Monday, December 24, 2012

Highlights and Fairy Lights



I don't know where the time's gone this year - though I probably say that every year.  It's been a lovely one writing-wise with quite a few highlights.  My first novel finally came out in Germany and seems to be doing well, thank goodness.

I met my lovely agent, Lisa, and she published My Future Husband as an ebook and even threw a little launch party last week in London, which I thoroughly enjoyed and made the most of, though I managed to knock over and smash a glass of wine.  And that was before I'd even drunk any.

Short story sales have topped 120, which is nice.  I so enjoy writing them, but have had to put them on hold this month to try and finish the draft of my third novel, but I can't wait to get back to them.

My second novel is still out with publishers, and although I haven't heard anything back yet I remain subbornly optimistic.  Whatever happens I won't be giving up writing any time soon - I still love it far too much.

Aside from writing I got over my fear of flying, got on a plane and went to Rome and had a wonderful time - so that was a definite highlight.

Yet again, the Interweb has been a source of support, friendship and inspiration - and terrible procrastination, but we won't mention that.  Thank you everyone for reading and for being there.

I've finally untangled the fairy lights and got them on the tree, so it only remains for me to say, have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

I'm so glad the world didn't end after all.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Launched!


After several months of flipping through* the lovely German version of my novel, and scouring the net for favourable reviews (amazingly there are a few) and wondering if I should perhaps learn the language so I could read it myself (God knows why when I wrote it and should know every word), I'm delighted - nay THRILLED - to announce the publication of an ENGLISH ebook version of My Future Husband available to download RIGHT NOW.  (I must stop shouting, it's not professional.)

This turn of events has come about thanks to my agent, Lisa Eveleigh.  As well as being a fabulous agent, who is still badgering publishers to buy my second novel, she and her wonderful team have launched The Paris Press as part of a new writing consultancy and MY FUTURE HUSBAND is their very first publication.

Call me shallow, but I particularly love the cover design and have gazed at it for so long I've almost developed a squint.

Obviously it remains to be seen whether anyone will want to read the damn thing, but if you like your women's fiction with a dollop of humour and a pinch of time-travel - or know someone who does - then it might be up your street.

If not, I'm going to have to buy every single member of my family (even those I haven't seen for decades) an e-reader for Christmas, and bribe them into downloading it.

Talking of Christmas ... no, let's not.  I haven't even started shopping yet.

*I haven't JUST been flipping through the book, otherwise I wouldn't have managed to do any housework.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Flying Pants

I really wanted to write a new blog post, but wasn't sure what to write about or where to start so I thought I'd just start writing and see where it took me, which is often what I do with my short stories. 

I think of a first line and take it from there and nine times out of ten it works. A theme emerges a couple of paragraphs in, and I start to get excited as I know at that point I'm going to have a (hopefully) decent story. 

I've started applying the same principle to novel number 3, as I'd got a bit blocked and kept going over the same chapters, editing, honing, tweaking, primping (and occasionally going off to make cakes) instead of actually making any progress.

As November is National Novel Writing Month I thought I'd take the opportunity to get the final 40,000 words of the first draft finished, and so far it's working a treat.  I don't always know when I sit down to write how the chapter is going to pan out, but somehow it always does, and the more I write the more the ideas come flooding in, and the more I can see how it's all going to be tied up at the end.

I'm not sure this 'flying by the seat of your pants' style of writing is advisable for everyone, but while it's working I'm going to carry on and hope I don't fall down a massive plot-hole at some point and break my ankle.

And look - I've made a blog post!

(Ooh and by the way, my trip to Rome (seems AGES ago now) was fantastic, and I'm so glad I made the effort to get on that plane.  I can't say I'd be happy to travel to the other side of the world now, but I know I can cope with a couple of hours in the air.  And Italian ice-cream is amaaaaaazing.)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Interview with Mel Sherratt

I'm delighted to welcome the lovely Mel Sherratt to my blog today. 

Mel sold over 50,000 copies of her beselling crime novel Taunting the Dead last year, and her latest, Behind a Closed Door is released today. I've had the pleasure of reading it, and I'm confident it's going to be another well-deserved success for Mel.

