Tag Archives: RNA

Who’s Sorry Now?

I’m always sorry about something.

A reply on Facebook this week made me sit up and think. “Chrissie Bradshaw never ever feel like you have to justify your life, you bloody earned it and why not,  I say? x”
Thank you to that Romantic Novelist FB friend who made me question a few things like –

Why do I feel apologetic for being part of a generation that had free uni education ?
Why apologise for my luck in getting onto the housing ladder in my twenties?
Why am I quiet about building up a good pension when others have to work for longer?
Why am I reticent about taking a few holidays every year and spending three winter months abroad to get on with my writing?
Why do I feel I’m partly to blame for being part of the Brexit generation that is spoiling our country’s future?
I know I have had some lucky breaks but hang on!
When I went to uni, I didn’t travel abroad or take a gap year. My uni digs were basic and we didn’t even have TV.  I worked every holiday to pay off an overdraft.
My starter home was furnished with family cast offs and the mortgage meant we didn’t take a holiday. I worked and brought up my daughter and holidays were few.
I’ve earned the free time I have now and I still work. To misquote Bette Davis, “Writing is not for cissies!”
As for Brexit, we can only blame a few senseless politicians who stood behind David Cameron and plotted such a daft referendum that has divided and damaged the country  I have thoughtful intelligent friends on both sides of Brexit and nobody could have envisaged such a political muck up

As from today, I’m going to try my hardest to stop the apologies -especially that one where I say I’m JUST a women’s fiction writer.

Does anyone else feel like they’re always about to say sorry?

The funny thing is, many people who should be apologising about uni grants, housing, pensions and Brexit wouldn’t dream of saying sorry. 

Would You Like To Know Your Future?

Sometimes, I wish I had a crystal ball so I could see what lies ahead. I could be prepared for the wonderful day when I get my exciting multi book deal with a publisher by having a couple of novels at the ready.

 What would you like to know about your own future? 

It would be such a relief and joy to know that a personal dream is eventually going to happen wouldn’t it?

Or would it?

When I  was accepted into college, it took away the need to achieve high ‘A’ levels and I did a bit of coasting because my place was a sure thing.

What if the crystal ball showed no deal? I’ll never stop writing but would I lose confidence  and stop trying so hard to improve?

Perhaps we should all heed the words of the author Vera Nazarian who said,

‘Not knowing is the greatest life motivator. So enjoy, endure, survive each moment as it comes to you in its proper sequence, a surprise.’

My latest novel, ‘The Barn of Buried Dreams’,  opens with  a surprise for Erin, the main character. She is faced with changes she couldn’t foresee. Erin returns home to care for her sick mother leaving her fiancé and London theatre life for a while.

Here is a taster.

Chapter 1

Erin had never understood how anyone could be totally surprised by their pregnancy.

Until today.

She stared at the stick in her hand in utter disbelief. Two stark lines…the test couldn’t be clearer. How had this happened? Well, she knew how, of course she did, but what were the odds? Wow.

Bloody wow. She bit her knuckle and checked the tiny screen again. Wasn’t she supposed to be doing a happy dance? Maybe. When she got over the shock. It was such bad timing. This was meant to happen in the future, very far into some fuzzy future, when it would be a thrilling moment with Damien doing the test with her. They had a wedding to plan and their careers to establish before this bit of the story.

Erin felt guilty immediately. How could she feel that way? She had created a new life with the man she loved and here she was thinking it was inconvenient. She hoped the tiny being that was beginning to grow inside her couldn’t hear her thoughts.

Her life hadn’t been her own this year and now it looked like it wouldn’t be ever again. She’d spent years working hard to get where she was but now her stage career was drifting away like an unattended beachball, bright and enticing but moving further and further out of her reach. Would it come back to her on another tide or crash on the rocks?

‘Erin, our programme will be starting soon.’

‘Just coming, Mum.’ She placed the confirmation of her future on the bathroom window sillhurried downstairs to make a pot of tea before Happy Valley started.

Mum was soon engrossed in the episode, making comments about the murder case and cursing human traffickers. ‘Sergeant Cawood won’t let them get away with this trafficking scam, will she, Erin?’

