‘A Jarful of Moondreams‘ is about romance and family relationships. Cleo and Alex are sisters and it’s complicated. They infuriate one another but they both want what’s best for Teri, their mother. Can they fall in with Teri’s plans and survive a whole summer together!
Somebody liked my writing. I don’t know my ROMANTIC NOVELIST’S ASSOCIATION reader but I’m very thankful for their support and advice.
This arrived in December and I’m taking the advice on board and then getting my novel out to people.
Here is my plan for 2016.
I’m going to look for a brilliant agent and a two book publishing deal.
Whether I get an agent or not , I’ m going to publish ‘ A Jarful of Moondreams’ and ensure that lots of people find out about it and want to read it. I will self publish if I don’t find my agent or publisher
I’m going to finish book number two in the Dunbridge series and send it out to publishers and agents.
When I’ve got book one published, I’m going to take it to local libraries and radio stations and talk about it and read parts of it and encourage more readers to try my writing.
I’m continuing my RNA New Writers’ Scheme membership and going to the RNA conference in Summer. There is always lots to learn
How’s the writing going? I usually dread hearing that query but, for once, I’m happy to talk about it because I’ve been writing a lot and I think it’s going well.
My first novel, A Jarful of Moondreams, is in the hands of a reader of the RNA New Writer’s Scheme and I’m considering where to submit once it is returned. I thought you might like to see the Moondream jar that catches the dreams of my heroines.
I’m excited to start a new novel and I’m tackling this one differently. I’m creating the characters and outlining the plot at the same time. When I’ve done this, I’m going to divide my plot into sections and then write a first draft without stopping to edit or proof read.
As Terry Prachett said, I’ll be telling myself the story. I edited as I went along last time and this wasted quite a bit of time as large chunks were changed anyway. That’s the plan anyway! I haven’t got a title as yet.
If my feedback from the New Writer’s Scheme is positive, I’ll send my first submissions off in batches of three. I’m looking at agents and publishers who accept submissions direct. I’m prepared for rejections. I keep telling myself that I am, anyway!
I’m going into hospital for a big op this month and I’ll be forced into inactivity for a couple of months afterwards. I’m going to use the time to bash out draft one of novel 2 and to submit novel 1 in a methodical manner without taking rejections to heart
Here’s hoping that the op goes well, the writing goes well and the submissions go well. I’ll be back to let you know.
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,’
These lines from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ by Charles Dickens are the perfect description of my
recent experience at a weekend conference.
I’ve mentioned the Romantic Novelists’ Association and their conference on here before. It is a fantastic weekend for a new writer like me. Imagine the excitement of going there to meet and mingle with other romantic novelists, to attend workshops about the genre and to meet one or two agents and editors who have been willing to read a chapter of my book. Imagine the anticipation of meeting up with writing friends and having late night chats over wine and dressing up for a gala dinner on Saturday night. I was looking forward to it all and never gave a thought to what could go wrong. Why would I? The conference itself went without a hitch. The accommodation, the food, the sessions were all superb but the weekend was a real trial for me.
On Friday afternoon, I knew I wasn’t quite myself. I couldn’t sit through a full workshop or enjoy the food. I arrived in Shropshire just at the same time as a tummy bug arrived with
a determination to destroy my weekend.
The wine after dinner left me feeling queasy – I couldn’t finish my first glass – unheard of! I left the kitchen party early to take to my room and, in particular, the bathroom. A small mercy was that they now have individual bathrooms in student halls! I tossed and turned in bed and hoped the bout of D and S would be over by morning. …No way!
This shows how keen I am on gleaning all the knowledge that I can about writing. I sat near the door of every session and sipped water only leaving when a cold sweat warned me that I’d better head back to my room for another discomfort break. I won’t be any more
graphic; it was a nightmare.
At the end of the Saturday sessions, we had an hour to get to our rooms, dress up and go to the gala dinner. I’d put my feet up, shower and put on a bravely made up face and get there for the fun! I got to my room relishing the idea of a lie down with a loo near at hand. No key? No pencil case holding key? No key!
