Wednesday 29 February 2012

From Santa Fe to... Sarah's place

Today, I'm taking over Sarah Pearson's Empty White Pages blog, talking about word count.

So a big thank you to Sarah for inviting me.

As I don't know exactly where Sarah lives, I thought this tea cosy pretty much sums us up as a country. (Apologies, Sarah if you don't come from England.)

After today, I have one more guest post lined up and then my little blog tour is all over, and normal service will be resumed - at least until April, when I'll be posting every day bar Sundays!

To coincide with that, I thought I might have a Cat and The Dreamer give-away. And then I noticed I currently have 92 followers (a big thank-you to all the newbies), so I thought that maybe, if I can get to 100 followers, I'd give away two copies! Watch this space...

Monday 27 February 2012

My first guest post

So, once again, I'm not really here. I'm off on my travels - this time to Santa Fe (hence the photo, which Google Images assures me is Santa Fe), where Melissa Ann Goodwin has invited me over to talk about how much I've learnt about the publishing industry.

Prepare to be astounded...:-)

I'm collecting all my travelling links on the Cat and The Dreamer tab at the top of the page, just in case you want to find them.

I'd also like to say a big thank you to Rek at A Chronicle of Dreams, who has reviewed Cat and The Dreamer.

And another thank you to everyone who read and commented on the A-Z Challenge Tag post on Friday. If it's made you want to take part in the challenge in April, please check out the link here to sign up. The co-hosts are on a big push to have 1000 participants signed up by the end of February, and as I write this the total stands at 746. It would be really great to see you there.

And right now, I hope you'll follow me over to Melissa's blog.

Friday 24 February 2012

An A - Z Challenge TAG

Jenny at the Pearson Report - a co-host of the Blogging A - Z Challenge - has started a game of TAG.

I'm going to answer them now, and then it's your turn, should you choose to accept!

Are you signed up for the A to Z Challenge? 
Yes, yes I have! My first time... I'm a little scared!
What is your sign-up number? 
I'm at # 145 Wake up, eat, write, sleep
Are you ready? If yes...explain yourself. 
Well, I've got my theme. I've got the letters Q, V and Z sorted. I've even written two posts, and I've already had to cheat on B!
If you’re not ready...what’s your excuse? 
Well, after A, B, Q, V and Z, it all goes a bit downhill. But I'm sure I'll be ready by April. I'm absolutely, positive I'll be ready by April... Did I mention I've got my theme?
So now it's your turn. Just copy and paste these questions in your post and encourage your followers to do the same!
What are you waiting’ve just been TAGGED!
If you haven't signed up and you want to, click the link to the Pearson Report at the top of the page.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

And off again....

Yep, only just had time to put my bag down and bash out a post about killing things, and I'm off on my travels again - this time to Linda's blog, Excuse Me While I Note That Down.

Linda has also given me my first review, so thank you Linda, it was great fun!

Murdering my darlings

Phew... the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of activity, without a single word of new material written. So, at the weekend, I put all thoughts of marketing for Cat and the Dreamer on hold and got out my soon-to-be-submitted trilogy of novellas and read them as a whole, and - yay! - they worked. I held my breath, I got goosebumps, I wanted a character to do the opposite to what she was planning. I got caught up in my own stories!

Except for one. The second story in the collection was the first to be written - written eight years ago, to be exact. And as I was reading, I spotted a lot of changes that needed to be made. Even the first sentence, which I thought was spectacular when I first wrote it, now seems dated and cliched. And then, I saw it. I saw the worst piece of writing - a whole section that I'd shoehorned in, because I needed to get my character from C to D.

Out came my red pen, and... my darlings are gone - all 2000 of them. Murdered, slashed... gone :-(

Deleting words is not usually something I do. Not because they're all good, you understand. But because my work is usually shorter than I'm hoping and I spend a lot of time increasing the word count.

Currently there's nothing instead - just a big gaping hole in the plot. In this section, the MC has to lose her job,  introduce another character to the guy she likes, watch them flirt and then have an argument with him. It sounds easy enough, doesn't it? But the spectre of the old version is lingering. Even though I'm sitting down with a completely blank piece of paper, with my beautiful fountain pen poised, I'm struggling for inspiration.

So today's question is: have you ever needed to delete huge swathes of your work, and how did you fill the hole it left behind?

