Monday, February 28, 2011

YES! I Have An Agent

It was like Christmas morning rolled up with news of getting married when I woke up this morning to masses of congratulations messages on Twitter and Facebook. Amazing and humbling.

I've recorded the ups and the downs of my writing life on this blog for a few years now and it's wonderful to be able to share this news. I have an agent. I find I keep repeating those words in my head to somehow make it real...and it is real because she tells me so.

I'm being a want to know who she is? Yes, good. No seriously my agent, yes, I had to say that again, is the fabulous Carole Blake. I'm soooooooooooo lucky, but I will also give myself some credit and say I have worked hard too.

She loved A CORNISH HOUSE. It's a wonderful feeling when someone you respect loves your work. It's a little bit of the validation we all crave.

So now I'm head down revising another book....

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


I haven't done a links post in a while and this week have been full of some excellent ones...

First up is Joseph O'Connor sharing his writing tips here. Point number 4 especially spoke to me.

Picked this one off of Twitter this morning from Bob Mayer - Seven Keys To Unforgettable Characters here

There's a great article from the Gulf News here. In it David Hewson says, "Books come out of something that you invent; and writing about what you don't know makes you work to invent it more effectively." It's an interesting and thought provoking article.

That's all for now...

Monday, February 21, 2011

What I'm Doing Now... A Leap of Faith

I have been posting a lot but then I have been doing such fun things I wanted to share them. However I haven't done any writing posts in a while...

So while on my walk this morning which was glorious...I was thinking about where I am with my writing at the moment. Well I'm about to start revising again...this time Penderown. I recently have learned a few things about how I work. I need to write that first draft in a rush and get the story on the page not worrying about whether it makes sense or not. I need that first draft to be free of doesn't have to make sense and it can if it wants defy the laws of gravity so to speak. It is more an exploration of an idea and characters.

This riotous first draft leaves most of the work to follow. I have this mound of words (anywhere from 70,000 to 90,000 - I under write) which I need to craft a gripping story.

Back last spring I pulled Penderown up on the screen and begin to work with it...boy did I struggle. I spent ages writing 20,000 words which I then cut. They weren't wasted words though because I needed to write them in order to know one of the main characters better. So for my RNA New Writers' submission I sent in the first 80 pages and had great and useful feedback.

Now I have just finished a major rework of A Cornish House and  I have learned a great deal from this. In this last rewrite, I cut the best scene I'd ever written. Ouch, but I could see finally that the story didn't need it. I needed to trust my own writing enough to let go of something I felt was better - if that makes sense. As new writers we frequently hear the words - Trust Your Reader and this I'm sure is true. But at this point I only a few readers and what I really needed to do was trust myself as a writer. This is a huge leap of faith because underneath whether we admit it or not we are insecure. So the lesson I learnt on this last rework of ACH was trust myself as a writer...I don't have to hold onto a scene because it's the best I've written if the story no longer needs it...

So as I embark on Penderown I need to keep that in my myself as a writer. Or as Anita Burgh continually reminds....listen to your Inner Voice.

Now thanks to Sarah Duncan here and here  Ive printed off the script single spaced (much more manageable and saves paper - I don't know about you but I can find a stack of 400 plus pages daunting) and I'm doing index cards for each scene. I need to see where this books is or isn't going and make sure I follow through and trust myself as writer... Do you?

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Morning High - AT THE TOP Burj Khalifa

Okay, this was something I had sworn I wouldn't do...don't like heights. I love looking at the Burj Khalifa everyday. I never tire of it's beauty and last Wednesday had the privilege of eating dinner at the Armani hotel at it's base. Looking up at the tower at night with a full moon is hard to beat, but...this morning to prepare for taking 60 authors there as part of the social programme for the Emirates Airlines Literary Festival I went to the top...GULP. So I stepped into the lift and said my prayers (to myself) and we were there in 60 seconds...124 floors.

The view is breath taking - literally. I only had my phone with me so the photos don't do it just.

