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31 December 2009

GOODBYE 2009

Don't Think Just Write

Happy New Year
My last blog of the year is going to be a short one. I've had a week away writing which has been incredibly difficult. I've spent the time reading, clearing out cupboards, my desk, email folders and generally slouching about completing crosswords and sudoku puzzles. But I'm feeling refreshed and now ready to hit the New Year rocking and even more determined than ever.
One small thing I have done is publish my 100th article on Suite 101. I wanted to get that particular target accomplished before the advent of 2010, so check it out. Its my favourite vegetarian recipe, Mixed Nut Roast and I'm a committed meat eater!
See you next year!

Happy Writing

23 December 2009

FESTIVE WISHES

Don't Think Just Write

Just a quick entry to wish you all a Merry Festive Season whatever you are doing and where ever you may be.

Happy Writing

21 December 2009

EVERY WORD COUNTS

Don't Think Just Write

Flash Fiction or Novel
It doesn't matter how long a piece is, every word counts. I've just been responding to our latest Writers Challenge with my friends on Writers Abroad. This time we have been given the first line and a word count of 250 words. I can't tell you how difficult I found it and I'm used to writing short. But it made me realise how I waffle on, sometimes, say the same thing but use different words, so each and every word of those 250 had to say something. I tried, not sure I pulled it off, but wait with anticipation.

Three Cheers for!
Well, I didn't make it last week. Its been strange, since I completed my target on my novel, I've sort of just drifted about. I'm usually very organised and I've still planned my days but haven;t really maintained the momentum to keep going. I don;t know what it is. My Man Friday, says not to be so hard on myself, that I deserve a break. Maybe he's right. So after tidying a few things up I'm going to switch off for a while, enjoy the peace and quiet which will descend as everyone stuffs themselves silly, sit and read and read and watch TV and have some time out. A change is as good as a rest so they say. Will do all the good wishy kind of stuff later.
Check out my two latest articles on Suite 101 (99 so far, want to reach 100 before 2010 appears) . One on Finishing Your Novel (this is kind of post NaNoWriMo) and one on setting up a Ning Social Network for writers Groups.

Happy Writing!

19 December 2009

RUNNING OUT OF TIME

Don't Think Just Write
Happens to me a lot...
Sorry didn't have time to blog. Making Xmas gifts for neighbours and stocking up for the snowy festivities. Will be back next week...

Happy Writing!

16 December 2009

READING MATTERS

Don't Think Just Write
Bedside Books

Having just received a yummy order from Amazon, I'm looking forward to the dark, cold days of Christmas - yes, changed my tune since Monday. But I haven't changed how I feel about it. When you live abr
oad you value the written word in your mother tongue even more. I do love the Italian language - oh if only I could speak it better, but it is quite an effort to read, listen and converse in a language that does not come naturally. So I have a mixture of new reading material, because I like to experiment with different styles. So I have a Ken Follett (never read any of his), Santa Montefiore and the first of Stephenie Myers' Twilight Saga. With those and a shelf full still to read I am feeling a sense of peace descending. By the way, I stumbled across another book selling site that may be an alternative to Amazon. The Book Depositary - I've tried to do a comparison, but its difficult, they don't charge for delivery but obviously add some cost to the book. Check it out...


Book Review



The Secret River by Kate Grenville

This is an historical novel set in the early 19th century. It centres around the life of an Englishman who does not have the best start in life but works hard on the river as a boatman. He marries the daughter of his boss, and life is feeling rosy. But of course, this doesn't last and William Thornhill had to resort to desperate measures to keep his family fed. By now he has a small child and another on the way. He is caught thieving and sentenced to death by hanging. Now his crime doesn't seem to fit the punishment and his wife, Sal, writes to a man who pleads for a change of heart on Will's behalf. The upshot is that he is given a one way ticket to Australia, along with boardage for his wife and child.

It's amazing that Will and Sal survive the journey which takes almost 9 months and during this time Will's second son is born. Once in Australia, they wonder what they have exchanged their life (and the loss of Will's life) for. The majority of the story takes place here in Australia and displays the desire of man to measure success by the amount of land he owns. The story gently unfolds, showing us the lengths that the white man will go to secure this what is seen as a personal right. But of course they are disrupting the lives of the Aborigines and their land. At times, its quite difficult to comprehend how a bunch of criminals think they might have such a right, but these men could effectively wipe clean their slate and therefore start again. Some do it -like Will - with some respect, but others are no more than thugs. However, even Will is tested in terms of what actions he will take to secure his 'home'. And all through this time, wife Sal is having more babies and counting the days when she can go home to London.

It's a well told story, based a little on the true experiences of the authors ancestors. It is full of wonderful descriptions of Australia and its contrast with grey London. The dialogue is written in italics, which I found a little distracting, but it is a wonderful, simple tale, well told. I'm not sure about the title, I found it a little misleading but you make your own mind up. A great read.

Happy Writing (and Reading!)

14 December 2009

BAH HUMBUG

Don't Think Just Write
Current Work: Trying to find myself again, post NaNoWriMo and NaNoFiMo
Listening to: My Man Friday making a cuppa!
Reading: The Italian Quarter

Monday Blues
Well, I have spent the day in a kind of daze, not really knowing what to do first. It has been really odd not having the pressure of my writing target to reach and it feels almost like I'm missing a part of me. I guess what I should do is start on the next project. Can't be doing with all this 'spare time' on my hands...hah!

Festive Meltdown
I don't like Christmas, well, I don't like all the commercial nonsense that it brings and all that madness and stress associated with one day. So I'm pleased to be here in rural Italy where they have a more sedate way. The decorations have only just gone up in the streets and the supermarkets stocking their shelves (well maybe one) with Xmas goodies. The kids don't break up until the 23rd and go back just after Befana (the real Mother Xmas) on 6th January. Home-made cakes, biscuits and chutneys are preferred to the jazzy wrapping and glitz from M&S and they don't send cards.
Humbug? Me? Nah. I think Christmas is the time for giving, so my money (what little I would have spent on family) is going to buy a goat or two for children and their families who won't know what all the fuss is about.

11 December 2009

IT AIN'T OVER...

Don't Think Just Write

'Til the Fat Lady Sings...
So the saying goes. I'm coming to the denouement of my novel and I have a sense of not wanting to get to those two little words, 'The End'. But I know I have to - otherwise it will just be padding, it won't add anything to the story and I suppose, if one wanted to, you could go on and on and on... but I hate that in a book. When I feel satisfied with the read, but there are two more chapters to go and they don't do anything. So by the end of the afternoon, I will have said goodbye to those characters with whom I've spent 36 days - in my head, in my dreams, in most of my waking thoughts. I shall put them to bed, tuck them up and forget about them. Until January, when I need to wake them up and edit them. Eeeks!

