Sunday, 31 May 2015

Holiday week - 'To-do' list - I did it!

Have you ever written a 'to do' list and thought, I've not a hope in hell of getting this done? Last weekend, that was me. My list detailed every task I knew had to occur regards my current W.I.P: changes, deletions, additional details and then a full copy edited. It was school holidays, I had one week away from the day-job to focus on my 'To-do' manuscript list.

I have to be honest, I felt like crying, seriously it hadn't seemed so bad listed in my head but seeing it written down, ouch! Surely that was more than a week's amount of work? But, I made a start - because as we know that's vital for anything and everything to occur.

Husband was literally saying goodbye to attend his work at 7am and retuning to find me eleven hours later in the same spot: my writing room. Only the dirty cups and plates in the dishwasher were indications that I had left the room, oh and the hound dog expression of the pooch, who is thoroughly fed up with me being such a bore!

Day 1 - I was surprised by how much I'd ticked off my list.

Days 2, 3, 4 and 5 - I repeated the routine from the first day and received a surprise each day.

Day 6 - I am as high as a kite, literally husband suspects I've been drinking all day.

Day 7 - The same as Day 6 - with the added bonus that I emailed my chosen proof-reader Julie Gibbs to check it's alright to send in a few days - as it looks like my 'To-do' list is ending.

Day 8 - The same as Day 7 (without the email).

Day 9 - Today, I have a few dates to recheck but that's all... the list is complete :-)

Today my manuscript will be delivered to the safe hands of the proof reader - wow, I did it!

Tomorrow I return to the day-job with the satisfaction of having completed my writing goal.

My lesson learnt from this week - regardless of  length of the 'To-do' list - simply make a start...

Sunday, 24 May 2015

RNA Summer party 2015

Last week I blogged regards how lucky I am to have such supportive writing lovelies from the RNA. Well, this week I was lucky enough to be granted time from the ‘day-job’ to attend the RNA Summer party. This was only my second attendance at the London events as they occur on school nights but I had a great time, it’s definitely worth the arduous next day on the Friday.

My first stop was attending 'Happy Hour' on the top floor of Waterstones Piccadilly accompanied by Bella Osborne and John Jackson where the classic mojitos flowed to a second round, forcing us to ‘totter’ to the RNA party a fraction later than usual. Good timing, I called it.
The summer party is the annual stage for announcing the lucky recipient of the Joan Hessayon award – an author chosen from those recently promoted from the New Writers’ Scheme to published author status. It was a delight to watch as Brigid Coady and 14 other authors, including my fellow Birmingham Chapter lovely Janice Preston, await the announcement. Brigid had been a member of the New Writers’ Scheme for ten years – so has waited long enough for the publication dream to arrive and to receive such an accolade.

As always, I was delighted to attend an RNA event as the chatter and warmth flows much like the wine - free and easy. You stand surrounded by such wonderful people who share your passion of books and writing – it really is an experience to attend.  Any RNA member who hasn’t hiked up to Euston on the train then dashed across to Green Park really needs too. And don’t worry if you’re travelling alone – you won’t be on the return journey! It’s guaranteed that as soon as you arrive through the great doors of the Royal Overseas League – you’ll need to catch your breath as a member drags you across to join a suitable group of excitable author lovelies. Seriously, prove me wrong by standing alone all night and I’ll buy you a bottle champagne!
Bella Osborne and I testing the mojitos - photo courtesy of John Jackson
For further details about the fabulous Romantic Novelists' Association please visit the link.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

RNA girlfriends - thank you x

Ever snorted aloud during the world’s dullest meeting because the character is your head said something funny? Or stared and was caught trying to describe the walk of the hip wiggling woman trotting in front of you? Just two of my many gaffs made in real life as my fictional world swirls about my brain. Seriously, they are all in the interest of writing. What I do mind or struggle with is their occurrence being witnessed by a Wruggle (similar to JKR’s Muggle but a none writing person – copyright applied for) who has no idea what I’m doing and why. An awkward silence usually occurs, before they begin joking about my antics, at which point I feel the need to explain… which usually falls flat because of their Wruggle status. In some cases my explanation makes the situation far worse in a ‘you freak, you write, you never said!’ kind of fashion. This is why I love, and I mean that in the deepest chickmance kind of way, my RNA girlfriends… I don’t need to explain my gaffs to them, they get it, they do it too… much worse in some cases!

Yesterday was one such RNA afternoon, where I got to spend a couple of hours with the ones that truly understand: RNA Birmingham Chapter. Thank God they get it, do it and willingly share their own gaffs which renew and boost my energy tanks on a Saturday afternoon at Birmingham Museum’s Edwardian tearoom.
In a space of two hours we laughed about living with a dashing young cavalier (imagery, of course), heard an abundance of good news from members and all swooned at The bath scene* in a member’s recent publication - which had its very own hashtag by the end of the day!

I came home, as always, bursting with writing energy and eager for Thursday’s RNA Summer party in London so I can fill my boots with even more of their hilarious tales and vibrant personalities.
And how did I come by such support and girlfriends? That’s simple, three years ago I vowed to take my writing seriously,  so I joined the association dedicated to my genre ‘The Romantic Novelists’ Association’. I’d advise any writer to seek out their genre association and join - the benefits are immediate and far exceed any membership fee, honestly.

If I hadn’t joined the RNA – I’d still be writing (I wouldn’t have given up) but I wouldn’t be at the stage I am now, that’s for sure. And the added bonus, I certainly wouldn’t have the writing girlfriends that I have and the countless writing friends gained through the association. In truth, excluding my family, my daily world wouldn’t be as lovely as it is.

*For a full description of The bathroom scene – you need to read Janice Preston's latest release 'From wallflower to countess' 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Those two little words

Every wondered if you'd ever reach the summit of that personal mountain and be able to rejoice at the achievement? I have, on many occasions in life... and Thursday 7th May was my latest celebration. No, this has no connection to the recent General Election in the UK but to my own agenda: my writing.

On Thursday morning having struggled out of bed at 5am, which has become my regular writing routine in recent weeks, I was delighted to finish writing a specific chapter which I knew signalled the moment for those two little words every writing project dreams of containing: 'The End'. Not a moment I had planned or even realised would occur during that early morning session but the fingers had danced about the keyboard in such a productive manner that I reached the summit before my planned time. I was as surprised as anyone, though everyone else was still snoring at 6am. I had indeed finished, so took much delight in typing them. My delight was extended on sending a text to my sleeping husband containing a photo of the manuscripts final page and his unexpected cry of 'bloody hell, well done!' filtered from our bedroom where slumber was ruling until his wife's text arrived.

And so yes, I have finally after many months of ripping apart, rebuilding and hours of rewriting can announce I have finished this project. As we all know this isn't the ultimate finishing line but it is a momentous one.

The project was immediately printed and placed in hibernation before any further tinkering could occur. I know I won't be able to go much past seven days so plan to wake her up on Friday, 15th May. I'd love the luxury of a month of hibernation (like my tortoise has) but I can't do that!

So, there you have it, my latest celebration. In the meantime, my muse is being put to work plotting and planning a novella in preparation for the long seven week school holiday - which is fast approaching.