Wednesday 29 August 2012

Look!! And a short story announcement

The lovely Kyra Lennon tagged me in this meme, so I thought I'd give it a go. To take part, you need to search your WIP for the first usage of the word Look and post the surrounding paragraph. Firstly, working out which WIP to use was difficult - I have several projects on the go, one of which isn't on my computer yet (so I discounted that one). I've decided to use the MS that I found out will be my next-to-be-published-book... but sorry, no details yet, I don't want to jinx it by announcing too early. 

In this excerpt, the MC is three, or maybe four...

I cry out by accident, then hold my hands over my mouth and wait for the monster to crawl out. Almost straight away Mummy and Daddy are standing over me; the light from the landing pours in and makes my bedroom look almost normal again, like it does in the day time.

As usual, I'm being lazy and not tagging people - consider yourself tagged, if you want to take part. And if anyone knows why the word look was used, I'd love to know. I occurred to me that any word could work... although maybe not the or antidisestablishmentarianism!

In other news:
I'm hugely excited by the following blogfests. Have you heard of these? Have you signed up? I've got the chocolate one sorted, but - boy! - am I finding my favourite genres difficult... I like everything! 

Click here to sign up!

Click here to sign up!

And finally:
My short story Jacob's Wife is now available at Alfie Dog Fiction!

Sally is trapped in her marriage after marrying too young and for the wrong reasons. She's let her true love slip through her fingers once - but when Tom arrives back in her life stirring up old memories, will she let him leave again?

So, what's your news on this lovely Wednesday?

Friday 24 August 2012

My new WIP

I didn't mean to go AWOL from my blog, but my time and real time seem to have diverged somewhere along the line. I can't even think what I've done this week!

I know I started seriously on my new WIP - I've written down words and everything. This is a big step for me because I didn't have a first line. Without the first line I have no idea who's narrating, what tense I'm working with, or the tone I'm going to achieve. I know... the life of a pantser is a strange and exciting one!

As it is, I've ended up changing the POV. I started from the sensible POV of the guy who's still definitely going to be alive at the end of the story. But his voice wasn't quite right, and I really wanted to know more about another character, who may not be alive at the end of the story, although that's still up in the air at the moment. But she has more of a story - she's left her home town, got married, got divorced and returned to her home town. While the guy has always just been there. You can see that her story is much more interesting. 

But unfortunately it will leave me with some problems later on - either I'll have to switch POV for the last parts, or have outer body experiences. (Though, I some of you can probably guess which way I'm swaying at the moment!)

Other things I've done this week have included:
  • the Back to School shop
  • buying the paint for our hall (but not having the courage to start - it's a BIG hall)
  • taking the dog for a walk, getting drenched after 5 minutes and ending up having our clothes tumble-dried at my in-laws house
  • working
  • seeing Hubby play at a great venue in Exeter
Hmm, okay, so I do seem to have done quite a lot - no wonder I haven't had time to blog!

Also, this week, I won a £10 Amazon voucher as part of Kyra Lennon's Game On Tour Finale - which was such a lovely surprise because usually I don't win anything. I checked through my TBB (to be bought) list, and can't decide what I want - they all look so good. I'd love to hear some suggestions please!

Saturday 18 August 2012

Dear Diary...

So, this week has been a great week! Do you ever get weeks like that?

On Monday and Tuesday, I rewrote a story and submitted it while Hubby pulled up the hallway carpet and broke my vacuum cleaner - and bought me a new one.

On Wednesday, I met up with my sister for her belated birthday lunch. Great food, a walk along Plymouth Hoe watching the waves crash across the road. Unfortunately, I was wearing a skirt, which needed to be held down because of the gusty wind! I can't explain - without sounding very sarcastic - how much I love the wind.

We walked to the Barbican, I took my sister's picture on the Mayflower Steps (not shown, because I haven't asked her), and went to The Merchant's House - one of the oldest buildings in Plymouth, now a museum. (I don't remember it being on a slant, it might just have been me! I'd had lunch, remember, along with half a bottle of wine!)

