We all need to take notice of this!
No you didn’t. You wanted to marry Maverick.
Ok, now you’re splitting hairs.
No. You were naive and falling for heros who don’t exist in real life.
True. I still do 🖤
No you didn’t. You wanted to marry Maverick.
Ok, now you’re splitting hairs.
No. You were naive and falling for heros who don’t exist in real life.
True. I still do 🖤
I make excuses but there’s only one reason I don’t clean the house my husband bought us last year; I dare not disturb his rotting body.
OMG – it’s been too long my lovely friends on WordPress – how the devil are you all?
I’ve been doing lots of studying on The first line hook. How did I do?! Did that catch your attention? 🤣Man of the Woods is safe and well, I assure you.
The old fallen trees in our woods have been receiving his attentions all winter and we now have enough fire wood stored to run a small island.
So, what have you all been up to with your writings recently? You tell me yours and I’ll tell you mine.
I was editing last time we spoke, and since then I’ve sent the manuscript to fresh eyes for a viewpoint and some feedback about whether the story ‘works’.
I met with two industry professionals who (without reading a word of our books) attempted to show and teach us the magic of an elevator pitch. How to condense your 77,000 word novel into two sentences. Jeee whizz, have you tried that recently?
‘Well, there’s this woman ….’ is not going to cut it 😂
Two worlds collide when English carer Martha is left a vineyard by Blanche, whose extended family in Tuscany have deep rooted links to the mafia.
Secrets start to unravel, as does her resolve to never fall in love again, when she meets Antonio on his release from prison.
I didn’t think that was too bad, but what it showed the profressionals from the outset was that my story crosses two genres and they asked me where I saw my book sitting in a book shop, i.e. next to which authors?
The sizzle of excitement which the question evoked was short lived when no-one could think of anyone, and I came away with the advice to think hard about what primary story I wanted to write;
1. Antonio’s crime thriller tale
2. Martha’s romance
But I want both. Am I being greedy? I don’t think so; it’s simply not the same story without the grit.
I did come away with a possible new title – and everyone I’ve spoken to seems to like it.
So I sent it on to two people to read whose opinions I trust to be honest and constructive. I’ve since received one feedback report which makes for fascinating reading. I believe it all, and now I’m stuck. On how to start the necessary changes I mean.
I’ve walked away from it while I take a breather, doing that thing all writers go through when they question what on earth they are actually doing.
I think one of the biggest problems is that I never had a plan, a plot, let alone an arc for Martha to follow. I pantsered my way towards the midpoint and ground to a halt last summer; you watched me. Then slowly the wheels of the cumbersome steam train shufftied (my new word) round and we made, with loud efforts full of steam, steady progress through to autumn.
Reading ‘Save the Cat’ was a game-changer. I wished I’d had it eighteen months earlier. Even though I typed THE END in early January, and have happily skipped through it twice pretending to know what I’m doing during a phase called ‘editing’ I’ve never been truly convinced I knew what this was about. And the message is coming through loud and clear – IT SHOWS.
Can I really do this?
Meanwhile, you know me, I had to keep typing. My writing buddy over at alitlebookproblem said pretty much the exact words I’d been thinking – TAKE A BREAK FROM THE WIP.
Last autumn I thrashed out a 17,000 erotic piece and submitted to carina press, remember? A polite rejection 8 weeks later hasn’t put me off trying again and I remembered how I enjoyed the words pouring from my fingers, so last week I typed another. Except this time, I did more research.
Mills and Boon’s Dare line has been around for a little over eighteen months now. Some talented writers have produced many great tantalising tales. They are still love stories but with far more explicit sex on the page. Pure and simple unadulterated sex (is that a conundrum?). I read four titles and certainly saw the ‘pattern’ which some call formula. Meet the hero and heroine in chapter one, none of this fiddling about taking the reader on a long arduous journey to find him/her. Settings are exciting cities around the world, New York (been there once and got stuck in a motel outside JFK), London (go there a lot), Milan (yup, tick), Paris (twice – hey I could do this).
So I’ve typed the first three chapters and a synopsis of a sexy little tale involving an independent and sensual businesswoman on the verge of expanding her business into LA (been there four times). She just needs a massage before she leaves. Except Scott gives more than the sports therapy his business card portrays….
Out came the 8,000 words like ants to a jam spillage. I printed off the pages, found the pink pen, made some grammatical changes, played with syntax. Lucy and Scott are there in the first chapter, I disturbed by mere mentions of third parties. The internal dialogue pov is from them both, split 50/50 like many M&B titles and the pacing I believe is worthy of what would be the next 42,000 to complete the expected fifty total that is a M&B category romance in this category.