Three Cheers for - The Ups (and Downs) of an Apprentice Writers life
I still feel like that you know, an apprentice writer. I think I've progressed from beginner but I have a feeling that I shall always be an apprentice. Always something new to learn, or try out, that's what makes writing so exciting. For me anyway.

  • NaNoFiMo continued. Current word count stands at 74,000.
  • The last two articles in my Characterisation and the Zodiac have been uploaded to Suite 101. The two signs (which happen to be my sons and mine respectively) are Scorpio and Pisces.
  • Launched the Writers Abroad Ning site to our members. Its looking good and I hope to share it with you in the New Year.
  • Blogged three times
  • Revised short story critiqued by my pals in Writers Abroad and will be submitting to Peoples Friend
  • Continued with other non-fiction projects including a piece for the Oldie, HR Handbook proposal, looked Constant Content for selling articles and whipped up some submissions for the journal I edit, Leadership in Health Services.
All in all not a bad week...

Happy Writing

9 December 2009

MARKETING YOUR NOVEL

Don't Think Just Write

Publisher or Agent?
As you know I've been touting my first novel out in the scary world of publication. I have submitted it to one publisher and eleven agents, I've had nine rejections and one outstanding. All the rejections have been personally addressed, two of them have indicated the current financial market as a reason for rejection, others that it doesn't fit their current requirements. At least I'm eliciting some kind of response. I get a bit niggled when I've spent time researching their websites and its indicated that they are open to submissions and do represent my genre, but what else can you do?
Anyway, I went with agents mainly in the first instance because a friend of mine (a published author) felt it would be easier if I was represented. However, there are other writers who recommend going to a publisher first. So what would you do and why?

Book Review
Is delayed... I'm almost at the end, but not quite. Patience is a virtue...

7 December 2009

NEW ONLINE PRESENCE

Don't Think Just Write

Current Work: Getting ready to launch 'Writers Abroad' website come blog and am very excited.
Listening to: Radio 4, a play about trains which I'm trying to concentrate on but the writing takes over...
Reading: The Secret River by Kate Grenville

Virtual Space for Writers
The one thing I've read about lately is that a writer absolutely has to have a website, blog, be on twitter, face book and goodness knows what else in order to raise their profile. Now while I go along with this to a certain degree, I do have some misgivings. Firstly I do have a website (well two actually) and I blog regularly. I enjoy these two activities and they do provide some time to be creative using a different media. I joined Facebook only because my son and his partner seemed to use it and I thought I could keep in touch with what they are doing. The trouble is I got all these requests from friends, nephews and nieces who it appears, are all trying their best to increase their number of friends. Does this mean they are popular or just that they superficially know a lot people. I have a theory about 'friends', I can count true friends on one hand, the others are merely acquaintances, people I know. (I know, Scrooge and Humbug come into mind, but this time of year always gets me going). And then, there is all this stuff about Farmville and smiles and bouquets of flowers and I really don't understand most of it. So I've stopped logging in, it's not the place I want to be. I've never 'twittered' - though that could be debatable. I suppose I feel you should choose the best medium for you. Writers by courtesy of their profession are often not sociable people (I'm definitely in this group) and therefore a network of millions of people might not be the place for them. However, a network of writers, all with the same passion for writing, who are keen to develop their skill and help others to do the same is the place I want to be. So that is the point of my drivelling on...Writers Abroad will be that place, it doesn't matter how many friends I have, its a place I can go and talk about writing and all its related ups and downs with people who know exactly what its like. Great.

And Finally...
Apologies to Rob in my lost blog, where my dreadful writing intimated he wasn't 'live'! Of course I'd split my sentence up and was referrring to the website... Faux Pas or what? I'm the Queen of them, you just ask my Man Friday, he calls them 'Joisms'.

4 December 2009

NANOFIMO

Don't Think Just Write

National Novel Finish Month


Yes, its true there is a site for those of us who don't think that 50k actually represents a finished novel and this site has been set up for people like me. As you know, I'm continuing to hack away at my daily writing target with a view to getting the 'The End' and I'm pleased I've found this. It helps just to provide that extra carrot (and the occasional stick) to get it done, though I've surprised myself with my continued commitment. Anyway here is the link to NaNoFiMo if anyone is interested and wait for it, there is also a place for those of use who want to get the editing done called NaNoEdMo! But it doesn't start until March and I'm not sure I can wait that long!


Three Cheers For... The ups and downs of a writers week


  • Plan to reach 65k words this weekend on The Promise...

  • Two articles published on Suite 101 as part of the series about the Zodiac and Characterisation - this week its Sagittarius and Cancer

  • Set up Writers Abroad website/blog with the welcome help of our only male member, not live yet but watch this space.

  • Reviewed all outstanding queries and considered markets

  • Writing Plan for December completed - pie in the sky? Probably...

  • Two more rejections for All Will Be Well :(

Happy Writing

2 December 2009

RAINCLOUDS

Don't Think Just Write


And Silver Linings

The two go together in a writers' life, like in many others. Rainclouds and silver linings. I'm a great believer in positive thinking, which is fine when I'm feeling positive. But every so often that nasty gremlin visits that says 'Oh no Jo Lamb, you are not a writer....' usually accompanied by the latest rejection. I've just had my fourth this month for my first novel (third if I want to be precise, one agent has closed to submission because of the volume) and it never gets any easier. I keep telling myself the next one will be THE one but it still hurts and starts that niggle of self doubt. I won't let it linger for long however, I sweep off that terrible demon with one swipe and start looking for the next opportunity. If you let it get to you, you'd never write... and that would be no life at all.

Book Review




Well almost back to normal then...

Charlotte Gray By Sebastian Faulks

I love this book, even more on the second reading. The film is not a patch on it especially the ending which for me was more than the right one. I think it's a shame it wasn't represented properly on the DVD but then again, I'm not a script writer. But with a book which is so widely read, it's a little disappointing for viewers.



It's basically a love affair set in England and France during World War II. But it is so much more than a love affair we read about. I love the character of Charlotte who in one sense appears so fragile with the unspoken hint of childhood abuse by her psychiatrist father which led to teenage depression. Yet on the other hand the Scottish lass with a love of France signs up as a 'courier' come spy to try and find her lover who has been lost on a flying mission. Charlotte is honest about her feelings for her mother, which don't amount to much and sticks out in a crowd for her interesting personality. It is this that attracts Peter Gregory a fighter pilot struggling with his continued success at keeping off the death statistic list for his profession and his guilt for friends lost. The love he feels for Charlotte frightens him so much that he takes on a mission which puts him at risk. But it is only then that he realises and accepts his feelings for her.