At the moment it's got a great Plymouth Blitz display, and we spent ages working out where our grandparents were living. (They got bombed out of three houses, apparently). The Blitz in Plymouth is not so well-known as some of the others around the country - because, if I remember correctly, the Government decided to keep it quiet for propaganda reasons, and so Plymouth didn't get as much help as other cities - but we had 50-something raids over the course of a couple of years and at least 50% of the city was completely destroyed. Old houses, like The Merchant's House are very rare in Plymouth.

Kyra's on the left,
I'm on the right... lol
On Thursday, I met the amazing Kyra Lennon. I've never met another author before, and it was so cool because through our blogs we know all the same people, and could talk about how great you guys are! 

Once again, I walked along a windy seafront and saw lots of trains! We had lunch, we walked, we talked, we had drinks... In short we spent five hours talking, and it really didn't seem that long. And Kyra offered to be my new - and very first - critique partner. I've avoided them in the past, because I'm not overly convinced about my own critiquing talents, but I'm learning lots from Kyra!

So, that was my week. How was yours? How was the weather for you?

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Happy Half Birthday to my novella!

Being well past the need to read children's books, I'd forgotten which literary character celebrates his half birthday - and I've also forgotten why I wanted to know - but anyway, I googled 'half birthdays' and discovered a whole industry of people selling half birthday paraphernalia.

But I didn't find the answer to my original question - I think it might be Pooh, or Paddington, does anyone know?

Apparently everyone is having half-birthdays these days - there are companies selling cards and badges and banners, and there are at least two children's books on Amazon about them! While I don't think I'll ever go down that road for myself (because 30-something-and-a-half doesn't really have the same ring to it - although I might try it when I reach 80) I thought my novella deserved it!

Happy Half Birthday "Cat and The Dreamer"

As Cat and The Dreamer is an ebook, it doesn't want much by way of presents (except maybe to be a real book, so I'm hiding its copy of Pinocchio right now!) but you'd make its day by trying to get #catandthedreamer trending on Twitter... just for the fun of it!

If you haven't read it, and you want to, just look at the left-hand side bar - there are plenty of links!

"The author skilfully interweaves real and imagined events, giving insight into the character's state of mind and her twisted perspective on life."  Zalick – Amazon review

"This novella is truly touching. I really felt for this girl. She is a real, three-dimensional character with real problems and emotions that can't be tied up in a neat little bow. I loved how beautifully written this story was and I definitely recommend it."  R.M. Schieffelbein – Amazon review

“Crawford’s writing fills the novella with immediacy that keeps you scrolling through pages, with a natral flow you can’t help but follow.”  Jennifer Johnson –

Here are a few people who share my novella's half birthday:
  • Simon Pegg, awesomely funny actor
  • Lois Maxwell, Miss Moneypenny herself
  • Christopher Sholes, inventor of the typewriter and the QWERTY keyboard - thank you, Mr Sholes!
  • Kevin Keegan, footballer and early crush... ah, that curly hair (and he managed Manchester City for a while - I was ecstatic that season!)

What great company my novella keeps!!
Is it your half birthday today too? Or even your full birthday?

Sunday 12 August 2012

A Salt book on the Booker longlist

I'd have bought this for the cover
alone! Isn't it beautiful?
A couple of weeks ago the Booker longlist was announced, and there were a few shocks; there were four first time novelists on the list for exampl - plus, a personal shock of seeing a book by Salt - The Lighthouse by Alison Moore - also included.

I can't remember when I first became aware of Salt, but I think it was a couple of years ago when I was randomly searching writers and publishers on Facebook. Yes, I was procrastinating, but I came up with a few gems, including Salt. I checked them out, bought a couple of books, liked them on Facebook - and was subsequently friended by owner Chris - and decided they would be a great publisher to submit all my work to. But I didn't. I had a crisis of confidence and stopped submitting anywhere for a while.

