Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Ten Reasons To Be Cheerful

Some days you find what you didn't know you were looking it was on Anna Lucia's blog, Having been in a blue funk for days this seems just the right things to turn me around. So here goes:

1. I have the most wonderful husband in the world
2. My three kids are happy and healthy (despite the daily battles with dd)
3. The sun is shining today
4. I am going to Venice with my husband in June
5. I have managed to write something today
6. Two dear friends are getting married soon
7. I love my home in Cornwall
8. I am blessed with wonderful friends
9. My faith keeps me sane
10. I am in good health

So today I am smiling and I'm writing. It's a great day!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Blue Funk

As I write this I am feeling a tad better. The past two days I have been a blue funk. A heavy heavy heart and weary body and mind weighed me down. I haven't written a word so my revised goal of 50k by the end of tomorrow is nigh on impossible unless I drink red bull all day long. That is not a huge tragedy as I well over original target.

With A Cornish House, I know where I am going at the moment and can see it clearly in my head but I feel if I start writing at present my characters will all fall into a fearful a great climatic low is sitting over them. Sometimes writing through a blue funk is good but right now I don't think so.......I will be hanging my head in shame on Friday at the coffee.

Book club was Monday and we read - that is all except for me, Notes on a Scandal......I had managed 45 pages. Pitiful but hey when I am full on writing I am too drained I think to read much. So yesterday and today I have been continuing with that and still working on Night Watch. Maybe I should pick up one of the happier titles from the tbr pile????

Monday, February 26, 2007

New Challenger Steps Up

A. Writer has taken up the challenge at That makes five is you count me. Surely there are a few more who will jump into the fray????

I did not write today. The crows of doubt are circling around her at the moment. There is good reasons for this but I won't go into it now.

However on an up note, I heard from a friend that had been out of touch for a while. Her life has turned around beautifully and is on a great track again. I felt so pumped up to here all her news. So there are some things around to make me smile!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Just a quick update.....two fellow racers have so far taken up the challenge. B.E. Sanderson at and Lisa at Very different styles but very compelling work......go have a look. Any other takers racers or not?

Friday, February 23, 2007

It's Friday

Well, not a bad week at all and I have until 5:30 to write today! It will be coffee over at Kate's shortly and I won't have to hold my head down since this week's total so far is 7000 +. :-)

Yesterday I was lucky enough to have lunch with a friend, who's an agent. Yes, I am very lucky. We brain stormed over August Rock and the critique I had done on it. Some the items are easily fixed but one item, the part of Toby by 13 yr. old ghost, is a little more problematic if I'm trying for the UK market. It could fly with a ghost but it may limit the market too much yet Toby's chapter's are some of the strongest in the book. How to alter the work keeping Toby's story intact.......two strong possibilities emerged. So while I work away on A Cornish House hopefully the subconscious part of my mind will resolve the Toby problem. By the way she had absolutely no problem with an American heroine.

Reading through fellow racers blogs this week, I noted the A. Writer was willing to put her writing out there for comment early. At a previous coffee we have discussed whether you are a shower or a hider.....most being hiders. Me too but one of the best exercises that I have ever done was prompted by Julie Cohen's,, first page challenge. I posted both the first page for August Rock and the few words that I had written for A Cornish House. The process involved putting in your thoughts about the page and your motivation for the words. I shamefacedly had never looked that closely at my on work. I wrote and edited but never looked at the whys. I let myself off as I am rediscovering my craft after years away from fiction. The best part of the exercise was other people's comments, In particular for me those of Laura Vivanaco of the blog Teach Me Tonight,

So thinking about all of this made me think now 45,000 or so into A Cornish House would it be a good idea to throw the first page out there again and challenge my fellow racers and anyone else to do the same???? Any takers? I was also thinking I would enjoy seeing my fellow racers styles (some are published so there styles are out there so to speak but some of us aren't).