My favourite character however, is the old French Jew Levade, who takes on Charlotte when she stays in France after her mission is finished to find Peter. Although it is Levades son with whom Charlotte eventually succumbs to - you can feel the tensions during her conversations with his father who is a painter and has lost his muse. You feel he has found a new one in Charlotte, yet he never paints her. He is brutal in his questioning and philosphy on life, yet Charlotte responds only how she can, honestly and without apology.



This tale however is as much about the lost love affair of France with itself, the internal fighting and the barbaric ways people start to treat each other when power is involved. And with this comes the treatment of the Jews during that time. I still find it hard to read these accounts like these. In the book two young French Jewish boys are seperated from their parents. Charlotte helps to hide them but cannot save them from their fate. I still find it hard to believe that only 70 years ago, such dreadful atrocites were committed on other people whose only difference was their heritage. A race that has been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. How the complete disrespect of human life happened in the twentieth century? It goes on in other countries I know, even now, but somehow this is close to home, part of our lives that we know now. It's relevant. How do you explain that to future generations? Impossible to understand and explain but we should not forget. It is through books like this that we must continue to expose ourselves to the reality of the Second World War and not allow its lessons to die with the generations who lived through it.

Happy Writing

30 November 2009

THE END

Don't Think Just Write




Yep! Made it...
Well today is the last day of November and I am feeling a little weary but happy. I have to thank my Man Friday, who without his support, the offers to washup, cook, clean, walk the dog, in fact anything that made my day easier, I couldn't have managed this. But the thanks comes with a warning, I'm going to carry on until I've reached the end of my story which by my reckoning is another 14 days or so. So thanks Simon - you are the real star. I also must thank members of Writers Abroad, who have all given me words of encouragement along the way. So whilst things aren't quite back to normal, (were they ever normal?) I think I feel more relaxed now I know, given the focus, that I can write. (56,159 words to date...)


Happy Writing


27 November 2009

THE FINISHING LINE

Don't Think Just Write




But It's Only Just Beginning...
Well, today I reached the target - three days ahead of the deadline. Whilst I'm feeling pretty good about that (and that should be a G&T not a pint of ale!), I can't help but feel that I'm not at the end. In fact I think come 1st December I shall be at the beginning. Writing a book is the easy part, so some say and I think there is some mileage in that. It's the rewriting which produces the final product and that my writing friends, is a long way off.

Three Cheers for... it hasn't all been NaNoWrimo

  • Two articles completed for Suite 101 on characterisation using the Zodiac, this week its been the turn of Aries, the Ram and Leo the Lion.


  • Copy submited and invoiced for Overseas Living - Handy Hints for Moving to Italy


  • Copy submited to Writers Journal - on a Writing Plan for writers


  • Blogged my Blog


  • Reviewed and critqued stories and articles for fellow writers at Writers Abroad


  • Submitted short story for critique which has been fab, so that will be polished for submitting next week

And just at little lesson learnt this week, don't be afraid to follow things up. One publisher had thought I'd been published and paid, but when I chased it up, they had lost my manuscript! So just a short, polite note to keep on top of things is a good thing.

Happy Writing!

25 November 2009

PUBLICATION FOR WRITERS

Don't Think Just Write


Chasing Rainbows?
I've just been penning an article that's been commissioned by a writing journal. Its about planning. Yes, that's right, a writers plan. I know we hate all that kind of stuff but we've been through that before. Anyway whilst I was musing over the words I've written I started thinking about the ultimate writers goal, that of publication. I know that there are some writers who write for the love it. Don't we all? But publication is perhaps the icing on the cake, the confirmation that your writing is worth reading. In the latest Writers News there was an article on a website managed by HarperCollins. I'm not going to regurgitate what it said and you can find it on page 58 if you subscribe or just follow the link to Authonomy. But in a nutshell it provides authors with the opportunity to upload and market their book for consideration by HarperCollins. I've only just started to look into the website and I'm quite tempted but as usual, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You have to read (and comment if you want) on other books which help to improve not only their chance but yours. So quite a commitment. And that's where the planning should come in. Shouldn't it?

Of course there is no guarantee (there never is) but I think you could get a lot in return. I'll let you know if I take up the challenge, but I must get these last six days of November out of the way.


Happy Writing...

23 November 2009

LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Don't Think Just Write

At The End of The Tunnel
And I'm not talking about the NaNoWrimo challenge either! Having got cocky with myself last week spouting this and that, I've landed back to real earth with a bump. You see, life always gets in the way, but that's what is so interesting for writers. Gives us something to use. Well if it's interesting enough. For me it was being without electricity for the weekend and with so many plans for editing, writing, critiquing and whatnot! Have you tried cooking solely by candlelight? No I don't mean using the candles to cook, I meant for light. Well certainly an experience and I kept telling my Man Friday how romantic it was...
Anyway, now back on the grid and catching up. So must away. Sorry for the witter, but I promise to try and be a little more with it next time...

Happy Writing...

20 November 2009

ALL GOOD PLANS...

Don't Think Just Write

Of Mice and Men...
Did you ever see that Eddie Izzard sketch? No? You should, it was very funny. Do mice make plans?
Anyway, I digress and must admit I'm more than a bit muddled today. Having waxed wyrical about how organised I am and how much progress I'm making with this that and another on Wednesday it has been crazy since then! An editor emailed me late on Wednesday replying to a query I submitted and needed copy by today! Anyway, needless to say with the help of My Man Friday, it has just whizzed it's way across the ether. Can do attitude is the only way if you want to be a writer.

NanNoWrimo - Weekly Update (otherwise it might get boring)
I'm very tired, and just couldn't make it to the 38k, well I could but it would have been drivel, more drivel. And this depicts me this afternoon when I turned the PC on and it took over 20 minutes to load up. The air was blue... sorry My Man Friday.

