Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Trouble with Boas

I am sitting here looking at hands that are orange and my neck and the lower half of face is strangely tanned. I looked like I ran out of self tan half way through the process!!!! The reason was the 60's dance at the eldest ds's school. Parents were reluctantly invited and I didn't want to miss oportunity to embarass the boy so I donned black mini, boots and boa. The boa was procured earlier in the day at Anne Summers - where else does one get a boa? However the Anne Summer's design team clearly didn't expect you to wear it all night as the die on the black feather has turned my skin a wonderful shade of fake tan orange!!!

On the boa subject I took my dh to the London chapter of Romantic Novelist Association lunch yesterday. He had a ball meeting Jenny Haddon, our esteemed chair woman. He was still trying to reconciled that she had written 45 Mills and Boon romances when he met one of the latest Mills & Boon authors, Fiona Harper and her dh. His head was spinning and it wasn't the wine. When Jean Fullerton came and asked him what he thought. He was smiling when she commented that there wasn't a boa in the room! Well his smile broaden as he knew the newly acquired boa was in my handbag:) Of course he didn't want to own up to having been in Anne Summers with me!!!!

The week has been very productive. I pushed past the crap (its ten pages of crap - the rest was OK) and have seventu pages left in the re-write! So this week i will put this re-write to bed amd reread the Sol Stein's Solutions for Writers then give it one last rewrite. Yes I am being annal.

The high note of the week, I was catching up with all my web stuff and saw this wonderful comment from Anna on the eharlequin Struggling Writers board "Liz - you were just lovely to me at the RNA Winter Party! I'm still smiling from your compliments and good wishes. And blushing from them, too! Folks, Liz is one of those people who make other people feel wonderful, and that's a precious thing." Wow!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


I have begun the revision process again today after the Thanksgiving break and its crap. Each sentence sounds so stilted to me. I hope its my mind being over critical but I want to shread it again. I know I have already reworked these pages and I am wondering if the original was as stilted as this sounds. I guess I need to go look at the earlier pages. Can on over work something too much???

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

I am alive. So much has happened since I last posted that I don't know where to begin so I will begin with the best bit. My best friend Doz is here for Thanksgiving. I haven't seen her in the flesh in seven years but it hasn't mattered. There is no one aside from my own parents who has known me longer. I am on such a high having her around. It is a wonderful touchbase on how I have changed and how I haven't changed.

Writing.......well none. Thinking lots. Turkey? Not until Sunday.

I am so excited. Doz hasn't had the opportunity to spend more than a few hours with my eldest and her Godson since he looked like the picture above and now here's a photo of him playing rugby this weekend. And people think I've changed!!!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Athens and Teaching

Arrived home late last night from a weekend in Athens. The last time I was there was twenty three years ago. The city has changed but I think I have may have changed more:) I found myself traveling down memory lane suddenly sure that Janet and I ate in a particular square in the Plaka and wondered why now how we found the waitors so interestingback then. Maybe they were better looking twenty odd years ago. However I loved watching the brava of the men. They catch your eye then preen a bit. It did make me smile and then I thought of Kate Walker's Greeks which made me smile even more. No wonder they were preening!!!

I think the break away from writing was great. This morning I gave a workshop on mind mapping to dd's year three class. It is wonderful how simple and magical story telling can be. Now I must get back to the magic but I leave you with a photo of the weekend(more will follow when I have my camera back at the end of the week).

Friday, November 10, 2006

Romance on the Up

Romance is blooming according to The Book Standard (the article). What a relief to know that its on its way up. I have thrown my writing career in its path I am relieved to see its not dying. Not that I ever thought it was. I have been a romance reader all my life. I have read it in all its forms and enjoyed everyone which is why I want to write Romance. I am pleased and lucky to be a member of New Writers Scheme of the Romantic Novelist Association.

However it was interesting to hear an acquaintance who has worked in the publishing trade in the US rubbish romance. I could see her face fall when I said I was writing romantic fiction. I fell to the bottom of the pile in her view. Thankfully it was only her view and the buying public don't share it!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Eating - Rant

There must be something about tackling revision that makes me binge. I haven't done any revision in three weeks and my diet was just fine thank you. Now trying to get back to the grind I am eating out of control again! What is the connection. Is it the feelings of inadequacy that make me eat two bowls of crunchy nuts when I don't really like them but they are there??? Reeses are calling me from the corner store. I know they are there. I am not physically hungry but it doesn't matter.

I don't want to revise any more. I don't want to write in a vacuum feeling its all shit and why do I bother. I am staring at page 57 wondering how to make Tristan more edgy when I don't know if I want him more edgy. I find him delicious as he is but if I don't make him more edgy or something then the end of the book will not feel as good. It sucks and I am ranting. Help!!

Blind Date Marriage

I have been waiting a year for this book, Blind Date Marriage. It was alomst exactly a year ago at RNA Winter party that Fiona Harper won and award and most importantly heard the news that her manuscript was going to be published. I was thrilled for her. She had been my buddy at the conference in Egham. We were both 'virgins' to the conference and her friendship make it easier in the sea of faces that I didn't know. So a year ago I felt almost as if I had won with her.

Then the Summer Party rolled along and Blind Date Marriage won another award. Fiona's face was a picture. I was so chuffed for her. But I had to wait until Monday to get my hands on the book. Was it worth wait? You bet. I have just finished wiping my eyes. I should have been revising but the book kept calling to me. I had begun it last night and tiredness overwhelmed me. Their story wouldn't leave alone until I read through to the happy conclusion but what a ride to get there! Great story, wonderful characters and hero that you could kill but his turn around was so satisfying that you are glad you haven't actually killed him in the end :) Bring on the next book in March!!!

Now I must check back to work and stop mooning around with a silly grin on my face!


