Sunday, 27 December 2009

Pssst....


Oh my ears and whiskers! Guess what? I’m only seeing out 2009 with a wee clink of champagne glasses!

Because ... well ... the LOVELY agent I posted my first three chapters to last week -only wants to see the rest of my novel! Oh yes indeed! How blinking marvellous is that?

I’m in shock quite frankly. Delighted, of course... but I know I have to slap myself down pretty quickly as I still have a VERY, VERY LONG way to go, and frankly the road before me may be paved with disappointment. But YAY I’m heading in the right direction, YES?

HAPPY 2010 ONE AND ALL!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year

Wishing you all a Wonderful Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2010!



Molly loves the snow - but then she doesn't have to drive in it!



A special little girl visited me yesterday and left me a 'Snow Angel'.

Awh, I'm feeling all Christmassy already!

Monday, 14 December 2009

My Novel has Wings


Okay, so I lied. I’m back before Christmas. What am I like? But then I can’t be trusted anywhere near a Blogger link as you well know!

And the thing is, I wanted to tell you I’ve posted off my first three chapters, synopsis and covering letter to a real-life AGENT. Oh yes indeed! I took it down the post box, in an envelope and everything, folded it, and squished it into the red hole. I then spent the next three hours sticking my hand in the said post box trying to get it back. No I didn’t. Not really. But I did wonder if it was the right time (is there ever a right time?) And now I have three similar letters sitting next to me, all looking at me saying ‘post me now’ but I'm too chicken. I've lost my bottle, quite frankly.

In other news, my pink party was pink! I saw pink, wore pink,ate pink (the pink chocolate mice were the best) and drank pink! Good fun was had by all!

Slutligen, jag är spännande att kunna säga att jag har sålt en historia att Allas Magazine! YAY! - Which in English means 'I've sold a story to Allas Magazine' - Yay!

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Closed For Christmas



I'm having a mini break from blogging until the sun shines again! Have a lovely Christmas and a Very Happy New Year one and all. x

Friday, 4 December 2009

Congratulations Karen Clarke


I feel massively chuffed today. The very lovely, Karen Clarke has only been and gone and got herself an agent! Oh yes indeedy! I knew she would from the moment I started reading her blog over two years ago. She is one brilliant writer and deserves to be marching with her pants on her head (see her blog for details!)

Ooh and I’ve had a mini success of my own. I’ve had a pitch accepted by Writers’ Forum, and I'm now frantically writing it and praying I can live up to their expectations.

In other news, this Sunday I’m having a PINK party for my birthday that ends in ‘O’ (That’s all I’m saying – you can guess the other number – but please be kind!) It’s not officially my birthday until the following weekend – but I thought I’d get the party in before everyone gets all Christmased out - you know, like they do. So I'm all excited about that! YAY!

I'm also rather chuffed about the launch of Womag 2 Weekly (notice the variation in name - thanks Lily :-). We now have 8 keen members and it looks all set to be a fantastic group.

Anyway, that’s it in a nutshell! Have a great weekend one and all!

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Jack the Ripper

I’ve always been intrigued by Jack the Ripper. The murders as such do not interest me – I hate blood and gore. It’s the mystery that surrounds them and a keen interest in Victorian history, especially the East End of London, that draws me in.

I have many books on the subject, including, The Jack the Ripper Suspects by Stan Russo which cites 70 suspects – a must for all ripperologists, apparently. I bought it a few years back and it was fairly expensive then but now it sells on Amazon for £42.70 – ooh, er, I guess that makes me a ripperologist then!

You may be wondereing why I’m on about evil Jack today. Well I went on a Ripper Tour last Wednesday and it was absolutely fab. The combination of looking around the East End, a fantastic tour guide: Philip Hutchinson who co-wrote The London of Jack the Ripper (another great book) and actually seeing where the murders took place made for a brilliant evening.

You know, it’s quite strange – my novel isn’t a murder at all, and yet I’ve managed to thread in a couple of references to Jack the Ripper. And I've got a short story whizzing around my head, spurred by the evening, that I really must get down! Well, they say write about what you know, don’t they?

I was going to pop on my photographs, but they are very dark and only this one of The Ten Bells Pub came out reasonably well. It's said that in the early hours of November 9th 1888, Mary Kelly, Jack's final victim, left this pub to meet her demise. It's said too that Jack the Ripper haunts here.




Please don't forget if you're interested in joining 'Womag two Weekly' there are still spaces - so do email me!

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Womag Two Weekly!


Calling all womag writers out there! I’m hoping to start a private writing blog that runs simultaneously with the already successful group, ‘Get It Write’ which has been up and running now for six months.