She's a phenomenally busy woman, but I've managed to pin her down and ask her a few writing related questions.


1)  What’s a typical writing day for you, Mel?

I always get up early, around 6am, so when I’m drafting a book I use the first two hours a day to either catch up on emails or write blog posts etc with my laptop on the settee. Once the battery needs recharging, I head to my office. I’ve only recently made a room into an office but I can’t tell you the difference it has made. I don’t have Twitter on my PC so from ten until one I write. A quick break for lunch and writing again until four. Then that’s me done for the day writing wise – unless I’m nearing the end of the draft. When my brain takes over, I have to work until it’s done so I’ll often write for a few hours extra during the evenings on the last couple of weeks. It’s the same when I’m editing, although I only do this during the day as I need time to switch off. 

2)  What’s been your experience of trying to get a publishing deal?

Really, you have time to listen? Well, pull up a chair… The short version is that I tried for twelve years to get a traditional deal but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Then last summer I started to study Amazon’s Kindle, and some of the authors on there, and wondered if I should have a go at self-publishing. At first, I did it to see if I could get a sales figure to tempt a publisher but then the book just took off. So, I’m still looking for a deal but not for Taunting the Dead.

3)  You released your gritty crime novel, Taunting the Dead, as an eBook.  Would you publish this way again?

Yes, I’ve recently released two in a series of psychological thrillers called The Estate. Somewhere to Hide is the first one, released in July and, whereas with Taunting the Dead it was a whodunit as a crime is solved, in this one I wanted to write more about the effects of crime. I want readers to guess the ‘twist’ early on in this book so that they read with this in mind, hopefully building up the tension. I’ve just released the next book too, Behind a Closed Door. Although I’m self-publishing this series, I never give up hope of working with a publisher. Indeed, I’m writing something with that in mind now.  

4)  Taunting the Dead did incredibly well, reaching number 3 in the bestseller charts, and achieved brilliant reviews on Amazon. Did you do a lot of marketing?

Actually, I was going to say no. I did a few guest blog posts around the launch of Taunting the Dead but that was all. But then I got to thinking that maybe my marketing was to price the book at 99p initially. As an unknown author, and as there were lots of books selling for 99p, I thought it would be a good way to get my name out and see if anyone liked my style. As more and more ebooks are being released at low prices, even 20p on Amazon in some cases of price matching with Sony ebooks, I’m not sure how successful this would be now. But luckily for me, I have a base to build on.   

5)  I’m very bad at self-promotion. What’s the key to doing it successfully without annoying anyone?! 

Honestly? I don’t think self-promotion works that well. I use Twitter as a virtual office, a place to catch up with my friends too, so I get annoyed when I constantly see ‘buy my book’ links in my timeline. The odd one or two around launch are fine – we all need to do that. But I go on Twitter to chat so I don’t really want to read someone’s latest five star review… it won’t tempt me to buy a book. I’d be more inclined to click on a link to a good blog post, get to know an author and then download a sample of their book. I love going on to blogs and getting to know a writer. Having said that, even then, the ten percent download that I read has to be good enough to entice me to click the buy button.

I do have a separate author page on Facebook. This is where I know I can link to things that people who follow me may want to see. It’s also a great place to get to know readers and have a chat with them too. There’s nothing better than having a message left by someone who has enjoyed something that you have created. 

So I guess it’s the same-old, same-old. Write the best book you can and readers will find it through word of mouth.

6)  What’s been the most difficult aspect of your writing journey so far?

Rejections from publishers have been the toughest for me. I haven’t had many, but enough to enable the self-doubt to surface. Inferiority over feeling second best by self-publishing is another aspect (although countless authors I know tell me I shouldn’t feel that way.)  And every time I hear of someone getting a book deal, I think ‘why not me?’ The market for a traditional deal is so tough at the moment and self-publishing did work for me. But I’m not sure I’d like to do it forever. I’m keeping my options open.   

7)  Have you always written ‘gritty’ fiction?  What draws you to it?

