Stuff, other stuff and nonsense

Greetings!

Hmm… I’ve been sitting here for five minutes wondering what to write next – I blame it on a lack of tea.

I’ve sat back from blogging for most of April because I know a lot of my regular visitors are taking part in the A-Z Challenge, so they really don’t need me clogging up their feeds. I’ve visited a few, and the topics are as interesting and varied as always. I don’t comment for the same reason – these bloggers are probably starting to wilt a bit now.

I’ve not been writing much recently. Without any new ideas, I’ve been playing around with some old short stories, and then abandoning the changes anyway – so there’s very little to report there. My novel is still out on submission to agents – one requested a full, and I’m still waiting to hear back from that before I send anymore out.

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Photo by Geert Pieters on Unsplash

 

There are some changes at work too, and a lot of my focus has been on that. Nothing too major – I have to take on a few exercise classes, when my preference is one-to-one training in the gym, so it’ll definitely take me out of my comfort zone, and I’m not keen on that. I don’t have a writing comfort zone of any kind, so I think I deserve one in my day job. Alas, my boss does not.

Aside from that, April is passing in a blur of birthdays, cake, shopping, sunny days and watching #2 son in his first ‘proper theatre’ play (as opposed to school or community halls – both of which are completely proper and always very well done).

Ollie in Brainstorm 12-14 April 2018
#2 son on the far right,  picture from the Young Company @ The Theatre Royal Plymouth

What takes you out of your comfort zone?

 

 

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Spring is springing

digAfter some very cold and snowy weather, today felt properly Spring-like.

This is what a happy dog looks like, once he’s run around and exhausted himself!

The awesome thing about this time of the year is waking up when it’s light, strolling rather than rushing to get through errands, and being able to sit outside the coffee shop with my hot chocolate.

I feel so much more productive – although, alas, not in a writing-new-stuff kind of way, yet. I spent this afternoon designing new business cards, I’m in the middle of a week long interview on Audrina Lane’s Facebook page, and I’m working on my newsletter relaunch (again, but for real, this time!) Click the SIGN UP button on the top right to receive your copy, launching mid-April.

Do you ever feel happy for absolutely no reason? A surge of euphoria that bubbles over until you’re smiling inanely at random people who are walking past? That was me today. I felt like Artoo in that picture, perfectly content, even when paying a bill.

What’s your favourite thing about Spring?

Cat & The Dreamer, Free Today!

Okay, lovely people, just a really quick message to say that my first novella, Cat & The Dreamer, is free for Kindle all day today – Monday 12 March!

Cat & The DreamerPlease buy it, share this post, shout it from the rooftops, and go door-to-door around your neighbourhood!

And if you feel moved to do so, a review would be very much appreciated.

You can check out the book from this link right here.

 

 

 

 

So, what’s Cat & The Dreamer about?

Well…

In my world, I am fifteen, the age I was when I met Rachel Carr, the age I was when Rachel Carr killed herself with a tonne of painkillers and two bottles of rum.”

Julia survived a teen suicide pact: her best friend Rachel did not. Years later, Julia is introvert and insular, spiralling into depression, shrouding herself in daydreams to protect herself from reality – a controlling mother and a huge burden of guilt.

When Adam walks into her office, Julia knows he won’t be interested in her; Cat, her flirty blonde colleague, has already chosen him as her next conquest. But his presence alone is enough to shake Julia up, and make her realise real life could be so much better.

Except Cat has other plans, lurking in Julia’s imagination, torturing her, telling her she should have died too. And she’s right, of course, because Cat is always right.

 

Here’s the link to the Kindle page one more time

(I think three links to the same offer is as much as I can squeeze into one post)

 

 

The art of neutral thinking

Have I ever told you why I became a writer?

Well, obviously there are several reasons, but one of them was because when I was very young I’d have dreams nightmares that felt very real. I’d be coming home from school to find my family missing, or running away in the middle of the night. I’d dream my sister ceased to exist, or that we’d been caught up in a devastating fire.

And I was terrified that my thoughts would make these things actually happen! Aged 4, I didn’t really understand that I didn’t have that kind of power.

I started to write these thoughts down, and gave the characters different names, so that they would suffer and my family would be safe.