This time I have a story arc in mind, a HEA and a change of mindset across the book for both characters. All we need now is for the peeps at M&B to like my voice, amongst the thousands of submissions they will be receiving weekly for this line, because everyone probably thinks they can write a sex scene….. don’t they?
Don’t know how he got there, but can we just take a moment 🖤
My tiny tattoo.
My reminder that I’m a little shining star within my world.
Yes I can do this because I could self publish – any of – these titles at any time. However…
When I process my clients’ horse rugs, I do them to the best of my ability. And I want the same for my writing. I want each piece to be the best it can be, and alone I’m not convinced I can make it so, hence the confusion as to what help I should take.
Do some blogs again, said Julie.
She was correct – I’ve so enjoyed sharing this with you this morning. I love chatting and shall make a cuppa and read some of your blogs now.
Oh, and Michael? I’ve killed Matsu, it’s a complete disaster 🙈
This notification from WordPress cheered me up though 🎉
Thousands of bubbles twanging their explosive power into the space above what’s left of the sugary ocean.
Encircling aluminium providing a wall of death for the evil conveyer of the trickster of all mixers.
Almost at the end now, the surviving bubbles shimmy across the bottom and sound like beads or grains of rice being moved on a tray.
My advice would be go to bed on a glass of water instead!
… rather like customers at a car boot sale, and my blog is that trestle table sagging in the middle, random items trying desperately to look interesting and all down to a pound because I’d rather not haul them back home again.
Goodness it’s been ages since I went to a car boot sale. Certainly not since the kids became teenagers. When they were smaller – both under ten and outside the rugby season – we would often drive to a nearby and regular car boot venue on a Sunday morning and become ecstatic as we snaked in-line towards the spaces in the car park (sheep field Monday to Saturday).
Man of the Woods would put the driver’s seat flat back in the truck and have a nap, and we’d promise to bring him a bacon buttie and coffee within an hour.
I’d give the kids a fiver each and they had free rein to buy whatever tat they liked. That freedom was a drug to them, but the tricky challenge was deciding if they should buy the first item they spotted and decided they couldn’t possibly live without, or risk losing it into the arms of another child while they continued their search for something ‘even better‘.
(Have a hand-painted scene by a backstreet artist on Skiathos which I watched him create in about fifteen minutes 😱)
I’ve been having a few Marie Kondo moments in the house recently and have practically re-stocked the local Sue Ryder shop with enormous amounts of clothing, shoes, games, books and … stuff. Like, why did I keep random wire shelving units… or wooden boxes… or candle sticks and I don’t mean a decent silver pair such as those in ‘Les Miserable’. Did you watch that? We did and loved it.
I was invited to watch the opera once, probably twenty years ago. I delighted in the opportunity to surround myself with intellectual people and accepted. I had absolutely no idea what was going on – during any of it. I recall the stage revealing a spiral walkway and a battle scene but my history lessons at school had been spent day-dreaming through the windows.
Here’s another history lesson.
I’m reading this novel by Jodi Piccoult – Small Great Things. I’d heard of it and seen the cover bandied about of course but had no idea what its conten might reveal. I can tell you, I’ve not been able to put it down!
Prejudice… is what it’s about, in one word.
Jodi has weaved the most believable characters into this contemporary tale. People trying so hard not to be racist, they are tripping over their political correctness time and time again.
The book is about seeing what humankind can do – has done – to each other.
Within sentences of meeting the white supremacist, I hated him with a passion. Yet even he and his world and what led him to his beliefs, has burrowed under my skin of intrigue. I just hope they can sort all this out amicably 😢. (Yeah, right … I doubt they are going to be buying each other shortbread any time soon.)
If you read my post some weeks back ‘Everyone’s Talking About Jamie’ you’ll recall I support all things equal, tolerance of different people. Perhaps I should add a small caveat here. Anyone who is hard-working at living their lives without attempting to disrupt others for their own gain.
Long term readers of my blog will know that following a year of counselling, I don’t tolerate bullying within my own walls – and that’s a middle class white family. Believe me when I say there’d been plenty of prejudice going on there to fill a small back street in Paris with old furniture. My mother’s living room is so jam packed with verbal judgements aimed at everyone, from the dentist, the woman in the flower shop, the dog breeder on the end of the phone that the air in there is stifling.
How’s my book coming along did I hear one of you ask? Aside from the fact I’ve not touched it for five days at the time of writing – and I’m going to blame Jodi and weekend antics for that – I’m two thirds of the way through incorporating the pink pen edits 💃🏼
This is taking considerably longer than anticipated as some pages, such as this one under my home-made soup, were practically re-written 🙈
I’ve also finished a brilliant read called ‘Save The Cat’ by Jessica Brody. This 15-beat method of plotting a novel makes more sense than putting your shoes on the correct feet. How I wish I’d discovered this book before I started this story!