I haven’t always written gritty fiction. I do write women’s fiction under a pen name too but it isn’t your typical girly gossip books. These books are about working class girls with issues, so I guess I am a gritty writer through and through.

What draws me to the grit is that I like to see the underdog doing well. I like to create normal, realistic characters who sometimes fall as low as they can go and then they get back up again by the end of the book. So throughout the books in The Estate series, there are some very strong women who, with a little help from their friends, get through some terrible situations and take life changing journeys.

8)  Allie Shenton from Taunting the Dead is a strong character many women will relate to.  Is she based on anyone you know?

Allie isn’t based on anyone in particular. She’s strong, she’s also warm, passionate, vulnerable and I think a little bit sexy. She goes after what she wants and also fights for what is right. But she is as down-to-earth as you or I. I also wanted a female protagonist who was in a loving marriage and happy with her life to be thrown into turmoil when she had feelings for another man.   (I loved Allie, she a great character - I can imagine her on TV!) 

9)  What are you working on at the moment?

As mentioned, I’ve just finished Behind a Closed Door where I focussed on Josie Mellor. She’s a housing officer and works on the Mitchell Estate. There are a spate of burglaries and assaults taking their toll on her tenants, plus Josie deals with a lot of domestic violence issues, and when her home life starts to mirror her working life, she knows she’s in trouble. It’s full of secrets and lies. 

Now that’s finished, it will be full steam ahead to get the next book, Fighting for Survival, ready. I’m also drafting out a psychological thriller. Then I might take a break for Christmas! 

10) What’s the biggest myth about being a writer?

That there is a book in everyone. Sure, the idea is there. But it takes guts and determination to write it up into 100,000 words, rework it, craft it, edit it, research it, hone it, edit again, listen to constructive criticism, edit it again and ignore your family and friends for months on end. But it is great fun too! 

11) If you could give aspiring writers one piece of advice, what would it be?

Don’t rush things. Let ideas ferment and go with the flow. And sometimes, for me, it’s as simple as giving it up for the day, sleeping on it, waking up and sitting down again. I seem to have a very active mind and wake up with so many plot-holes solved. 

Also, if you feel an idea isn’t working, you don’t have to finish it – unless you’ve started several things without finishing, then that’s procrastination. But sometimes admitting something isn’t working can unblock you.

12) It’s my belief all writers love cake.  What’s your favourite?

Ooh, great question. For me it has to be Bailey’s cheesecake, with extra Baileys!
 
Great answers, Mel thank you.  And lots of luck with your novel.  I'm in awe of your output.
 
You can find Mel's website here
 
Mel tweets at @writermels and you can also find her on Facebook

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Time and Tide



Is it me, or does this year seem to be hurtling towards Christmas?

I'm so sorry for unleashing the C word already, but I've been trying to get in the mood so I can write some festive magazine stories - not easy when the sun's blazing and you're trying to get a last minute tan before the clocks go back and we're plunged into darkness in the middle of the afternoon, unpacking our mittens and thermal undies for the long cold winter ahead.

Ahem.  Got a bit carried away there.

Anyway, I've tried humming carols and supping hot chocolate and Googling all manner of sentimental snow scenes, but instead I keep picturing cornflower blue skies, shimmering sea, hunky surfers with wind-tousled hair (that's another story altogether) and sand between my toes. 

This is possibly because my daughter is currently holidaying in Greece and keeps texting me daily updates of how scorching hot it is, and how she's going to be swimming all day, followed by a bit of swanning about in thin clothing in the balmy evenings.  It's all right for some.

Also, Lovely Husband has booked a long weekend in Rome for the two of us next weekend, which I'm simultaneously excited and terrified about.  Long-time readers of this blog will recall how scared I am of flying, and that I've only been abroad once - 24 years ago.  Every time I think about it I have to swallow a scream.

Nevertheless, I'm determined to embrace the experience and stop being such a wuss, and figure as long as I can read a good book on the plane, or even do a spot of writing, the time will, er, fly by and we'll be there in no time.  In one piece.  With my sanity intact.

Actually, I can't wait.  I crave the sun in the winter months, so hopefully I can stock up while I'm there.