Erin tried to keep up but her mind churned away at her own inner drama. When would she tell Damien? She’d have to tell him first, even before she told her mother. What would they do about a wedding? Rush into a small ceremony before or wait until after? They would both just have to get used to the idea of parenthood. There was never a perfect time to have a baby but she was twenty-seven and they had talked about starting a family, one day, so they’d just have to put their wedding plans on hold and become a family sooner than they thought.

‘Erin?’ the credits were rolling and her mother was studying her closely.

‘Yes, Mum. What is it?’

Liz Douglaseaned forward in her chair, her pale face showing how easily she tired. ‘You haven’t followed that episode at all and your mind seems far away. Is everything OK?’

‘Everything’s fine.’ Erin managed a smile.

‘Are you sure?’ Mum could be a mind reader at times.

‘I was just thinking about Damien coming at the weekend and wondering how to keep him entertained. You know how quiet he thinks it is around here.’

‘A night at the Bridge Inn isn’t his idea of fun is it? How about the Red Lion at Alnmouth? That’s livelier.’

She caught Mum’s wicked smile and laughed. ‘Yeah, he’ll have to make do with that, or watch TV. He’s just here for a couple of nights anyway.’

Erin helped her mother up from the chair and across to the single bed that was set up in the corner of the living room. It was good to see her regaining her sense of humour and watch her getting stronger every day. In a month or so, she might be back to normal. Bloody hell, she hoped so. Poor Mum, she was really working at her recovery from a stroke but she was nowhere near to being independent again.

Erin was anxious to get back to London, the sooner she could get back to work, the better. Her agent couldn’t put her forward for auditions when she was tied up here and she missed Damien. Mum came first, though and, until she had made a good recovery, Erin would stay here. Remembering the baby cells that were multiplying minute by minute, she drew in a sharp breath. She would be limited in getting any roles once this baby started to show.

‘What’s startled you, Erin? You look like you’ve seen that Tommy Lee from Happy Valley.’ Mum looked at her curiously as she slipped off her dressing gown and sat on the bed.

Erin shook her head. ‘It’s nothing. I’ve just remembered something I need to do tomorrow.’ The phone rang, freeing Erin from any further questions as she crossed over to pick up the call.

‘Hi it’s me. Is Mum still up?’ It was Heather, Erin’s sister.

‘Yes, she’s right here… Mum, here’s Heather, for you.’ She passed the phone over and took the chance to escape further questioning by slipping into the kitchen to prepare a night time tray with water, a flask of tea, a plate with two shortbreads and her mother’s tablets. Heather would be chatting to Mum about Happy Valleyfor a while; they both loved a crime series.

Bracken barked at the door to go outside. Erin smiled as he sat smartly with his head cocked to one side waiting for her to let him out into the back garden. As she stood in the open doorway and watched the silhouette of the Welsh terrier snuffling in the bushes at the far end of the garden, Erin thought about what Heather would say when she heard her baby news. She was longing to tell her. Heather was already eight months along with her second and would be full of advice, but it was only fair to tell Damien first.

A few more days until he arrived on Friday and, after she had talked to him, she would break the news to Mum and Heather then her friend, Darcy. She just couldn’t imagine Darcy’s response. They had both shared dreams of stage careers and of finding love, but they had never talked babies.

Lying in bed that night, Erin counted backwards to work out just how many weeks pregnant she was. She’d already done this a dozen times since taking the test and the answer didn’t change. She’d run out of pills soon after dashing home to look after Mum in November and hadn’t been too concerned because Damien had a busy filming schedule and was going to see his parents in Kent for Christmas. He wouldn’t be visiting for a while so there was no rush to renew her prescription when their only contact, video call or text, was a hundred per cent conception proof.

Damien had missed her over Christmas and arrived at the door of Magpie’s Rest to surprise her on New Year’s Eve with presents and champagne. She hadn’t expected this extra surprise… she really hadn’t. Just one careless night? Hell, she must be eight weeks pregnant.

She glanced at the time, waiting for Damien to call. Last night, he said if he didn’t get in touch by midnight, it meant he was delayed at the promotion event he had to attend. There was a minute or two to go but she was tired. She decided to ring him.