18 November 2009

DEADLINES AND WORDCOUNTS


Don't Think Just Write
Getting Things Done...
There is nothing like a deadline or a target wordcount to send me whirling into action and get things done. Planning, as some of you know, has taken a long time arriving at my desk. I've always thrown my hands in the air and balked at the thought of having to plan! Not in my nature. But actually it is and always has been and I'm not sure where I convinced my self that it was not a good thing to do. Having set myself the target of entering and if truth be know, exceeding the NaNoWrimo challenge, then I find myself with the energy to complete dusty projects that have been sitting on the back burner. Were they in my plan? Well of course they were, but you can always ignore the plan... I know, I know I should be shot.
So I've drafted a proposal for a non-fiction book and researched the market and will be looking for publishers later this week. It's something I've been mulling over for ages and it has been fuelled a little by some of the hits I get through writing articles on Suite 101. My personal development and people management pieces are very popular (shortly followed by the ones I write on 'writing' I might add). And I've always had a beef about the basics of people management, everyone gets so engrossed in the latest management fad or fashion they forget about the ordinary people who have to carry them out. So that's another project on my list for this week. What about you?
Apologies for those expecting a book review - I've just finished reading a Robert Goddard, set near where I used to live in Wiltshire and with an historical slant. Apparently all of his have some kind of historic link and I really enjoyed the read. It was sharp, had live characters, even those who were dead had some personality - and it ticked all the boxes. Just can't remember what it is called. Normal service will resume, or maybe not...

16 November 2009

Don't Think Just Write



Work in Progress: I'm not even going to tell you ...

Currently Reading: Charlotte Gray by Sebastian Faulks (for the second time)

Listening to: A large sigh as I realise that I have loads to do!


And the Beat Goes On

Just a short one today, have loads to do on my action list and still rocking with my word count. I keep thinking maybe today will be the day I don't know what to write. But I really hope not.

Had a great (if not slighlty manic) meeting of Writers Abroad yesterday. We had eight of us online at one moment or another from all over the world and lots of good info and support going backwards and forwards. Just wanted to mention one in particular - our solo male group member - Rob who is adding an additional balance to the group. Can't be easy with all us gals. You can check out his blog here Torrevieja Writers Circle - the links are particularly good.

13 November 2009

Don't Think Just Write




And so it goes on...

Three Cheers for! The Highs and Lows of My Writing Week
Well, what more can I say? I just don't believe it. I had a slight lull this morning when I was writing my scene synopsis. I kind of ran out of words, well they just didn't appear at all but I persevered and just wrote any old kind of rubbish. So lets hope it turns into something sensible this afternoon. But that's not all I've been doing.
  • Submitted All Will Be Well to three more agents - fingers and toes crossed
  • Submitted two more additions to my Characterisation and the Zodiac series to Suite 101 on Gemini and Capricorn
  • Will submit 6 queries this afternoon - drafted and ready to go
  • Prepared 1000 article on the Battle of Britain for Best of British submission

So all in all a satisfying week...

11 November 2009

DON' T THINK JUST WRITE

NaNoWriMo Cont...
My new motto, 'don't think , just write' and I'm afraid you are going to be sick to death of this by the 31st but like any other fighter, I need to keep up the anti! And yes, to my one kind commenter, Rob - tea in bed at 6.30, the delicious fresh coffee is saved until mid morning and after lunch to give me a caffeine kick!
Number of words? 19,603
State of Mind? Fairly stable - but there's plenty of time for that to change.

Book Review
Now as you can see, I'm a bit weighed down at the moment and have a one track mind - but just to say I've just finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. I know that it's getting quite a lot of criticism but for me I like the issues it explores, the mystery and the unknown. And my Dad was a Mason (still is I think Pa?) and he had one of those little black books written in a text I (and my brother and sisters) couldn't understand. How did we know? Well, like all children we were very good at snooping, but it was largely fed by a certain kind of secrecy. Dad was also 'crowned' Worshipful Master one year and there was a big party - who cared if we didn't know what it was all about? Anyway I found it most enlightening (and yes, father has read it and in fact it is his copy). I thought the ending went on and on and bit and some of it did seem a bit out of this world, but then again so is the concept of some white haired and white bearded kindly old man sitting up above us...

Ciao for Now


Just an update found this fab word counter from Writertopia and I've just finished my input for today!



Don't Think Just Write

9 November 2009

NANOWRIMO AND...

NaNoWriMo - words so far 15,132 - just!! Wah Hey!!

The End of the First Week
And the beginning of the second. Must say I'm quite amazed at my output. Though those of you who know me or have had the misfortune to contact me this last week will know that my brain has just been frazzled. So apologies if I've been pretty vacant.
However, I'm determined to stay in the groove. I have got a good system going and if I write about it here, it sort of makes it more permenant. I handwrite the outline of a scene, first thing in the morning in bed with a cup of tea and a biscuit (having fed the dog, two cats, three kittens, collected the eggs and said hello to the hens) phew! Then I spend the rest of the morning getting everything else done that may interrupt my head and try to free my mind from everything else - oh how I wish that were true! After lunch, I sit down and using my outline just keep tapping away on the PC. I've turned off the 'correct typing as you go' option and try very hard not to edit as I go, so its probably just a load of drivel. But we'll see. My target this week. Well, I'd like to double this weeks target at least, if not more. That's all I'll say about it.

And finally, I've had a couple of comments from readers of this blog. Thank you so much, now I'm not just talking to a great big black hole. Well, maybe just a big one. But feedback is great and I know it takes time in busy schedules. So a big thanks. You made my week.

Don't Think Just Write

6 November 2009

NANOWRIMO REIGNS

End of Week One
I'm afraid my brain (whats left of it) and my time is committed to NaNorWriMo at the moment. Have reached 11,396 in five days. Hope to start next week on 15,000!

Other good news, I have two queries which have been accepted in principle and Writers Abroad continues to flourish.

Oh and two articles printed on Suite 101, Characterisation and the Zodica sign Libra and one on Aquarius!

Happy Writings...

Don't Think Just Write!

4 November 2009

BLOGGING AND BOOK REVIEWS



Declaration of Interests
I've just read somewhere that bloggers who include book reviews on their blog have to declare if they are being compensated for the review. If they don't and they are (are you still following?) then they could be fined up to £11k. Why do things always become so complicated. I perform book reviews on books I've bought or been given and I have read from cover to cover. I don't get any pay, I do it because I want to develop my craft and share my humble opinion about another writers writing. Do I have to do this every time or is once enough? Hmm....

Book Review

Drop Shot By Harlan Coben
This is my first read of a Harlan Coben. My Man Friday has read quite a few and likes them. This one is from the 'Myron Bolitar' series. Myron is the main protaganist and investigator. I must say at the start that I did not particularly enjoy the read for several reasons.


First the use of trademark names. In the first few pages, the number of references to named products was phenomenal. Maybe there had been an agreement about product placement and I suppose the story is about the tennis world but... there is a limit. I just felt like I was reading some marketing material.


Second the language used. In addition to trademark names, there were a few 'americanisms'. The one I detested most was 'yowzer'. Who on earth uses that word? Myron Bolitar does.