Herewith the first page of A Cornish House:

The car coughed to a halt and lurched as the trailer pushed it further on the dark lane.
“Shit.” Madde thumped the steering wheel.
Madde turned to see Serena rubbing her eyes; her blond hair in spiky disarray and the new tattoo on her arm peeking out from her tee-shirt. Double shit thought Madde. They couldn’t be far from where ever the hell Carnew was but now that Serena was awake she could hear her complaints already. She turned the key but no sound emerged from the engine.
“Are we at this God-forsaken place?” Serena stretched.
“Errr, no. The car died.”
“The car died.”
“I heard that but where are we?” Serena was now sitting straight.
“Don’t know.”
“Mind your language.” Madde ran her fingers over the wheel.
“Hah, fine thing to say. I just heard you swearing. What’s wrong with Christ anyway?”
“We’ve been down this road before.”
“No we haven’t.”
“Don’t be pedantic.” Madde rubbed her hands over the back of her neck. She could feel the rigid tendons. “Serena, I’m tired I’ve been driving for hours and arguing isn’t going to help.”

I haven't put my comments in the text like last time as I thought you might like to read it first with out my thoughts and then read my thoughts so they don't prejudice your own.

I am trying to set up tension with the setting - dark road-dead car. Also the conflict between Madde and Serena is right there and crucial to the whole of the book. Also that Serena definitely doesn't want to be where she is. I wanted Serena's stroppy voice to come through and Madde's restraint.....I hope all of this shows and makes you want to know more - like why they are there and who they are and who they are to each other???? Well, that's my hope any way. Let's here what you have to say......I think.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Just Had to Post This

Yesterday was brilliant. The words flowed.....well late in the day but that's a minor technicality. But while I was dithering I wandered over to read Miss Snark's ( latest and there I found words that every struggling writer needs to hear. Some poor soul asked her when to give up and her reply was well brilliant. In fact I may make a poster of it. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to do this but here is here beautiful reply:

"Never.Publication may be nice but it's not the only reward.The very act of writing is its own reward. It teaches you (if you pay attention) how to see the world through different eyes; how to wield language skilfully; how to organize a persuasive presentation.You recognize that writing is a creative art and brings you joy.You recognize that doing something difficult over and over again, and trying your utmost to improve is a worthy endeavor even if you fall short of your goal.You recognize that these moments of despair or frustration or fear are part of the process, and will make the achievement of your goal just that much sweeter."

So now I can never give and must stop procrasentating and write another 3000 words today. yes I did squeeze in another 1000 last night while the groove was on.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Dance

The groove has returned today. 2260 words today bringing me over February's goal of 40,000! YES! This morning I thought I would never find it. I visited every blog I could think of. I waited for emails I didn't expect. I even thought of cleaning.......then suddenly the groove hit. I do so like the groove.

Yesterday I did manage 1000 words but they all felt like pulling teeth. Maybe in the end they will be better words but oh it does feel good.

Off to do the school run now.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Wow! What type of writer are you?

You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.

You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.

Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.

And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

That is really weird. One of the comments on the crit of August Rock is that it reads like a film script at times. Also my dialogue was really good and there should be more. I do see everything in front of me as I write. Weird really?
Now I should be writing and not doing quizzes. Ciao.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Julie, (blog), tagged me, well sort of. I was reading her blog and that was the mistake. Not one to let a challenge pass by here goes........ten little known thing about moi:

1. I craved medium sherry when I was pregnant with ds1.
2. I once had a household staff of seven - the only really important one was the man who lived under the stairs and came with the house (we were living in Jakarta at the time).
3. I have spent one night in the Burj Al Arab (very Austin Powers)
4. The first concert I ever went to was the Bay City Rollers (now that gives my age away!)
5. I met Bob Hope on a golf course on Cape Cod
6. I learned to love Country music living in Calgary and Houston
7. I love painting with oils
8. I hate flying......I embarrass my family by praying during take off and landing and any turbulence.
9. I adore the cartoon Scooby Do but loathe scrappy
10. I always dreamt of looking like Grace Kelly but failed miserably :-)

So now I have to do the deed of tagging someone if you have never been tagged give it a try and let me know!!!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Holiday Reading

Well, our time in Dubai was way too short. I mean way too short. We arrived at just before midnight Sunday and left Dubai in the early hours of this morning. As we had lived there for three years it was intended as a quick break to enjoy friends and enjoy the sun. Ticks on both accounts. I didn't write a word. The first morning I thought about it but after that well the pool, the sun, the food all beckoned. So I gave up guilt and embraced the joy of reading. My tbr pile was educed by two......joyfully. The new imprint Little Black Dress was designed for holiday reading from the two books I sampled. First off I read Phillipa Ashley's Decent Exposure.