Soon after, they lost their Arts Council funding - and shared their grief and confusion via Facebook. I read their statuses every time they wondered how they would cope without that pot of money, what they should cut, how they could move on. I followed their path to downsize and reinvigorate their lists and their business. They had great ideas. In fact, just a few days before the Booker announcement, they made their own announcement about some new short fiction and poetry prizes they are going to establish.

And then... POW!!!!

Everything has changed for them overnight. They have been featured here and here and here. How amazing is that! All that hard work to keep the business running has paid off. They have become sensations. I don't follow Alison Moore, but I imagine her life too has turned upside down - and all before the original scheduled publication date... which was obviously scooted forward pretty quickly

I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list of items to buy this week.

This story has restored my faith in publishing (print and digital), fiction and literature that the whole 50 Shades thing (oh, I know there's a better word to use here, honestly I do!) was slowly eroding. I also think I should have submitted to them when I first thought about it, because surely now, everyone will want to be published by a small family press whose owners really care about each and everyone of their authors.

Friday 10 August 2012

Game On by Kyra Lennon

I'm really excited today, because Radleigh McCoy is visiting as part of Kyra Lennon's blog tour. Gentleman that he is (hehe), he offered to give Kyra a break and pop over instead. If you don't know Radleigh yet, he lives in Kyra Lennon's novel Game On. He's a fantastic football/soccer player with an armful of tattoos. And I've got a bit of a crush, but I think I hid it well...

I asked him why he wanted to play soccer:

Soccer was all I knew when I was growing up. My dad is the legendary Mitchell “Mitch” McCoy. He started his career when he was twenty-two, shortly before I was born. I remember when I was a kid, Dad used to take Mom and me on the road with him as often as he could. One of my earliest memories is being in the Westberg Warriors locker room, asking my dad if I could play in a match with him. I guess I was around five then. The guys on the team were really cool, and they let me “train” with them. Really, they just kicked the ball to me and let me kick it back but when you’re five years old, it makes you feel pretty special.

I guess I can credit those guys with me being as good at the game as I am now. It’s important to start early, and as I got older, they helped me more and more. There was a lot of interest in me because I was Mitch McCoy’s kid. I think there were people who wanted me to fail, so they could say I wasn’t as good as my dad. Well, that was never gonna happen. I inherited his talent on the field, not to mention the looks that would help me off the field … if you know what I mean. *winks * But back to the topic. There were a lot of teams who wanted to sign me based on my name alone but the only place I ever wanted to be was Westberg. It wasn’t that the other teams weren’t as good, but I’d grown up around the Warriors, and I wanted to be one of them. I was signed when I was nineteen, and until we recently signed Jesse Shaw, I was the team’s youngest signing.

I can’t see a time in the future when I’ll ever want to do anything else, or play anywhere else. I’m already one of the best, playing on one of the best teams. Westberg is a part of me. The only time I’ll leave this place is when I retire. 

Thank you, Radleigh! It was a pleasure to meet you today! Good luck with the rest of the season, and try to stop getting concussion ;-)

Game On Synopsis
After swapping her small town life to work for one of the top soccer teams in the U.S, Leah Walker thought she could finally leave the ghosts of her past behind. However, when she meets serial womanizer, Radleigh McCoy, the memories of her old life come swarming back, and she is forced to ask herself whether she has really changed at all. 


Game On is available here:

You can find Kyra at Write Here, Write Now

Wednesday 8 August 2012

Been camping

Almost as soon as I wrote the last post about my goals, we packed up for a couple of days of camping. Wet camping... wet and dull, in my sleeping bag by 9pm because it was so wet and dull camping. Please tell me you've had camping trips like that! I really don't want to be the only one. Except, I know I wasn't - there was a field full of other weirdos who thought camping in England in August would be a great idea!

One of my goals, you might remember, is to avoid the internet two days a week. Having coming back from camping and only having my mobile to keep in touch (not very easily, because I find it awkward to comment and reply to emails), I've come back to loads of blog comments, loads of emails... At least I know that my two days should not be consecutive.

