Monthly Archives: May 2014

Twitchy fingers!

I just couldn’t help myself. Two thirds of my way through planning my third novel and I just had to begin writing it. No self-control whatsoever! My excuse is that, now Bruises is well on its way to being published, I have more time on my hands – I even did some ironing, for goodness’ sake! So, it’s time to fill those gaps with something I actually enjoy doing, and that isn’t going to rot my brain. Thankfully, my husband has a bit of a shirt fetish and has two full closets of the darn things, so I can get away with postponing that particular chore for a while yet. And it really isn’t good for my back or neck; sitting hunched over a computer is much better for me! However, don’t mention the dining room curtains that I promised I would make before starting the next book and which I also enjoy doing….

I have vowed that it will not take over my life, as previous stories have, but now that I’ve started I am already stealing whatever time I can just to get it down and release space for my imagination to occupy. This new story is taking quite a bit of thinking about, to make sure that all the parts finally come together at the end. If I can pull it off it will be one of those stories that begins at the end and takes you back to the beginning, so I almost need to write it backwards – if that makes sense. Also, my other two novels are written in the third person, but I’m writing this in the first, which again takes a bit of getting used to. It’s kind of fun to pretend that I’m the main character.

It will, of course, be rather juicy in places. Hopefully I can continue to provide the reader with the kind of scenes my editor has described as ‘tasteful but smouldering’. I personally find this approach to contemporary romance much more enjoyable. I’m not into the raw, crude use of language, or the graphic descriptions of certain acts that some writers choose as their style. I believe that if we are still going to put this type of book in the ‘Romance’ category then it should at least have an element of romance about it – even in the steamy bits. This is why I describe myself as ‘a true romantic with a dirty mind’. Proper stories with people you can relate to, with a fun sexy side that also gives you the fuzzies!

Right, enough… must crack on!

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Spooky…

When it was first mooted that my crazy idea could actually become a reality, I began to have thoughts about what I envisaged on the book cover. The first image I had stuck around in my head for some time. Then, around the 5 millionth round of editing, I changed my mind. I have always been a very creative person, and I can easily visualise something in my mind’s eye, so when it suddenly dawned on me to use some key parts of my story on the cover, a new image was born. However, as I also have no idea what I’m doing, I have tried to remain open-minded and take on board the opinion of the professionals. The beauty of self-publishing is that the author has the freedom to choose. I get to have the final say in everything and if I’m not happy with what has been brought to the table, I can change it.

I have a great relationship with my author manager, and have done since the beginning of this process. I’m completely comfortable with asking her what I worry might be stupid questions; I have no problem discussing something that I feel is not quite right yet; and she is always very considerate and helpful. We discussed cover design very early on in the process and she explained to me that I would be given 2 designs to review. The first one would be my idea, and the second would be the designer’s idea. During this conversation I never once mentioned my original thoughts, I only put to her my second idea. The cover design drafting went ahead while my manuscript was going through copy-editing and proof reading. Both processes take about 3-4 weeks.

About a week ago I received the first drafts of both designs. I decided to wait until my husband could look at them with me, even though I was dying to take peek. Later that evening we sat down together, over coffee after dinner, and opened the file that was my idea. We both gasped! It was the most bizarre, but amazing thing to see the title, the image and my name all brought together in an eye-catching design that you will potentially see on the shelves. Yes, it needed some changes, but it was very much what I imagined, and more.

We then opened the file containing the designer’s idea…

Independently, with no hint or guidance from me, they had designed my original idea. I couldn’t believe it! My gut instinct was screaming out at me then, almost begging me, somehow, someway, to combine the two ideas. So, after a lengthy and very productive conversation with my manager, that is now what the designer will try to do. Spooky? Or do great minds just think alike?

A thoughtful gift

I haven’t posted any pictures yet, but I just had to share this one with you.

I bumped into Mrs Creative Writing while, once again, propping up the wall outside the classroom. She wanted to thank me for giving up some of my valuable time to help inspire her budding writers. She then presented me with a ‘Thank You’ card, and two new journals. It would appear that they had really taken notice of the kind I like, the ones with the coiled spine so I can keep a pen handy, turn the pages back on themselves and tear out unwanted pages easily. I must have also mentioned that I like dividers because they also made sure it had those too!

The card was written by one of the students and has been signed by the whole class, with little personal comments from some of them – I don’t really think I am awesome but maybe to a 9 year old I am! When I commented last week on some of the parents cursing me about stopping at the dollar store, I had no idea that would really happen, but it did! Apparently some of the students have already started journals to record and draw story ideas, I genuinely didn’t think I could have that much impact. I sense I will feel a warm glow when I use those journals, knowing the sentiments behind the gifts.

It has come as part of a good week in my little world of self publishing. I’m over half way through reading the copy edited version and I have two cover designs to work with. Honestly, I sat down with my husband to look at the designs for the first time and we both spontaneously gasped when they popped up on the screen. To see the title… the back cover information… and my name – well my pretend name – I have to say it’s a pretty amazing feeling, and it’s not even finished yet. I must remember to keep my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds. I still have a lot of work to do…

A thoughtful gift

A thoughtful gift

Famous for 40 minutes!!

All right, so it was just a class of 9 year olds but still. A girl has to start somewhere, and no, I’m not branching out into writing children’s books – well not yet anyway. There I was, minding my own business outside my younger son’s classroom, waiting for the teachers to open the door, when a voice from the office behind me asked both my boys what their favorite book was. They stumbled over answering this question because they read a wide range of books, but if you asked them who is their favorite author, they would probably say the wonderful Julia Donaldson. If I’m honest, even I get excited when I see her latest offering in the bookstore. Anyway, I helped them out by prompting them to tell the mystery woman which book we are currently reading at bedtime. A chorus of ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone rang out (HP is another simply marvellous series of children’s books that every grown up should read). A discussion followed, which led me to the conclusion that the mystery woman was maybe a Creative Writing or English teacher.

The doors to Junior Kindergarten finally opened and my 5 year old disappeared without so much as a goodbye (what it’s like to feel loved!), while my 7 year old continued to talk authors with Mrs. Creative Writing, who told him about her book-hungry grade 3 class who would give anything to meet an author. I don’t know why I said it but it was out of my mouth before I could stop it; I jokingly mentioned that I’m an author (well almost), though my genre would be a little inappropriate for discussing with 9 year olds. Undeterred, Mrs. Creative Writing jumped on this straight away and before I knew it I was thumbing through my diary to fix a date that coincided with her class.

Skip forward a week and there I am being shown to a large black comfy chair at the front of the classroom, 18 curious pairs of eyes watching my every move. As Mrs. Creative Writing introduced me, the students sat patiently with their pens hovering over open notebooks waiting in anticipation of something, anything they could write down. As predicted by their teacher, they were blown away by the fact I have written a real book, that will hopefully one day fill the ‘Hot & New’ section of the shelves – my hope obviously, not theirs!

So, my first ‘official’ interview! For the most part they asked relevant and appropriate questions, wanting to know things like ‘how do I choose names for my characters?’; ‘how long did it take me write my first book?’; ‘who inspires me?’; ‘how many chapters are in the book?’. I showed them notebooks that were falling apart and drawings my elder son has produced to accompany his own book idea. I tried to give them insight into how I arrange my own thoughts and ideas. They were interested, easily engaged, genuinely impressed, and fun. However, I fear their parents will have been quietly cursing me on the way home from school after being asked to make a detour via the dollar store to purchase a cheap journal. I’m trying not to think about what they might think when they find out what exactly it is I write!