A dash back to the main building and to every room I’d been in that afternoon was to no avail. What could I do?Nobody was about for a lost property enquiry.
Security! The security men weren’t in their office. Expletives pounded round my head and I blinked back a tear or two. I wanted to be in my room!
I couldn’t reach security on my mobile and then, thankfully, I saw an emergency intercom on the security room door. I pressed. I got 999. No, I told the operator it wasn’t quite a 999 moment, I just wanted a security guard. She wasn’t convinced at first. Please don’t
send police sirens or the fire brigade I prayed. I pressed a second buzzer, it was brave of me to try but I had no other options left.
Relief! A security man answered and he would come to my rescue in a minute or two. I waited and waited and then he appeared. (For the record, he was mid-20s, tall, tanned and handsome with compelling blue eyes. He was very well spoken, sympathetic and altogether charming. Ideal hero material for a novel.) However, he had no keys for the accommodation, he explained. No keys? No keys!
He went to find someone who might be able to help. I was standing in reception in my daywear as the first party people arrived in fantastic dresses, shoes and suits. My
friends were frantically texting me but I couldn’t move until security hero returned.
He came back to say that they had no spare key, he’d have to break in and then I’d have
to move my stuff to another room. I nodded and followed him like a lost soul. It had been brilliant sunshine all day but now it was raining and my hair was going to
get wet and curl. What else could go wrong?
We got to my room and he tried the handle. It opened! Inside the room was my pencil case and the key. A kind soul had found my key in the pencil case and, while I was running around and getting nowhere, they had come to my room, unlocked it and left me a note.
Was all well that ended well? I’d like to say I got changed, made it to dinner and the rest of the weekend was great. I did get changed, I did make it to dinner but I had to leave for another evening in my bathroom just before dessert. The picture below shows that I did try to be a happy soul!
One consolation, on Sunday, several others were looking queasy and
clammy and rather white. Several others were sipping water. The parties that
had gone on until dawn had given lots of people very similar symptoms to my
The Very Best:
Two editors liked the first chapter of my book. I have sent more on to one of them. I got to see lots of twitter friends.I didn’t pass my bug on to any of my family. I really enjoyed feeling well enough to go straight on to a flight to Slovenia. There is the RNA conference 2015 to look forward to!
Oh for a space to call my own, a place to create! Do you ever think this way? There seems to be a spate of sheds popping up to give space and peace for creativity. Which model would you choose? I’ve been thinking about space. Work space. I was the eldest of four and, as a teenager, I felt deprived. I shared a bedroom with a younger sister. I studied for A levels at the kitchen table with a three year old toddler sister at my heels and two middle siblings watching TV. I ‘looked after’ the younger three whilst studying and I did OK.
As a student in a house of six, I could listen to loud music or block it out, join in and out of conversations and complete my assignments without the push of mum and dad because this was what I’d always done. This ability to work anywhere stood me in good stead when I became headteacher ofan inner city school. I had a spacious office but kept the door open as I worked through a pile of local authority directives andbag load ofnational bureaucracy. Every day several ‘selected students’ sat in my office or at a desk outside my door. These young people had been discarded for not fitting in and needed a respite from unfair or at-wits-end teachers or hostile peers before being returned to their class at the end of a session. I learnt a lot from chats with these students and I hope they felt their concerns were appreciated by me. They kept my answers and returns to the local authority and to the government real. I could never forget that I was paid to make a difference to these students. I became a literacy consultant for my local authority so I must have been doing something right! I worked in an open plan office with chatter, debate and meetings galore. I sometimes worked outside of a school in my car to get something finished but generally I let the bustle of the office wash over me. Now I’m freelance andI have a spare room that has been turned into my office. Just mine. It houses my files, my office equipment, my bookcases and the door closes whenever I wish.
I thought I would love it: I hate it! I feel punished for going there. I go and collect what I need and take it to the kitchen table or the conservatory or to a coffee shop. Lesson learnt.You can take noise and mayhem away but it might not be what you want! My office is like my wardrobe,it is handy for storing things but it is not a place to stay in for long.