Maybe I should first tell you all what a great book - which it was. But first I will talk about the grief ds1, the 14 yr old gave me about the cover. "Mum, there's a naked guy on the cover."




"You like looking at naked guys?"

Now what is a good up standing mother of three to say but, "Of course."

Needless to say he walked away and left me to happily read the book. Boys get so embarrassed about these things! He was still asking me about it today when I unpacked and he saw the book again. This time he just rolled his eyes and asked where the calendar was. I reminded him I didn't need a calendar when I had his father around. He beat a quick retreat!

Now to the book itself. I fell head over heals for the hero Will. Emma's vulnerability was so credible and how she held off for so long I don't know. It was a great read and I smiled my way through it. All the twists and turns felt real and I loved each moment of it. Definitely ideal holiday reading to make you smile even more.

Next out of the bag was Julie Cohen's Spirit Willing Flesh Weak. Now I have read and loved Julie's other books. So in a way I wasn't prepared for the different feel of this book. The book is told in first person and you get right into the head of Rosie. She grabs you from the start. I loved her complex nature and really found myself wondering if Harry could ever be good enough for her. I rooted for her the whole way through. It could be that she is from Massachusetts went to university near where I did but we won't pull those things in to it. It was a great story and a very different read. But like all of Julie's books I have read filled with incredibly real character portrayals.
The two books from the same imprint were very different in feel but both were perfect shorter reads that completely satisfied. Ideal for a holiday from life :-)
Now back to laundry and hopefully writing again. Have fallen way behind my fellow racers!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


I haven't fallen off the face of the earth but have landed in Dubai for a few days.......We used to live here and it's changed but its still bliss. So off to the pool to enjoy an evening swim!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cover Art- A Cornish House

My dd has drawn the cover for A Cornish House!


Today the words have not flowed so easily despite the Viking. Currently he's sitting in Madde's kitchen and I'm waiting for the words to start zinging.

In the meantime I have been working over August Rock in my head. In the critique there was the comment that because Judith was American and the story was set in Cornwall I was affecting the commercial aspect of the manuscript. Could I make Judith a Brit? This would make the story more appealing to the British market. Well, I suppose I could but the much of the story's wit and joy comes from the play of the yank against the local population in the nicest of ways. It would become a totally different story and not one that I would necessarily want. The question I have is......Does a foreign protagonist put you off a book? Are you less likely to read a book with an American one or an English one or a French one? I know that being part of a multi-cultural family I happily read from both sides of the pond but I may have to pushed to read about say a Chinese protagonist and this stems from my ignorance of the cultural references. Any thoughts?

Well back to the Viking in the kitchen and hopefully reaching 1000 words today.

p.s. I'm really having fun writing this at the moment :-)

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Then came a Viking

Don't ya just love it when totally unplanned characters come walking into your book? C.S. Harris,, was blogging about twists yesterday. She was putting together a list of the most common types of twists that can happen. It had me thinking. Then Anna Lucia on her blog,, spoke about "What's hidden from view is not as dangerous as what is in plain sight."

One of the key critiques from H. Johnson on August Rock was that August Rock didn't have enough twists. The plot was to too evenly paced. So C. S.'s comments and Anna's hit the spot. I don't think this will be a problem with A Cornish House. Especially now that Gunnar the Viking was waltzed in to divert Madde. We shall see.

