Blog

Guest Blog: Christine Betts

1930649_24670011908_7981_n

In the lead-up to Christmas I like to make a concentrated effort to promote my fellow creatives and entrepreneurs. I am honoured to introduce to you my good friend and writing comrade, author and businesswoman Christine Betts. Christine and I met about a year ago at the Gold Coast Writer’s Association monthly meeting, and instantly clicked! Ever since, we have endeavoured to support one another’s writing projects in any way possible. Christine is warm in character and a passionate and talented storyteller, and I feel truly blessed and honoured to call her my friend and writing companion.

Christine Betts

Author of Hotel Deja Vu and Paris in a Day

Where to find you: http://www.writerpainter.com @WriterPainter1 on Twitter and @writerpainter on Instagram!

What got you interested in writing?

I was an early reader and it seemed like a logical step. I wrote my first book at 10 although I don’t think it made it to the fridge, let alone the best-sellers list.

How long have you been writing? All my life, but seriously for about 2 years.

Do you have any goals/projects in the pipeline?

So, so many. I have goals coming out my butt to be honest. I’ve had to make my Top 5 list to stay focused. This is done by writing a long list of every project you’d love to tackle, then honing it down to your top 5. You are not allowed to do anything with your creative time that isn’t working towards a goal on this list, preferable number 1 first. I did that this year and have managed to knock #1 and #2 off the list. #3 is getting sorted with Nanowrimo in November with my second draft of my next book although I have also broken my own rules by starting another new project for NaNoWriMo.

What do you like most about writing?

It’s quiet. I like the quiet rhythm of writing and want to stab people who interrupt my writing time. Must remember; stabbing is bad, must use my words.

What genre do you write?

I think you could call it women’s fiction even though that term makes me cringe. You don’t hear about men’s fiction, do you? I write historical and contemporary stories with strong female characters.

What draws you to this genre?

It happened accidentally. If you’d told me three years ago that I’d be writing about Strong, Independent women I would have laughed.

Where do you get your ideas?

I write non-stop and the stories just bubble up. I read a lot, watch a lot of movies and series’. I love stories and art.

Tell us about your process, how do you get into a writing mindset?

For years I was a commercial artist. We didn’t have the luxury of waiting for inspiration to hit we had to get on with it. So now, I just sit and write.

What are you working on at the moment?

My second full-length novel with the working title of The Circle. There are two Strong Female Main Characters and a host of supporting women as well. One MC is a paleoanthropologist in modern day England and the other is a Druid Priestess in 3500BCE.

Which writers inspire/influence you?

This year I have read more Australian authors (Dominic Smith Gail Jones) women authors (Gail Honeyman, Jackie French) and prize-winners (Andrew Sean Greer, Jane Harper). My fave books are Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The last Painting of Sarah De Vos by Dominic Smith, Eiffel’s Tower by Jill Jonnes…and so many more.

What else about your writing journey should we know?

Eventually I’d like to write a business book and a parenting book. My husband and I have done a pretty good job of both over the past 20 years so we might be able to share what we’ve learnt with others.

From my novel Hotel Déjà Vu You can read more here

5th Arrondissement, Paris. April 1944

The hunched figure shuffled along the pitch-black laneway; ruined arm pressed against her side. She had lost one shoe and the bare foot throbbed. For a moment, she imagined the bloody trail she was leaving for the police dogs to follow but part of her no longer cared who might come for her. Would tonight be the night they finally put a bullet in her back? At least death would end the pain and her father would no longer need to worry about her. Still, she shuddered at the thought.

The heat was spreading through her body as she stood disoriented in the dark. One of her father’s favourite sayings echoed in her mind; ne paniquez pas, organisez vous. She calmed her breathing…un, deux, trois, quartre…don’t panic, organise…

She stood rigid, listening for any sound, eyes closed – they were useless in the inky blackness. Again, she thought of her father and the last time she had seen him. They had argued of course, they always did, but this time the words were not barked at each other, a smirk playing at their lips, their familiar jousting. War was no time for games. Instead they whispered urgently behind the closed door of his clinic. He had begged her to stay home.

‘You are most certainly being watched, Ana…’ He was tired but there had been an edge of anger in his voice that she had never heard before.

You are putting this whole house at risk…’

She had raged inside, but then calmed herself knowing that dramatics and hysteria would not convince him of anything but her immaturity. Still, she spoke with force, the anger pulling her lips taut across her teeth.