Monday 20 February 2012

Over at Teresa's

Today, I'm featured on Teresa F Morgan's blog, answering questions, and sharing the origins of the title. 

Thanks for inviting me over, Teresa!

Friday 17 February 2012


I was tagged by Rachel at Writing on the Wall. Rachel has asked eleven people to answer eleven questions of her own chosing. In turn, after answering the questions below, I have to ask eleven people to answer eleven questions of my own chosing, and so the tag continues. I hope that's clear!

1. What is one item on your bucket list?
 I would love to climb the Eiffel Tower. That sounds easy, but I'm scared of heights, so that makes it all a bit more difficult.

2. Please share a goal you have accomplished.
All my goals have been writing based. So publishing my novella is the most recent.

3. What's the next book on your To be read list?
 I keep looking at The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore when I'm stood in Waterstone's, so I imagine it'll be that. I tend not to plan.

4. What's the last book you loved?
 I've just finished The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender, which was strange, atmospheric and perfect.

5.What author would you love to meet? (Alive or dead is fine, it's a fantasy afterall.)
 So hard to chose - I'm going to say Daphne du Maurier, because I love her short stories but find her novels difficult to read. Maybe she could explain them to me?

6. If you could pick a name for yourself, what would it be?
 I love my name. At secondary school, with over 1100, I only had to write Annalisa on my work, because I was the only one. I always feel a bit gutted when I see someone with my name. Luckily, I've never met anyone in person, I might not be responsible for my actions!

7. What was your first pet?
 A dwarf lop-eared rabbit called Mufti.

8. Chocolate or caramel?

9. Do you like to read about the past, present or future?
 Mostly, the present.

10. Where would be your dream vacation?
 New Zealand, or a tour of Scandinavia.

11. What did you have for dinner last night?
 Left-over lasagne, with Christmas cake to follow.

And now for my questions:
1. Which book, that you're supposed to love, do you actually hate?
2. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
3. Name four people (dead or alive) you would like to invite for dinner.
4. Can you remember your first teacher?
5. In which order should Star Wars be watched: IV, V, VI, I, II, III or I, II, III, IV, V, VI?
6. Which fictional character would you like to be for a day?
7. Sweet or savoury?
8. Do you have a tattoo? How many?
9. Do you still have your first teddy bear? (I do.)
10. Oggy, oggy, oggy... Does anyone know what comes next? (hehehe)
11. What are you reading right now?

If you're on this list, you're tagged! If you choose to play, you have to answer the questions above and pass 11 new questions on to 11 new people!

Julie at From Pen to Paper...
Maria at First Draft Cafe

julie fedderson at Gypsy in my soul
Life by Chocolate: Robyn Alana Engel's Blog
Jessica Salyer at Just Following a Dream
Tina at Life is Good
Patsy at Patsy Collins
Amy at Stuff and nonsense
Tasha Seegmiller at Tasha Seegmiller
M Pax at Wistful Nebulae
Julie at What Else Is Possible?

Thursday 16 February 2012

Is it bedtime yet?

Porthleven, Cornwall Easter 2011
I didn't sleep last night. Not a single minute. Instead, I wandered around the house, wrote a few lines that change the ending of a novel I'm working on, and worked out how I would extend my house if money was no object - I even know what taps I want!

I finally fell alseep at 7am, and woke up a couple of hours later. Adding this to the vertigo that's left me unable to sit up for more than ten minutes at a time - almost a week now - I feel awful!

So I thought it was time for a gratuitous photo of a gorgeous Cornish village that I visited for a music and food festival last Easter - on what was probably the warmest April I've ever known.

And it's working. I haven't thought about all the writing I'm not doing for about five minutes now!

Just so this isn't a wasted post, I'll also do another shout-out for the wonderful Blogging From A-Z April Challenge.

It occurred to me, overnight, that I've got at least three followers who are not writers... and fear not! You guys can be included too. Just chose a theme and find a subject for each letter of the alphabet.

Writers are not islands, they have crafting, dieting and fitness interests too... Just click on the logo to signup!

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Off to see Jacqueline

Today, I'm over on Jacqueline Howett's Blog, having a chat. Please pop over there and say 'Hi' to us. There's also a chance to win a copy.

The links to Amazon, Vagabondage and Nook are on the left-hand side of this page, just down a bit... a bit further... that's it!

