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

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year 2018

So, 2018… hello.

From a personal point of view, last year was good, yet I’m struggling to think of anything specific! I’ve just had a look back at last year’s round-up, and it was much more eventful.

I guess some years just slide along easily, moving from day to day, week to week. It doesn’t always have to be amazing, despite what social media makes us think. If you wake up happy and ready for the day ahead, and go to sleep content with what you’ve done, isn’t that enough?

2017 feels like a long year, but¬† as you get older that’s not necessarily a bad thing – a long time between birthdays, for example, can be a relief ūüôā

Personal achievements this year include:

  • completing my novel (well, almost, I’ve got a few more chapters to edit, and they need a lot of attention)
  • seeing some awesome results at the gym
  • not going grey yet (sometimes it’s the little things…)

On reflection, the novel took a lot of time. I wish I could write faster, or at least not need

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The books beside my bed… waiting for me

so many edits and redrafts, but I’ve learned to live with it.

The downside of writing so much is that I can’t read at the same time – I realised a long time ago that I tend to absorb the style of writers I admire. When I’m in the depths of my own book, I can’t suddenly switch to someone else’s voice!

My plans for 2018 are to, once again, figure out a decent book marketing plan, say yes to more opportunities (I delayed on a decision a couple of months ago, and I’ve been kicking myself), and have as much fun as possible!

Happy New Year to you all, let’s have a blast ūüôā

 

Merry Christmas!

Every time I write a post for this blog, I realise how long it’s been since the last one. Instead, I’ve been novelling (yes, squiggly little red line, that¬†is¬†a word if I want it to be!)

Progress on the novel is still going well, but the actual details haven’t changed since the last post I wrote about it – although I can’t believe I said that after Chapter 12 everything would tick along smoothly!!

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Our Three Wise Men

So it’s finally Christmas! Yay! It always takes time to get myself excited by Christmas – but once I am, I¬†really¬†am. This year I had some inspired present ideas for my parents, which is mostly never the case, so I’m feeling pretty proud of myself right now.

And, I’m going to give you a kind-of Christmas present too. I’m going to give you the chance to win 2 tickets to the Indie Pop-Up Signing I’m attending in Bristol, UK on 27th January.

You can find out the details on the event’s Facebook page, and on the Eventbrite page too.

The giveaway will be happening via my newsletter, which you can sign up to here.

Sign up before the 29th December to receive the email with the giveaway attached! Even if you can’t get to Bristol/the South West/England in January, why not sign up to the newsletter anyway? One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to giveaway more chocolate ūüôā

If you celebrate Christmas, I wish you a very merry one, and Happy New Year to all of you. Thank you for reading my blog this year xx

One last edit… (and #BlackFriday sale)

… is what I said to myself, before I hand it over at the end of January.

Well, actually, my plan was to retype the whole darn novel, and it started pretty well.

If you’re new to this blog, you may not be aware of my rather unique editing style of retyping. I discovered a few years ago that it really helps to smooth out any kinks in the narrative that occurred when I was doing all the other edits. I love seeing the brand new document filling up again, the early word counts where just getting to 5000 was a huge celebration.

This time, I even rewrote the opening line, which is something I never do – that’s usually the fixed point in time I can always rely on. So there I was, typing away, when suddenly one of the scenes felt too soon. So I moved a section from a bit later on into its spot, and continued. But then, something else didn’t make sense, so that moved as well.

Now, I’ve moved almost¬†all of the first eleven chapters¬†around. I’ve never been completely happy with these opening chapters, so I’m really hoping I’ve solved the hiccups. At least I know that from Chapter 12 onwards, everything is in the right place… even if I haven’t used the right words!

Writers: what’s your quirkiest editing method?

Readers: have you ever struggled to get into a book because of the opening chapters, but then loved it? 