Phew!

writers-and-artists.jpgFast forward to this week. I sent off my first batch of queries. And then I started to envisage the outcome.

First, I imagined signing contracts and drinking Champagne in celebration. Everyone was cheering and I was making a speech.

Argh! No! What if that causes the universe to spite me? What if that would just bring many rejections to my inbox?

Next, I pictured the rejections, a long slog through my list of agents, getting to the end.

Argh! What if that makes the rejections happen?

Logically, I know my brain still doesn’t have that kind of power, but what if…? So, now, I’m practising the art of neutral thinking, where I try not to veer too far to the positive or negative. I’m focusing on – if I really must – the agent opening my email, and…

… and nothing. I’m trying to pull myself away, panning the camera back like the closing scene of a movie while inspirational music plays and the screen goes black.

(Well, you did say you wanted to be with me for the querying process, although this might not be quite what you meant 😉 )

 

The end, the end, the very very end…

My novel is complete. It’s been sent for editing – the lovely Karen Sanders removed a million extraneous commas – and I’ve looked over the notes, and now it’s done. Completely and utterly done!

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PHEW!

Next, I have to decide what I want to do with it. I’d like to submit it, either to an agent or to some small presses – but I’m also aware, from a career point-of-view, that it’s been almost two years since my last book was published. Some of my author friends publish more than one book a year, so I feel like I’m slacking. Although, I know I wouldn’t be able to work quicker – this book, at fifteen months and with the premise in my head for many years before that, is the quickest I’ve ever written!

I realise I’ve been pretty secretive over the whole thing. It’s a superstition thing – if I share too much, it’ll all go very wrong. So, here it is…

SMALL FORGOTTEN MOMENTS

Suffering from amnesia, artist Jo Mckye flees to her childhood home to escape her nightmares. Instead, she’s faced with a tragedy that occurred when she was younger and a stark choice.

 

What do you think?

So, technically, my Novel in a Year adventure has ended. Thank you for sharing it with me. I probably won’t bore you with the endless submission process, but I might mention it occasionally. And you’ll be the first to hear when and where you’ll be able to buy it 🙂

A weekend in Bristol

A few people have asked how my day at the Indie Pop-Up Signing in Bristol, this weekend, went. So, whenever I’m asked a question that requires more than a one-syllable reply, I blog about it 🙂

Group Photo Bristol 2018

I’ve not done a signing on this scale before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Everyone else seemed to know each other! But I got chatting to a few authors throughout the day, and of course lots of readers.

When I’ve done small signings at my local bookshops and libraries, it’s always felt like people are actively avoiding eye-contact with me – perhaps they think I’m going to force them to buy all my books, I don’t know. But at my table, in a room of readers who wanted to talk to authors, I spoke with lots of lovely people, gave out lots of postcards and pens, and had a generally great time.

I even sold a couple of books!

The volunteers, who kept us plied with drinks and biscuits, didn’t stop all day, it seemed, dropping by regularly to check whether we needed anything.

My table – my view out (taken just as the afternoon doors were being opened), and from in front. My beautiful book stand received a lot of positive comments, too 🙂

It was a long day –  busy but fun – and I slept well that night! We didn’t go straight home. We visited the Clarks Village in Street the next day and I shopped…

Chocolate

How was your weekend?

 

Yes, Yes, Yes!

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I’ve done it! I’ve finished my novel. I started – as you know – in November 2016, and wanted to finish within the year. It’s been one year, two months and sixteen days.

With a caveat… it’s going to go to my editor, the wonderful Karen Sanders, who, I imagine, will pull it apart and come up with loads of suggestions.

But, for now. It’s done, it’s over, and I don’t have to think about it for a couple of weeks.

So, perhaps now is a good time to share some info about it:

  • the original concept was devised when I was about 18. The main character and the premise have remained, but the story and setting have changed greatly
  • my MC suffers from memory loss, which was a huge challenge for me as I love writing flashbacks!
  • it’s called Small Forgotten Moments, at the moment
  • it’s fundamentally a ghost story
  • Seaton, in Cornwall, is my inspiration, though I may have altered a couple of small details about the area
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Yes, this is a beach, I just took a photo of the rocks… which are more pertinent to the story