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30 June 2009


Current Work: Planning for July
Listening to: Nothing, the silence is pleasing
Reading: Echo Burning by Lee Child

A New Month Approaches
I've spent the morning reviewing this month (less said the better) and planning the next month (it will get better). The trouble is with this writing business is that it can be so up and down, but when I stop to think about it - its no different to any other job. Though I'm not sure I could call this a job, the hours are as flexible as contortionists limbs, the pay is infrequent and the conditions, well that's down to me and the best part of the job. Anyway, I've brushed myself down and given myself a good talking too and am now back on track. I've writing three A4 pages of actions and have renewed energy for the next writing saga. So the novel will be submitted to a second agent. The second novel The Promise will start to take shape and the third novel The Good Life will hopefully be well on its way to a completed first draft. I have also started to research a novella, based in Saxon times for the Historical Undone Series and have planned to submit two short stories. Phew!! That's without all the non-fiction stuff with Suite 101 and twelve queries a week. So there is plenty for me to wield my inky pen with. We have relatives staying but that's OK, sometimes having these kind of distractions helps me to focus a little quicker and a little smarter. So onwards and upwards - things can only get better as the song tells us!

Book Worm

Sorry, haven't finished the book yet, though had a good slug of reading time on Sunday. Will have finished by next week, promise

Confucius Says... Quotes on Writing

"For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can."

~ Ernest Hemingway

26 June 2009


Current Work: Playing catch up but never getting there!
Listening to:
My other half being beaten at cards by his son

Reading: Echo Burning by Lee Child (A Jack Reacher novel)

And the - things can only get better.
No, I sound very negative, but that feeling has just stayed with me this week. Next week will be better, I promise. This is a writers life and I have to get used to it, the good times and the not so good. I'm a practising optimist, I have to be! Anyway, I've had a little time out this week, so am falling a little behind of target. Sometimes though I think to step away from things is helpful. It can help you see things a little clearer and that has certainly happened for me. I've re-written my synopsis and will be sending off my precious manuscript to the next agent on the list next week. I have to keep trying and those of you who know me, will know how trying I am!

Three Cheers for...! (
There is always something positive)

  • First virtual meeting of Writers Abroad - the writing group I've put together - went ahead successfully on Monday.
  • Australian Magazine 'Wet Ink' have given me free writing space to advertise Writers Abroad
  • Outline of story set in Saxon times for a Historical Undone 'novella' now in my WIP file
  • Two articles submitted to Suite 101. Check them out here on Dementia and Memory and On-line Writing Groups
  • Three queries submitted and follow ups, followed up (have an interest in an earlier query so have provided some more information
  • Have blogged...

23 June 2009


Current Work: Picking myself up and dusting myself down
Listening to: A buzzard 'keying' for its partner
Just finished
Bad Heir Day by Wendy Holden - see below

The Good and The Bad

I'm not sure how to start this entry, I've started typing several times and seem to have turned into a blob of nonsense when it comes to words. Yesterday I heard that the agent I'd been so kindly recommended to, doesn't feel able to take me on. Now I know in my heart that I never imagined I would be 'discovered' or even encouraged in a million years. But when you hear those words 'no thanks' the sense of disappointment is so overwhelming. However, I have to look on the bright side, she didn't trash my work, she wished me well with finding representation and she replied within 10 days of my submitting my manuscript. So this morning when I woke, I felt a little happier turning a disappointment into a positive thing and I shan't fall at the first hurdle. Better writers than me have been rejected (why does JK always come to mind?) so enough of the maudlin (which I am just soooo good at) and chin up. I'm going to blast it off to another this week, and will keep on at it. I have too, I've stepped too far over the edge to stop now...

Book Worm

Bad Heir Day by Wendy Holden

Characters: Anna (a wannabe writer just like me) is the main character. Cassandra is a has been writer and a has been everything who things she's got it all but hasn't. Then there is Seb, Jamie and Robbie - love interests of Anna and her friend and advisor Geri.
Setting: In present time UK and Scotland
Plot: Well, girl wants to fall in love and meets a load of despots along the way. It's a chick lit book.
Quick Summary: Humorous, entertaining and doesn't need a lot of concentration to enjoy. A good 'filler' in between tougher reads. I like these kinds of books, it's a bit like reading the 'Hello' Magazine but without the pictures. Thoroughly enjoyable
Recommendation: Definitely

Confucius Says... Quotes on Writing

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” - Samuel Beckett
Wise, wise words...