The difference with this group is it will focus purely on short stories for women’s magazines (rather than all writing, as is the case with ‘Get it Write’)

Cally Taylor has kindly given me permission to run the group to the same format as a ‘Story a Fortnight’ – although she won’t be involved with the running of ‘Womag two Weekly’ (may have to change that name - ha!) group in any way. It will be me and whoever dares come on board.

If you are a writer of short stories aimed at magazines such as My Weekly, Woman’s Weekly, People’s Friends etc. and would be interested in submitting and commenting on this type of story on a fortnightly basis, please email me a.s.a.p. My email address is on my profile! So let's see what the demand is and go from there....GREAT!

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Lovely Award


Super Debs has passed this lovely award on to me – Thank you so much Debs you’ve made my week! If you haven’t popped over to her blog – which I’m sure most of you have -it’s wonderful – go now – no wait – finish reading my blog first!

The award rules are as follows:

1) Accept the award, and don’t forget to post a link back to the awarding person = CHECK.

2) Pass the award on – ooh this is tricky there are so many fantastic blogs – but I would like to pass it on to the very lovely Suzanne – who despite unscheduled interruptions – still has a great plan – Keep on going Suzanne!!! = CHECK

3) Notify the award winners – email winging its way = CHECK

Apart from this lovely award from Debs, I was most excited to get a response from My Weekly today thanking me for one of the stories I sent – that's it, just a thank you! I know, little things! HA!!

Friday, 13 November 2009

A Deflated Balloon


Yes, that’s me!

Well not a balloon as such, but I am a little deflated as a writer.

I think I must have ‘I love rejections’ written on my forehead, and magazines are intent on trying to please me. Because frankly, they’re pouring in; two from People’s Friends – one took less than a week to wing its way back to me, and there was a blinking postal strike on at the time. The next came a week later with an identical reason for rejection – I’m suspecting form letters here! I’ve also had one from Allas Magazine, one from The Weekly News and another from That’s Life Australia – all in the last few weeks. Swearwords!

But I refuse to let it grind me down. I’ll keep sending out my short stories whether they want them or not – I’m tough! I can take it! HA!

On a positive though, my novel, which underwent a mammoth culling of characters and storyline recently, is now finished – AGAIN – and guess what, it’s visiting a friend. Yes, a very lovely blogging pal is reading it through – cover to cover – so exciting!

Also – I still have nine short stories out there – so there’s still hope! Yes? And I’ve written a story for the Mslexia competition and I’m working on a story for Cally’s Heaven Competition.

How’s that for refusing to let it beat me! Go me! I think!

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Introducing Jumbles


She's my grand-kitten!



Cute isn't she! :-)))

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Cast of FMIAB

Oooh, my last post got me thinking. And I've been wasting precious writing time casting the movie version of my novel. But it's been great fun dreaming.

And here they are... My wanna-be cast of FMIAB

Rachel, my protaganist, would be played by the lovely, Jennifer Anniston. (Well she always plays the part of Rachel so brilliantly!)


Her sisters, Annie and Felicity, would be played by the amazingly talented, Alyson Hannigan and Jennifer Garner.



For the part of Nana Philpot, I would like the multi-talented, Julie Walters. Thank you kindly.




And now for the men in her life...

The hilarious, Ricky Gervais as Jason.




Lennon would be played by the lovely, Tom Sturridge.





Fergus would be played by Rupert Everett. He may be a wee bit old, but hey, this is fantasy.


And finally, Sam would be played by the great, Edward Norton.






Ooh, that was so much fun... now back to reality!

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Cally Taylor - Heaven Can Wait


I'm very excited to be interviewing Cally Taylor, author of the very wonderful, Heaven Can Wait. I've been following Cally's blog for almost two years, and she's an inspiration!

So welcome Cally, and on with the questions!


What was your inspiration when writing, Heaven Can Wait?

It sounds a little bit morbid but, after a friend from school died suddenly in 2006, I started thinking about death quite a lot. That, combined with a question my then boyfriend asked me – “If I died how long would you wait before you moved on and met someone else?” – gave me the idea for a woman called Lucy who died the night before her wedding and refused to go to Heaven.

If your book was made into a film – which of course it will be!! Who would you see playing the roles of Lucy and Dan?


Oooh I wish! That’s also a really difficult question because no actors or actresses perfectly fit my mental image of Lucy and Dan but, if you forced me at gun point, I’d probably say Rachel Weisz as Lucy and Jim Sturgess as Dan.