‘Hi Damien are you still tied up with work?’

‘Erin! Hi babe. Yeah, can’t get away, I’m afraid.’

‘Never mind. It’s not long until the weekend and we can catch up then.’

‘Weekend? Oh…the weekend. Listen, I need to talk to you about that. Look, I can’t chat now, babe, but I’ll call in the morning.’

He wasn’t coming. She knew it. She could tell by the tone in his voice.

Erin doesn’t have a crystal ball but she is predicting that Damien will let her down. What does her future hold?

The Barn of Buried Dreams

The Barn of Buried Dreams is available on Amazon as an ebook or paperback and a free read, if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited.

 

Whatever the weather, We’ll weather the weather

Let me tell you, Spanish villas in Murcia are freezing cold! The heat flies right out of the windows and walls and seeps through the cold tiles and that lovely cool house of summer is an ice box in March.

You may think I was lucky, to spend five weeks in Spain while I was recuperating from my hip operation, but was I? We had lots of sunny days but I discovered that missing the cold February and March weather in the UK had a price.

That price was a lovely, cosy, warm house with unlimited writing time!

I can’t write outdoors in the sunshine. Laptop says ‘no’ with a black screen and I get distracted. Yes, I’ve tried a contraption that shields the screen from the sun but it flaps about in a breeze and I forgot to pack it this trip. I can ‘ dream up’ characters and stories while I’m lying back on a sun lounger though, so all is not lost!

Strolling in the sunshine with Oscar

If I’d been at home and hiding indoors from the Beast from the East, my thermostat would be keeping me at a steady warm temperature and I would be cosy whilst looking at fat snowflakes falling outside.

In Casa Margarita, on a sunny day, I watched my husband reading in the sun as I was wearing socks jumper and blanket to try to type a few hundred words. Cold is not conducive to writing. I was so glad to finish and get out into some warmth!

Will I go again? Oh yes. We had a wood burning stove to huddle around at night. We had to sit over it, mind you, or the walls stole the heat and a trip to the kitchen or bathroom was chilly. It  meant we cuddled up together too.

Next time, I’ll be prepared. Instead of buying new bikinis, I’ll be buying one of those silly but warm ‘onesies’, packing my old Ugg boots and taking a hot water bottle for when I’m writing. You can’t keep a determined writer down!

Hip hip hooray!

My hip operation went ahead In January but it hasn’t stopped me from getting out and about .

With this trusty customised NHS stick and my new cross body book bag – a delightful Christmas present-  I’ve been able to take a short walk for a pub lunch or a coffee.  More calories going in than out with that arrangement that little voice in my head nags. I know! I had better be careful or I’ll pile a few more winter pounds on and stress my new hip. 

My RAS – reticular activating system- has come into play because I’ve been seeing and empathising with fellow stick users at every turn.

I think the RAS part of our brain is astounding. My simple understanding is that it takes whatever we focus on and creates a filter for it. It then sifts through all the data it receives and presents only the pieces that are important to us at any time.

A walking aid is vital for me right now and I’m seeing all those who are similar to me and how they manage. All of this filtering happens without me noticing, of course. My RAS programs itself without me actively doing anything

When you’re pregnant, you notice other baby bumps and babies in buggies. When you want a new car,  you notice how many of a certain  model are on the road.  When was the last  time you noticed that your reticular  activating system had come into play and started pointing something out to you?

I’m sure it can help or hinder your New Year  resolutions too because it filters the world to reflect your  beliefs. If you think you are going to write rubbish, you probably will. If you believe you’re working well then you most likely will have a successful day. Your  RAS helps you to see what you want to see and in doing so, influences your actions.

It has been suggested that you can train your RAS by taking your subconscious thoughts and marrying them to your conscious thoughts and “setting your intent.” If you focus hard on your goals, your RAS will alert you to the people and opportunities that help you achieve them. This certainly takes the mystery out of ‘the law of attraction’ idea. Focus on important things and they will come to you because the RAS on your own brain seeks them out.

