Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Community Jubilee Spirit

Hello all,

                 A few houses in our street had a little celebration in honour of The Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It was one of those spare-of-the moment occasions that happened quite by accident. It wasn't planned for months in advance and it hadn't been highly organised, but everybody had a great time!

It came about when I was watering my front garden and a neighbour happened to be passing and mentioned that things ain't like they used to be.

I agreed; it was such a shame nobody was doing anything in honour of the occasion, then it struck us that if nobody else was doing something then maybe we should - the day before the bank holiday!

So we decided to put bunting and flags on our own houses and hey presto, others came out and asked if there was going to be a party. We said we would put a table on the field opposite and someone offered a bouncy castle for the kids, we supplied our own food in true nineteen fifties style (there was some wonderful stuff as, I suspect, neighbours tried to outdo each other in the culinary department.)

The food was superb and the music supplied by speakers on a window ledge - somebody rigged up a tarpaulin and water slide on the small hill and the adults joined in too, re-living their 1952 youth.

By dusk the tables were cleared away the slide had been put back in the shed and neighbours who hadn't said much more than 'Good morning...' were deep in conversation with other neighbours.

Everybody agreed that we didn't need to save for months and organise committees to spend money on stuff nobody liked-  and most of all, the water slide - complete with shower gel bubbles and the kids favourite past-time that didn't cost a fortune (the bouncy castle stood neglected on another part of the field)

 A great day all round. New friendships were made. The flags are still up, and we've got another day to get over it. Yahay!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Writers who lunch

Hi Peeps,

         Had a great day at the North-West RNA lunch at Southport yesterday, catching up with writer friends. And although the summer salad may have been a clue to a coming sunathon, the torrential rain outside our window certainly isn't giving anything away today.

The great thing about donning your glad rags on a grey Wednesday afternoon and attending an RNA lunch is that you get to meet and chat to a wide range of writers in various stages of their writing career; from unpublished writers to famous names.

Their journey along the writing path is as fascinating as their work and it gives everybody a chance to catch up with what's going on in the publishing world as well as enjoying talks from experts in the field - and the wine's good too, although not too much - I fall asleep.

Hey ho. TTFN :)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

And so.....

Just thought I'd keep you updated on the saga saga - yes you read it right.

 My w.i.p. has had a fairly extensive structural edit and is miles better for the work that has been done. The whole thing, from conception of the book up to now taken about four years!!! Whaaaa I hear you say - however, when I first wrote it many moons ago it was almost unrecognisable to the story it is today.

Since then, some of the names have been changed - a fledgling novelist who has Molly's and Polly's Milly's and Tilly's in their story can make life a bit confusing for the reader (I didn't have all of those names, but you know what I mean).

 The plot has been ripped apart and re-stitched (my editor made sure you can't see the joins) reworked and polished 'til I need sunglasses to read it back. It's even had another edit since I showed a passage of it to my friends at the Writer's Workshop.

The characters have had a complete makeover and some of them have disappeared altogether (a couple I particularly loved, but they had no place in this novel) however, they will not be wasted as they were so overpowering they were in danger of taking over, so they will have a novel all of their own in the future.

It is now undergoing a line edit and part of the story was sent back to me to agree/disagree the edits and I must say I got such a buzz - there was a particular scene that brought a lump to my throat. I couldn't believe I had actually wrote this (I did believe me!!!!) and with the exclusion of a line here and there or a re-jigging of a sentence the whole scene was more poignant than I had dared to dream.

But I digress - as is my wont - If I had thought, all those years ago, that it would take this long to complete one novel I probably wouldn't have started writing it - but, we do not know these things, and our writing journey has many false starts taking us around many wrong turns.

However, I can honestly say, I have travelled this journey with hope in my heart and a gleam in my eye, each new discovery has been precious. And I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

She :-)

Thursday, 3 May 2012

To plot or not to plot

What is a plot? The very heavy Cassell Concise Dictionary I have in my possession explains thus:
3) a complicated plan, scheme or stratagem: a conspiracy.
4) The plan or skeleton of the story in a play, novel etc.
5) Graphic representation.

It says a lot more, but these three things are related in a way that sparked my imagination.

So what? You say.

Well, I don't want my imagination sparked at this moment in time thank you very much. I have enough to be getting on with...However, I thought I would do a rough sketch, not quite a plot, in case I needed a story line in future, sort-of-thing.

Then I decided I'd do a little character sketch of the main protagonists, then, when the profiles were indexed and filed I decided to do a rough first chapter. And a story began to form so I wrote a bit more... and I didn't want to! I don't need this story yet! I am in the middle of something else - an historical if you please and now this new, contemporary, upstart is muscling in and it is so exciting.

I love a good conflict, me. But I digress, this isn't the post I meant to write...I got distracted...