Do you think the fact you had many short stories published helped make your agent and publisher sit up and take notice?

I think short story publications and/or competition wins show an agent that you’ve got a good track record when it comes to writing. By listing your ‘writing CV’ you’re demonstrating that your fiction has been critiqued by magazine editors and/or competition judges and found to have merit. Anything that helps convince an agent to give your novel some serious consideration has to be a good thing!
How long did it take you to find an agent? And did you have any agents turn you away?
It took me about a year in total. I started my search for an agent by sending off submissions to six agents that I’d shortlisted from the Writers and Artists’ Yearbook, choosing the ones that represented chicklit and/or women’s fiction and authors that I admired. That was in September 2007.
The first reply I received was a personalised rejection saying that, although she liked the premise, she wasn’t a fan of novels written in the first person! The second reply I received was a phone call from Darley Anderson, saying he really liked my chapters and could I send the whole novel. While I waited for Darley to read the whole manuscript I received another personalised rejection – from an agent with a massively successful chicklit author on her books - and a form rejection from another agent.
In January 2008 Darley rang me to say that, while my book had lots of potential, I had to edit it again and make a few changes before he’d consider signing me. I was disappointed that it wasn’t an immediate ‘yes’ but set to work editing my book (for the fourth time). While I was doing that another agent asked to see the full manuscript. She wasn’t keen on the supernatural premise but asked me to send her anything else I might write.
In July 2008 I sent my revised manuscript back to Darley Anderson and three long, long months later I finally received the phone call I’d been waiting from. It was Madeleine Buston, Head of Foreign Rights at the Darley Anderson agency. She said Darley had given her my manuscript to read on a long train journey up to Scotland and that it had made her laugh and cry. In fact, she said, she’d loved it so much she’d asked Darley if she could represent me!
I signed the contract to be represented by Maddie at the Darley Anderson Agency a couple of weeks later. It was September 2008 - almost exactly a year to the day since I first sent my chapters out.
And if you’re wondering what happened to the sixth agent I approached? I never heard back from him!

Had you ever considered sending out your first three chapters before your book was fully edited?

No. Everything I’d read on the web, and in author/agency interviews, said you shouldn’t send out your first three chapters until your whole novel is the best it can be. You only have one chance (unless you’re really lucky) to impress an agent and it’s no good wowing them with three beautifully edited chapters if the rest of your book is a disappointment. If they ask to see the whole manuscript and you haven’t polished it as much as your first three chapters you’ll end up with a ‘sorry, not for me’.

Do you think Facebook, Blogger, and Twitter are a big part of being an author these days?

I think they are. There isn’t as much money in a publishing company’s budgets to promote debut authors as there used to be (and the recession doesn’t help) so it’s becoming much more normal for an author to help out with publicity. Readers also expect authors to have an online presence these days and if you don’t have a website/blog or twitter/facebook account you’ll miss out on valuable feedback and comments.

How long did it take you to write, Heaven Can Wait?

It took three months and three weeks to write the first draft and several more months to edit it several times over. Looking back now I can’t believe I managed to write the first draft so quickly but I was really driven, writing almost every night. I didn’t want to be the sort of person who talked about writing a novel; I wanted to be someone who actually completed one.

I find that it doesn’t matter how many good things are said – one negative one and I’m in pieces. How do you deal with negative comments?

Like a lot of authors I’m really sensitive to criticism and a bad review is incredibly wounding. So much so that you instantly forget all the lovely things people have said about your novel and become convinced that that critical reviewer is the only person telling the truth. It’s like if you ask ten people if they like your outfit and nine say it makes you look beautiful and one says it makes you look fat. You believe them (and if you’re anything like me you’ll go and change!).
I thought I’d managed to harden my skin against negative feedback after years of sharing my short stories with a particularly brutal online workshop and, to a certain extent I had, but you work so hard on a novel, for so long, and pour so much of yourself into it that it’s always going to hurt when someone says something cruel. Hopefully my skin will thicken up the more novels I write!

Do you find you dream about your characters?

I daydream about my characters but I don’t dream about them. That said I did have a dream when I was editing Heaven Can Wait that I was stuck in Limbo and trying to help people to escape by crawling through grey tunnels (I may also have been watching too much Prison Break at the time!).

Do you carry a notebook and pen everywhere?

Oh yes. I have done for about ten years. Back then I lived in London and would jot down ideas, observations or little phrases that popped into my head while I was on the tube. These days I normally use the notebooks to jot down ideas I’ve had for scene changes or edits, or ideas for new novels.

Are any of your characters based on real people or real events?