Following a small tantrum I knuckled down and read to the end, furiously scribbling notes along the way of additions seriously needing to be made to my manuscript. So this will be the next edit. No-one said it was a quick job, and the last thing I want to do is submit to anywhere while I know it can be so much better.
(It’s 4 in the morning FFS. Why aren’t you asleep?)
Brain iron filings.
It’s what my head feels full of when I do that turning-over thing in the early hours in the dark, listening to Man of the Wood’s steady breathing. I debate about rejoining the pages of an unread-novel, or stew over ideas for the manuscript. I lick my lips with a dire need for a coffee with CoffeeMate; newly discovered and being consumed in copious amounts because it is soooo creamy.
(So now you’ve been down two and a half hours will you go back up to bed now? You know you’ll look like death all tomorrow otherwise…)
Thanks. But no, I’ve got a court case to read about. One where the white lawyer is going to be played by Julia Roberts in the forthcoming film adaptation. Viola Davis will be playing Ruth, the black labour and delivery nurse accused of the murder of a baby in her care. It’s going to be such a moving and important film of our time.
Hope you’re all having a good week. If you’ve read to the end, do leave a comment just so I know who is still reading this blog. I think the algorithms may dictate that because I’ve been far less active than I used to be, my blog is floating somewhere in oblivion. Three days ago, I had one visitor 🤣 seriously. Just the one!
I’ve never read a John Green
novel … just like this blogger
admits she hasn’t. Until she read
this one. My daughter read it
a couple of years back, which
figures, when you read the review
Certainly I am now tempted to
read a title by this undoubtedly
talented author. It’s just
a question of which one!
‘It’s quite rare to find someone who sees the same world you see.’
Sixteen-year-old Aza never intended to pursue the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett, but there’s a hundred thousand dollar reward at stake and her Best and Most Fearless Friend, Daisy, is eager to investigate. So together, they navigate the short distance and broad divides that separate them from Russell Pickett’s son, Davis.
Aza is trying. She is trying to be a good daughter, a good friend, a good student, and maybe even a good detective, while also living within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
This is the first book I have chosen this year as part of the 2019 Reading Challenge for my online book club, The Fiction Cafe Book Club. (If you love books, you must check it out, it is the friendliest part of the internet for bibliophiles). The challenge is to read…
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My conscience is pacing the clothes-strewn floor of my bedroom in despair. ‘oh great – are you REALLY going to make this your first post of 2019?’
If I wake up after my one measly hour of sleep and these thoughts are racing around my brain, then why not write them down – I’m only being honest with myself remember? Just go away and leave me to it.
‘Look … get it all off your chest, then FFS delete it so THEY don’t start their year wishing they’d never opened this post. *stalks off and trips over half a pair of shoes worn on Christmas Day*
A monster with teeth and dull eyes, a billion arms with dimensions so big it could engulf me in one if it really wanted to. Poised, always, just under the surface of wherever I’m rowing my wobbly little boat. That’s how I see depression; like it’s a thing, a presence, separate from me but something I’m permanently attempting to travel further away from. Knowing what it looks like since facing it head-on after 18 months of counselling (which ended over a year ago) has been my saving Grace.
During those months I actually managed to stab it on a number of occasions, while the experts had it tethered. It was quite shocking at first when they encouraged me to pick up machetes and knives, chainsaws and rifles. They cheered when we heard it wince and moan. We’d celebrate when we watched it retreat with barely any of its multiple arms intact.
‘I bet that salt water stung!’
I thought you were downstairs making tea?
Sometimes I stop rowing. That might be because I’m tired or perhaps I’ve forgotten the direction in which I was going. It’s then that the ripples slapping at the sides of my boat become shadowed with the dark looming shape. The punctured surface, with droplets of white froth as a slimy limb emerges, a few feet away might indicate that the monster is back, amused by its own regeneration and hungry to feed. Mostly I pick up the paddles at this point and type, I mean row, and often it is enough. I find my boat’s painted sides reflected in shallower water, glittering fish darting every which way beneath the surface come to joyfully investigate.
I can always hear them sharing their happiness bubbles with me and I am left light in mood, strong in arm and off I row for miles and miles, the beautiful sunrises and sunsets there for the taking. Days and days worth of sea I cover past islands filled with travellers who invite me ashore, dance and sing with me and help fill my little boat with supplies. The world is so full of goodness, I find it enthralling and many times I think about those islands and wonder how life is upon them.
