Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dubai Rugby Sevens

Can it be that time of year again when thoughts turn to thighs.....not. I mean rugby. The madness has retuned to Dubai and in the new stadium. Thus far my take on it is that is it's fine if a bit far out so that joviality at least on our account is dimished - too far too take a taxi so sobriety reigns. However having said that there are other compensations..........
The US teams is playing well this year and although I was the lone voice of support when they played England in the afternoon - I could hold my head head as they played well.

It's always good to see a camel from the distance - they smell up close.
Then of course there is the view to be taken into account. The players stand was looking good this year I thought!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008


It's not what you think, no, it's not. I have actually been working away on the wip albeit slowly. No, this is much more serious. This is something that will be read by at least a hundred people - the Christmas Letter. For years it was the sole piece of writing that I accomplished. People read it - or so they tell me. These same people encouraged me to get back to my first love of writing fiction. Well, today is the day before Thanksgiving and I haven't written a word let alone a first draft. It's not as if nothing happen in the year. Regular readers of this blog will know I have seen a fair bit of the world this year - even clocked up enough miles to go gold on the old frequent flyer card. Yet I can't seem to put fingers to keyboard to write.

As the seasoned expat that I am, I know how important it is to keep in touch - even if its just once a year. Yet I'm feeling all quiet and instead of the handmade cards and a four page letter -I just want a signature stamp and a bog standard card. This I know is not good enough. So somehow I will have to write the letter and make the cards...........

Have put the Carols on and maybe I should start baking something Christmasy????

Does anyone put themselves through the torture of summing up a year?

P.S. Update - 1000 words of crappy rough draft written - it's amazing what the egg timer trick will do

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Romantic Novelists' Association Winter Party

More photos at last!
Melinda hammond, lovely lady from Midas PR and Kate Allen

Mary DeLazilo and Freda Lightfoot

Editor Maddie Rowe with Melanie Hilton (aka Louise Allen) .

Here is Jean Fullerton with Elizabeth Hawksley.

This group is Philippa Ashley, Janet Gover, Judy Astley and Katie Fforde.

Catherine Jones (aka Kate Lace) our chairman address the party in the Library of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Jan Jones and moi.

Debbie Holt with her agent Teresa Chris.

Suzie Vereker and Pia Tapper Fenton

Jenny Haddon and Emma Dunsford

l to r Jane Gordon Cummings, Teresa Chris and seated Allie Spencer

Editor at Sphere (Little Brown) Caroline Hogg and Catherine King

Moi and Biddy Coady

Kate Harrison

Liz Baily, Evelyn Ryle, Anne Ashurst and Katie Fforde

Fighting internet connection at the moment - have great photos but can only seem to post one. Here's Giselle Green and I. What can I say except that it was another wonderful party and I behaved! I caught up with many friends and unfortunately only had a chance to just wave across the crowded room at others. As usual the room was filled with fantastic writers, agents and editors.......well worth the flight.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

To London to Party

I fly tomorrow to Lond for the RNA Winter Party where I get to feel like a writer and even better I can chat to writers!!! (Gulp - editors and agents too!) Will strive to take photos and report on the do for all.

The best bit though is both boys are on exeat so after tomorrow I get to be mini mum enjoying London with them - except when DH whisks them away to the International Rugby game at Twickenham on Saturday - then I can shop in peace (with millions of others in London but still in peace!)

Sooty and Snowy have reached a quiet accord for the moment.

I have loads to post about but no time for the minute..............has everyone else got their Christmas shopping done yet?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Great Opportunity for a Free Book Edit

This a fantastic opportunity for a chance at a for a free book edit from BubbleCow.

Here's the details:

On December 01 2008, one entry will be selected and a full edit of a manuscript (up to 100,000 words) (worth £500) will be completed before Christmas.
If any of you would like to enter the draw for a free edit:

1. Simply email by midnight GMT November 30 2008.
2. To avoid being spam, the subject line of your email should read ‘I love Christmas'.
3. Within the email, confirm your name, your manuscript’s final word count and title.
4. The winner will be announced on December 01 2008 and informed by email.
5. The winner then has five days to email the manuscript.
6. The in-depth edit and report will be completed before Christmas.
7. The rules and details can be found HERE

This is already appealing to a number of writers who are currently tackling NaNoWriMo, so please do spread the word amongst your writer friends.