I was going to write a piece about plotting, whether it is a good thing or not, however, I think, no matter what you choose to do you should just write write write and if something valuable comes of it - way-hay!!!

Next time I may even write about other distractions...now that's another tale altogether.
Ta Ta For Now

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Evening all,
                      Great night at The Writers Group. My treat, away from my own work, to appreciate the work of other, very talented, writers.

I have been working flat out editing this week. Does anybody else get up at five thirty and think 'on to chapter twelve?' And for why? I shall enlighten you.

I give this as a warning;- For the FIRST TIME I printed the whole novel, and I read it in hard copy!!!
I know, first time - I can hear your gasps of disbelief from here!!!

Usually I edit on screen and end up bug-eyed. However, after sending the finished (ha!) mss to my editor I decided to print it and read it at a leisurely pace - Whaaaa!

For some reason - and don't ask me what happened because I don't know, I found, somewhere in the middle, half a chapter that didn't live in the midst of the story. It should have been bimbling around in the first third! I also saw other things my eye might have missed onscreen. The work looks so different on the page, I think.Bearing in mind I had read this story a centrillion times on screen when all seemed fine.

So, I set to fixing it - after e-mailing my editor to beg she didn't read it yet! She told me she was working on something else but she wanted it next week - No probs, I said. Anne if you read this I meant it!!!
(I know there are a lot of exclamation marks - but they're important here!!!!

Now, for the purpose of this blog I will  (unaccustomed as I am) pass on a piece of advice, and if I never advise anybody ever again, take heed -

Print your work and (hold on to your hats here come another gasp of exclamation marks)  read it OUT LOUD!!! It works. It is necessary. And it's what makes us writers!

TTFN ;-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Hello all,
Last night I joined a very friendly writer's group who gather to give feedback, encouragement and share knowledge gleaned from their own experiences. It is a small group, but out of little acorns...

I think all writers, whether published or unpublished, should join these groups. We are all at different stages in our writing and not only does it keep the published writer grounded it gives an unpublished writer a much needed audience who can evaluate as well as appreciate their work.

Writing can be a lonely business, that is not to say all writers are lonely - they aren't, but a writer can live in a houseful of lovely people who have no interest whatsoever in a dangling participle or the structure of a sentence, paragraph, chapter or story and that is where writer's groups are invaluable.

I have joined others and for various reasons, be it the group has folded or the venue has closed, I have gone on to other groups. But I have gained many friends along the writing pathway and I think this group is a keeper.

So don't stay at home and slave over words that may never see the light of day, join a writer's group and give your words a good airing.

TTFN :-)

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Mother's Day

I am just having a little rest before the gang descend for Mother's Day lunch, which I will prepare, cook, dish out and...Whoa, I stop short of washing the pots - I shall leave that to the two other mums who will be here helping me celebrate; my daughter - mum of three, and my daughter in law - mum of two.

These two beautiful women are very good at delegating so the dish washing will go to mum's of the future, my granddaughters who have a long way to go before settling down (me hopes) but are just the right age and height for a bit of dish washing duty.

Today, as every day, I will think of my own mum whose hand I held as her great big heart beat its last.

We were alone, which was the way she would have wanted it - being the mother of seven of us the house had been busy all week with people coming and going, but that particular night I went into her bedroom and sat beside her bed just holding her hand.

She had been unconscious for two days but I knew she could hear me. I stroked her fingers and watched as she fought every breath.. I couldn't bear to see her struggle and leaned over and whispered;
   'it's okay now Mum, you go, I'll look after the little ones.' It was something I'd said many a time being the eldest. And as I sat up the corners of her mouth lifted, just a little, and she sighed her last.

I hope she's having a great day up in heaven with all the other mums xxx

Just one last word, I remembered one Mother's Day when she received seven boxes of chocolates and seven bouquets of flowers - great minds...

Ta Ta

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Stick to what you know

Good morning, and how are you this fine spring morning?

 I finished the edits sent to me and they have now yo yo'ed back to the agent to peruse when she has edited the three in front of me {{{{{

I have started on the first draft of my next story, which wasn't difficult as I had compiled a lot of info as well as rough notes ages ago and put it into a folder called DropBox, the on line folder you can access from any computer and is great for storing stuff you don't need right now.

Another storage place I find useful is One Note and this week I found an interesting article in Writer's Magazine about a programme called Scrivener. It gives you Manuscript templates as well as Screenwriting, and lots of other stuff I've been playing around with.

As I am not the quickest off the mark were techno stuff is concerned, I have taken up the thirty day free trial to see if it suits me as I have spent an absolute fortune an writing accessories in the past that are now gathering dust somewhere.