Ha! That would be telling! Most of the people in Heaven Can Wait are complete works of fiction but there’s a minor character who may or may not be based on someone I know/knew but I’m not saying any more for fear of being sued!

Who is your favourite author?

I’ve got so many – Roddy Doyle, Hanif Kureshi, Margaret Atwood and Douglas Coupland immediately spring to mind, but if we’re talking about chicklit it has to be Lisa Jewell. I think ‘Ralph’s Party’ was the first chicklit book I read and I fell in love with Lisa’s style and have read everything she’s written since. For male authors of chicklit my favourite has to be Mike Gayle.
Do you think the thrill of being a published author will ever wear off?
I really hope not! If the magic of writing novels and hearing about new deals from my agents wears off and I start dreaming about winning the lottery and doing something else instead it’s probably time to stop writing!

Thanks Cally for a brilliant interview! :-)

Friday, 16 October 2009

Heaven Can Wait...


...and I can’t! ...wait that is, to read Cally Taylor's debut novel Heaven Can Wait!

Except I’ve got to, because my copy of her book hasn’t arrived yet – weeps openly!

But I still wanted to say huge congratulations to Cally Taylor - YAY!

And I will be interviewing her here at Writing Allsorts on the 21st October, when, amongst other things, she tells me who she would most like to play the parts of Dan and Lucy if (well let’s be honest here – WHEN) the book becomes a film!

Hope to see you then!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

OOH, A BLOG AWARD


Ooh, thank you Debs, whose blog is utterly fabulous by the way, for this gorgeous award.

The "Your Blog is Fabulous!" Award stands for: Integrity. Commitment to Excellence. Stubbornly Optimistic.

THE RULES:
List five current obsessions:


1. My wonderful family and friends – No explanation needed.

2. Writing – See my blog for details.

3. Injustice – Ooh, I could go on and on and on about this – but I won’t. We see injustice in every corner of the world and sometimes in our own lives. And, in truth, I try hard not to obsess about it NOW – So it’s not, in fact, current – ooh, er have I broke the rules? But the way I see it is this, if there’s a way to solve the injustice, I will do everything in my power to do so. But I’ve learnt, as I reach the grand age of 25 (Okay, okay, 30 ;-)) that sometimes you just have to let go.

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Reinhold Niebuhr

4. Bullying - See above!

5. The baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow. ;-) – Best ask Monty Python about that one!

I would like to pass the award on to the following super-duper blogs. I know some already have the award, but hey what the heck, let’s live a little!


Helen P


Tom Foolery

Jarmara

Suzanne

Karen

Helen H

Fionnula (Who it's good to see back in blogland!)

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Writerly Ups and Downs

On Sunday, we went to The Orchard at Grantchester. It's wonderful there, with a marvellous ambience of bygone years. In fact, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see Rupert Brooke saunter from the little restaurant with a cheese scone and a cuppa.
Oh, and on the way back we dropped into Bury Lane Garden Centre and I found this notebook!





It’s from The Ladybird Archive Collection – isn’t it fab? It’s brought back memories of my early school days! Awh! I’m going to carry it everywhere, so I can jot all kinds of writerly things in it!

And talking of writing; this weeks certainly had its ups and downs.

On the upside, I’m editing a chapter a day at the moment and have now reached halfway! YAY!

But on the downside, I’ve had yet another rejection from Woman’s Weekly – that’s the sixth! Crumbs, they are a hard nut to crack! Or perhaps they don't like my style.

And to add to the downs; I had a rejection from an agent! Yes, okay, I confess, I dabbled. I sent out my first three chapters to one agent and I now have a bad case of burnt fingers. So I will now reflect a while before sending it out again. I need to be fully happy that I’ve done all I can to make it as perfect as it can be - and that could take some time. :-)

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Crumbs, has it really been that long...


I am thoroughly ashamed of myself. I remember a time when I blogged daily – Okay, so I was a little addicted, but nothing that a bit of electric shock therapy didn’t sort out. But now I think they should pull out the plugs, as I'm not blogging at all!

Although, I do have an excuse. My novel is almost edited! And the first three chapters are ready to go! In fact, I was almost tempted to send them out there, whilst editing the rest. But reined myself in, resisting the temptation. But it won’t be long now! YIKES!

Oh, and I’m a bit over-excited today. I’ve just received the Spring Edition of That’s Life Fast Fiction Australia, and my story’s in there – woo hoo! And what’s makes this even more special is I’m sharing the pages with some fantastic writers: including Karen Clarke, Sally Quilford, Womag and Teresa Ashby. Looking forward to a nice cup of hot chocolate later, when I'll be reading the magazine from cover to cover.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Gone Editing

I'VE FINISHED THE RE-WRITE OF MY NOVEL! Yes! Really! Woo-hoo!!