19 June 2009


Current Work: Writing this blog, the last thing on my list...
Listening to: A mosquito buzzing round my head
Reading: Bad Heir Day by Wendy Holden

Thank God it's Friday
It feels as if it's been a long week, but I'm not sure why. Well preparing for visitors next week probably has something to do with it so I've been trying to get ahead with my writing. Not easy when you are the worlds no 1 procrastinator! I'm not sure that I've achieved it anyway.
Don't know about you but when you work from home POETS day is a bit of a misnomer.

Writing Software
I blogged some while back about researching various methods to make the process of producing a manuscript in excess of 80,000 words a little easier. I have just used MS Words master document feature, which was sort of OK but editing was a nightmare and preparing the document to send out was even worse. So I've invested in some software called Write It Now by Ravenshead Services. I spent a long time searching and it's relatively cheap - £36 - and it looks pretty comprehensive. The proof will be in the pudding so to speak...

Three Cheers for...

  • 2000 words written for WIP The Good Life
  • Two critiques completed for Writers Group
  • Website and Windows messenger set up for Writers Group - now known as Writers Abroad
  • Short Story revised for submission
  • Heaps of research done for WIP The Promise
  • Two - yes 2 - articles submitted onto Suite 101 check them out at these links Wallis, Duchess of Windsor and Setting Writing Goals
  • Work put in a few weeks ago for submissions for International Journal has paid off, now have four out for peer review
  • Queries and follow up completed

16 June 2009


Current Work: Research for new novel, free writing, writing group critiques
Listening to: The birdsong outside my office - a Redstart I think...
Reading: The Luminous Life of Lily Aphrodite by Beatrice Collins

Starting a New Project
I am getting really excited about starting my next novel. So much so, I need to keep myself in check so that I don't start too early. Having now forgotten (what? how long is my nose?) that I have submitted my first novel to an agent who has agreed to review it I am now focused on the work in hand. I don't know about you but I'm a bit of a research geek. I like to seek out all possible information so that I can sort through it all and choose the bits that are relevant. Trouble is that could go on forever, so I need to put a time limit on it. After all, the story needs writing, I can check out the facts after. Having been through the process once though I do need to take up my own advice (which by the way I have written up and has been accepted for The Writers Forum magazine). The advice which tells me to plot out a vague beginning, middle and end, so that I can reach
The End, without months and years flying by. So progress will be reported on here and that should provide me with the kick up the...motivation, I need.

The Book Worm

The Predator by Patricia Cornwall

Characters: Kay Scarpetta, her niece Lucy and a number of nasty criminals including a strange being called HOG (Hand of God)
Setting: In America somewhere, various locations, of which I can't remember now.
Plot: Murder, abuse, mental health, illness, love and relationships. A bit of everything.
Quick Summary: Its a typical Cornwall novel of the Scarpetta journal full of gory details about what happens to a dead body and murderous thoughts, deeds and acts. As usual Scarpetta wins out, not only in her work, but in her life too.
Recommendation: It took me a while to get into this, but once I did I flew through it. This is the kind of book you can skip through quite easily and although very formulaic is quite entertaining if a little gory. Yes, I'd read another.

Confucius Says...Quotes on Writing and Writers

'Say all you have to say in the fewest possible words, or your reader will be sure to skip them; and in the plainest possible words or he will certainly misunderstand them.'

Samuel Johnson

12 June 2009


Current Work: Admin, Queries management, general tidying up
Listening to: Bertie (the dog) sighing - he's waiting for a walk
Reading: Not sure what next, just finished a Scarpetta novel

Agent Hunting
Don't you just love that word? Serendipity? When I first heard someone use it I thought 'how pretentious!' but now I use it quite a lot. So why I am referring to it today? Well, as you know I have finished my novel, polished my manuscript and exercised my marketing skills to 'sell' my book (it feels as if it is my soul). Anway I digress as usual, but I emailed a writer friend to let her know how I was going on. My friend occupies the revered position of published writer and she offered to have a chat with her agent. And the agent agreed to have a look at my manuscript!! I know nothing is for certain in this life and I know that I am probably heading for a big fall. But, all the same, if feels pretty scary yet exciting. At least its a step forward...Cripes!

Three Cheers for...

  • Revisited the Work in Progress - The Good Life with my Man Friday and have re-energised our plan - wrote about 700 words.
  • Worked on a short story for submission - one that I'd submitted and had feedback to hope to get it off next week
  • Developed a Writers CV, synopsis for All Will Be Well and submitted it to an agent!!
  • Submitted latest Suite 101 article - King John of England - as its the anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta this week
  • Had a feature accepted for Writers Forum on my experience as a First Time Novelist
  • Agreed approach with Writing Group and shared my first piece for feedback. We're looking for a name -any suggestions welcome.

