Brewhaha Book Cafe

For Writers, Readers & Tea-drinkers


September 2016

Wednesday Writer’s Cafe: wardrobe moments~

Occasionally dreams really do come true, and occasionally the digital world materializes into the real, 3-dimensional world. Today has been one of those occasional days for Bri and me. As you’ll know if you’ve spent any time with us here at the book cafe, we don’t see much of each other beyond our blog chats & skype tea parties…. in fact, we rarely meet beyond once a year! But now, at long last, Bri is HERE in London, & our digital tea parties have magically turned REAL!

Bri covering my manuscript with red slashes whilst ‘daintily’ sipping an English Breakfast tea;-)

So as we were “working” away at our 3-D Wednesday Writer’s Cafe at the local patisserie, we got to talking (this is the problem with trying to work with your writing buddy in the same geographical location!), and our conversation led us to this critical question: If you could be transported by a teacup, where would the teacup take you? Would it depend on the flavour of tea? Darjeeling transports you to the mountains of northern India whilst English Breakfast lands you in Jane Austen’s day Bath?

We might have gone on exploring the possibilities all Wednesday long, but then we remembered all of you, our digital cafe friends, patiently awaiting your weekly question. So here it is, your first prompt in preparation for Novel in November:

1. Wherever you are, stop and look around you. Pick an object, any object that catches your eye.

2. Think: if your object were a portal, what sort of world would it take you to?

3. Set a timer for 15 minutes and write about the “wardrobe moment”, ie. the moment of stepping out of your world (with the help of your object) and into another. What do you notice first? Think 5 senses. If it were a movie scene, what sort of music would be playing?

Now let your imagination run wild! Have fun visiting your strange new worlds, and leave us a comment so we can enjoy them too!

Happy Wednesday, folks… and happy writing1

Mez & Bri

September delights

September is without a doubt one of my favourite months. For a lover of literature & changing seasons, September is a deliciously transitional month from hot, languid summer to cool, crisp autumn, not to mention the gateway into the holiday season! September for me is the month for curling up with a chai tea latte and an old favourite book (since the weather’s changed, for some reason I’ve been itching to read Pride & Prejudice for the umpteenth time!)…It’s the time for pulling out the woolly jumpers and cozy socks, for lacing up adventure boots and traipsing under periwinkle skies & crunching through burnt-smelling leaves… for sipping steaming bowls of soup and listening to jazz (Vince Guaraldi Trio is playing “The Best of Charlie Brown” as I write;-).

But this September comes with a cherry on top of all the usual delicacies. If you’ve been following our Friday Countdown, you may just have guessed the flavour of that cherry…?

In mere hours, Bri will be leaving the sunny farmlands of Georgie (where it is STILL 100 F!!!) & flying to an awaiting wonderland that is England in autumn! I shall be meeting her at Paddington Station tomorrow around noon, and once she’s revived with the help of a bracing hot chocolate from Lauderée, together we shall officially commence our Annual Writing Retreat (AWR?) 2016!! 

But wait, there’s more!the mind reels – tomorrow I will be *attempting* to film our very first Brewhaha Book Café VLOG! That means we’ll be able to take you all with us on our retreat to Lyme & our story chasing day out in London!

WATCH THIS SPACE! We’ll be sharing the Youtube link for the VLOG soon as it’s up. September is about to get even better:)

Meanwhile, leave a comment below & let us know what you’re reading & what you love about September. Now it’s back to reading Bri’s manuscript – it’s just too good to speed read!

Happy Birthday!!

Everyone wish Mez a very happy birthday!! Have a good one, Mez!!

Friday Countdown

Let’s get right to this. I leave in three days.

Let me repeat that.



Around 75 hours. I can hardly believe it. So excited, so crazy busy, getting to frantic! But I’m almost packed, which is a major achievement for me. My goal is to get unpacked within 6 months this time. Yes, I’m serious. I didn’t unpack for six months last time! But packing was pretty fun this time. Usually I’m packing thick sweaters and jackets; this time I got to pack t-shirts and jackets. SO MUCH MORE ROOM!

And then there are the books. Who can relate to the following conversation:

Rational Brain: You won’t have time to read.