So now for the EDIT - although I'm thinking I should probably leave it to stew for a few weeks first.

But, frankly I'm amazed and rather chuffed that I’ve actually got this far! And would like to say a huge thanks to all the lovely bloggers who continually support and encourage me! I know I would never have got this far without you! x

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Wow! Look What I've Won!


I'm thrilled to bits. I entered a competition over at DJ's and my name was pulled out to win a copy of The Cloths of Heaven by Sue Eckstein. I can't wait to read it. It sounds brilliant!

You can read a great interview with Sue Eckstein over at DJ's. And a fab review of the book HERE

In other news: I’ve PASSED my Creative Writing and Literature Diploma with an amazing overall score of 82%. YAY! I’m shocked, truth be told. Not bad for someone who left senior school clasping a grade E ‘O’ Level in English and a grade C in Art! HA! That's shown them! Not that I'm bitter, you understand!

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Coincidentally this is a little Contrived

I am having a bit of a panic. Nothing new there then! It’s my novel AGAIN! I have far too many coincidences throughout, which make it all seem a little contrived. It’s so hard though, I want the subplots to link in some way to the main plot - but there’s got to be a valid reason, rather than a coincidence - YES?! So my job over this week is to go through it in the hope of making my coincidences less coincidental – so to speak.

I’ve been so busy on my novel! I’m nearly at 70,000 words on the re-write. Last week I followed Calistro’s fab idea of chapter index cards – and that worked brilliantly! Do go have a look if you haven’t already - it’s such a great idea!

Ooh, and finally, I have a story in My Weekly this week – YAY! I received my complimentary copy yesterday and they’ve done such a lovely job. The artwork is super, as always! It’s out this Thursday, I think! So exciting !

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Derren Brown's ENIGMA


I leapt across the nice old lady who sat next to me. She was asking her son if ‘being put into a trance’ was anything like having an operation, and looked startled when I landed in her lap. But, despite my efforts, I didn’t catch the Frisbee.

‘Swearwords.’

I so wanted to catch it. To throw my Frisbee clasping hand in the air and shout, ‘Ooh, ooh, ooh, Derren, look at me, I’ve caught a Frisbee.’ Because then Mr Brown would have called me down onto The Adelphi stage, where I could have spent some wonderful moments with him.

And I was all prepared, you see. I was wearing my ditsy yellow top (well that's what it says on the label) and my best Tesco necklace. Get the idea? Yes I’d really gone to town.

But hey, we can’t have it all. Just to see him up there, waltzing around the stage like he owned it (which he probably did) was enough. And, actually, I’m lying. Sorry! I’m not one for going up on the stage, truth be told. Although I have acted, oh yes indeed! I had a huge role in a P.T.A. murder mystery play a few years back. I bet you’re impressed.

Anyway, I digress. And I must not digress. Look into my eyes. I must not digress. Because, this blog post is about Derren Brown, who entertained me last night, although sadly he has asked I keep the evening’s events a secret. You know, between me and him – and 2000 others, who just happened to be there. So I can’t share anything with you; which I suppose makes this post a complete waste of time.

Except that, if you do get a chance to spend the evening with him, I strongly recommend it. As, quite frankly, his show, ENIGMA, is blummin’ FANTASTIC!

Details of his tour can be found HERE

Monday, 13 July 2009

Patience



YAY - I’ve just received my copy of Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2010.

Trouble is, it’s made me all impatient.

I'm itching to send off the first three chapters of my novel! They are ready! Done and dusted a gazillion times! As too is my synopsis. Yes, I'm all set to GO.

Trouble is, I’ve only re-drafted 60,000 of my 75,000 words. So I know it’s too soon.

So, I’m going to be very patient! Yes, really I am!

Oh and the above picture is of Molly, my twelve year old gorgeous doggie. It was taken yesterday, when she seemed to have a fancy for eating the lobelia, which is apparently toxic. So we'll be keeping a close eye on her when she ventures into the garden from now on!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

A Good Week


A lavender walk on Thursday with three of my closest friends, certainly put a spring in my step. It was a beautiful evening full of sunshine and smiles, and later we put the world to right in a pub garden; lovely times indeed. So much so I've included a lavender walk in my novel!

And I’ve been busy, busy, busy clocking up the word count on my re-write – so much has been chopped from the first draft it’s unrecognisable as the same story - and there’s still more editing I can do – but I am getting there – slowly!