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Cat and The Dreamer Launch Day!!

I'm not sure what else to say apart from I hope you like it!

As well as jumping around and popping the Champagne corks here, I'm having a chat to the lovely Gwen at Fulfilling Dreams.

You can buy Cat and The Dreamer on Kindle, (and Kindle US), Nook and at Vagabondage Press


Monday 13 February 2012

Origins blogfest

Click the logo to find out about Origins and join up!
When did my writing dream begin?

Um... a long, long time ago. In fact, I can't remember a time when I didn't write, or want to be a writer. I know, I know... everyone says that - I am a cliche monster!

But did it begin with my re-telling of Snow White and Rose Red, aged about 7? Or the way I interpretted a primary school project to mean 'write a fictional account of life as a Victorian scullery maid'.

Or with my first 'novel' about a girl who discovers that her cousin is the lead singer of a boy band, when I was about 14?

Or with the first cheque, for £10, that arrived in the post, along with the magazine my short story was published in? (I reproduced that story here, if you're interested.)

All I know for certain is, I couldn't not write. I remember spending quite a lot of my time lying on my bed and writing. In the days of the tape player, I had a copied tape with Guns n' Roses on one side and Poison on the other. When it finished, I'd just turn it over. For months, that's all I listened too. Then it changed to Meatloaf and Alice Cooper.

I wish I'd kept these early stories, but I went through periods - every year or so - of throwing them out. I wasn't embarrassed by writing, but I understood that it wasn't something any of my friends did... it wasn't cool.

When I was 14, having just finished the above mentioned boy band novel whose title I can't remember, I told my careers adviser I wanted to be a writer. She started talking about journalism, and when I said, "No, a fiction writer", she said that wasn't a proper job. Which, though she may deny it now, was something my mum said too.

I'm glad I didn't listen.

Friday 10 February 2012

I'll tumble 4 ya blogfest

Click here to find out all about it

So, this blogfest asks: who was your 80s crush? Click the link under the logo to find out about it and/or scroll down to the bottom of this post to join in. Or you could just leave a comment below and tell just me... I won't tell anyone else, honest!

To be honest, there were a few pin ups on my bedroom wall in the 80s. Johnny Depp (who would be still there, if I wasn't married - can't see Hubby wanting to wake up to Mr Depp every morning), River Phoenix, that guy from Curiosity Killed the Cat.

But my major, all-encompassing and absolute crush was...
the incredible and very beautiful Morten Harket

For the purposes of this blogfest, I'm supposed to justify why, but - really - do I have to? Look at him. He's gorgeous. His hair, his eyes, his voice  his tasteful selection of scarves. I thought he was perfect then, and I still do now.

I'm not allowed to embed the video I wanted to, but it's here: The Sun Always Shines on TV. This was the very first time I'd seen a-ha - they were on Top of the Pops,  and the next day at school everyone was talking about them.

Sadly, Wham! became more popular amongst my friends, but I was loyal until the end. I'd forgotten how beautiful their videos were - a true band, probably a bit overlooked, and one of the best things to come out of the 80s.

Here's Hunting High and Low, and Stay On These Roads, just because I want to.

I think this has been my favourite post EVER!!

So, now, who was your 80s crush?

Here's the Linky to all the other participants. Please go and check them out.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Cat and The Dreamer cover - and an open request

Ta daa!! My first ever book cover!

I'd never considered what the cover would look like, but I'm really happy with it. It's interesting to see how someone else has interpreted the story.

And now for the request...

I've left it a bit late, I know - but until very early this morning, I hadn't seen the cover, or had information about marketing.

I'm wondering whether anyone would like to interview me on their blog, and/or review the novella. I've never organised any kind of blog tour, so I'm not sure how to go about it. What I don't want to do is contact people directly so that they felt obliged to say yes. I understand that a lot of people don't review or host other people.

The actual release day is 14 February - a week today... eeek! - which I know is the date of a couple of blog-fests, so I'm happy to shift around to accomodate other committments.

If you'd like to help me out, please email me through the email on my blogger profile. If you can't, please don't worry, I won't hold it against you :-)

Sunday 5 February 2012

I have such lovely blogger friends...

... because I have been awarded not one, not two, but three awards! (The rest of this post might get confusing.)