So, that explains why I haven't replied to any of your comments from the previous post. I'm off to do that now. But first I wanted to draw your attention to Misha Gericke's blog where she interviews me. In fact, we did a double interview with each other at the same time, which was great fun. I posted the interview I did with Misha a little while ago, but it's here if you want another look.

Are you nuts like me, and go camping even when every fibre of your body tells you you're daft?

Sunday 5 August 2012

Focus, goals, the Olympics and a IWSG review

This month's IWSG (click the logo in the right-hand column if you don't know what that is) featured a lot of blogs talking about the Olympics and how the athletes strive for years to reach their goals. And I realised I am once again goalless. This happens every so often - it's happened to me now after the release of Cat and The Dreamer, after waiting for what seems like forever for a reply to my follow-up submission and after working hard on a novel that I know is not the right story to follow on from Cat or any of my other projects. It's a story that might work in a couple of years time, but right now I have to focus on novellas/stories that are of a similar theme to Cat - building the brand don't you know!

I've also noticed that I'm addicted to certain things (some of them are not writing-related, but please indulge me):

  • Sugar
  • Social media (yes, my August IWSG post was all about not using social media effectively, but that doesn't mean I can't completely waste my time by just watching all those tweets pour in!)
  • Web sudoku
  • Watching the Olympics
and I've lost focus of other things:
  • Writing
So, I need goals, and I need them NOW! Some people list weekly goals on their blogs, holding themselves accountable, and fulfilling those goals because they've stated them for the world to see. I'm not going to write weekly goals, these are goals addressing the above problems that I hope to have sorted by the end of the year.
  • I am going to get a grip of my sugar - say no to cake/stop buying chocolate with the excuse that I've got writers block/make better post-gym snack choices
  • Further to the above goal, I'm going to get myself back into a proper programme at the gym - after an injury I've been slacking, but my shoulder is better and I really need to do it. I'm certain that by the end of the year I can have a semi-Olympic body
    • Reducing body fat by 5%
    • Lifting 100kg on the leg press (previous PB was 115kg, so definitely achievable, with practise)
    • Complete 30 minutes on the stepper
    • Achieve 1 pull-up (although that's been a goal for the past two years, so don't hold your breath!)
    • Run 5k at a 5% incline in less than 30 minutes
  • I'm going to try to have two complete days away from the internet every week - and write longhand on those days so I'm not tempted to to stray onto the web
  • I'm going to make sure I have at least half an hour after I come in from work before I turn on my laptop
  • I'm going to write at least two drafts of a brand new novella, the idea for which is lurking in my mind, but annoyingly not quite fully formed
Over to you - are you feeling goalless like me, or are you zipping through your to-do list?
Do you have any hints and tips to share?
Is anyone else as Olympic-addicted as me?

Wednesday 1 August 2012

Are you insecure? Er... yep!

Firstly I'm going to make my monthly apology for not managing to visit many blogs. I'm trying to fit so much into my days, and you lot are so prolific - when I check Google Reader, even after a couple of hours, there are 20 new posts. This in itself makes me feel insecure, especially after Alex's guest post last week where he said he visits 100+ blogs each day. I should do more. I try to do more. I never manage it.

Anyway, that's not even why I'm insecure this month.

Social media is making me insecure. I started with Facebook a few years ago. I created a blog. A little while (well, 18 months) later, I joined Goodreads. Then Pinterest, which I came back off again. Then LinkedIn. Then I got a Twitter account. Then  I realised that I could create an Author Profile on Amazon, and did that two days ago.

That's my social media journey so far.

Now I'm wondering, if I've got a profile on Amazon, is there the same need for Nook etc. (See - I'm so frazzled, I can't even remember what the other ebook formats are!)

But I'm not sure I'm using any of them effectively... and there's always another site I've never heard of that everyone else seems to be talking about.

At the same time, I'm supposed to be writing! And I'm not doing much of that.

I should also be reading more than I am. And I really, really ought to be feeding my kids... yep, I'm almost certain I should be trying to fit that in somewhere...