Occasionally, I lose the oars over the side. If this happens out in the dark depths, in the middle of the night when you can no longer see where the horizon meets the ocean, then it’s bad news. I become easy pray, lying dormant in the bottom of the boat amongst broken pieces of detris, maybe an odd shoe. I listen to the monster’s teeth rasp along the bottom for hours, vibrations travelling through my back. Suckered arms with taloned ends usually appear over the sides, dripping foul smelling sloshes of water onto my limbs. This happened in the early hours of this morning when about seventeen arms gripped the sides from beneath, and pulled the boat down into the depths, dark death-water gushing in over the sides of my oval world until I could no longer see the stars.
‘Here’s your tea, and you have to go and bloody well visit those islands if you want to know how they are, not bob about simply wondering!’
God, do you have to listen to EVERYTHING I’m thinking? Can’t I have just ONE moment’s private headspace?
‘Yes to the first. No to the second. And if it wasn’t for me, you’d have disappeared a long time ago. Now you’ve got ten more minutes before I’m bringing Martha and Antonio in.’
Oh, okay. I nearly forgot about them.
‘Yeah, well…. they want a … you know’ *gesticulates wildly with pursed lips and swaying hips*.
Now I’m giggling. I adore my conscience. It is my instinct and my friend all rolled into one. It sat and listened when I simply sobbed through some of those counselling sessions and thank The Lord it did.
This tea is good, and the first morning of 2019 is underway. I hear birds singing through the double-glazed windows. Cheap. (Hah!!! I should be a comedienne). Mother in law is cooking lunch, I’ve a manuscript not far from its finish line, I’ve my health – as far as I know – and two happy children. Our daughter stood on Primrose Hill last night with her BF to watch the London fireworks along with thousands of others, it seems, and had an amazing atmospheric time (and a free night’s sleep thereafter in her West Hampstead studio flat). Our son is on the other side of the globe in New Zealand having celebrated the New Year in 13 hours ahead of us. He is now spending some well-earned days off in Queenstown doing boys stuff and practising his language skills. I think jet-skiing was on the cards for yesterday and he’s much too busy to be sending his mother photographic evidence of his shenanigans (‘quite right too’).
I also have Man of the Woods, who has changed alongside me these last few years. We talk things through now when something doesn’t sit right. We just used to argue before and ultimately hurl competitively horrendous insults betwixt, which of course got us nowhere. In fact it gave him ammunition to use in future arguments that I was unbalanced and like my mother. That always hurt the most, that one.
I don’t believe I am like my mother (who rang at 6pm last night and almost whispered down the phone that ‘Your father is down to his final £6.90 and he’s incredibly stressed about it. Yes, we are probably seeing the start of the end. His shakes are worse and he’s obviously got Parkinsons but refuses to see a Doctor. It’s selfish really, when I’m dealing with my diabetes. Oh, and have I told you I’m going to drive to Scotland in the New Year to find a man who wrote a book about a diet which undoes the damage diabetes causes? I knew I was right and the hospital were wrong. I’ll prove it yet, you wait and see.’).
Her call content, and face to face conversation content come to think of it – is 97% inappropriate, it leaves me feeling very uncomfortable like I’m riddled with leeches and responsible somehow. What she doesn’t know is that I’ve wanted to gift my father some finance for some months but I know he’ll try and turn it down. I have to find a way, but I bet she thought I’d be offering it to her. No chance lady.
`Wondered how long it would take you!’ *stands by window staring out at the dew glistening in sunlight on the grass, arms folded, patient as always*
It was that call? Half way through ‘Spectre’ which has unsettled me?
*turns and nods* ‘I think so yes.’
I haven’t even bothered you all with her Christmas Day efforts where she left our dining table my daughter had spent hours preparing, to eat her roast goose meal on her knee in the living room with no explanation (and I’d love to admit I’d added this bit for dramatic effect, but it’s the cold hard truth of what happened). We three plus my father and MoW’s parents all carried on eating and chatting, although my heart was racing, as my father’s would have been I know. No-one went out to see if she was okay. Everyone knew she was attention-seeking and ignored it because they are all doing their utmost to help me disengage from her negativity. And in the daylight hours it works.
Well look at that will you, over 1400 words. Can I borrow them for my book?
‘They won’t fit, but you’re feeling better aren’t you?’
I so am, thank you! Shall I delete it now?
‘You’re welcome. Is it well-written and vaguely entertaining? Does it have a message others will ‘get’? I’ll never TELL you what to do as I’m only here to guide you. *leaves the room avoiding the shoe, before popping head back round the door* ‘By the way–‘
‘You might need to speak to Sam Mendes.’
‘While you were racing around getting crisps and drinks during the opening sequence of the film, I was watching and listening!’