You can find my work by searching Hotel Déjà Vu by Christine Betts on Amazon or by contacting me on my website www.writerpainter.com.

Christinebetts 1.jpg

Blog

Writing Fact As Fiction: Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Parts I & II

Creative Non-Fiction: a term introduced to me by my mentor, fellow author Lee Scott. Finally I had a name for what I had been working on all these years! Up until that day I had been calling my first book a ‘biographical novel’.

The words ‘creative’ and ‘non-fiction’ describe the style. These are stories about real people and events, but unlike a biography or autobiography, are written to read like fictional stories. It is a way of storytelling that creates a safe platform for anybody to tell their story and retain their privacy. As the writer, you also have the ability to be more creative, free of the restrictions of facts.

Creative Non-Fiction is not restricted to novels. The genre, also known as literary nonfiction, includes travel writing, nature writing, science writing, sports writing, biography, autobiography, memoir, interviews, and essays.

Asha’s Story: Part Two continues the story of a young woman’s experiences working as an exotic dancer in Brisbane, Australia. Three years after daringly stepping into the world of stripping, Asha has left The Runway, the club that made her an exotic dancer, to make a fresh start at at rival venue Mademoiselle’s. Here she is faced with a whole new set of challenges, including an interstate adventure to Melbourne’s glamorous strip club scene. Asha’s personal and professional lives collide in unexpected ways, in the lead-up to the grande finale of her stripping adventure.

The character of Asha and her experiences are intended to represent the experiences of many dancers, and was also an opportunity for me to include some of the stories and events from the dancers stories I could not fit into Stripping Past & Present.

A Few Tips on Writing Creative Non-Fiction:

Get Your Facts Straight

Even though you are writing a story that is stylised as fiction, the bottom line is is that the story is still based on fact. While you can be more creative with the narrative, you are still responsible for getting the facts straight. For example, you might be writing a story about the Titanic. You might create your own characters, but you will still need to get the dates correct, statistics etc. You could come up against scrutiny otherwise, for which you will be ridiculed.

Disclaimer

Think of the opening of ‘Law & Order’.”The following story is fictional and does not depict any actual person or event.” Although we can tell by watching many episodes that they have been inspired by true events, with minor detail changes slipped in here and there.

Repercussions

In my experience of writing The Wilted Rose, my book was received relatively well by the family and friends of the main character. Some minor complaints were made that the book was too harsh on the Brethren church, however the events recounted in the story were based on the main character’s personal experiences, for which I had full permission to use.

Everybody has a right to tell their side of a story, even if someone else might not agree with their particular angle. However sometimes our best efforts to change detail are not enough. I have heard stories from other authors who, despite doing their absolute best to disguise detail, received complaints from readers whose inspired character had only a minute role and mention in the story. And even when you have the blessing of the person you’re writing about, be sure to maintain good communication with them about the details of the story, so that you are both clear on what will be included.

Be Objective.

When I am writing Creative Nonfiction, I like to think that I am laying out the facts on the table, telling a story from someone’s point of view. If someone else comes along and challenges the idea that I have conveyed in the story, then that is their opinion. Allow the reader to take from the story what they will and form their own opinion without creating an air of bias by putting your own voice and angle.

Language

Good news! Because you are working with a fictional narrative, you have the ability to be more creative with your language! You can veer away from the mundane ho-hum of factual nonfiction, with the ability to make full use of language and storytelling techniques.

Selection of Stories

As mentioned before, Creative Nonfiction is a great way for many people to share their stories, which may go unheard otherwise. However as the author you should still be mindful of which stories you select to use. A memoir about an ordinary person’s first year of college isn’t incredibly interesting. There would want to be some drama, something inspiring perhaps. When writing creative nonfiction, a clearly defined audience is also essential. Who can relate to the material you’re writing about?

What I love about the genre is that it gives the ability for more and more people to share their stories with the world, whether they write them themselves or utilise a professional writer to do so. I certainly hope we start seeing more of these types of stories in circulation.

Sexy Womanh hold hands and fingers on legs in fishnet stocking posing

Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two will be available worldwide on Amazon in paperback and Kindle eBook from July 20.

Blog

From The Outside Looking In: Paul, The Customer

I was twenty-one years old celebrating a friend’s eighteenth birthday in Brisbane when I visited my first gentlemen’s club. I kept coming back because it was just like hanging out at a pub with mates, but with a much nicer view. My regular venue introduced poker nights, but I was going in for weekly drinks after work well before that started.