Firstly I was awarded the Liebster Award by Joanne @ A Certain Book. I've already explained to Joanne that I've recently receieved this award, so I'm not going to pass it on, because I passed it on last time. The award is a lovely idea in that you pass it to people who have less than 200 followers. I found this difficult, because there aren't very many blogs that I follow which have less than 200 - they're all just too darn successful! I hope you don't mind Joanne, but I really appreciate it.

Rachel Mary Bean @ Writing on the Wall and Michelle Gregory @ beautiful chaos both awarded me these two lovely awards. Because they both came together, I'm going to pass them on together, as I don't know whether they have different criteria. All I know is that both Rachel and Mary shared ten random things about themselves, and there doesn't seem to be a limit on the number of followers like the Liebster, so I've got a lot more choice.

10 Random Facts About Me (which I may have shared before)!

1) I'm going to be a bridesmaid for my sister in June - technically I'm the Maid of Honour, but I prefer the term bridesmaid.

2) I can't ride a bike.

3) I'm not much better at swimming.

4) I own a pair of boots and a skirt that are almost twenty years old, and I still wear them regularly because they are both in good working order and reasonably - surprisingly - fashionable most of the time.

5) My mum, who hated the fact she didn't have a middle name, failed to give me one.

6) I am tone deaf.

7) I love music.

8) My hubby is a musician. (You may notice those last three could have been one, but I'm struggling to find ten facts. I'm not altogether sure I'm that interesting!)

9) My living room is bright orange, my dining room is bright yellow, my kitchen is bright green.

10) I'm a huge fan of Doctor Who. The Doctor I grew up with was Peter Davison, who is almost always forgotten in TV documentaries about the series. He was the guy who wore cricket whites.

Phew! I'm done. And now, here are my nominations. I'm not sure how many I'm allowed to choose, so I'll pick a few at random. As always with these awards, I wish I could nominate all of you, but it gets really tiring on my eyes - I've decided to choose people I haven't awarded in the past! Yeah, okay... I know that's a really poor excuse to not have everyone on the list!

Melissa Ann Goodwin - Writer on the Road

Patsy Collins
Julie @ What Else is Possible?
M Pax @ Wistful Nebulae

Thursday 2 February 2012

The random sounds that make up words

When I was little, I liked to say my name out loud, over and over - because eventually it sounded foreign and unfamiliar. Even words we use all the time, like the can sound really peculiar the more times you say it.

That's the feeling I'm having with the latest round of Cat and the Dreamer edits. The more I consider whether that word, the comma is correct, the more removed I feel from the text, until - after reading the sentence over and over - it makes no sense. Argh!

I hope this is just my perception and it will all make total sense when it's finally finished. But it does spookily echo a dream I had the other night - my first sentence was gobbledygook, and I when my eyes focused on the text, I'd misspelled 'stuck', among others, and I woke up in a complete panic.

(On a related note: I spell-checked this post because I wasn't sure how to spell gobbledygook. The spell-checker had that word, but doesn't know spookily! How strange!)

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Just me?

Time for another insecure post. Click the logo and it'll take you to Alex's original post about it, and give you the opportunity to sign up  - although I can't believe there is anyone who doesn't at least know about this blog hop by now.

This month's insecurity was inspired by a post I read recently here. I've been thinking for a while now that I'm the only person in the world ever who's not writing YA fantasy. But now I know I'm not the only one... there's two of us!

(This was a scheduled post, I had it all written and done days ago, but I've just had my attention drawn - by someone reading an old post - to the fact that I've written something similiar to this before. I must prepare better next time!)


Since I discovered how much fun blog hops and challenges can be, and I've started to follow more and more people because of them, I realised that almost all of the people I follow - and a lot of the people who follow me - are YA writers. And I'm not. Not by a long shot. In fact, what I'm starting to wonder  is whether people think that I am.

What I mostly write about is the psychology of my characters - how they react to things around them, how they react to the things that happen to them. Hmm, okay, that doesn't sound as exciting as I was hoping. Mostly there's a dead body - is that more exciting? Sometimes the dead body is right in front of them, sometimes it's in the past, sometimes it's in the process of becoming dead.

It's not that I don't love all the YA writers I follow - I think your blogs are fantastic, and obviously, first and foremost, you are writers, with exactly the same issues and problems with the process of writing that I have. But it does seem, a bit like the post I linked to above, that the reason YA writers are so prolific is that no one is reading anything else at the moment.