Monthly Archives: July 2014


I have not fallen off the face of the earth. I have just been – and still am – suffering from that common seasonal problem known as ‘school holidays’! I have so far managed to deal with the suffering in a number of ways: bike camp, summer camp, beach, playgrounds, waterparks, play dates etc.. And drinking gin & tonic on the patio (me, not them :-). There is, however, light at the end of the tunnel. Grandparents arrive in less than three weeks, and school uniforms and footwear have been purchased in preparation for the return of my sanity.


Despite all the chaos, I have a fabulous tan and a new MINI convertible (to make all the running around significantly more bearable). I’m about to write chapter 20 of my third novel and I’ve just finished proof reading Bruises, which will now hopefully be coming to an online bookstore near you very soon. But I look ten years older than I did at the beginning of the summer!


It turned out that the formatting issues were kind of my own fault. I originally started writing on my iPad using Documents To Go. This very basic word processing program didn’t allow me to do much more than write – even though I splashed out on a keyboard. So, formatting the manuscript was not an option until it was opened in Word, which wasn’t until I finally succumbed to a laptop. It never occurred to me that, although it looked fine on screen, behind the scenes it was screwed. When I informed my manager that this might be the problem, it actually helped them to very quickly work out how to put it right. My husband had pointed out on many occasions that if I’m to be taken seriously I should get a laptop. Unfortunately, being a stubborn old boot, I didn’t give in for quite a while, determined that it was possible to carry on using only my iPad. Well, I still don’t really take myself seriously, but I finally gave in when I’d finished the sequel to Bruises – meaning that if that ever goes to press, I’ll have the same formatting nightmare again. Only this time I can hopefully correct it before submitting to the publisher, or at least warn them up front.


In the meantime, my book cover should be complete. It would be nice to start using that soon and putting it out there for the world to see. There are some minor adjustments to be made in the manuscript, but hopefully nothing that will take too long. So I guess watch this space…

Frustrating formatting!

That moment you’ve been waiting for, when you open up the file and they’ve turned your manuscript into a book with pages, numbers, and chapter titles. My name is on the top of every left hand page, and the book title is on the top of every right hand page. There are simple artistic touches and fancy fonts, ISBNs, copyrights, and… a lot of formatting problems!

I was quite emotional when I first saw the way they’d put it all together. I couldn’t have asked for better, to be honest. I gave them very little to go on, just some basic cover ideas, and the rest was up to the designer. The cover still isn’t quite right, but with some discussion and a smart idea from the designer herself, it will hopefully be fixed. Then there’s this formatting issue. Having never done this before, I wasn’t sure if this was normal. Having only got to chapter 7, after almost a week, with reams of notes that largely identified missing paragraph breaks, I presumed that this was the whole point of my first real proof read. Then my husband pointed out to me that, surely in this day and age, shouldn’t it be relatively easy to convert a Word document manuscript into book format? It would appear not!

So I took his advice about just getting in touch with my manager and questioning it. I’ve mentioned before that I have a good relationship with her and feel I can pretty much ask her anything, no matter how stupid I worry it might be. Turned out to be a good call, literally. She was soooo glad I highlighted this early in my proof read because yes, basically the formatting should have been done better than it had been, and this would have been a HUGE waste of my time if I’d got to the end of the book with my 5 million pages of notes only to find it could have been easily fixed. I guess I’ll know for next time – hopefully there will be a next time!

Meanwhile, it is being reformatted…