The brain is amazing but so is the rest of the body’s ability to heal.     Four hours after my hip op, I was walking with sticks and next day I was tested on walking up and down stairs before going home . My leg was working with a whole new ball and socket in it and it wasn’t too painful at all .

The most fascinating healing is the skin’s ability to heal itself and my scar improves every day. So….here I am in week three enjoying a writer’s and reader’s meet up in a pub in town . I’m glad I joined North East Authors and Readers.

I am excited about my current novel and, at the same time, worried that someone else  will think of my wonderful idea.  It’s both pleasure and angst being a writer and that’s why it’s so nice when a group of us meet up and understand all the fun but all of the insecurities too.

I have to say I’m grateful to our wonderful NHS and its staff and I hope it’s something we never lose. I’m blessed to be pain free and I feel for all those who haven’t got a solution to their pain.

I’m excited to be preparing for our trip to warmer climes where I will work on my novel, recuperate and discard those sticks. Next month’s  blog will come from Mazzaron in Murcia

Following in Neferteri’s Footsteps

Isn’t  it strange how  fiction can intermingle with our lives? I wonder if you have ever followed in the footsteps of a character you like?

 I have a great love of  Egyptian history  and decided that one of my characters in ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ should make a trip there.

 I had visited  most  of the places I mentioned in the novel but I’d never been to Makadi Bay. That was chosen after Internet research for a beach location.

My husband booked a December Nile cruise and Red Sea holiday for us and I thought the resort name seemed familiar but it wasn’t until we were travelling there that it dawned on me; I was following in Teri’s Moons footsteps and going to Makadi Bay!

In ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ Teri Moon decides to take an extended trip to Egypt and leave Alex,  her teenage dughter, with her older daughter, Cleo,  in the hope that they will stop sparring and start to like each other a little. The novel is mainly about Teri’s girls but her holiday adventures are a subplot.

Teri meets Greg, an archaeologist, on the plane out to Cairo and they visit the pyramids and Cairo museum together before Teri continues alone on her travels to Mount Sinai.

Extract:

Teri decided to take a beach break at Hurghada before the trip to Luxor and all its wonders. She was going to meet up with Greg again to explore Luxor and the Valley of the Kings. She checked into a luxury hotel, enjoying the air conditioning and the chance to skype her girls.  She had been delighted at how they both seemed to be comfortable in one another’s company. Even Pharos, her cat, seemed to be settled; perhaps her plan was working.

Greg had surprised her. He’d asked if she’d mind him joining her on the beach and arrived at Makadi Bay a couple of days ago. They’d had fun and relaxed and were very easy in each other’s company. But now Teri felt rather confused. They’d held hands walking along the beach last night and she knew they were getting fond of one another. Maybe too fond?

He’d told her he was forty, that was nine years her junior. Was it such a gap? That was the main thing stopping her from succumbing to a holiday romance. That, and the fact that Greg was the first man she’d looked at in that way since Mac. It must be the spell of Egypt.
Greg’s shadow stood in the way of the sun. He dropped an ice-cold lolly on her midriff.

‘Greg!’ she shrieked. He sat on the end of her lounger. Tall, tanned, long hair ruffled by the sea, who could resist him? He was thoughtful and caring too.

‘Teri, you’ve lain there long enough. When you finish that ice lolly, we should go for a dip, then a siesta.’

‘What do you mean, a siesta?’ Teri sat up.

‘A short sleep in the cool air-conditioned rooms that we’ve got. What did you think I meant?’

She was lost for words. He’d placed the beach ball firmly on her patch of sand.

Excerpt From: Bradshaw, Chrissie. “A Jarful of Moondreams.”

So, this month, I’ve followed in the footsteps of two Neferteri’s and had a fabulous time in Egypt.

It doesn’t have to be a place, though does it? You can follow in the life experiences of a character too. Don’t get me started on Bridgit Jones!  I’m sure that, if you think about it, you’d have a few of those moments. I’d love to hear them.

Henna design from a Nubian village near Aszan
Bedouin children greeting us when we stop for a break. There is a baby goat riding on the donket too. They are sharing out a bag of crisps.
 