And on that note ... 'ding, dong, merrily on high ...'

'we're all going on a summer holiday ...'

I'm confused.  But excited. 

And scared.

(No news from my agent, but we'll gloss over that ...)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Waiting, Writing and Catching Mice



Hello August, where the devil did you come from?

It would be nice to have exciting news to report, but although my meeting with Lovely Agent Lady in July was exciting and productive, and my novel is now with a publisher, the wait goes on. I kept my fingers crossed for a while, but found it difficult to get anything done and had to uncross them again.

Instead I've been getting on with novel 3, writing stories, and feeling quietly pleased that the German version of My Future Husband has finally been published in, er, Germany.

I've even been interviewed by the lovely Mel Sherratt at High Heels and Book Deals, which made me feel important for a few minutes, then I had to get the dinner on and deal with pesky mice running riot.  I'm starting to worry our house is made of cheese we get so many furry visitors.

Anyone got a good recipe for mouse-pie?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Kerry Hudson Blog Tour



I'm delighted to welcome author, Kerry Hudson, to my blog today as she celebrates the launch of her debut novel, the fabulously titled, Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float Before He Stole my Ma, which is the story of a Scottish childhood of filthy council flats and B&Bs, screeching women, feckless men, fags and booze and drugs, the dole queue and bread and marge sandwiches. It is also the story of an irresistible, irrepressible heroine, a dysfunctional family you can't help but adore, the absurdities of the eighties and the fierce bonds that tie people together no matter what.
. 
I read the novel over a couple of nights, and it's an absolute corker - funny, sad and a little bit sweary, with a truly memorable main character in Janie Ryan.  I'll post a full review next week.
                                                                                                       
In the meantime, Kerry's kindly answered some writerly questions, and there's a marvellous competition you might be interested in afterwards, so do carry on reading ...

Kerry, where did the idea for the novel come from?

I come from a long line of fishwives and fishermen and they were all big story-tellers so I grew up being told stories and automatically framing whatever was happening to me or the family in those 'story-telling' terms. When I was writing short stories in my mid-twenties I started writing few that reminded me of my Grandma's and Mum's stories and I thought it was maybe time to continue that tradition, I just did in on the page and not in the pub.

I love the Scottish dialect. How do you write it so it doesn’t overpower the reader?

I made a decision from the first draft that the dialect would only be used in dialogue and then sparingly with specific words where it would have the most impact without affecting the pace and rhythm of the text. I hope it means you get a real impression of the voices and the unique language of the Ryan's without having to untangle the full dialect.

Can you tell us about your journey to publication?

I've written about this fairly widely because I know it has always been one of the aspects I've been most curious about with other authors! I won a competition on a website called Red Bubble with a flash story which gave me  the confidence boost I needed to continue writing and try to place in literary magazines. A good few months down the line a literary agent heard about my competition win and said she'd read some of my stories and provide some feedback. I hurriedly pulled some stories together and in my covering letter I mentioned I thought they might make the basis for a novel. She wrote back to say that if I wrote the novel then she'd like to see it and so I took six months off work, went to Vietnam and wrote Tony Hogan.... On my return to the UK I sent it to the agent who signed me and then, about seven months later, I signed with Chatto and Windus. I'm aware (and dizzyingly grateful) that this is a very quick and smooth journey to publication – I really think so much of it is reaching the right person with the right book at exactly the right time.

Do you work with an outline or just start writing?

Usually I've been thinking about my next novel or story for a few months before I write a word (I'm mulling novel three at the moment) and then I write a double-sided A4 sheet with all major incidents of the novel. Beyond that I sit down to write the first draft and play a game see how I'm going to from one incident to the next. For me, this makes me feel I've a safe foundation to work from but still have freedom to explore possibilities. 

Do you have a ‘beginner’ novel stashed away in a drawer?

I don't no, Tony Hogan... was my first. I wrote short stories before that though so there's lots of those abominations stashed deep inside my hard-drive!

What’s a typical writing day for you?

