slowly and painfully. It sucks every last drop of blood and energy out of you. It steals your soul and leaves you creatively broken and wanting to plunge a stake into your own heart.
  2. Vampires are immortal, and so is your book once you send it out into the world. It will live on forever in some or other form. This can be a good thing, or a bad thing. I often wonder how many authors cringe and hold their heads in embarrassment at the sight of their less than eloquent first novels? Moral of the story, don’t write a crappy first novel! 
  3. Vampires can disappear into thin air, and so can your book when you’re faced with an impending deadline and your computer decides to crash! Never underestimate the cruel, conniving intentions of your Mac or PC. They are out to get you, especially when you’re racing against the clock. In fact, they seem to know exactly when you are panicking and that’s when they strike. (Note; it is vital to always act calm and casual in front of your computer, no matter how dire your situation is. Always present a cool facade and do not let them see your fear.)
  4. A vampire has immense power and super-human strength. A book has the power to change the world and completely influence popular culture. Take Twilight for example, whether you’re a fan of pale, sparkly romantic leads, or of heroines with the personality and backbone of a sea sponge, is irrelevant. But we can all agree that the effect Twilight had on popular culture, was akin to the explosion of a band like the Beatles. (Also, if you throw a hardcover book at someone’s head with just the right amount of force, they will probably be knocked out cold. Possibly even die.)
  5. Vampires are most powerful at night. Oh, how many torturous nights I have stayed awake staring at the ceiling. Fretting, and obsessing and losing sleep over my work in progress. It is in the dark, quietness that my manuscript has the most power to torment me.
  6. And finally, if you throw a book up in the air, it will resemble a bat for a moment or two as it falls back down to the ground. (Ok, that was super-lame, but I’m running out here)

So there you have it. The reasons your innocent looking book, or manuscript, might be as evil and deadly as Dracula’s bloody fangs.

Can you think of any more similarities?

 

*Jo Watson is a multi-award-winning author of romantic comedies. Her book Burning Moon is coming out in August this year and will be translated into French, German and Italian. Her books have been read over 18 Millions times online on Wattpad and she is represented my Erica Spellman of the Trident Media Group. You can pre-order her book here.

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Moon-Jo-Watson-ebook/dp/B01ARXVTE0/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1461057653&sr=8-1

 

 

 

My CRAZY path to publishing.

pub deal

The internet. The glorious thing that is the world wide web. That is how my journey to becoming a published author began. It is a journey that is very different to most people’s, it is a journey that many authors frown on too- I have since discovered to my dismay.

They frown and raise eyebrows because I didn’t toil for years and suffer the soul-sucking devastation of doors being slammed in my face and endless rejection. (This seems to be considered a right of passage as an author) Instead, my journey was an almost overnight affair, which let me assure you, comes with its own set of unique challenges.

I had no intention of becoming an author in the first place. In fact, it was the last thing on my mind at that stage of my life. I had a very established career, I ran one company and was a partner in another and mainly worked as a TV scriptwriter and storyliner (the person that makes up the stories for the TV show) But one day, as I sat in front of my computer reading  a mail from a commissioning editor at our big South African network, I got very disillusioned. Let me not go into why I was disillusioned, that is a blog all on its own.

I longed to break out of the confines of my small country on the Southern tip of Africa. I longed for my work to reach a wider, international audience.

So I hit the internet. I Googled, “Write overseas” which yielded a million strange results. I then started Googling “Writing Internationally” and so it went on, until I stumbled on an international book writing contest. The annual So You Think You Can Write by Harlequin, hosted on a writing platform I had never heard about called Wattpad. 

The deadline was 3 weeks away and I was like, Ok… I can write a book. I’ve never written one before, in fact, I’ve never even read a romance novel in my entire life! (True story) I read crime thrillers and non-fiction books on Physics and the universe.

But hey… what the hell, right? So I sat down, got an idea and just started writing, posting all my work on Wattpad as I went. In three weeks I had accumulated 22, 000 reads on Wattpad, and bizarrely, bizarrely, bizarrely, I won the competition along with some other amazing writers. And then the book just took off on Wattpad like a crazy thing. It was totally out of my control and it just seemed to have a life of it’s own.

And then BAM… I was offered a 3 books deal. And BAM again, another publisher offered me a deal and so it escalated so fast that my head spun! I realized that in order to pursue this as a career, I would need to dive in head first. I don’t do things in a half-hearted manner. When I do, I do obsessively. So I closed my companies, bold move, took my savings and started writing books.