What is the Story behind that 99p Read?

It’s hard to believe that A Jarful of Moondreams is one year old and on sale for 99p. What a year! It’s been full of highs and lows and lots of learning. Would I do it again? Yes. Would I do it differently? Of course! I made mistakes in publishing and promoting and learned from them. If I didn’t think I could do it all differently and more successfully the second time around I wouldn’t be writing this blog.

imageWriting and publishing a novel is like carrying and giving birth to an infant. It’s full of anxiety as well as joy and producing the finished novel can be a long and painful process that other writers and imaginative readers can appreciate.

Immediately after you write The End there is a niggling worry. Will another follow swiftly or will it be an only novel for years and years like Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird?’ Like a parent, a writer just doesn’t know for sure.

I think the most exciting time is when you finally present your months of hard labour to the reading world with a fanfare of tweets, blogs and giveaways. You want everyone to say kind things and most people do. The relief!

Gradually, the initial buzz of interest lulls and leaves you feeling unsure and full of questions. Will your newbie grow legs and run? Will it be a crawler that sells oh so slowly? You help it along and continue to post proud parent pics and news as you start on book 2.

Book 2 ( title to be revealed soon!) grabs your attention and you’re immersed in that until you look up and your published novel is a year old. If you’re lucky, the second is now ready to be delivered to the reading world and some readers are eagerly waiting for it. How can you cope with more than one leaving the nest?image

This is exactly where I am now and of course I’ll cope. I have so many role models who have a shelf crammed with books in their name and if they can let go time and time again then I’ll certainly try.

imageCan I pause first though? Before I excitedly push book 2 put into the world, I just want to take a moment to enjoy my first book. I’d like to bask in the pleasure of knowing that readers enjoyed my novel and told others about it and it got great reviews.    I need to let my debut know that it’s not forgotten.

‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ hasn’t been a great earner but it has brought me a wealth of knowledge and I’m proud of how it’s still selling for 99p this summer. I’m keeping my faith in its storytelling power and sending it on its way for another year.

I hope that, one day, I’ll be able to fill a shelf with my books but there will always be a special place in my heart for novel number one striving to find its place on your e-book shelf for 99p

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jarful-Moondreams-Chrissie-Bradshaw-ebook/dp/B01HRZ1HAW/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1502802298&sr=8-1

 

Frustration, Focus and Fun- That’s what my writing brings me.

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In the hands of a reader


Let’s look at frustration – Does expectation feed frustration? 

I want to write brilliant novels that readers want to read and I want someone, an expert, to take the publishing  part out of my hands. It’s a big ask, I know but I’m asking.

The writing frustration comes and goes and, when the writing goes well, it’s a feeling like no other.  After the hard work that went into publishing ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when someone tells me that they will do the publishing part. Frustration be gone!

I’ve read that the best way to deal with frustration is to focus on the outcome I want instead of the obstacles in my way and that makes sense to me. I’m in this for the long haul and the success of publishing of my novels will seem even sweeter after scaling a series of obstacles. Those obstacles? They are just stepping stones to my goal.

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Rocking Romance at the Tyne Book Festival

I try to focus on the right things – the possibilities rather than the problems. Whoever observed that if you chase two rabbits, you’ll lose both didn’t know the tenacity of an author.   Only two?  Writing involves taking time to promote book one and my writing , to complete re -writes on book two and to plan book three. Believe me, having my  head in three different novels takes focus and I’m not letting any of them get away.

Playing with words is fun and, as a writer, I do this every day. The other fun part of my writing life is talking about my writing journey to readers who might just buy my novel  and using social media to network to readers and fellow authors. I’ve learnt that 4 and 5 star reviews from readers who have paid for your book and enjoyed it are the best reward for sharing your work with readers and that’s a good thing because new writers rarely make a living from their novels. The fabulous leg photo I used above was sent to me via Facebook by a reader who was reading this on holiday. It made my day.

Making my novel better is fun.  Novel two has had an excellent critique full of great advice from the wonderful RNA new writers’ scheme. I’m enjoying a final redraft and revision of the novel before pitching it to agents and publishers this summer.