9 June 2009


Current Work: Writing a Writers CV and Synopsis
Listening to: The innards of my hard drive whirring and whining
Reading: The Predator by Patricia Cornwell

It's never 'the end' it's only the beginning...
When I 'finished' writing my novel I had a variety of emotions. Relief that I had reached the end, happy because I'd managed to succeed, sad because it was all over, wonderment about what next... I've just started to realise that 'the end' is actually where it all starts. Having to edit, proof, rewrite, check facts, produce a professionally presented manuscript, looking for publishers, identifying agents, writing a CV and the dreaded synopsis. Its all part of 'writing' however you may look at it and it may not actually be the fun part for many of us. The part which really feeds our passion is the creating 'bit' , characters, plot, drama, solutions, like producing a play. But there is a lot that goes on in the background, unseen by the reader and our families and friends. It takes time but if you finish your novel revelling the those two little words and shove it in a drawer, it will truly be the end.

The Book Worm

I haven't finished my latest read. It took me a little time to get into it, but I'm well on the way now. Will post next week.

Confucius Says...

'There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein.' Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

5 June 2009


Current Work: Queries, Admin and Follow Ups
Listening To: My Man Friday pottering about
Reading: The Predator by Patricia Cornwall

Almost there...
Well, I think I've almost caught up! Phew. It's amazing the pressure we put ourselves under if we feel we've not done what we should have. But I suppose its not a bad trait to have really. I've just submitted another piece to Dogs Monthly which is due to be published in July. The Editor has just emailed me to compliment me on the piece and how she hasn't had to do anything with it. Not only have those very few words lifted my writing soul, they have made me realise that getting a job right first time has to be the target. I'm lucky in that I have my Man Friday who checks and offers advice and researches stuff. So get yourself a Man Friday - if I could bottle mine and sell it I would!

Three Cheers For...

  • All Will Be Well was submitted to a publisher on Wednesday. It was a funny feeling after I'd hit the 'sent' button - in fact the day after I felt a little lost. Ah well, forget about it now and on with the next.
  • Latest submission posted to Suite 101 on Helen Keller. A most remarkable woman who despite her disabilities was a prolific writer and fought for the causes of others. Made me feel quite humble.
  • Decided on way forward for our Good Life WIP. Just need to get on with it.
  • Have picked up the research for my next historical novel as it had a bit of a hiatus due to novel number one!
  • Three queries submitted and positive feedback on submission (see above!)
  • Updated my websites check them out - Writing Pad and Louise Charles

3 June 2009


Current work: MS preparation - definitely off the desk today
Listening to:
The sun shining (yes it's stopped raining)
Reading: Not sure yet...

A promise is a promise
Well, I'm just doing a quick catch up , only one blog last week really so, this week it's three. This is a short one.

Book Worm

Wideacre by Phillipa Gregory

Miss Beatrice, her brother Harry and others
Wideacre estate in Surrey somewhere, back in the days of Squires and Ladies - those of 'Quality'
Plot: Beatrice Lacey will do anything to gain control of her families land at a time when females were not part of the game plan.
Quick Summary: Well, the plot says it all really. This is a tale of love, passion, murder, deceit, sex, rivalry, chauvinism, feminism set in the woodlands of a country pile. Some of the most enjoyable bits are about the 'workers' who have a much better way of seeing the world as it really is.
Recommendation? I've read many of Phillipa Gregory's before including 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and found them entertaining and exciting. For me this was overlong (well in excess pf 120,000 words) and the pace sagged a little. Very unlike previous novels. Perhaps a glitch. I would still read another of hers. So that's perhaps a yes then.

Confucius says...Quotes on Writing

'Rules are fatal to the progress of art'
Marcel Duchamp

1 June 2009


Current Work: Research for new novel, non-fiction submissions
Listening to: The sound of the pouring rain
Reading: Wideacre by Phillipa Gregory

I'm running late...
I know, this should have been posted Friday, but well that's a different story and for another time. Needless to say Friday didn't happen for a number of reasons. So this morning is Friday for me as I catch up on what I should have done then. And tomorrow here in Italy is a Bank Holiday and being as we haven't honoured any of the BH either here or in the UK this year, we've decided to take tomorrow as a holiday. Well, to paint the bathroom and kitchen ceiling. But a day from the PC and therefore need to get five days work into four. So what am I doing 'chatting'? You may well ask. So I shan't waste another second. (maybe a couple).

Three Cheers for...

  • Latest Suite 101 article on William Pitt the Younger. I wonder what sense he would make of all the goings on at Number 10 at the moment?
  • Copy agreed for second article with Dogs Monthly 1000 words and piccies
  • Copy submitted for Writers Forum - 1700 words
  • Manuscript copy completed for proofing (well I will do one last check, then 'publish and be damned!'

Until later...