Thirdly and possible most importantly, I didn't particularly get on with Myron. Now a reader needs to connect with the characters, particularly the main character and I didn't like him. He annoyed me. He continually made silent assessments of himself using inner monologue and I found that quite arrogant. Myron is apparently in his mid thirties but he came across to me like some old leery has-been always eyeing up women who are not the slightest interested in him. And I was amazed to discover that he actually did have a love interest in the beautiful and talented writer, Jessica.




Now I've got that out of the way, what else can I say. The story is set in the competitive world of tennis and Myron is an agent. Myron is an ex-footballer or baseball player, some kind of athlete anyhow, who had his career cut short through injury. Now he represents other talented sportsmen and women. Anyway, his current client is proving to be a bit of champion but as always there are a few skeletons in his cupboard. Then a young female tennis player who has been trying to contact Myron is suddenly shot dead during a match and the story unfolds around this and Myron trying to find out why. The tennis world, it seems, is full of bad guys who do nothing short of murder to get what they want. This was another grumble of mine, it seemed a little far fetched but hey what do I know? Maybe Wimbledon has its fair shair of hoodlums and thugs? So the story slowly unfolds and Myron is constantly saved from trouble and harm by his ghostlike friend Win. Win only appears if a bit of muscle is needed and by all accounts will also stop at nothing. He's a bit etheral Win, he has plenty of money and a posh nomenclature but I remember little else. To cut a long whinge short, it ends up with Myrons' tennis protege and his loose connection with another murder commited some years ago. It's about abuse of young sportsmen and women it a tough and competitive world but mainly it was about the guy from the poor background making good. So the plot line was a good one, for me it was everthing else that didn't fit. But I'm going to have a go at reading another, because I know Coben is a successful writer and what the heck do I know?

2 November 2009

WRITING FRIENDS

Current Work: Nanowrimo ... and other things
Listening to: My fingers tapping away on this keyboard. I need to get writing my draft for Nanowrimo!
Reading: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - can't put it down

A Writers Life is a Lonely One...
And that is why it is so important for us writers to keep in touch with other like minded folk. I got together with my online writing group, Writers Abroad, on Saturday. Following a small piece published in Writers News, we have now grown from 3 members to 7 and are very international. As well as being represented in Europe (Spain, Germany, Brussels, Italy and the UK) we also have members in USA and Thailand! I have also just received interest from a writer in Australia and a potential addition from France. We are all english speaking but live abroad where we are unable to access a 'normal' writing group for a variety of reasons. We had a great time and I learnt so much about markets, editing, the writing process, likes, dislikes and loads more. The trouble is the more international we come the more problematic it is to find a time that suits us all. But everyone is being so flexible I think we can make anything happen. So watch this space and news about my fellow authors and their successful writing.

30 October 2009

WRITING CHALLENGE

The Month It All Happens!
November is traditionally the month when writers lock themselves away and scribble and scribble and scribble. If they are lucky they will emerge on the 1st December feeling very pleased with themselves and 50,000 words richer. If not they still may have written more than they have ever done in a month. For those who are not writers and for some reason might read this blog (heaven knows why!) or maybe you just haven;t come across this pheomena, the challenge I'm talking about is Nanowrimo (in short stands for write a novel in a month). So tomorrow is the last day to get your self prepared and hyped up, sharpen your pencils, fill up your fountain pens and exercise your typing fingers.


Three Cheers For!...My Writing Highs and Lows

Well as you know, my writing has been a bit hit and miss, but when I sat down to consider my achievements this week, it ain't that bad. Well that's my view anyway.

  • Three blogs submitted :)

  • Two articles submitted to Suite 101, one funnily enough on Keeping a Writers Blog and the other is the start of a series, Characterisation using the Zodiac :)

  • Nine queries submitted this very afternoon (haven't submitted any for 3 weeks!

  • Synopsis of WIP The Promise has been shaken out of me and now sits in the inbox of my fellow writers (Writers Abroad). We have our first 'international' meeting tomorrow afternoon

  • The beginning of my plan for November has begun, but as you know from above, I plan to go into writing hibernation (blogs apart that is)

Have a fruitful writing week...


28 October 2009

WRITING NIRVANA

Apolgies in order
Yet again as I haven't finished reading Drop Shot by Harlan Coben. I only started it at the weekend and it's an easy read so I should have. I must admit I'm not enjoying it all that much but as I'm now two thirds through, I guess I should finish. My Man Friday has nearly finished The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. The word 'engrossed' comes to mind! Anyway, I will submit a review next week. Currently planning lunch as we have some friends visiting, then out for a birthday bash on Sunday and then I plan to go into writing hibernation for the month of November. Delicious!

26 October 2009

NORMAL SERVICE RESUMES

Current Work: Catch up - Again!!
Listening to: The sound of a dripping tap, I must turn the radion on!
Reading: Drop Shot by Harlan Coben

Writing Routine
We all have some sort of routine for some part of our life. As a writer, I try not to be too pedantic about my routine as I fear if I can't write at any time, I never will again. So I don't say I write best in the morning, or in the bath or need to be surrounded by magic stones (or should that be mushrooms?). I tell myself, 'I can write at any time I want'. That said, I'm sure there are particular times when I write better, but I think that I write 'differently' and therefore bring something new to my writing. What is she waffling on about I hear you cry (well I would if anyone was there!) But as you know, routines sometime have to be put aside for many reasons and that is a good thing too. There is nothing like getting back in the groove, whatever groove that might be. One thing I did achieve last week was a submission to Suite 101 on How To Organise a Novel so take a peep. And now I must dash, my list of 'must do's' is enormous. Ciao for Now....

21 October 2009

READING MATTER(S)

Fiction Feast
When you live in a foreign country, finding books to read in your own language can be difficult. But these days we have Amazon who provide a wonderful, fast service and we are lucky to have two other sources to hand. Firstly, our family and friends - who as part of their visiting rituals bring along their reads on condition that they leave them and pick replacements from our shelves. The second is that we have discovered a small library of English books provided by a local Italian Osteria. There is no charge for this service and you don't even have to return the book you borrowed, just as long as you leave something in its place. Not half bad at all.

Book Review
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
You must all remember the film - Jude Law (sigh), Nicole Kidmand and Renee Zellwegger? Now the only bit I can remember is when Renee Zellwegger caught the rooster which had attacked Nicole and broke its neck. Next shot was a big boiling pot of rooster. It's taken me some time to finish this book - well over my one week target. Now part of that has been just down to me - I've sort of struggled to keep on top of it. Another reason is its style. It took me some time to get used to it. There are no speech marks, nothing to delineate dialogue and I found that a little startling and if I'm honest, it almost spoilt it for me. I suppose it's what we get used to but with a little time I soon learnt who was talking out loud and when but it does read a little like a child would write - but only in style.