Oh and I’ve actually entered the Tonto Competition now, which is exciting. And I’ve SOLD another story to That’s Life Australia – which is trebly exciting as it looks like I’ll be sharing the pages with three super-duper blogger friends YAY!

Monday, 29 June 2009

What's Occurin'?


Well, I’ve had a lovely email from My Weekly saying my story will be in the August 1st issue. Tidy. They are so lovely at My Weekly, and this week they are my very favourite magazine!

And I’m half way through the novel re-write! I know! And better still, I’ve had a brainwave – yes really! It’s transformed the whole thing and now it’s blinking marvellous, even if I do say so myself! No, only joking! But it is coming together!

Ooh, and I’m entering the Tonto Competition, all thanks to the lovely, DJ for pointing me in its general direction! I have a few ideas for that, but they have yet to find their way onto the page!

So that’s me in a nutshell, quite frankly. Genuine!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Novel Progress - WICKED!



I woke this morning feeling like I would never reach the end of my novel.

It was a maze.

I could see the start.

I could actually feel the end.

But what was all the sticky stuff in the middle? Quicksand I think; tricky people and scenes that didn’t belong, or did belong but were doing all the wrong things.

Crumbs, I thought. What a mess! How in heaven’s name was I going to join random thoughts like ‘evaporated milk’ and ‘Cromby coats’ into a novel that an agent may want to take on? - A novel buzzing round my head when I eat, walk, dream, run, iron (okay not so much ironing!)

And then yesterday, another plot idea popped into my head as I travelled by train to see WICKED (which is absolutely fab by the way – do go see, if you haven’t already. Oh, and guess what? Caroline Smailes was only sitting two rows in front of me and I didn’t even know – small world? I think so!).

Anyway, I got a bit cross,‘NO,' I said. 'Go away new novel idea - I really have to get this novel finished first.’

And today, SUDDENLY, it’s all come together. I actually think I know where I’m going with it! Yeah, really! Really, really! So watch this space! YAY!

Monday, 15 June 2009

Private Blogging Writers' Group


I would like to set up a blogging writers' group! I so need to, to keep me motivated! So if you fancy joining me, do email me my email is on my profile) for the info - there's only twelve places so please be quick!

Updated 18th June - We now have 12 lovely members of 'Get It Write' - Anyone interested in the group please do email, and I will be happy to inform you should a space become available.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Greenway: Agatha Christie’s Summer Home


We had the best of times down in Devon, but the most memorable for me was our visit to Greenway: Agatha Christie’s Summer Home, which she visited every summer from 1938 until her death in 1976.

Apparently, she never came to Greenway to write. Instead she would read her latest manuscript to her family after dinner - now why won't my family let me do that? The retreat also gave her ideas for her novels; the setting for Dead Man’s Folly was based on Greenway and its boathouse; a magical, haunting building. Whilst I was in the boathouse, I sat on Agatha’s chair, hoping some of her talent would wear off on me! I've bought a copy of Dead Man's Folly and will read it with a different perspective now, imagining how she was seeing the setting as she wrote.


Greenway is now owned by The National Trust, and is only a short ferry ride away from Dartmouth. Wonderful!

We also visited Burgh Island, a beautiful place, where Burgh Island Hotel sits in all its Art Deco splender. Amongst other famous people, Agatha Christie visited here too. She used the setting for her novels 'Evil Under the Sun' and 'And then there were None'.


And talking of 'and then there were none' have a little lookie at my word count – Yep, back to zero, as I begin a re-write. Wish me luck – and have a lovely Sunday all!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Step Away From The Novel


Two posts in one day, Amanda! What’s happening?

Well, it’s a displacement activity. I’m avoiding my novel. So if you see it, you haven’t seen me, right!

Initially, I was thrilled by the bond I had with my novel. I would put everything into our relationship, and it would never let me down. But now, I guess like any long term relationship, it’s all gone a bit stale.

Anyhoo, we’re off to Dartmouth next week, my novel and I. (Oh and hubby too!) And I’m hoping, once there, some of the passion we once felt will come back (I’m still talking about my novel here you understand!)

But if I return feeling like this, we’ve agreed a mini-break, while I try new ventures. My novel has agreed to sit in ‘my documents’ waiting for me, until I'm ready. But I hope, for both our sakes, the holiday does us good.

An Xtranormal Epidemic



Crumbs! What has our friend, Lane started?

They’re rampaging blogland! Yes, it’s the invasion of the Playmobile people!

They’ve been seen here, here, here and here – and that’s just what I’ve spotted as I've tried to catch them landing on blogs.