I bought speech to text when I discovered constant typing played havoc with the arthritis in my hands - that got lashed, I didn't have the patience to keep correcting the words. Him indoors bought me a pen thingy that writes straight on to the PC - infuriatingly slow, it went to live at the back of a cupboard.

I may give it to one of the little'ns, no doubt they'll have loads of fun with it.

For now though, I will stick with what I know best, a pen and writing pad, or even an old fashioned Dictaphone, and then put the work on the PC. I know these things so well.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

And another thing...

Just  to let you know what I'm up to writing-wise at the moment, first of all, I received an e-mail from the agent to whom I sent the manuscript and was pleasantly surprised with her reply.

No, she didn't say there was a queue of publishing houses fighting for the right to publish the thing, but she did say she would like to introduce me to a friend of hers who is a very reputable editor, now working freelance, with whom she had worked in one of the bigger publishing houses.

She said she felt my work deserved this attention and I was happy to be introduced especially when the editor said she would be delighted to read my work.

So now the mss is in the hands of the Gods and the editor (one and the same I hear you say) and I will have to be patient, wait, and see how it goes. I will get on with the next work in progress to try and take my mind off the one sent. Did I tell you what it is called? Oh well, maybe next time.

Love to all, ta ta

Saturday, 14 January 2012

That one small change

Well, just to let you know how last night went. The film was wonderful and if you haven't yet seen it, the scene where a panicked Joey gallops through the hellish, barbed-wire battleground of No-Mans land is a heart-breaker.

The man sitting on the other side of me, (not H.I.) did an awful lot of sniffing and there was quite a bit of throat-clearing going on around the audience as well. Oh, and the strangest thing happened when I took out my mobile phone to call a cab - whether planned or not I don't know - as we came out of the cinema the time on my phone said 23.11! Eleven minutes past eleven. I love strange little coincidences like that.

Watching the film brought to mind the first novel I wrote called, Another Time Another Place, which was set in dockside Liverpool before and during the first world war and the story went rather well up to a certain point. But there was a point where it wasn't working and I could never get my head around what it was that was going wrong with it, so I put it to one side.

Then during the night my creative, unconcious mind must have been doing its job while I slept and suddenly, in the wee small hours I woke up and immediately thought "that's what it is!" My eureka moment had struck.

I couldn't wait to get back to it and change that part of the story. So, leaving the comfort of my snugly duvet for the teeth-chattering cold of the kitchen, I put the kettle on and pondered. I knew exactly what had gone wrong and I could see the story unfolding in my minds eye; it was such a simple thing - why hadn't I thought of it before?

Now, as I'm sure many of you will know, it is quite impossible to change just one part of a work in progress as, after that, the other parts don't quite sit right, I call it the domino effect and when you dislodge one piece you have to bolster everything else, otherwise it all comes tumbling down, so that simple thing - that one small change - isn't going to be the five minute job I envisaged, so is this my project for 2012? I'm not sure.

But one thing I do know, the change may just be the glue that holds the whole thing together, I hope so, but until then I'll keep chugging away relentlessly and I'll let you know the outcome in due course.
Keep smiling.
She x

Friday, 13 January 2012


Him indoors and I are off to see Warhorse tonight so I must remember to take the hankies. I have been dying to see this since I saw the puppets on Alan Titchmarsh show a few years ago and I didn't have time to go and see it when I was in London last year.

 I am thrilled that it is now on the big screen. Tonight is the premier in our local cinema and as I haven't been since we went to see Mama Mia I was quite surprised to see the seat prices are in the range of a tenner each, but twenty pounds isn't really expensive for a night out these days - skinflint moi?

Oh well, I'll let you know if H.I. lets a stray tear go, me, I'll be sobbing into my popcorn!
Speak soon
She xxx

Thursday, 12 January 2012

I have decided to send my work out more regularly this year, after all if I want to be published it's the only way. I've been doing lots of notes and research for my next novel, which is the story of Laura who runs a very successful business with her husband until something happens and she has to re-think her lifestyle and go back to where it all started, with some shocking revelations. Sounds like a blurb...It very well could be.
   There has been major work carried out on the field/hill opposite my house and workmen have been laying new gas pipes since just before Christmas, so this has given me a good excuse for not venturing out and getting on with my writing. I always think January is a dead kind of month anyway and I'm sure it goes a bit faster than other months.
   I have re-joined the RNA NWS, that's the Romantic Novelists Association New Writer's Scheme in the hope I can write a book that's good enough to publish. I joined the scheme in 2004 and didn't re-new my subscription in time last year, but I made sure I got everything in place this year and I'm looking forward to going to the annual conference, which this year is in Penrith, and meeting up with all the other lovely writers I usually converse with on line.
Another resolution I have made is to blog more. So hey ho, that it for the time being. I'll be back soon
Stay warm xx