Charles Frazier is a good story teller, and in Cold Mountain he follows the lives of one man and one woman during the American Civil War. The chapters alternate between the two main characters - a style I like because it helped me understand them. They were clearly set in my mind, helped by the images of Jude Law (another sigh) and Nicole Kidman. Inman, the male character has met and already fallen in love with Ada (Nicole). We are told about his love for her as we follow his journey from a nearly fatal injury sustained in the war and his treck across the country to return to her. It is her and his love for her that keeps him going and which helps him to survive. Inman started life as a fairly level headed, gentile man, but war changes how he views his world and he doesn't let anything stand in the way of his objective. Which is to return to Ada.

Ada is a preachers daughter who lived a very enviable life before the death of her father. They moved to Cold Mountain because of his ill health and after a ropy start with the locals, they began to share his faith with the community. Ada had barely to lift a finger, preferring to draw, and paint and generally live the life of a lucky young lady. She responds to Inman and is equally attracted but their quest for love is interrupted by the war. Ada has to learn to survive after she discovers that her father did not make the preparations to allow her to continue her accustomed lifestyle. She struggles and you almost believe that she will starve to death as she has no idea how to provide for herself. And then comes along Ruby (Rene) who shows her how getting her hands dirty is the only way to go. Ruby has not experienced the fineries that Ada has and wouldn't thank her too either. All she expects is to be treated equally and that she isn't there to empty anyone elses bed pot.

There are some shocking violent scenes, typical of the impact of war and the cruelty of man when he is threatened. But also there are some very tender scenes, one involving an old goat woman whom Inman stumbles upon in the woods. The scene when Ada and Inman are reunited was particularly beautiful - it brought tears to my eyes and I so wanted to believe in the happy ever after. Thank god I couldn't remember the film, because I would have been disappointed.

It's a great read - far better than the movie because it is memorable. The images and emotion which Frazier creates is far more dramatic to my mind than anything visual could possibly be. And I would read it again, for now I'm familiar with his style I'll spend more time on the story.

19 October 2009

Current Work: Just the basics, as visitors take priority
Listening to: Radio Sabasio (Italian station) the dulcet tones of some faceless Italian!

Reading: Well about to start - The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - my dad has just finished it and looks a little vacant!


Itchy fingers
So plans for this week still rather sketchy as I find it difficult to write and entertain. Yes, I know we women can multi-task and I do, but sometimes its just best to concentrate on less. I really would like to get my editing done this week, didn't manage a word last week and only one article on Suite 101 on Learning Contracts, so check it out. Also have set a mini challenge in the spirit of Nanowrimo for our writing group so really need to be doing something.

One thing I did complete was Cold Mountain so will do a review on Wednesday, hopefully.


Thoughts on Writing...

'The profession of book-writing, makes horse racing seem like a stable, sound business.' John Steinbeck

12 October 2009

HIT AND MISS

Just For The Record
I'm only doing a quick entry today to say that I might be a bit absent this week. Have rellies to stay which is great if not a little distracting - in the nicest possible way. So rather than set myself up to fail. If I blog I will if not I will be back on track next week.
I would really like to get the polished version (number god knows what!) of All Will Be Well to submit to some more agents, but other than that I haven't really set myself any goals. I'm listening to the sounds of footsteps up above me (quite a rare sound here) and a dripping tap (a job for my Man Friday) and still reading Cold Mountain.

See you soonest....please drop in whenever you like...

9 October 2009

WRITING A SYNOPSIS

Does it Fill you with Dread?
It does for me. But I quite enjoyed it. It was a bit like writing a micro/mini story - I got so carried away with it I almost forgot to make lunch! Lucky my Man Friday was here to remind me. No I'm not having a go, it really was my turn. But back to the synopsis. I know that they are critical to pitching a novel so it's not something we writers can choose to ignore. What I do want to know is - why does it feels so difficult? I have a theory. Well, its a kind of theory. I felt a little like I was writing the story 'out'. I don't know if any of you know what I mean by that? But I was worried that if I wrote a mini version I either wouldn't know how to fill it out because it had been done or that I'd set the story in stone and would not be able to change my mind. Now I know that''s silly but it did make me reluctant to put pen to paper. But I did and actually I'm quite excited about it.

Three Cheers for- The Highs and Lows of My Writing Week



  • Have completed a synopsis for a new project set way back in Saxon times - almost 2000 words :)

  • Had a short story rejected by Womans Weekly :(

  • Submitted two short stories for consideration (yes, I said 2) :)

  • Received another rejection letter from WW but don't know what its for :/

  • Submitted two articles to Suite 101. One on a Training and Development Policy and the other on Core Competency Frameworks :):)

  • Blogged three times :):):)

  • Begun to edit my novel in light of the very positive comments received :)

  • But now think I need to review the synopsis :(

On balance not a bad week...

7 October 2009

WRITING WORLD

It's a small one...(world, that is!)
I'm always amazed how many 'writer's' I actually know. Well, I don't mean particularly well, but one could say - associated with. Since I had a small piece published in Writers News about our writing group Writers Abroad, I have had enquiries from writers living in USA, UK (a New Zealander) and Thailand! So our quest for diversity is certainly being met on a geographical level. We are all women though so we may need to work on that.
Then we were having coffee yesterday with a couple who had one of the kittens and who now lives in such luxury my Man Friday asked if they would adopt us! Anyway, it appears that they have a very good friend who is a published writer and touring Italy at the moment looking for a home. We're everywhere, in some nook or cranny. I think the word is 'serendipity' don't you?

Book Review
A Thousand Apologies, but I haven't yet finished reading Cold Mountain. It's taking a time - I'm not sure why. I watched the film some many years ago when it first came out but I remember so little of the plot. That's not such a bad thing. But I will complete it by next week. Promise.

Ciao

5 October 2009

AGENT HUNTING

Current work: Agent hunting, synopsis draft for feedback and writing!
Listening to: Chickens clucking contendedly - its lovely
Reading : Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier

Finding a Home for your Novel
This is never as easy at is is to write. This is the hardest part. I have sent out my novel to (at last count) eight agents, 7 rejections and one outstanding. Now I have had the feedback from my Critique Partner which is very encouraging, I'm about to start afresh. I put it on hold pending her comments. So the trick is to find an agent who likes the genre - historical romance/historical fiction. Then check out if they have any similar stories - probably unlikely to want another. Thirdly do they accept email submissions? This last point is of particular importance to me as an expat living out of the UK. What about international reply coupons I hear you cry! Yes, well, I've heard of them, but no-one in Italy has. This is the same in Spain I believe. Technology allows us to move huge pieces of information effortlessly around the globe. Now, I understand that emailing manuscripts could have financial implications for agents and publishers, but I would guess that they would glance through the synopsis and first chapter to see if worth reading and then if they wanted to print it out. For me trying to post several hefty manuscripts would be a pain, not undoable though and I have not ruled it out. Just that I'm going to check out emails submissions first before I waste paper and postage as well as a chunk of my confidence.