Love to Read Heart: I can’t go on vacation without books.

Brain: You. Will. Not. Have. Time. You have to read Mez’s manuscript and write your own when you have down time, plus work on the blog. Not read.

Heart: But…but…books…

Brain: No. They’re heavy.

Heart: Your point?

Brain: And take up room in your luggage.

Heart: So?

Brain: So you can’t take them! Especially five of them!

Heart: They’re looking at me. They don’t want to be left behind.

Brain: I give up.

Heart: Yay! Books! Raise your cover if you want to go to England and probably never leave my luggage!

So far I’m taking Mrs. Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (probably all three), The Alienation of Courtney Hoffman, and Persuasion!

Moving on, there are only



until November 1st, and that time is going to fly. Mez and I really encourage you to try out Novel in November this year, and to start preparing for it now. This year can be the year you finally have a completed first draft!

That’s that! The next time I talk to you, I will be In England!  Have a good weekend everyone.



Novel in November 2016 now open for registration!

Dear writers & aspiring ones,

For today’s Wednesday Writers’ Cafe, we are at last popping the cork on the long-awaited bottle of joy that is Novel in November. As of today, registration is OPEN for this year’s event (only just over 1 month away now!). Bri & I want to gently but exuberantly implore you to sign up right away. Success in finishing 50,000 words in a month will take commitment and a fair bit of pre-planning, so we recommend giving yourself a head-start to plan, muse, & get yourself mentally into gear. (Need help knowing where to start? Check out Bri’s top tips for setting yourself up for success before November here!)

So how do I register, you ask?

Registering for the event is a great way of nailing your colours to the mast; of announicng to yourself & the world (ie. us) I AM gonna write that novel, by golly, and ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me! Ready? Just head over to our Novel in November page or use this link to get on our special N in N mailing list. Fear not! We won’t overburden you with long-winded, newsy emails because, after all, we expect you’ll be busy WRITING in November. But here’s what you can expect from us:

  • Throughout Oct., Wednesday Writers’ Cafe will offer weekly writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing & help you think about all the aspects of your story.
  • Throughout Nov., the blog will become a forum for Novel in November – a place where we share our progress (and our frustrations) & invite you to do the same.
  • For email subscribers only: you’ll receive a bi-weekly “care package” in your inbox filled with select tips, resources and bits of inspiration to help you meet your goal.

If you’re thinking “Woe is me! How can I choose between Novel in November & Camp NaNoWriMo?” we say, do both! You can’t have too many resources… as long as those resources don’t cheekily become the means of procrastinating from actually writing…

Now without further ado, hop on over to registration, mark your diaries (or calendars, if you’re in the US) and drink a long drought of confidence. You CAN write a novel this November. Dreams do come true with a heap of hard work and friends to cheer you on.

So consider Bri & me your very own writing fairy godmothers, here to set you up with a coach and team of fast horses that will whisk you off to novel writing success before the clock strikes 12 on 30 November! Bon Voyage!


Two Books for Novel in November

I love writing books. I don’t mean the act of writing books (though I do like that!) I mean books about writing. I have a sky (or halfway-to-the-ceiling) high stack of them, waiting to be read.

So naturally, when Mez and I started talking about participating in National Novel Writing Month, I looked up to see of there were any books to help.

Turns out, I’m not the only one who loves books on writing. I found several, and picked my favorite two to recommend to all of you! Here they are, basically one for planners and one for ‘pantsters’! If neither of these books appeal to you, take a look at Amazon, Writer’s Digest, or your local bookstore for others. Let me know how you like them; I’m always looking for more!


Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

This book is for the planners! If you like charts, outlines, and exact step-by-step directions, this book is for you. Confession: I have not worked all the way through this book. I am not a planner, and I’ve found too much planning makes it hard for me to write. But I started it, then read through it. She has each day planned out and gives you specific tasks to complete. You start with a one sentence summary, to ten scenes, to an outline, to writing each act. She takes you through developing your characters, plot twists, and story structure.

I would recommend this to anyone who is writing for the first time simply because she goes into so much detail and it is so step-by-step. This book is also good if you don’t have time for a lot of pre-novel-in-November work.


