Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Distractions and Diversions

No. of words written for new version of 'The Secret billionaire': 0

No. of unnecessary (but nice) purchases made with the assistance of Great Aunty Amex (friend of Jackie's Great Uncle Visa I believe :-): Far too many

No of iced fingers consumed (I blame the bakery in the next village for being too nice): see above

No of hours spent feeling bad about not having done any work on the re-write: approx 1 hour per day

I have however spent time thinking about my competition entry and made some progress with 'The Maverick Millionaire' which is good as previously it had come to a grinding halt in chapter 3. I also think a break will help me come back to Secret Billionaire with fresh eyes (sounds like a good excuse so I'm sticking to it!)

The rest of this week will be a write off (no pun intended) as I'm going away for my birthday to my favourite hotel in Switzerland and will be lounging around sipping cool drinks and looking at the jaw-dropping view (see above).
But next week all diversions will come to and end I will definitely, absolutely get cracking on my re-write to sub to Richmond. If I don't please feel free to cyber nag me :-)

Friday, 17 July 2009

Think it Speak it Create it

My computer has started talking to me. No, I haven't been driven barmy by the process of trying to get published (not yet anyway) but I've discovered that my mac had the ability to read me selected text all along. Duh! It only took me six months to discover it.
The only problem is the most realistic voice it can use is still very robotic - there's nothing like a very unenthusiastic robot reading your work to make you feel like going back to bed and hiding under the duvet.
I've also been trying out my new speech to text software - It is a whole new way of writing for me. Normally my process is 'Think it Write it See it Create it' but I'm having to learn how to be less visual, more auditory as I write. 
Who knows, maybe it will lead to more realistic dialogue and better flow (although having to say 'comma', 'full stop', 'open quote' etc is irritating me at the moment). It's certainly better than previous systems I've come across with a lot less errors but I was still bemused when I read in my new synopsis for 'Maverick Millionaire' - "Matt realises that he still loves a mini and sets about juicing her." I actually said "Matt realises that he still loves Emily and sets about seducing her"!!!
I think much more practice and careful editing is needed or who knows what I could send off to Richmond! There may even be a few "be quiet Holly"s at crucial moments when I forget my headset is live (Holly is the noisiest of my dogs).

On the subject of new things there is a brilliantly titled blog that has just been started called Love and Chocolate by the lovely Sally who I met over at Trish Wylie's forum. Love, chocolate and writing, what else could you possibly want???

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Happy Bunnydom

I arrived back from the RNA conference last night shattered, happy but most of all inspired to write. 
My editor slot went well, the phrases "yes, this could work for Modern Heat" and "you have a strong voice" combining to make me a very happy bunny indeed.
I have my own personal holy grail (an editor's business card) tucked safely away in a secret compartment in my handbag and an invitation to attach it to my partial and submit direct to her :-)

I've learnt loads about craft from the seminars (Jessica Hart, the Mills and Boon one and Jodi Thomas in particular) and am positively itching to put what I've learnt into practice. I also picked up lots of gems while queuing for coffee! It was lovely to be able to talk writing all weekend without anyone's eyes glazing over and such a privilege to chat to so many experienced authors who were willing to talk to a newbie nobody.

Unfortunately the weekend has wiped me out health wise but it was so worth it. Scratching the itch might have to wait until I've recovered but my lovely new 'speech to text' software has just arrived so I'm hoping it's going to make the whole process much easier.

If you've never been to the RNA conference (and are a NWS member) I'd say it's worth selling your grandmother to get to it. Apparently next year will be quite big as it's an anniversary and it will be in London which means they're hoping to get a lot of editors and agents along on the Friday. It's going to be popular and there are going to be quite a few big name authors coming so the advice I was given was book early.

All I can say is be there or be a sad bunny.

P.S. if you didn't attend and would like detailed feedback on some of the seminars I found most useful (mostly specific to M&B targeting but some more general) leave your email address in the comments section and I'll send you something I've written up to try and consolidate it for myself.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Normal Service is Resumed

After a couple of weeks of trying to keep up with emails, blogs etc using motorway service stations as I traveled from England to Scotland and back again several times (bet that messed up peoples’ feedjit! J) I finally have broadband in the new place.

Although I described the area as yummy mummy land (in the interests of balance I ought to say they’ve all been lovely to me) I’ve also met a plethora of retired colonels and majors emerging from perfect thatched cottages, not to mention a few ‘Honourables’ and a minor noble. I’ve been informed in no uncertain terms that attendance at the village fete, sports day etc is compulsory. Perhaps once I’ve been drinking the water for a couple of months I’ll develop the urge to competitively grow misshapen vegetables or join the Women’s Institute.

I’ve decided I must have moved to a twenty first century St Mary Mead and any minute now Miss Marple will be knocking on my door to inform me that the rector has discovered a body up at the Manor House. Or maybe at the ruins of nearby Wolf Hall (great name isn’t it?)

Not that I’ll have time to help Miss Marple solve the crime as my editor slot is now only TWO days away. I blame gadding about with boxes and having fun days out at hospitals.

Somehow I’ve managed to write a new synopsis in the midst of it all (taking the ‘ah sod it’ approach to the piles of boxes helps) – my characters are now more believable (I hope) and their actions more consistent. I’ve also given Luke a bit of an alpha makeover in line with the new Modern Heat guidelines; he is now harder, less laidback but still essentially the same Luke.

I’ve decided to take everyone’s advice and not worry too much about the slot. I can discuss the new story angle and hopefully sound out whether or not The Secret Billionaire (as Bridal Bet is now called) could ever work for the Modern Heat line.

Hopefully I’ll have lots of lovely feedback next week about the conference, or the reincarnation of Miss Marple should she appear J

P.S. the above picture is an old photograph of where I'm now ensconced!