I work full-time at the moment so there's not really a typical day – I just grab the hours when I can. At the moment that means getting up at 6.30 for an hour before work and then going to a cafe for a few hours after work. On the weekend I'll decamp myself to the Royal Festival Hall or British Library and write the for whole day with many, many tea and cake breaks. I always know what I need to do that day which is usually my daily 1000 words (more on the weekend days) and then additional things like writing admin, publicity things for Tony Hogan... some blogging etc.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

There isn't that much time between writing and work at the moment to be honest but I'm very protective of that little spare time as I'm well aware my mind and body might pack up if I don't give them some treats. Things I love and squeeze into this time are: food, reading, running, films, photography, Guinness and wandering the city with a coffee. I'm lucky to live in East London where if you have three hours spare you have all of the above in abundance on your doorstep. 

I know you’ve travelled a lot – how does it influence your writing?

Funnily enough, until writing my second novel Thirst (during which I received an Arts Council England grant to travel to Russia for research) I've never really incorporated my travels into my writing. It influences less directly I think in that when you're travelling you're so much more open and curious to everything around you. I also definitely do my best writing when I'm travelling because I'm away from all the noise of my life; travelling strips you right back as a person...there's just you and a bag and uncertainty and I think that's a really good starting point for writing.

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

The writing. It's a huge privilege to be able to write what we want to with total freedom.

Which authors do you admire?

Too many to mention but Janice Galloway, Jeanette Winterson, Roddy Doyle, Toni Morrison, Douglas Coupland, Anne Tyler, Truman Capote...do you have all day?

What’s your worst writing habit?

There were lots of 'lumps' of things in Tony Hogan...I mean a really ridiculous amount, I did a lot of lump removal during the edits. Oh, and imagining that somehow every day has 67 hours rather than 24 hours.

What’s the biggest myth about being a writer?

That it's a job reserved for a certain type of person. There are so many stories out there that should be told.

What are you working on now?

Mainly the epic Tony Hogan Blog Tour! But once that's over next up is a short film script in collaboration with the brilliant MoshBreakBoogie Productions who made the Tony Hogan trailer (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DIoNwDIB_w ), then I'm adapting Tony Hogan into a play and I'm keen to start on novel number three. See what I mean about those 67 hour days?

What advice would you give aspiring authors?

The same thing I tell myself every day: work hard, be kind, be honest and keep at it.

It’s my theory that all writers love cake. What’s your favourite?

Your theory is absolutely correct – we need that sugar! My favourite is a coffee eclair (or two if no one's watching).

Thanks Kerry. I must try a coffee eclair. And a 67 hour week would be useful.


Now for that competition ...

This prize draw is open to anyone who hosts or comments on a Tony Hogan post. There is no purchase necessary. There is no limit to how many times a name can be entered i.e. if you comment on three blogs you have three entries but it's only possible to win one prize per person. The winning names will be drawn at random on Wednesday 1st August and announced on Kerry's Tumblr blog and on Twitter.

1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes consist of:

1st prize - A three chapter or synopsis critique plus afternoon tea at Beas of Bloomsbury, London (at a mutually beneficial date and time) with Juliet Pickering from the AP Watt Literary Agency to discuss your critique. Plus a personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before he Stole My Ma.

2nd prize - A  literary hamper containing a personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma as well as three of my most recommended writing theory books and Hotel d Chocolate chocolates to enjoy while reading them.

3rd prize - A personalised copy of Tony Hogan Bought Me an Ice-Cream Float Before He Stole My Ma.

Sounds well worth entering.

If you'd like more information, Kerry can be found at ...
Twitter: @Kerryswindow



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Good news

Well, I didn't win the Novelicious competition (flicks away a tear) but thank you everyone who took the time to comment and vote for me, and congratulations to the winners (she says through gritted teeth.) 

No, I mean it - the standard was high and I wouldn't be at all surprised if some deals are struck in the not too distant future.

On the plus side  ... whispers ... I have a lovely new agent!   I submitted my second novel - part of my German deal - a few months back and tried to forget about it.  It attracted interest, I completed some edits, and on Tuesday was offered representation.  Tiny squeal.

