Tuesday 29 November 2011

Another award!

Many thanks to S.L. Hennessy at Pensuasion who has given my blog this award ----------->

I nominated her blog for an award in my last post, but if you didn't check out that link, you've got a second chance (so no excuses now!)

I have to nominate 15 blogs to pass the award on to. In doing this, I know I'll double up on people I've nominated in the past. And probably, by now, you all follow each other anyway. But - hey! - here goes:

Sarah at Empty White Pages
Linda at Excuse Me While I Note That Down...
Julie at Gypsy in my soul
Morton S Gray
Rosalind Adam is writing in the rain
Amy at Stuff and nonsense
Teresa at The Wittering Woman ..
JA Bennett at A Book, A Girl, A Journey
Jaxbee at Agenthood and Submissionville
Melissa at Have You Heard
Melissa's Imaginarium
Siobhan Minty
Alynza at The Write Journey

Okay, that's 13, but I'm happy with that. And I believe I've found some new blogs to share with you. Enjoy!

Monday 28 November 2011

Liebster Award

A few days ago, Rebecca Bradley at Life In Clarity gave me a Liebster Award. Rebecca has a fantastic blog about the process of writing and submitting. She's also very supportive when I'm being less than positive about my own writing. So thank you so much for this award, Rebecca!!

The rules for this award are as follows (copied from Rebecca):
In accepting the Liebster Blog Award, the recipient agrees to:
- Thank the person who gave them the award and link back to that person's blog
- Copy and paste the award to their blog
- Reveal the 5 blogs they have chosen to award, commenting on their blog to break the news!
- Hope those people in turn pay it forward by accepting and awarding "The Liebster Blog Award" to bloggers they would like to honour

This award is for anyone with fewer than 200 followers. :)

So here are my chosen blogs:

Murees Dupres at Daily Drama of an Aspiring Writer

Suzie F at My Not So Secret Writing Life 

Jenny at Fulfilling Dream

Marta Szemik Blogging On Her Writing
S.L Hennessy at Pensuasion

I've selected all of these blogs because they are really great reads, and because their authors regularly comment on my blog, and this is my way of saying thank you for that. I love your comments, and I love that feeling of finally being part of the writing community, as opposed to just sitting at home with my laptop!

Apologies for not writing individual thank yous, but I'm in the throes of a nasty headache. (I started this, then realised I probably shouldn't have!)

Wednesday 23 November 2011


I'm going to be PUBLISHED!!!!

I'm going to be eBooked, Kindled, iBooked, PDF'd!!!!!!!!

I'm afraid - especially after that big opening - I'm going to be a bit vague on the details for now; I don't want to say too much too soon, just in case... well, you know... the realist in me always expects the worst.

But this was the point of starting a blog in the first place, following the journey from being unpublished, through the writing, editing etc, to final product. So, hopefully, as the hard work starts over the next few weeks, I'll be able to share my thoughts and feelings about the process.

The story in question is the one I mentioned here, about tagging it as Romance, so I guess that gamble paid off.

So far, I've signed the contract and emailed it back to the publisher. And I've spent a lot of time grinning. If you've seen me in person, you can probably vouch for the grinning! And right now, I'm just waiting for confirmation that the contract has been received. I just hope I haven't tempted Fate by posting this, but I couldn't wait any longer!!

Now, if you'll excuse me, I haven't jumped around for a while!!

I'm going to be PUBLISHED!!!

Monday 21 November 2011

Time travelling

Since I'm now looking at Romance markets for some of my stories, I thought I'd do some research into the genre. I was amazed at the variety; practically any genre can have romantic leanings, apparently - including westerns, horror and suspense.

The one that intrigued me the most was time travel, because apart from The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger I can't think of another example within fiction, and I'm not sure she deserves a whole genre for one book. I'm sure you'll all be able to correct me and list hundreds (please do!).

The problem with time travel stories is that there are many ways to tie the plot in knots so it doesn't make sense - I'm sure you must have wasted hours of your youth, as I did with my friends, discussing the Back to the Future trilogy - although I don't remember anything glaringly obvious in The Time Traveler's Wife.

One of my mum's favourite films from years ago was Somewhere in Time, with Christopher Reeve. It's a lovely film, a tear-jerker, perfect for wet and windy Sunday afternoons. But - just a slight but this time- the opening scenes put my head in a proper spin. An elderly woman approaches Christopher Reeve and says something along the lines of "My love, please come back to me".

This makes Reeves curious, and he goes off to investigate this woman and discovers a picture of her when she was younger. He falls in love with this picture (as you do!) and decides to travel back in time to meet her.

Now, it's that opening paradox that jars slightly. If he'd just looked at this woman, called her crazy and not given her another thought, he'd never gone back in time to meet her, which means she wouldn't have spoken to him in the present because he would have been a stranger. Which means, there would be no film,... so I can kind of understand why they did it.

Anyway, that was a very long-winded way of saying that you really have to think about your time travel plotline! I'd really love to read your comments on this - I could talk time-travel for hours. Just give me a moment to pour the wine!!

Friday 18 November 2011

The way my stories write themselves

I've just finished the first draft of a short story.