Wilfred the Wise Writing Owl... intelligent thoughts on writing
Yes, I know, I was becoming a bit bored with Confucius so have adopted the sage owl as my muse for writers thoughts - but can't seem to upload the image at the mo. Bear with me.

"The great advantage of being a writer is that you can spy on people. You're there, listening to every word, but part of you is observing. Everything is useful to a writer, you see -- every scrap, even the longest and most boring of luncheon parties."
Graham Greene (English novelist, 1904-1991)

2 October 2009

NOVEL CRITIQUE

A Two Way Process
I've just finished critiquing a 100,000 word historical novel written by a Canadian writer called Nancy. In return, she has critiqued my first novel All Will Be Well which I am currently seeking an agent for. It has been quite an enlightening process for me. I read Nancy's work not just as a reader but as a fellow writer wanting to provide some constructive feedback. That kind of changes your relationship with the book but on the other hand provides a rich insight into the craft of writing. Now finishing the critique has almost took up three whole days of this week and I've probably spent at least three times that reading and writing comments. I'm a luddite, I have to print and then read and then comment and then type... so it's a bit like a snails pace for me. But the experience has been a positive one and quite an enlightening one, Nancy writes erotica as well as mainstream (the novel I critiqued was for submission to Harlequin/Mills and Boon). Boy can she write the bedroom stuff! Check out her website at E Jamie if you dare...

Three Cheers For.... The Highs and Lows of my Writing Week



  • Novel critiqued and feedback provided to Nancy! :)

  • My novel critiqued and positive feedback :) :) :)

  • Only one submission to Suite 101 this week, due to commitments I've already talked about. This article talks about the importance of Staff Induction :/

  • About 500 words written for the 5 minute Write Everyday prompt - will get back into sync next week

  • Three queries submitted but not just that, revised and amended and rewritten even more specifically for target market.

  • Planning for October completed - and as usual HUGE expectations!!

  • Three blog posts uploaded - this being the third. I try not to let this one slip

Ci Vediamo - see you next week!

1 October 2009

ADVICE FOR WRITERS

Read, read and read...


That's what they say. If you want to improve your craft, keep reading. Since living here, the changes in my lifestyle, however hard, have had one particular benefit. More time to read. And that has meant that I've read stuff I probably wouldn't have before. Despite my desire to enter the Mills and Boon competition though, I've never, ever picked up one of their books. Not because I don;t think they are good - I don;t know never having read them, but perhaps that is the reason why I'm struggling to write in their style. So for me, I think its good advice.





Book Review

The Street Lawyer By John Grisham


John Grisham is very talented, both in the writing and legal world. This story is set in present day and is written from the view point of the main protagonist Michael Brock. Writing in the first person is quite difficult to maintain (so I'm told) but Grisham manages to keep the pace going and at the same time allow us to occupy the life of Brock for a short while. Brock is a savvy lawyer, working to live at a very savvy lawyers firm. The firm owns his life but when we first meet him, that's OK because of the financial rewards that it will bring him. But it has costs, his marriage for one, to Claire who to fill the void which was once love, is chasing her own career as a brain surgeon.

Then Michael experiences a violation of his world and is shown what life is like for many of the homeless in Washington D.C. He is taken as a hostage, along with colleagues by 'Mister' a victim of the street but also, it appears, of Brock's firm, Sweeney & Drake. The hostage situation is quickly resolved, Mister is shot dead by a sniper, but Brock is traumatised by the event, one which he left covered in the lifeblood of his captor. Brock starts to think about things differently. From the street perspective rather than the cocoon of Sweeney and Drake. He starts to question each and every one of his personal principles and finds that actually, they weren't principles at all. One word described them - greed. His colleagues think he's having a 'breakdown' and at first are very sympathetic, but the firm soon changes its tune as Brock discovers the reason for Misters desperate actions. Through a brief encounter with a mother and her four children Brock uncovers the reason why they all perished in a car, on a cold winters night. He is driven, along with the help of Mordecei Green the director of a street legal clinic, to seek justice for the lives he's seen wiped out.

The story is one of change, for Brock. He has left his wife, his promising career and the guarantee of financial security but he has gained a life and a moral standing. Wonderful scenes and images are created by Grisham's ability to get inside the characters head and show us who he is warts and all. A good read all round.

30 September 2009

RUNNING LATE

I know, I know - I feel like the Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland, 'I'm late...' Have been caught up with critiquing a novel I promised to complete by the end of today. Which is winging its way as I type. Now too tired to write any more, so book review will be posted tomorrow. Check in when I'm more refreshed!

28 September 2009

WRATHS OF A WRITER

Must Do This Week: Finish feedback for a novel for my critique partner by 1st October (and that means she will be doing mine!! Eeks)
Listening to: Chickens squaking in the garden - we've let them roam free
Reading: The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

Crisis of Confidence

Writers I suppose, are a little like actors. They put a lot of effort into their creation or character, then prositute themselves or their work and wait by the phone, or the post box or the PC to find out if anyone likes what they do enough to say yes! Last week I had a particularly bad case of the confidence jitters which ran over into my Friday night. Not a pretty sight. And I know that JK and Virginia Woolf and many other writers with far more skill than I, were rejects, like the rest of us. But sometimes you forget that. Sometimes you think that you couldn't repeat the alphabet let alone write something that is meaningful. And when that happens remedial action needs to be taken because it eats away at you and if you believed everything that negative gremlin who sits on your shoulder nibbling at your consience, well, you'd never pick up a pen again. So I'm back here at my desk and now have got that rubbish of my chest, it's time to move on with renewed energy and a pot of positveness (can you get it in pots?). Until the next time.

Confucius Says...


'I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.' Gustave Flaubert

25 September 2009

REWRITES

Starting from Scratch?

I've dedicated most of this week to writing a draft chapter (5000 words) for submission to a Harlquin/Mills and Boon Competition. The driving force behind this has been that I agreed to swap chapters with a member of our online writing group. Nicola has sent me her chapter and at the time I was pulling my hair out with a re-write. Last week I'd clocked up 3000 words and thought it was sounding good. However, the gremlins got to work and by Monday I wanted to change it - as I said, didn't know the characters enough. So did I start from scratch? Nope, I actually used a bit of the beginning, none of the middle and a lot from the end of my first draft and then rewrote everything else. I just hope it reads better. I do know who my characters are now though and they will tell their own story - whether HQN like it or not. So am going to wing off my efforts to a cery patient Nicola in a moment.