Oh, and, I must confess, a very sad example of these little people can be found here!

FANTASTIC! Go get your own HERE – You know you want to!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Paul McKenna Changed My Life in Seven Days-ish.


Paul McKenna is not the reason I write. But I totally blame him for why I am obsessed! Quite frankly, the man has brainwashed me.

Okay, I know some of you have heard this before and you’re probably saying, ‘Gawd, what’s with all the repeats AB?’
Well it’s like this you see. Going down with a strange blogging disorder some time ago, resulted in the loss of a great many valuable and informative posts. Ha, only joking – most of them were naff. But the Paul McKenna one I had a soft spot for and now feel the urge to share it with you once more. So here it is again, in all its glory, albeit a little edited.


It all began back in 2006 when I was having a wee bit of a bad time of it. Life was s**t and I was that fan! I won’t list my whinges, but there were a fair few. You know the ones that life throws at us all from time to time, normally when we are looking the other way, and then shouts, ‘CATCH!’ I knew in my heart that I had blessings by the bucket load but my numeracy skills were completely ungradeable.

So I bought Paul McKenna’s book, ‘Change your life in seven days.’ It didn’t. Not in seven days anyway. But I’m convinced he hypnotised me.

Mr McKenna says on his CD, (and I won’t use his exact words, because when he pops over to read my blog, he may sue me for stealing his copyright) but to sort of paraphrase him, he says, ‘You can do whatever you want with your life, if you are determined enough.’ And he says too (and I’m paraphrasing again) that if you listen to his disc over and over you will find the tools that will help you fulfil your dream.

So I decided to listen to his CD over and over. And whilst doing so, I thought about (amongst other things) my writing. (No I wasn’t crazy! Honest! Well maybe a little.)

The outcome is this – I’m now obsessed with writing. And I really can’t stop, NOT NO HOW, NOT EVER. Now maybe this would have happened anyway. Gazillions of people get to this point and much, much further without the aid of Paul McKenna. But I do wonder whether, in my case, he played a part in my writing obsession! Oh, and just in case anyone’s wondering, my life is GREAT now and I’m drowning in my bucket load of blessings. YAY!

N.B. And since I blogged this post originally I’ve sold three stories. Go Paul!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

That's Life Australia


Today has started well. I received an email from That’s Life Australia saying they are about to pay me for the story I sold to them a short while ago – YAY! And it’s all thanks to Karen for pointing me in their general direction and Womag for printing all their guidelines – without them I would never have thought to send it to the other side of the world.

And I’d like to give 'That’s Life Australia' a big thumbs up. They responded to my story within a day telling me it had been shortlisted. They then got back to me within three months, informing me they would like to buy it. Oh, and they pay pretty well too!

And to add to the day starting well, during the night I had a short story idea that wouldn’t leave my head – I so love it when that happens, as it's not often. So I got up at 6 a.m. and outlined the story and will spend today editing it. Here's hoping the day keeps getting better-er and better-er!

Finally, a huge thank you to all those who commented on my last blog post. Thankfully, my malady has past and, as you can see, my typing fingers are working overtime again! YAY!

Friday, 29 May 2009

Why Do I Write?

I’ve been writing my novel since November 2008. 70,000 moments gathered by time and hidden where they may never see the light of day. And they say 99% of novels are rejected, so I wonder, sometimes, what could possibly make mine feature in the lucky 1%, other than a misplaced dream.

I hate days like this, where I question why I write. And I’ve tried to absorb what my tutor told me. He said, ‘don’t write to sell, write because you love to write.’

Without doubt, I love to write. And I know, even if I never sell another piece, I will continue to write for the rest of my life.

I shouldn't have days like this. I am a writer.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

New Website

Here is my new website. It's very basic and not quite finished, but I thought I'd share it with you.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

I've Chickened Out


I’ve studied the guidelines of the CBBC script writing competition since my last post, and decided to chicken out.

There were a few things that put me off. And, quite frankly, on the top of the list was my age. I’m no spring chicken as you know. And the first line of the guidelines says ‘we want to find the next generation of CBBC writers.’ Well that’s not me is it? And my theory was concreted, I think, by the fact you have to give your date of birth on the application form. So that’s that idea out of the window. Shame, I was quite excited about that.

So instead, I will do some ironing. No only joking. That can wait ‘til Christmas! Instead I’ll do some work on my novel, post a short story to Woman’s Weekly, and structure an article about my favourite haunted location, Minsden Chapel! Although where to send it once written is quite a mystery. Any ideas?

