Friday, October 30, 2009

I did it!

With a fluttering in my stomach, I hit send on my contest entry for the 2009 Harlequin Presents / Modern Romance competition. Less than an hour later I had an acknowledgment of receipt.
So now it's done and there's nothing more I can do but wait.

Thank heavens NaNo starts on Sunday!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


In my comments section this morning Amanda Holly mentioned joining me on the euphoria trip of getting stuff on your 'to do' list done. She is so right!

It feels so good to be in the flow of writing again, even if it is just polishing and critting. Each achievement, small as it may be on its own, adds to that feeling of euphoria and you feel so good you want to keep feeding it. So you do more and before you know it, you've ticked all the items on the agenda and have a smile on your face that even the shittiest of days can't erase. Now I just hope this feeling stays with me all through November!

Now come on all of you, flex those writing muscles. Do a little every day and soon you'll be in the flow too and sharing the euphoria. Bring on NaNo!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Week-end Progress

With NaNo rapidly approaching I've been feeling the pressure of all the things that need to be done to clear my plate. Happily, I ticked a lot of things of the to-do list this week-end.

  • My first chapter and synopsis for the Presents contest are now finished. Cutting it fine, but allowing a few days for crits before I hit 'send' on the entry.
  • The revisions for Let's Misbehave are done, though on the suggestion of my new crit partner I'm thinking of adding a scene or two to flesh out the story a little before I re-submit to Wild Rose Press at the end of this week.
  • As my on-line crit groups will see, I'm finally clearing that folder on my computer and putting in my two cents' worth.
  • And I even managed to read an entire novel this week-end! Fiona Harper's Invitation to the Boss' Ball, which was one of the best M&B Romances I've read in far too long.

Now if only the rest of my life were falling into line as the writing has done. Right now I feel like I'm on quicksand and my life is being dragged down into an abyss that is not of my own making. The only good thing I can take from the knocks I've had these last few days is that it'll make good fodder for conflict in some future novel ...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

RNA Feedback

A couple of days ago I received my feedback from the RNA New Writers' Scheme. The response was very timeous (8 weeks from acknowledgement of receipt) even though I submitted only just before the deadline.

I am extremely grateful for the opportunity offered by the RNA. The NWS is unique.

I have to admit however to being a little disappointed in the feedback I received. Three and a half pages in which my reader points out a lot of inconsistencies with the characters and the plot, and yet doesn't really mention the 'larger' issues (in my opinion) of structure, character conflict and writing technique.

The opening paragraph points out that my novel is not yet ready for a second read (and clearly therefore not for submission to a publisher either) but then doesn't really say why it wasn't good enough or point out where my writing needs improvement. Apart from some valid points about my hero's motivation and his attitudes towards the heroine, the majority of the comments appeared to be pointing out quite minor (again, in my opinion) inconsistencies. Such as that I had two characters both with names starting with the letter 'A' which would confuse lazier readers, or the hero's job title, or that it's unlikely the characters would take the route around London that I had them take.

Despite re-reading the report a few times I haven't yet found anything much that's positive to take away from it. My first impression was 'oh my goodness, it was so awful she couldn't find anything nice to say' and 'she had to point out these plot inconsistencies because my writing style is just too terrible to comment on'.

With a little distance, I've realised I may have overreacted a tad to start with. The fact that she hasn't commented on my writing voice or style (eg. POV shifts, showing vs telling, sagging middle, boring story etc) must mean that I have the basics okay. Though the little voice of doubt in my head then wonders why the novel wasn't worthy of a second read if these aspects were okay.

Anyhow, I have other priorities right now, so The Playboy Duke's Reluctant Bride is going to be put away in a drawer for a while. Once I've sent off my requested revisions to Wild Rose Press and completed NaNo, I'll dust off this manuscript, make the suggested changes and submit to Richmond, to take my chances with that slush pile once again.

P.S. Oh dear - and I nearly forgot that I have a Presents Contest entry to finish and polish!

Saturday, October 10, 2009


At last, the final instalment of my holiday in Greece ... the volcanic island of Santorini. The island is actually the 'lip' of an enormous volcanic crater and part encircles a massive caldera (the basin of the volcano, now filled by sea). At the heart of the caldera lie the two youngest landmasses of the Mediterranean. This picture below was taken on the larger of these two barren landmasses, looking towards Santorini:

Santorini is an incredibly popular tourist destination, but where Corfu was very much a family and package tour destination, Santorini attracts a different type of tourist - clearly the kind that has more money to spend because everything here was more expensive. Tavernas in Corfu add chips to every meal. Tavernas in Santorini create works of art.

The charm of Santorini is not its beaches, but rather the quaint pedestrian walkways, the awe-inspiring views and the blue-domed churches that epitomise Greece. White-washed villages cling to the rim of the volcanic crater, accessible to the harbours below only by hundreds of steps carved into the mountain side. At the capital, Thira (pronounced Fira), tourists can take the cable car or a donkey ride to reach the harbour at the cliff's base. We did both, to the kids' delight!

We stayed in the smaller town of Oia, famous for its sunsets. Words cannot describe the beauty of Oia (pronounced Ia). I'll just have to let the pictures speak for themselves ....

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Interrupting this travelogue to announce ....

Great news! While I was on holiday, I picked up an email from Wild Rose Press, asking for revisions on Let's Misbehave. My first ever revision request!

The revisions all make complete sense. They are mostly historical inaccuracies that need to be fixed, rather than writing issues, though the editor has asked me to make the POV shifts fewer and clearer. It's very clear what needs to be done - but that's still easier said than done.

The editor's letter was very positive and encouraging, and just reinforces everything I've heard about the wonderful people at Wild Rose. I so hope this story finds a home there ... and the next one ...

Now that I've done jumping up and down and celebrating with cheap Greek wine, I'm going to concentrate on my opening chapter for the Harlequin Presents contest and let these revisions stew in the back of my head. Then I need to knuckle down and complete them before Nano starts!