To quote the TV show ‘Cheers’, a good gentleman’s club experience is where everybody knows your name. Where the dancers are not too pushy, and in turn are not pressured by management to hustle.

Part of the relationship that appeals to a customer, especially a regular one, is the individuality of a particular dancer. Sometimes they just need to spend that little bit of extra time sitting and talking, and when a hostess or manager pounces on the dancer and tries to speed up the booking process, it could potentially undermine the dancer’s efforts.

Managers should coach the girls, but not shoo them on from a customer because he hasn’t bought a dance within three minutes. Not every guy will book in that short amount of time.

For me to book a private dance, there obviously has to be some kind of physical attraction between the dancer and me. It’s nice when a girl has put some thought into her presentation, but being a Barbie Doll isn’t what it’s all about for me either. I need to have a connection with her. I’ve booked big girls, skinny girls, redheads, blondes and brunettes. I don’t have a particular ‘type’, but the one thing they have all done is taken their time and shared with me a bit of their personality.

I like talking to the dancers, but if one were to approach me and say, “Hi my name is such and such, do you want to go for a dance?” that would help me make up my mind pretty much straight away not to book her. That might work in some places and with some people, but I like it when the girl has some rapport. I want to be able to relax and spend my money at my leisure.

Just as it would be for a dancer coming from a customer, body odour and bad breath have got to be the worst turn-offs when interacting with a dancer. Excessive bad language is another one. We all swear but every second word is certainly not attractive.

Also, if a dancer speaks badly about other girls in order to make herself look more appealing, it only reflects badly on her. I might be fond of the girl she is talking about, and she would lose my business as a result of bad mouthing.

It’s perfectly okay to be having a bad day, but I don’t want to feel obliged to spend money on a dancer out of guilt. It’s not very appealing to book her when she is moping around, and it’s especially de-motivating when the dancer complains about how poorly she has been earning.

Some dancers don’t talk to couples that come into the club, but I strongly encourage it, even so much going the extra mile to focus on the female first. Try to make her night as much fun as her partner’s. If you get a positive result, then work on the guy.

Couples go into clubs to explore something new and exciting together, and dancers can earn double the money if they secure a booking with two people. Coming from a personal standpoint, my visiting clubs has had only a positive effect on my relationship with my wife, who has become quite the regular customer herself!

From watching the dancers in their element, I have had the opportunity to observe and learn a lot about how the girls work. They work the room from the stage, and pick up on who’s watching them. They make eye contact and go to those people when they come off stage.

Girls, if you sit in the corner and expect a customer to come to you, you might be waiting awhile. Even if you’ve done the rounds and no-one’s biting, go sit with someone who’s previously acknowledged you, or who you think might be interesting and have a chat.

Obviously start with the ones that tipped you, but at least introduce yourself to the others and mention that you’ll come back and have a chat later. People love talking about themselves and if they enjoy your company, you’ll probably at least get your next drink bought for you, a tip or maybe even that dance they said no to earlier. Most customers will be willing to reward your time in one way or another.

If you are a customer at a club, the girls don’t have to be at your beck and call and they certainly don’t have to accept your dance. If you’re going to behave like a douche then expect to be left alone. Realise the girls need to make money and they do not get paid to simply be there at the club. If you have no intention of tipping or booking them, let them go on their way when they want to, and don’t make them feel bad about it. No tips or dances means no money for them, and many clubs charge the girls a door fee just so they can work. So if you’re not planning to book a dance just yet, be upfront about it. The girls will appreciate your honesty and may even decide to keep you company for a little longer anyway.

A lot of clubs take a cut of the girl’s tips if you give them the money on the floor. So if you want to tip her, check to see when she’s going on stage next. In saying that, if you’re sitting in a designated tipping area around the stage, expect to be asked to tip them. Premium viewing should pay a premium price and you could be costing the dancer money by taking up a seat from someone who wants to tip.

The dancers that work in the clubs provide entertainment and in turn create a bit of a fantasy world. The girls are definitely brave, and on more than one occasion I’ve suggested to a heckler that if they think they can do a better job, then they should get up on the stage themselves!

Sexy Womanh hold hands and fingers on legs in fishnet stocking posing

Paid To Dance: Asha’s Story Part Two is AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER in paperback and Kindle eBook for release WORLDWIDE on July 20th, 2018.

US: https://amzn.to/2MstBPb

UK: https://amzn.to/2KpEKQ9

CANADA: https://amzn.to/2tKXna6

AUS: https://amzn.to/2yODFAb