Winning awards is fun! OK only one award so far. The highlight of my writing year was to receive the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy at the Romantic Novelists’ Association gala dinner last July. I’ll be sad to return it from its pride of place on my sideboard but there is a future winner who will give it loving care next year.

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Eileen Ramsay presents me with the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy 2016

 

My first pitches for novel two will be at the Romantic Novelists’ Conference  this July.  Wish me luck!????

 

 

 

What’s the title? How did the pitches go?  I’m looking forward to writing about this in my next blog . It will be all about the book and its reception. (Note that I don’t say it’s rejection????)


Why am I feeling over the moon?

I have had a wonderful July.

I was delighted to be an award winner with my short story ‘Such Small Moments’  at the Romantic Novelists’ Association dinner this month. The photograph below shows me being presented with the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy by the chairman, Eileen Ramsay. This totally unexpected honour made the gala dinner an extra-special one that I’ll always remember.

Elizabeth Goudge Trophy
Elizabeth Goudge Trophy

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I am over the moon because my debut novel, A JARFUL OF MOONDREAMS, is out in print and e-book on the 22nd and I have some pre-ordered copies. it is a great feeling to hold your completed novel and flick through the pages.

Here is one of my beta readers who ploughed through my draft copy with her brand new paperback. She is checking the changes since her last reading and there were a few!

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Music and Moondreams

 ‘Music is the soundtrack of our lives.’

Dick Clark

Can a certain song take you back to a time or place or bring back being with a special person? Music does that for me. That’s why I am pleased to be part of a music blog event organised by Elaina James. You can read about her journey into song writing on www.mslexia.co.uk/author/elainajames and on www.elainajames.co.uk.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll listen to music in different ways.

Way 1 -Listening to music using head phones to block out all other distractions, the instrumentals sound fantastic and the lyrics are so clear that it’s like being transported to another world. I love to do this under the shade of a beach umbrella and, if there is no beach, lying on my bed comes a close second.

Way 2-Going to concerts and sharing the music with friends and other fans is a different experience. Who doesn’t get carried away by the atmosphere of a concert and a live performance? I remember most concerts quite vividly because of the thrill of getting the tickets and the anticipation of going as well as enjoying the event. Two of my favourite gigs have been David Bowie and Dolly Parton so I have eclectic taste.

Way 3- When I’m active, I like music to spur me on. I have a few favourite running tracks and they can keep my spirits up when the weather is bad or the legs feel leaden. If I have to face the gym, there has to be music to distract me and I prefer a Zumba class to the treadmill.

I use music to ease me into the writing zone too. I tend to play a few tracks when I’m using social media or sorting out my mail and before I start to write or at the very beginning of a writing session and then turn down when the writing gets going.

imageJean Paul Richter, the romantic writer, said, ‘Music is moonlight in the gloomy night of life.’ I like the idea of music acting as moonlight and, when I was writing the first draft of A JARFUL OF MOONDREAMS, I created a playlist around the moon motif within the novel. Both melody and lyrics are important to me and each song is a glimpse of how someone relates to the moon. I wonder which of my tracks you will recognise?

My playlist starts with a 50s ballad and the unique voice of Sinatra singing ‘Blue moon,You knew just what I was there for,You heard me saying a prayer for,Someone I really could care for’. My novel takes place over five moon months and, yes there was that special blue moon in the July of 2015.

Van Morrison’s Moondance comes next, ‘Well, it’s a marvellous night for a Moondance,with the stars up above in your eyes, a fantabulous night to make romance,’Neath the cover of October skies.’ I love this  song it is so uplifting and to maintain the upbeat mood, I have Cat Stevens singing, ‘I’m bein’ followed by a moonshadow, moon shadow, moonshadow—Leapin and hoppin’ on a moonshadow, moonshadow, moonshadow’

The timeline  of A JARFUL of MOONDREAMS takes us through the pink moon of May, a mead moon, a thunder moon a blue moon through to a September  harvest moon. What no cherry moon? Prince’s rendering of Cherry moon had to be on my playlist. ‘How can I stand 2 stay where I am, Poor butterfly who don’t understand, Why can’t I fly away in a special sky, If I don’t find my destiny soon, I’ll die in your arms under the cherry moon.’ Sad news this month, won’t  we all miss his extraordinary talent?