The contract arrived today and I'm meeting her in London next Wednesday.

I'm trying not to get my hopes up, but feel like a very lucky lady indeed.

In other news - I've mastered the hula-hoop to the point where I can do it for half an hour ... without even noticing.  It's not even like proper exercise, but my waist has shrunk and I've got a six-pack.

Okay that last bit's a lie, but I wouldn't want one anyway.  I might be tempted to keep showing it off, and start parading around in a crop top without my cardi.  In the library.

Which wouldn't do at all.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Train-writing



Well, the Novelicious entries have been read - and thank you all who did, and for making such lovely comments - and voting is open until the 20th.  If you'd like to vote click here (mine's Dancing Queen) and if you don't, ignore me.

I met up with some of the lovely ladies from my writing group today and had a great time, not least because it involved Going On a Train, which is one of my favourite things.  Looking out of the window I saw so many things that triggered story ideas I ended up writing one on the way back.  I'd never have done that if I'd gone by car.  Not without something deeply unpleasant happening.

One of the oddest sights was a man on a tennis court playing tennis - by himself.  As you can imagine, this involved rather a lot of running back and forth.  Unless his opponent was invisible. 

I don't think I could make a sensible story out of that, but if you have any thoughts I'm more than happy to try.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Delicious Novelicious



If anyone fancies a read, I'm one of the finalists in the Novelicious Undiscovered 2012 competition.  I entered under the name of my alter-ego Chloe Kent, who's younger, prettier, funnier and nicer than me, and has much better hair.

I hate her.

Voting doesn't take place until June 5th, after all the entries have been posted and read, but if you'd like to leave a little comment I'd be ever so grateful, especially if it's a nice one.

Be gentle.  Chloe doesn't look good when she's been crying ...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Free Up Your Short Story Writing - by Helen Hunt





I'm delighted to welcome the lovely and talented Helen Hunt to my blog today, with some invaluable short story writing advice. If you get the opportunity, it's well worth enrolling on one of Helen's successful short story writing workshops.

Over to you, Helen...

Have you ever started writing a short story, but not got very far because you just couldn’t get the first paragraph right?

Or maybe you’ve got two thirds of the way through a story and then your writing has fizzled out because you have no idea where your story is going. Even more frustrating is the situation where you’ve got a great story ending in mind but no idea how to get there.

All short stories need a beginning, a middle and an end, but sometimes it helps if you can free up your mind by not necessarily writing them in that order. If you’ve got a great ending in mind, try writing that first. Sometimes writing the ending helps to clarify your thoughts and makes it easier to write the rest of the story. It gives you a marker that you know you need to work towards.

Equally, if you know exactly what you want to happen in a scene that falls midway then write that first. As you write your subconscious will start to fill in the gaps.

This can work well regardless of whether you’re writing longhand or straight to computer. If you’re typing straight on to your computer then you can easily move scenes around, expand areas that need expanding and link from one scene to the next. But even if you’re writing longhand you can still write scenes and snatches of dialogue as they come to you, and then mould them into the right order as you type the story up.

Let yourself be guided by your imagination. Even if something occurs to you that you can’t immediately fit into the story, scribble it down in your notebook anyway. If it ends up not being suitable for this story, it might trigger an idea for a future one!

Part of freeing up your writing is allowing yourself to make mistakes, which you will fix at the editing stage. If you end up writing scenes that you don’t need, or going a few hundred words over the word limit you are aiming for, don’t worry. You’ll be able to see what needs to go when you come back to look at your work with a critical eye.

If you find yourself stuck halfway through, sometimes it can be helpful to move away from your computer or your notepad and do some mind-mapping. Take a blank sheet of paper and jot down all the possible directions your story could go in and the steps your plot could take to get there. Don’t dismiss any idea for being too unlikely at this stage. Once you’ve got them all written down you can decide what’s workable and what isn’t.

Another good ploy can be to go and do something different like doing the washing up or talking a walk. Sometimes that can be just what your brain needs to nudge it in the right direction.