Now to a few links - over on The Writer and The White Cat (yes, I know it looks like Snowy is leading a double life), Rick makes some excellent points about creativity and how its needs to push a few limits. Billy popped by my blog the other day on the prologue issue. His blog is a wealth of information. Too much to link to one item as I am still exploring. It's well worth a browse.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

New Addition

Well Snowy is none to pleased by the new arrival in our house - Miss Sooty............however I am pleased to same she is settling in nicely and always on the lookout for the resident evil, ooops I mean great white beast.

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Friday, November 07, 2008

To Prologue or Not to Prologue

Personally I like a prologue as it jumps starts me into the story, but I gather the general feeling is no. The reason I raise this is because for my submissions (yes, I did do as I said I would and subbed) I ditched mine. Why you ask? Was it badly written? No, in fact it contained some of the tightest prose in the novel. Was it needed? Now there is the question. What was contained in the two pages of the prologue is central to the main conflict for the heroine so it is definately needed. But is it needed on page one? I thought long and hard about this. I thought about the comments by from the crits. What type of story was I writing? What type of market am I aiming for? My MWS reader asked me to put myself along side another writer in my chosen genre to help an agent place me. She gave me a few suggestions, but I hadn't read most of them or not in many years anyway. Needless to said their books are now on my tbr. I don't yet know where to place myself as my writing is changing and evolving. This is a problem, I know.

So where am I going with this? Well, while in Cape Town I thought about ACH. I thought about where it had come from and how on this last rewrite I turned the book around and balanced it out. It became Maddie's story and not Serena's. In order to do this the stakes rose dramatically. The issues became heavier. It was no longer a book of team angst and light romance. It had pain on the type of pain alot of people don't want to look at or talk about. I stopped and thought about where I found this as I am a glass half full person. Life is good even when it stinks because that's life. Yet the words of one of my first readers spoke to me - 'I was disappointed because I wanted to see you deal with more because it's in you.' (This was about August Rock) So I did with ACH. ACH is a book about letting love and forgiveness back in your life when you can't forgive yourself. It's about hating what you've done so much that you shut down part of what you are. It's about faith and it's about redemption. So I had a choice. Do I do another rewrite and make it lighter? Just focus on the relationship between the two women with a romance thrown in or do I let the book stand as I want it? Do I want to get published or let this sit in the drawer?

I want to find a publisher, but in my heart I knew that ACH must stay pretty much as it stands which more than likely means in these depressed times it will be rejected again and again, but you know what that's okay. Odd to say that, but ACH's message is important and one day it will find a way out.

Having said the above ACH won't get any where if I don't send it out. Which I confess I had thought of doing. I debated leaving it for another year to see if my writing or the world had changed. But then I thought no. I really like the book and my characters and lets put them to the test. So they are out in the big bad world as I write and in someways it is a freeing experience.

Now back to the prologue - so when looking at the script I realized that the prologue was there for me. It was there to keep me focused on what caused all the things that subsequently happened in the novel. I needed the reminder right in my face so that I couldn't back off from the issues, but the reader doesn't. So the two pages of prolugue will now appear 3/4's of the way through the book and I think it will be much stronger for the reader there. I hope it will be the point where the reader think okay, I see where she's coming from now.

I am also hoping that by pulling the prologue out I won't be confronting my reader on the first page. I want them drawn into the world of these to women. To laugh with them and to cry as them stumble and fall along their way to a happy ending because, of course, with me writing there will always be a happy ending - I just may have dragged the reader through hell to get there though.

Where do you stand on prologues? Have you written them? Have you kept them? The ones you've read did they add or detract from the story?

Monday, November 03, 2008

Catch Up

The boys have gone back to school and the laundry from Cape Town is done. Now to catch up on all that I didn't do in the past two and half weeks. I did write though so I will update the word counter shortly.

While in Cape Town it gave me time to think about the reports I have had back on ACH. At first, as always, I wanted to retreat even though they hadn't told me it was crap. In fact, if I look at both, it was much more positive than negative, but as with things I was too close. So clear air and blue seas gave me some much needed perspective. Today I slashed the synopsis from three pages to one. I hate doing this, but this time I found it really helped me to focus on what I needed to change and what I don't. It left me feeling that the story as it stands is the one I want to tell and it may take some more editing, but it will find its way.

So I will be subbing it at the end of this week to one of my open doors. If nothing else it will provide me with more feedback - good or bad. It might open dialogue which would be wonderful.

Now head down to catch up with edits, blogs and life...........