The Waterboys follow on with ‘ I saw the crescent, you saw the whole of the moon.’ Bruno Mars completes the list with my most modern track. ‘I sit by myself talking to the moon, trying to get to you, in hopes you’re on the other side, talking to me to.’

So there you have the songs that lead me into my book. I think that writing  and music go together but aren’t all aspects of life enhanced by music?

 

 

How do debut authors get published?

image‘Sometimes, on the way to a dream, you get lost and find a better one.’ Unknown

My  2016 new year plans for publishing ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’ have changed. It’s  usual for me to let my resolutions slow to a crawl or fall by the wayside (What dry January? Who said diet?). I’ve surprised myself by increasing the challenge and moving forward on this year’s resolution much more quickly than I intended.

Those of you who read January’s blog may recall that I was going to send submissions to agents  for several months and wait to see if someone would represent me before turning, as my last resort,  to self publishing. A good plan, I thought.

Sending off three or four  submissions per month was taking up a day or two of writing time and then there was the waiting  for an answer, or no answer to deal with. It took up more thinking space than I thought it would and each month it was hard to settle into writing book two.

In January, submitting was a new task. In February it was a chore that had to be done if I wanted to be published. By March, the rejections started coming in; I received three very thoughtful rejection emails. ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’  wasn’t for these agents but they wished me luck.

I had been prepared for rejection but the ‘not hearing’ from agents is hard even though I know they’re really busy people. So, with my March  submissions being even more of a grind, I decided to give the submissions a rest for a month or so and just get on with book two. I didn’t want to call a halt to getting my book out there but I had submitted to eight agents and,  if they didn’t want it, who would?

I enjoyed becoming immersed in writing my new novel but, without looking for the topic, I kept reading  about self publishing in news articles, on twitter and on Facebook.

This has happened to me before and I recognise that  it’s a sign that I want to do something even though the rational part of my brain is not so sure.  It’s a bit like seeing pregnant women everywhere when you’re feeling broody. My understanding of this is that it is the reticular activating system filtering and focussing on the thing your subconscious knows you want. ( A Lou Tice course during a previous career taught me this and showed how it could be used to come up with solutions to your goals.)

A couple of my own previous examples are – I kept seeing people with terrier pups when I was in a position to have a dog at last and it had been a long awaited goal. I kept reading about authors who were in the RNA new writers’ scheme when I felt like I wanted writing support but wasn’t sure where to find it. Once I had my pup and once I was on the RNA new writers’ scheme, those pups and writers were still about but they didn’t register in my RAS with as noisy a ‘ding’  every day because I had achieved those things.

I decided that, if my RAS was flagging up self publishing and I was less enthusiastic about sending  submissions, I had the answer  to rethinking  my plan.

It was an article by Rachel Abbott- don’t you  love her thrillers?-  about her route to self publishing that first got me thinking. Rachel’s novels are best sellers but she couldn’t find an agent. Her success has been phenomenal and she got her agent. Lizzy Kremer represents Rachel now but she still self publishes .

A Facebook friend sang the praises of Matador, part of Troubadour publishing, who supported her self publishing journey. Accent press advertised their new venture in the self publishing market. Well established publishers are collaborating with authors who want to self publish. Why not give it a try?

I had to discuss financing this plan with the other  half  of the team and, straight away,  he said, ‘Yes, do it.’  Readers, if you’re out there, (I had already married him) I did it. Gulp, big decision made.

I sent my novel to the two reputable publishers that I’d heard of and both gave me a good choice of levels of publishing and marketing. I decided to go with Octavo ( part of Accent press) who were offering a discount to RNA members and, now the decision is made, I’m delighted to be starting on this exhilarating journey.

My book, ‘A Jarful of Moondreams’, will definitely be available worldwide as an ebook and as a paperback this year. How exciting is that?

Was my decision too hasty or would you have done the same as me?  Has your RAS ever gone into overdrive about a goal? I’d love to hear your views.