Originally, I had a 24 year old man coming home from a year of travelling to find his mother has just died. A couple of days later and this man is now 19 and housebound. How does that happen? I have no idea.

My ideas form so subtly that it takes a while - musing on the bus, or while trying to get to sleep - for the actual characters to form. When I started writing the 24 year old version, the words plodded along - there was a lot of conversation, a lot of catching up with old friends and family, and a brand new niece, but not a lot was happening. I'd hoped the mother would become important, but I just couldn't bring her to the fore.

Then suddenly, I started again. New, blank piece of paper, and the 19 year old sprung out and steered the story with his snide apathy, quite unlike the amiable character I'd assumed for him. Now he's chain-smoking and argumentative despite the fact he's reliant on people to help him move around the house. Oh, and the mother is now missing, not dead.

Essentially, it's still the same very vague idea of familial relationships. Practically, it's totally different. I love writing!!

Saturday 12 November 2011

Short story in progress

It was all going so well. I had the title (that always comes first), I had my character and his voice. It took a while to work why he had the voice he had, but it came to me in a flash of inspiration. A small amount of research later, and I was sure I could carry off this idea!

So far, so good.

I had the other characters scuttling in from the side-lines and making themselves indispensable to the plot. Fantastic, I thought, this is going well. Done by Sunday... I thought.

Then what? Nothing!

After days of rampant writing, of waking up in the night to make notes, it was all flowing so well. Then... my two main characters are sitting at their kitchen table - father and son, an awkward relationship - in an awkward silence. The mother/wife has gone missing. The police are involved. Father and son are staring at a piece of toast...

Can you sense the tension? Can you hear the emptiness of their relationship? I could. I can. But... then it all stops. I have no idea where to go next, how to get them up from the kitchen table and to the end of the story. I know what happens then - titles and endings, I'm brilliant with those; it's just the pesky bit in the middle that has me tearing my hair out.

The truth is, I paused. I stopped for a day or two because of work and other busy-ness (as opposed to business, which it technically ought to be, but looks wrong) got in the way, and then my pen didn't want to start again. It's not writer's block, it's much less severe than that, it's writer's blip. But that's annoying enough when you're in the zone and everything's flowing.

I'm hoping by writing about it here I'll kick start myself... I hope!

Tuesday 8 November 2011

My niche?

In this post, a couple of months ago, I bemoaned the fact that I didn't seem to fit the current market. I wasn't mainstream enough for the mainstream; I wasn't experimental enough for the experimental market; I definitely didn't fit a genre.

Not long afterwards, I submitted a piece of work - I took a risk and suggested it might work as Romance/Contemporary. Now, I had no problem with Contemporary, because it's set today; but Romance was more of a gamble because it's not a happy-ever-after piece that I assumed Romance readers required.

Then - then! - it occured to me that if I marketed at least some of my work as Romance, I'd immediately be challenging, daring and surprising - the words that confused me so much in my last post - within that genre.

Have I - eventually - found my niche?

Oh, and if you're wondering, the gamble paid off and I've had some positive feedback on my submission; although I'm not sure whether they agree with the Romance/Contemporary tag yet. I'm hoping I'll have some news about it in the next couple of months!

Thursday 3 November 2011


I have thirteen followers!!! Yay!!!

So, a big welcome to my brand new followers Maldita, Melissa and Robyn! At the moment, I can't figure out how to follow people from Friend Connect - is it possible?

Please have a look around my blog and make yourselves at home. Sorry I haven't tidied up, but I wasn't expecting visitors.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

An insecurity too far?

This is my post for this month's Insecure Writer's Support Group.

I've been hesitating over writing this post, for reasons that will soon become apparent.

I'm insecure this month - and last month, to be honest, but I chickened out of writing about it - about my blog. And, yes, I'm aware this will come across as a Please follow my blog post; but it's not meant that way - hence the hesitating (and initially writing something else that didn't ring true, deleting that and writing this).

I look at the blogs I follow, and the blogs I continue to discover through IWSG, and they all seem to have lots of followers; some of them are younger than mine, and yet they have hundreds of followers. I'm not going to admit how many I have, but think of a number and chop it into little pieces and you might be close.

Okay, so that's enough self-pity. Now for some self-help:

Problem 1. I have a blog, but I have nothing to say. The point of this blog was to document my expanding writing career. I started it in July 2010, when I was being quite successful - this year has been less so. My current novel is being read by some fantastic readers which means I don't have any joys of editing posts to write; I'm buried in research for publishers, which is tedious enough to do let alone talk about; I have no new projects.

Problem 2. Possibly people view my blog because they think I'm a proper writer (ie. published) and quickly realise I'm not. From a networking point of view it's like Tom Cruise befriending the guy who played  fourth- man-walking-dog in Eastenders last night.

Resolution 1. Perhaps I need to go back to the original premise, which was to record for myself the twists and turns towards success, and ignore the stats. (I've written before about my love of the stats; it's turning into a poisonous relationship.)

Resolution 2. For my part of the bargain, maybe I can slightly change the focus - I could include more links, more snippets of useful information, more... erm... I'll give it some more thought.

Thanks for reading - and apologies for the self-pity. Normal service resumed soon!