Friday, February 18, 2011

I Want What She's Got

Last night the back up singer with Macy Gray was amazing (she's in the white wig)...I simply want what she's got 

Dubai Jazz Festival - Macy Gray and Lifehouse

It's been a crazy but wonderful week...last night I was at the Dubai Jazz Festival which combined Macy Gray with Lifehouse. There is only one word for it WOW!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Day Yesterday and Dubai Images

I am in recovery mode after a fabulous day yesterday at the naming ceremony for two seismic vessels and the party following at the Armani Hotel at the Burj Kalifa....

Love the hard hat under the piano
Felt like a start walking down the green carpet

Long way up

a view of the Burj on an evening stroll

The latest exhibition at the Majlis Gallery

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The iPad and the Reading Experience

Yesterday I finished to  DEFY A KING by Elizabeth Chadwick , which is short listed for the Romantic Novel of the Year, on my iPad. I loved the book but I have to confess to eye strain. This is the third book I've read on the device. I can't say with the other two I noticed it, but with the other two I don't think I read for such long stretches. This is a big book and I wanted to know what happened so I kept going and going despite the eye strain and head ache that resulted.

So what have I learned from this all Elizabeth Chadwick books in paper form and be sure to limit my time reading on the device... Does anyone use a Kindle? Is that easier on the eyes?

Friday, February 11, 2011

RNA Pure Passion Awards and My iPad

Yesterday the short list for the RNA Passion Awards was announced here. And by all accounts they had a marvellous champagne breakfast (jealous - who me?). I was delighted to see certain names on the short list particularly Jan Jones' for FORTUNATE WAGER on the LOVE STORY OF THE YEAR list. I first read an excerpt of this book on Jan's website and fell in love with her heroine Caroline. She stayed with me while I waited for this book to come and I could read her whole story. I wasn't disappointed and read the book in one sitting....

I have several of the other short listed books on my TBR pile (unfortunately some of them in London - Sarah Duncan's KISSING MR WRONG and Christina Courtenay's TRADE WINDS). I love Lousie Allen's books - they are my 'I need a treat books' but I haven't read the short listed THE PIRATICAL MISS RAVENHURST. The same applies to Elizabeth Chadwick's TO DEFY A KING and Chistina Jones' and Jill Mansell's....

So whats a reader to do will TBR piles in three different locations...I'm beginning to think it's my iPad that's the answer. I was sceptical about ebooks - you can't read them in the bath for a start but...

So I downloaded SISTERS by Rosamund Lupton. Great book and a pleasant reading experience. I wouldn't say i was hooked but I was close. When Jeffrey Deaver was here in Dubai I wanted to read one of his books before I met VANISHED MAN was in my hands and I was turning pages if you know what I mean.(and the sod kept me up! Don't worry I called him a so and so when I met him and he was delighted)

So I would like to read the short listed authors - especially as I have finished my heavy edit I am going to see whose books I can buy digitally...and I might even buy TRADE WINDS again because its on a special Valentines deal at £2.49 and I don't want to wait until I'm back in London to read it. Now if all the publishers of the short listed books put them in a group and did a Valentine's Deal I'd be a very happy ereader....

Thursday, February 03, 2011

The year of the Rabbit

Found the description below in an email today and as two in house are rabbits...

1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999

People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise. They are most compatible with those born in the years of the Sheep, Pig, and Dog.

This rabbit has her head down editing...and it may well be down for a while. However must leave you with a few links... 

The first from Sarah Duncan here. This has helped me on so many levels but the biggest is being overwhelmed by finding things in a 440 page pile (you know when you need to go a check your facts and debate moving a either have to scroll endlessly or flip through pages and pages...Sarah suggests printing out the script single spaced and voilà half the size and less intimidating) There is much more in the post and the comments are helpful too. 

The next is also a useful editing tool if you've done it in the first place, which unfortunately I haven't but I will in the future...time lines. Sue Moorcroft's post is excellent on the use of them and it has pictures :-) here