Write Your Novel in a Month by Jeff Gerke

This book is very easy to read, but isn’t as restrictive as the other. Instead of 30 mapped out days, the first two thirds of the book are an overview of writing basics. Again, you start out with a one sentence summary, but all of the character and plot development take place before November. I like this book because it gives you a good foundation to start, but then you can focus simply on writing during November.

I recommend this book to people with some experience writing or those whose creativity gets stifled if their writing schedule is too regimented.

Whichever book you chose, I would give yourself the last two weeks in October to work through the first few chapters of Book in a Month and through the writing overview of Write Your Novel in a Month.

Have fun everyone!

Friday Countdown

Nearly forgot!! But it is still Friday here in the US of A…though it already Saturday for Mez. Oh well.

So, Mez and I exchanged manuscripts! Hers is all but done and my computer is currently struggling to open it…I’m looking forward to finally reading it start to finish. Mine…well, I only got about a quarter of the way through. I’m hanging my head in shame. And I’ll be so busy the coming week, I’m  not sure I’ll get any writing done at all! But maybe Mez can help me smooth it out.

Guess what??



until I leave for England!! So close it’s almost time to start packing! I just received Mez’s birthday/Christmas presents in the mail (fyi, her birthday is in 8 days!).

There are



until November 1st. Seems like a long time, right? Trust me, it’ll fly by! I bought my plane tickets back in May, and it seemed like September was forever away, yet here we are. Those 46 days will be gone before you know it.

There’s the count, and it’s dwindling fast. I wish all of you luck in your writing and a great weekend!



Wednesday Writers’ Cafe: the art of ‘No’

You may have read Bri’s tips for success in Novel in November earlier this week. They mostly involve carving out time, ’cause let’s face it: Time is one ingredient every writer requires. No novel has ever been written without it. But if you’re like me, Time is something of a slippery friend. Next to impossible to pin down.

Hence Bri’s top tips for carving out time in November!

But I got to thinking about this problem, universal to all writers, of making time. I think it’s where rubber hits the road for us — it means sacrificing other opportunities. It means saying ‘No’ to people and things that inhibit our commitment to our craft. And it’s particularly hard to say ‘No’ when writing isn’t your full-time, income-earning job (yet!). Few people understand that an inspiring writer IS WORKING even if he/she hasn’t landed a publishing deal just yet. Many such misinformed folk will expect you to drop your ‘hobby’ at any and every request or invitation.

This is where the art of ‘NO’ becomes a vital weapon. It is possible to be polite and forceful, but it takes practice! And most of all, it takes confidence in the work you’re doing – belief that it’s worth the sacrifices you’re making.

So I thought today, as we ready for Novel in November, I’d open up the floor to your thoughts and experiences in this challenging area.

What sacrifices have you made for the sake of your dream of being a writer? How have managed other people’s expectations, & learned to say ‘no’ when your writing time is under threat?

We’d love to hear about your struggles and your victories in making time. Share in the comments below – let’s get talking, & as always, KEEP WRITING! 🙂

Vincent is ready to take on England!

I wanted to share a bit of good news and introduce all of you to a near and dear friend of mine…Vincent. Here’s a picture of him.img_1778

I love him and spend a lot of time with him. I alternate between him and my iMac, Silver. However, Vincent had a bit of a problem. This problem is James. Everyone say hi to James!


Looks sweet, right? He really is! Sweet and fluffy! And he likes chewing on wires, mainly headphones. I don’t want to talk about how much money this habit has cost me! And one wire he chewed through was Vincent’s charger.

I was horrified.

Fortunately for me, my mom has Vincent’s big brother, so we’ve been sharing a charger for over a year. Just so you know, you can’t buy Asus chargers at Best Buy, and Amazon is hit or miss. I bought one a year ago, and it fit, it worked, but didn’t charge VIncent. Not sure why. I couldn’t find the right one on the Asus website, so finally called them up last week. The one I needed was out of stock for two weeks.


What to do? I couldn’t leave Vincent behind, but taking Mom’s charger to England is pushing it. So I took another chance on Amazon. Got it yesterday, checked it today. IT WORKS!! So happy!

Now I really have to stop procrastinating and get writing…Have a great day everyone!

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