 


 

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My lovely publishers, Vine Leaves Press, are having a huge sale on selected titles over this Black Friday weekend. From Friday 24th to Monday 27th November, you’ll be able to pick up some of the best-selling Vine Leaves books for just $0.99AUD (roughly 60 British pennies!)

All you need to do is go to vineleavespress.com, follow the link, and use the coupon code vlpcyber when you get to the checkout.

And yes, You. I. Us. is included in the sale, so if you’ve read it and loved it, please share this info so your friends can read it too ūüôā

What could be simpler?

Happy Birthday, Novel-of-Mine

IMG_20171105_205600.jpgThis morning I posted this picture on my Facebook page, and thought it deserved more comment.

You see, after sending my novel to beta readers, receiving their feedback and implementing it, this was supposed to be the final quick read-through to check for snags before sending it off to Karen Sanders for editing in the new year.

And yet… at only 39% of the document, I’ve already got over 200 edits! Wow. That’s a lot.

This book officially sprang into life a year ago, during NaNoWriMo 2016. My plan at the time was to take part in the challenge every year, but now I’m thinking that every two years will probably suit me better. I’ve definitely accelerated my writing process, which was part of the plan – now all I have to do is streamline how many times I actually have to edit the darn thing!

Good luck to everyone who’s taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year – it’s always a blast… a tiring, obsessive, chocolate-bingeing blast ūüėČ

 

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? How’s it going, so far?

Full Dark: An Anthology

It’s release day for FULL DARK: An Anthology, which includes some of my very favourite blog-friend authors!

What happens in the dark will come to light. 

Full Dark¬†is a collection of eleven short works with impressive depth and range. Twisted tales of ghosts, villains, and the paranormal await you‚ÄĒmystery, heinous fantasy, and pure suspense.¬†Acclaimed and award-winning authors as well as a few talented newcomers have joined forces to be your guide. Venture into the dark if you dare.

Just A Matter Of Time by Loni Townsend
Forerunner by David Powers King
Taking Care Of You by Carrie Butler
The Apartment by Lisa Buie-Collard
The Caricature by Nick Wilford
Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman
Shadows Falling On Rainbows by Celeste Holloway
Meringue, Murder or Marzipan by Tonja Drecker
Haunted Lake by Michelle Athy
Soul Coin by Laura Rich
Retribution by Melissa Maygrove
  ***
FULL DARK¬†is a benefit anthology. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that does many wonderful things for our country’s active military, its veterans, and the countless first responders who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.
 Buy on Amazon // Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads and read my review here  

 

Publisher: Obsidian Books
Official release date: October 30, 2017
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9960397-4-1
Cover designed & donated by Dark City Designs.

 

To write a novel, don’t write a short story instead!

 

This month, I have mostly been side-tracked by the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize, which is a huge international competition that I’ve entered for the past couple of years.

Normally, I’ve had a story that I can refresh for this, and send off without too much fuss. But this year I had nothing. At the beginning of the month, I decided to write a new story for the 1 November deadline.

I sat with my pen in my hand, and an 82 year old woman who lives in a caravan, and who’s been in my head for a few months (I thought she might be a novel, at first), fought herself onto the page. And then a 16 year old boy walked past her van and they started talking.

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Celebrating the first draft…

I’m now editing. I have little notes, as I always do, littering the page that say¬†More Here, and I’m trying really hard to describe the sound of helicopter rotor blades.

Scarily, it doesn’t have a title, yet. On the whole, the title comes first for me, and the story wraps itself into it. Because my octogenarian came first, the title was overlooked. And now I’m floundering a little. What if it never comes? What if I have to send it off with the title ‘Story’?

Deep breath, eat chocolate… ahh, that’s better.

By November, I’ll be back on my novel, which will at that point be officially¬†not¬†a novel in a year, because it began life during last year’s National Novel Writing Month… Where’s that chocolate?


 

Congratulations to George Saunders who has won this year’s Man Booker Prize, with his first full length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. See, short story writers are awesome!