Yesterday was very hard going. Three weeks was too long away and trying to get back into a good routine is painful. I had to read from the beginning and not take up half way through August Rock. I still have all the great ideas swilling about in my head but trying to layer them into the story is proving hard. I find myself self slipping into the word by word edit when right now I need to focus on the big picture.

On an up note I began Fiona Harper's Blind Date Marriage. Great book to lift one out of the doldrums. Love the pacy dialogue and I am having to stop myself from diving into it right now rather than REVISE. The crows of doubt are circling and if I don't get my act together then they will be plucking my flesh soon.

On another note I had to speak sternly with the seven year old dd this morning. Over half term I vaguely remember a conversation with her brothers 14 and 12 on the actual meaning of bitch and bastard as one does. Well little ears took this all on board and she announced this morning that so and so was a bastard!!! I stopped in full stride. What? No, mum he really is. She then when on to explain the child in questions parentage and by definition she is correct! We then spent the remainder on the walk to school saying that one does not use these term even if they apply as they can be very hurtful. HELP!!!!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Computers Make Me Scream

I have spent the most frustrating day trying to get my computer to behave as it should. I have done this instead of writing or revising. The later two would have been a more productive option. I am writing this from the kids computer.

Yesterday I finished An Old-Fashioned Arrangement by Susie Vereker. I enjoyed the book start to finish. It appealed to me as at its heart is the vulnerable existence of the ex-pat spouse. Having led a global organization of expat spouses this book hit home. Despite many people's preconceptions its not all gin swilling and shopping. Quite the opposite in most cases. The heroine, Kim, is so very much like many of us who have trailed. It highlighted the problems that can arise if you have don't have a plan for the future, left your career behind, or have a spouse who leaves a lot to be desired. Kim finds herself in a bad spot with some interesting choices to get her out of it. I loved the humour in the book. It wasn't in your face but underlined the whole work. The pace of the story never let me down and I was kept glued until the satisfying last page. Even if you haven't lived an expat life I think its an interesting question posed in the book about how far from your 'normal' will you push yourself to survive.

Yesterday I spent a wasted morning in court or more sprecisely waiting to be a witness in a case. Being the promt law abiding soul I am , I arrived early. The longer I waited the more I felt like I was about to be grilled rather than the bloke who mugged my friend. After girding my loins for the experience it all came crashing down as the case was postponed until 4th December. Joy.

Finally rounding out today the writers bursary I was applying for was cancelled for no apparent reason.....

Hopefully tomorrow will dawn bright and I will remember the car is going for a service and that I must begin again the life of a writer in the revision cave :)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Five Things About Me

The wonderful now in print Fiona Harper (her blog) has tagged me to post five little know facts about me! Hard one.

But first I must write about the other person she tagged, Liz Fielding (her blog), as yesterday I read her book The Sheikh's Guarded Heart. Wow. What an amazing book. As I have said before I don't really like sheikh books but when a favorite author writes one I succumb. I am so glad I did. Liz took the area and made it come alive and her use of Persian history and gardens evokes such a sensual background for a compelling love story. I loved the characters and never had a moment when I felt their actions weren't justified. I wept. I sighed and as another writer I was green with envy. What a book Liz!!!!

Now on to the task of Five Little Know Things About Me!

1. I have hold a RYA Level 2 in Power Boats (very useful as it means I too can use the DH's mistress, a 15 ft. dory) when he's not around.

2. I was first runner up in beauty contest too many years ago to remember!

3. One of my first jobs after leaving university was selling cosmetics for Clinque

4. I receive pre-natal care for my dd in three countries (Russia, US, and UK)

5. I was an extra in the movie It Happen One Summer with John Cusack and Demi More

A note from Sharon, the creator of People Collection (which seems to have originated this "Five Things..." list), says: PLEASE LEAVE THE FOLLOWING IN ALL ‘PEOPLE COLLECTION’ POSTS:Remember that it isn’t always the sensational stuff that writers are looking for, it can just as easily be something that you take for granted like having raised twins or knowing how to grow beetroot. Mind you, if you know how to fly a helicopter or have worked as a film extra, do feel free to let the rest of us know about it! :)

Now I have to tag two people which will be tough as Jess has already done her five things as had Nell. I am sure I rember reading Julie Cohen's a while back. So I also read Bernardine Kennedy but she is on hols but I will have to tag her and Michelle Styles

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

First page Challenge - Book Two

I have been astounded by the feedback on the first page of August Rock. So taking a bit of courage I decided to look at the first draft first page of A Cornish House and do the same exercise. I must state that I have only written two pages as I promised myself I would finish revising August Rock but this exercise had me thinking.........

The car coughed to a halt and lurched as the trailer pushed it further on the dark road. (creates a sense of tension - dark road and dead car)
“Shit.” Maddie hit the steering wheel. (Heroine frustrated and not afraid to express it)
“What?” Maddie turned to see Serena rubbing her eyes. Double shit thought Maddie. They couldn’t be far from where ever the hell ---------- was but now that Serena was awake she could hear her complaints already. She turned the key but no sound emerged form the engine. (conflict already emerging between Madde and Serena which will be crucial through the book)
“Are we at this God-forsaken place?” (Serena doesn't want to be there)
“Errr, no. The car died.”
“The car died.”
“I heard that but where are we?”
“Don’t know.”
“Mind your language.”
“Hah, fine thing to say. I just heard you swearing. What’s wrong with Christ anyway?”
“We’re been down this road before.”
“Oh, no we haven’t.” (Building verbal conflict showing difference in age)

The question is are you curious to know where there are? where they are going? who there are to each to other? I must confess that I have whetted my own appetite to get into the story but August Rock must come first and with things I have been mulling over in my head and the insights on the first page I am counting the hours to get back into my writing routine:)