Things continued to escalate when I got an agent, Erica Spellman at The Trident Media group (only the best literary agency in the world) I say this not to boast, but to try and paint an adequate picture of how I felt when she emailed me and said, “please call me at your earliest convenience.” I cannot, cannot explain the shock, the sheer slap-through-the-face shock when this happened. I cannot express how nervous I was when I called her and I cannot express the strange, surrealness of the moment when she said she would represent me. A day later- literally- she forwarded me email correspondence that she had had with Grand Central Publishing in which they showed interest in my book.

And BAM… I got a three- book deal. The foreign rights were then sold and it will be translated into German, French and Italian.

My head still spins, I still feel like this is not real. I feel like I got dropped into the big leagues and I don’t even know what sport I am meant to be playing. Other authors have had years of practice leading up to the day they get published. They have had ample ‘warning’, I had nothing. I was thrown in head first with no knowledge of the industry at all. I sound ungrateful, but believe me, I am not. I think I am still in a state of shock and am only now settling into my new career, one which was almost thrust on me by accident.

You might be thinking at this stage that I hardly had to work to get this- that is what a lot of people assume. But let me assure you, that I have never worked so hard in my entire life. I wrote my first book, Burning Moon, in 3 weeks, with almost no sleep. And in the last two years I have subsequently written 7 books.

I have now been ‘playing’ at being a full-time author for just over two years now. I say ‘playing’ because I still don’t know what the F I am doing. My books have been read 18 million times, MILLION, on Wattpad and I sit with an agent and publishing deals and am officially making a good living doing it (Mainly due to the fact that our South African Rand is so shitty, and for every $1 I receive, I get R16) I still feel like if I pinch myself, I am going to wake up from all of this.

It has been the craziest ride of my life, and at age 35 I think I have actually found the thing I am meant to be doing. It took me more than ten years to find it, and I found it accidentally, but I’m doing it now and hope it will continue. I hope my career as an author is not going to be as ‘over-night’ as my path to becoming one was. This is a very real fear I have.

I have no idea what the moral of this story is, I think it is along the lines of ‘just put yourself out there‘ because you never know what will come back. The deadline forced me to write without thinking too hard, and there was no room for procrastinating. Look for writing competitions, I swear by them. It is the one way to assure your work is seen by the right people.

That is the nutshell version, I’ll give more details later on!

Someone pass that woman a razor!

deadline razor

The 15th of March might have been an ordinary day for you. So ordinary in fact that you might not even have noticed the little sucker pass on by.

But I noticed it.  Oh yes, I did.

I noticed it because it was the day my 3rd book was due to my publisher. Perhaps some backstory is needed here; Grand Central Publishing bought 3 of my books recently. Two of which they have read, one they have not. And the 15th March was when I had to hand in this book. And because they had not read it, and they loved the other two, the pressure was on. And I did not handle the pressure in a very ladylike manner, at all. 

In fact, the pressure reduced me to something vaguely resembling a Neanderthal. The first thing to slip was my attire. In my single-minded, obsessive pursuit of this deadline I began forgetting to get dressed in the morning. I rolled out of bed in my pajama’s, rolled out the house, across my little lawn and into my office- still in my pajama’s.

The next thing to disappear was my hair brush. Soon I began walking around looking like Cyndi Lauper’s long -lost love child that had been raised by apes in the Amazon  since being dropped off there in the mid-eighties to avoid scandal. My hair got so big that  it began attracting small items; my glasses, pens and pencils and finally small woodland creatures that decided to use it as a nest.

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And then, as the sleepless, stressful, cuticle-biting, chocolate-binging-eating, energy-drink-consuming days passed, I began to forget to shave. All desire to remove unwanted hair had left me. I had almost forgotten that such hair-removal devices even existed. First, my legs started sprouting hairs and then my armpits exploded forth with an abundant hairy bounty! But the worst part… was that I hadn’t even noticed it!

That’s how little attention I was paying to anything outside of my book (my husband- bless his soul- had probably pretended not to notice). I only became aware of my own hairiness when standing in the checkout queue at my local grocery store. I’d raised my arm to scratch my head (it was probably the small rodents causing it to itch) when I saw a man look at me in horror (more so than usual).

You see, the man had just come face-to-face with my unshaveness. He probably thought I was one of those bra-burning, freegan-feminists that’s into free-bleeding and shooting men in the balls. I vowed right there and then that when I got home I would shave immediately…

Only I didn’t. I forgot again, because whilst driving home I solved a plot issue  and rolled right back into my office and carried on typing in all my glorious hairy-ness!

p.s- I have since shaved. Although I am currently relapsing, as I chase a 1 May deadline.