The words have been flowing pretty well this week. Over 3000 yesterday alone. Currently it's standing at 35,138. I may just make my goal of 40,000 by the end of February and then again I may just beat it!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

DD's thought's on Love

"How do you want me to start? Ah, I know. Love is sort of a blockage in your life and your have to get past it. There is only one way. You have to use it and that’s the way. It’s a gift from God that some people take and some people don’t. Some people have to take from their fathers. Love is a chance for friends, family and happiness. And when you take that chance you have to live with it because you can’t stop it, you can’t just say go away. Love is a pure thing to have and a very good thing to have too. "

These are my 7yr. old DD thoughts on Love at 7:54 this morning. Just thought I share the young philosopher's pov :-)

Monday, February 05, 2007


Tears are funny things. They do so much more than what's on the label. Yes, we cry when sad and unhappy. We cry at frustration. We cry at anger. We cry in pain. Here let me stop and clarify the we - that is women. Men tend to regard crying as an alien activity once they are past the age of ten. So back to crying - we cry when we laugh. We cry when are happy. Tears can be a good barometer of our emotions. Too close to the surface for our own good sometimes but always with us.

Why am I on about tears well I very nearly had one of those embarrassing mum moments last night. DS1 is fourteen. He's taller than me now even when I wear heals! He's gorgeous despite the spots and I think he's brilliant. Classic mum thinking I know but he is also dyslexic and I have lived through his pain thinking he's stupid. Thank God that phase has gone and he knows better. It has been one hell of a battle but miracles do happen. He can now read and is such a whizz at math he surprises himself. So last night we went to his house concert. Now he hasn't a musical bone in his body so we went to show willing.

I received the shock of my life when I read the programme and he was listed as the first act with three other boys. He can't sing so I had no idea what was going to happen. Well, he clearly told us that they were going to give a brief history of the house and when on to read fluently, elegantly and beautifully in front of 100 people that included the headmaster, the housemaster, his tutor, his parents, and most importantly his peers. I sat there stunned, overwhelmed, amazed and proud. No one would have known that this kid was dyslexic. I thanked God for miracles and DS1 for his hard work. I didn't cry but those tears were so close to pouring out which would have been too embarrassing for words.

So we cry when we are joyful, when we are proud, when we are overwhelmed and when we are thankful.

Saturday, February 03, 2007


We are off to a rugby match today. Less you find yourself thinking we are lucky enough to be off to Twickenham we are even luckier! We are off to watch ds2 play. As those who follow children's' rugby there is nothing like watching the 3rd XV play on a glorious Saturday afternoon :-) Note that my DH is recording the lesser match at Twickenham.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Finally catching up again on the brilliant workshop He Wrote, She Wrote, I have printed off each week their thinking on various aspects of writing but haven't had time to read. So tonight while the dd got her fix of CBBC, I caught up. I have decided I love Jennifer Crusie, her way of thinking that is. In the latest installment she discusses how she outlines. Not that I am not a fan of outlining. It reminds of English Lit 101. I did it because I had to but there was no joy. In the past few years I have discovered mind mapping which I love. However tonight I found Jennifer's five points for outlining:-

1. Kick-Off scene where the conflict starts, also known as the first scene in the story.
2. First Turning Point where the conflict escalates, the stakes gets higher, and the protagonist does something she wouldn’t have back there in scene #1.
3. Midpoint/Second Turning Point where the conflict escalates the stakes get even higher and the protagonist does something that demonstrates that she’s changed so much she couldn’t go back to the person she was in #1 if she wanted to.
4. Third Turning Point/Dark Moment where the conflict escalates to the point where the protagonist is on the ropes, possibly thinks she has lost, is in the worst trouble of her life, on her knees bleeding in the wilderness. It’s bad.
5. Climax/Obligatory scene where everything is on the line and only one of them is comin’ out a winner

In between those five points she has acts broken up roughly as 1st act 30-35k which is set up. 2nd Act which is 25-30k raising the stakes. The 3rd is 20-25 the stakesget higher. The 4th act resolves everything in 20-25k.

That's all she uses for the first draft. I like this woman. She thinks simply. Tomorrow I outline in Jennifer Crusie style!


Today word count isn't as impressive - 1,165, but I'll keep it. It's strange as there were no children, no electricians yet I wrote less without the distractions. What does this say about my writing ethic? I need chaos about me to create? I focus when the world is noisy and don't when peace reigns. Guess that about sums me up. Better bring in a brass band tomorrow!