Hope you all had a lovely bank holiday – wasn’t the sunshine lovely!

Sunday, 24 May 2009

CBBC Script Writing Competition.


Since my attempt at writing a play for my A363 course, I've had a little fancy to write and submit a script. And, thanks to Antonia, I’ve learnt of a competition that CBBC are running. It’s an opportunity open to any writer who wants to write Children's drama for the 6-12 age range. I know I am knee deep in my novel at the moment. But I really would like to give this a go, if only for more experience of writing scripts.

And talking of my novel, here it is in the picture! Yep, I’ve printed it off – Crumbs, what a lot of pages! And it is now covered with edits, and I’ve been juggling it about a bit, getting myself in a complete muddle, truth be told.

Oh and just one more thing before I venture out in the lovely sunshine, I read over at Calistro’s, a wonderful post about saving Salt Publishers. Nip over and have a read, if you haven’t already! It brought a lump to my throat. I shall be buying a short story later today.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Website Building and Kaye C Hill


This morning I’m going to give my writer friend Kaye C Hill a little plug. Her first book, Dead Woman’s Shoes, a humorous murder mystery was fab, and her second book, The Fall Girl is out this August. She was clever enough to win a competition with Crème de la Crime publishing house, and since then she’s never looked back. Lucky Kaye.

Anyway, amongst other helpful advice, she suggested I set up my own website. You know, to show I mean business! I was flattered by her faith in me. And the idea grew on me. Putting a website url on submission letters MAY give an illusion of professionalism. Yeah? Well it’s certainly worth a try.

So once son number 3 has finished his ‘A’ Levels, I’m going to ask him to help me set one up! So watch this space!

Any tips on website building greatly received!

Monday, 18 May 2009

I Love Australia


Australia is one of my favourite places ever, ever, ever! I love it! And over the past two weeks I’ve been lucky enough to be in the company of two of the country’s best imports – my Auntie and Uncle. They emigrated to Brisbane from the UK back in 1968, and have been visiting England, staying with us. We’ve had the best of times, lots of family dos, and visits to super places. Weather could have been better, I guess, but then you can’t have it all. Anyway, I’ve just seen them off. And although it was emotional, I’m determined to see them again!

Oh, and just to add to my love of the Aussies – I received an email from 'That’s Life Australia' this morning saying they want to buy one of my stories – Yay!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Blog Warming Party


Welcome to my blog warming party. Help yourself to champagne and caviar.

x

Monday, 27 April 2009

Editing Novel 1

No I’m not. Editing novel 1, I mean. Not yet anyway. But one of my favourite blogs on writing, The Blood Red Pencil has printed a brilliant post on editing. And I was especially drawn to the fact you should avoid weak verbs like ‘ing’ words, and check for too many 'ly' words.

And, guess what? In novel 1 I’ve got 2760 ‘ing’ words and 1760 ‘ly’. I know because I swapped my ‘ings’ and ‘lys’ for the word ‘turnip’ and then panicked for a bit because I couldn’t return it to normal. (All’s well now though – I used the little arrow-back thingy.)

So, although now at a stupendous 64,400k, I’m upping the completed first draft goal to 85,000, as I can see a lot of culling going on around June time.

Okay, I’m off quick’ly’ now as I’m do’ing’ lots of work’ing’ today – I’m prepar’ing’ for my lovely Aunt and Uncle. They are com’ing’ over from Australia, stay’ing’ for two week’ly’s. Love’ly’'ly'

Saturday, 25 April 2009

A363 Advanced Creative Writing with the Open University


I was asked by a fellow blogger yesterday what I thought of the Open University’s Advanced Creative Course A363. And my response was,

‘It’s Blumin’ BRILLIANT.’

I’ve been lucky. I’ve had the same fab tutor for both A215 and A363. He’s a writer of successful plays that are regularly broadcast on BBC Radio. He’s very critical, and not one for lavishing praise, which, I have to say, took a bit of getting used to – As, quite frankly, I love praise – don’t we all?! But once I saw EVERYTHING he said was 100% valid – I took everything on board.

I’ve learnt SO much from both courses. And I'm sure I wouldn’t have sold two stories if I hadn’t done A215.

And A363 has taught me how to write plays for screen, film and stage – which I may just try one day! Oh, and how to splice the strands of a novel – which has helped me greatly with novel 1.

Yes, I would 100% recommend both courses, especially as, if you do both you get a ‘Creative Writing and Literature Diploma.’ YAY!

Although, it has to be said, both courses are blinking HARD WORK! Or is that just me?!

Oh, and you can find out a bit more about A363 here!