And do push on with your story, even if you feel like you’re struggling. Sometimes you have to get to the finishing line with a story and know how it ends before you can see what’s wrong with it’s earlier stages and go back and fix them.

So, if your short story writing feels a bit rusty, or it’s stuck in a rut, why not try looking at it in a slightly different way and seeing where it takes you?

We’ll be thinking about some of these issues and techniques at my Day Retreat For Writers on 28 April in Northampton. For full details of this and my other courses – including my totally flexible Hop On, Hop Off online course – please see my website: www.helenmhunt.co.uk

Thanks Helen, and good luck with the course!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happily-hyphenated


I recently decided to have a few copies of my novel printed off, courtesy of Pen Press, for friends and family to read - whether they like it or not. No seriously, they want to. They DO.

I decided it might be prudent to have it professionally copy-edited first. There's nothing worse than reading a book filled with typos and grammar glitches - though I can't 100% guarantee a few won't have slipped through the net.

It seemed like a lot of money to invest, but I figured if I don't secure a traditional publishing deal, I may want to self-publish at some point so it's money well-spent, and writers services offered what I thought was a reasonable rate, and did a first class job.

They rather flatteringly said there wasn't much to do (hardly surprising when I've revised the damn novel about a million times) but I was shocked - nay, embarrassed - by my considerable overuse - and misuse - of the humble hyphen.

Dear-oh-dear. I had NO idea I used it so indiscriminately, and completely without thought. On every page they leapt out - car-park, pork-pies, hair-brush* to name but a few.

I had no idea. I do now. After a good old trawl on the Interweb, requainting myself with their useage, I've realised these cheerful chaps, with their constant interruptions, have got to go.

I'm so glad I had the edit now. My mum's a devil for punctuation and once she'd seen my faux pas I'd never have lived it down.

(I had to check there wasn't a hyphen in faux pas.)

* This isn't a fair representation of what my novel's about. I promise.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Flooding


Well I managed to get the hang of hula-hooping in the end. It involved buying a heavier one, which pervesely is easier to keep up (as it were.) Who says size doesn't matter?

So now I have a tiny 19" waist. Okay, I don't. Expending all that energy means I need a tasty treat afterwards, to keep my strength up. Obviously.

The writing's going well too I'm pleased to say. I've sold some stories, written some more, I've started sending Novel 2 out to agents in the hope of snaring a new one, and I'm ploughing on with Novel 3. The words are flooding out. I'm still not acheiving the kind of daily wordcount I KNOW I'm capable of, or would like to acheive (10,000 at least) but it's all going in the right direction.

It doesn't help when Real Life gets in the way. Our kitchen ceiling came down yesterday, thanks to a burst water pipe courtesy of the freezing weather we've been having. Luckily Lovely Daughter saw it dripping and we were able to move things out of the way and throw some towels down before the deluge. So it could have been worse.

And yes, I've thought of a story about it too!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Resolutions and Hoops


I shouldn't be here.  My mum is staying, and she can't understand the lure of the computer and the typing of lovely words.  I haven't done any writing at all since just before Christmas, which is unheard of.  What if I've forgotten how to do it?  

I have this horrible feeling that if I don't write every day my creative muscle will grow weak and flabby - I need to exercise it and get it toned up again (a bit like the rest of me).

My New Year's writing resolution is to increase my output in 2012 and to stop worrying about 'the market' so much as it freezes me up, but I've lots of catching up to do already.

Talking of exercise, we've been hula-hooping like mad.  Or trying to.  

It started as a laugh, but I'm getting frustrated now.  Lovely daughter makes it look simple, and can practically read a book at the same time. My mum's got the hang of it and she's nearly 70, but me?  

Let's just say Lovely Daughter's threatened to film me and put the results on You Tube, she finds my efforts so hilarious.   It's like I'm fighting the Invisible Man - badly - while rotating my hips like granny on the dance-floor, as the hoop lies listlessly round my feet.

Tips anyone?

And if you think there's a story in it do let me know.  I haven't got time to be creative - I need to put the kettle on.

Glad Tidings

So, now the season to be jolly is almost upon us, which means another year is almost over and, as usual, I'm left wondering how o...