Three Cheers For - the highs and lows of my week



  • Rewrite of HQN chapter - 5000 words I'm repeating myself, I know :)

  • Freewriting performed 3 days out of 5 - 750 words, not as good as last week:(

  • Began new scene in WIP The Good Life about 800 words I think, not bad :)

  • Have not looked at WIP The Promise - not good ;(

  • Two articles submitted to Suite 101 - one on a WarTime Diet which includes some fascinating facts on how rationing improved the health of the nation and one on European Day of Lanuages and how it promotes us to have a go at learning a language (and I'm an expert on one who does it badly) :)

  • Mapped outline of my first E book which I'm going to dedicate to HR practices :)

  • Hopefully by the end of the day I will have submitted three queries but have had a week of rejections :(

  • Have bored you all with my blog three times this week

Have a good weekend. We have a pups birthday bash on Sunday. My Man Friday will be reporting the event on the Casa Grotta Blog.

23 September 2009

STORY DEVELOPMENT

Character or Plot?
I've been outlining a chapter for a competition for Mills and Boon as you know. I wrote 3,000 words (and more) and then re-read them yesterday. Now I want to change the whole thing! It just didn't flow nor fit in with the 'style' of M&B. It's all in the approach. I'm a character driven writer myself and hadn't really got to know the hero (an alpha male no less) and the heroine. They were a little faceless and bland and passionless and that's how my words read. So I have spent an hour getting to know them a little, finding pictures that will set them in my mind and hopefully they will now start to tell the story. I've only got til Friday, so they better get their skates on... Eeks!

Book Review



The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

Most reviews of this book have recommended that you think 'Da Vinci Code' and that's a fair suggestion. However, if you think that there is no need to read this book if you've read Dan Brown, you will miss out on an excellent read.

The action starts off at an exhibition where historian/archeologist Tess Chaykin witnesses a particularly strange and violent robbery. Tess, a single mother, is the leading character throughout this book and you get to find out about her desires, her deepest driven desires which is linked to the ongoing questions about God and spirituality.
The other major character is FBI agent Sean Reilly who is in charge of the investigation and finds himself drawn to Tess. Reilly despite his job of dealing with facts is actually very sympathetic and a believer.

The story is told in two time lines, one following the robbery in which an ancient encoder is taken from a collection of Vatican artefacts. Tess hears the robber (dressed as a Templar and on horseback) whisper a latin saying which drives her to delve into the possible hidden meanings. The second is way back in the thirteenth century following the final days of the last templars and their quest to pass on and protect their message and very essence of 'being'.
The evil rogue part is also two fold, one a fellow professor Tess had once fancied and is now obsessed with outing the truth about 'God' and of course the upstanding member of the religous bretheren who will do anything to prevent 'the secret' from being uncovered.

Its a fast read, short chapters and the pace is easy to follow. Its also a kind of history lesson, as Tess shares her vast knowledge about the history of the time and the Templars. As you can probably guess, Tess isn't the religous type, but Reilly is... this is the cause of some tension as the story unfolds and we discover what the Templars were trying to protect. But is it too late for all of that? And what would be the consequences for the world as we know it now, centuries on, after years of brainwash and chinese whispers. The fallout would be horrendous - wouldn't it?

A great read, and one I'd read again because of its richness in character, history and debate.

21 September 2009

IDEAS FOR STORIES

Current Work: I have to get this chapter for HQN comp done this week, its been taking over my mind!
Listening to: Dogs barking - yes plural, we have Berties sister and her mate staying
Reading: The Last Templar by Raymond Khoury

How do you find inspiration?
As you know, I've been drafting a chapter for a competition for Harlequin (Mills and Boon). Now this is way off my usual kind of stuff. What do you immeditaely think of when you hear Mills and Boon? Yes, Barbara Cartland, pink and sugary. Well, I've never read any of BC's stuff but I know she was a prolific writer and did very well out of it. And I can say that current day M and B ain't pink and sugary. Anyway I digress, so how did I find the inspiration to write? Well, I looked at the guidelines, which are quite extensive and spent a lot of time learning about the 'alpha male' - for this competition it's key. That's not so hard is it? I mean what man doesn't try and be the alpha male - I know! I know! Huuuugggge generalisation on my part, but those of you who know me well will be familiar with my generlisations about 'things'. Anyway this time it is proving worthy because I have one, Italian of course and linked with a sight I saw from an apartment window in Amalfi many years ago, I had the nugget of a story. Also being married to my Man Friday. who is an F1 nerd. is helping shape the plot, so inspiration is all around, you just need to grasp it and put pen to paper. Famous last words!!

Confucius Says... Writers Thoughts on Writing



"No one is asking, let alone demanding, that you write.
The world is not waiting with bated breath for your
article or book. Whether or not you get a single word
on paper, the sun will rise, the earth will spin, the
universe will expand. Writing is forever and always a
choice -- your choice."


~ Beth Mende Conny~


Mmm... I like this one a lot...

18 September 2009

ANYBODY OUT THERE?

Blog Visitors
I've put one of those counters on my blog. I was just curious to see if I get any at all, as I've never once had a comment from anybody. Since I installed the counter which was about a month ago I've had 149 visitors! And not a drop of tea made. This week alone I've had 22, which is quite amazing. I wonder who you are. Don't be shy, say hello once in a while and make a struggling writers day...

Three Cheers for!
Well its the end of the week and I'm feeling pretty satisfied with myself. I seemed to have got myself finally back into the 'writing groove'. See what you think anyway. This may all change as we have the sister of our dog, Bertie, coming to stay for a week. And that means mess, walks and lots of running around my veggie patch! Emergency protection orders have been made.
  • 3000 words drafted for a chapter to be submitted to HQN competition

  • 2,500 words written for the WIP The Good Life

  • 1.250 words written - 250 per day in five minutes - on Write Everday prompts and five beginnings of a story or a chapter or a scene...

  • Two articles submitted to Suite 101, one on the great British engineer (my dad will like this one) with the amazing name of Isambard Kingdom Brunel and the second on Travelling Abroad with Diabetes

  • Three queries submitted and follow-ups made

  • Research almost finished on WIP The Promise - some of this has taken me to accounts of POW's in the area here where I live so have become a little distracted along the way...

  • Short story submitted to Writelinkers for a critique

  • Short story edited for submission to market next week

  • Writers Abroad meeting held and enjoyed

  • Editing work for publishing house completed - a Swedish paper which caused a few headaches

Ciao until next week - Happy Writings...