After a flurry of excitement over the past couple of days, I'm finally settled - and coherent - enough to share my latest news...
My novel, Grace and Serenity, is going to be published in July 2020 by Vine Leaves Press!
This is me signing the actual contract!! I look a lot more calm and composed than I felt.
Vine Leaves published my short story collection, You. I. Us., and I'm delighted to be working with them again - and especially to acquire another of Jessica Bell's amazing covers.
If you want to keep updated on the book's progress, use the box at the top right of this page to sign up for my newsletter - I'll be sharing snippets from the book, offering early review copies, and having a celebratory giveaway in the near future (chocolate, it'll be chocolate 😋) The next newsletter will be out on the 12th August.
The first weird thing writers do is get so caught up with NaNoWriMo that November disappears, winter weather comes as a surprise and Christmas is a myth until it's already the 12th and decorations are being put up around them.
For my non-writer readers, NaNoWriMo takes place throughout the whole of November where writers commit to writing at least 50,000 words - novices and experienced writers alike. If you have a normally gregarious friend who was suddenly quiet and a bit spaced out in Novemnber, they may just have been involved. Give them a coffee and a hug and run through anything they may have missed in November!
Another weird thing writers do is gather as many writers around them as possible. This year a wonderful writer called Raimey Gallant organised 404 writers and got them to share their social media links. So, for the past few days, I've been working through that list - following people on Twitter, Facebook (grr, Facebook has serious issues about people using their site!), their blogs, Goodreads and more.
All of this means I haven't been writing. But, at the moment, I don't mind. It's fun. I've been chatting with some fun people, and hopefully that'll continue once the list-following flurry has faded.
In case you're wondering, I didn't complete my 50k during November, I reached 38,006 words, and then another 4k in the subsequent few days. I'm currently letting it breathe, before printing it out so I can mutilate it (I love a good old-fashoned cut-and-paste with scissors and sticky tape!) and turn it into the story I realised I was telling at about the two-thirds mark.
Just a note to the #nanohop-ers: the only sign up I have is a newsletter, or Bloglovin button - so it's possible you'll never see my posts, unless I get myself a little more organised on the newsleter front. I'm still wondering how to best engage with my new followers. Bear with me!
UPDATED NOTE TO #NANOHOP-ERS: I have created a WordPress blog which will be my main blog from now on.
Life since my last update has been a flurry of polishing some short stories to submit, and - sadly - rejections. Those little beasts always come in pairs, or worse. Never mind... Onward and upward. I'm looking at a novel that came back with its tail between its legs and wondering whether there's a way to completely flip the story on it's head. Maybe I need to listen to some music?
Here are a couple of links to guest posts I've written recently:
Although I don't update this site often, I've noticed this absence more than usual - although you may not have!
During my last post, I was deep in my blog tour to promote You. I. Us., as well as finishing edits of a new book so I could submit it to my editor. There's going to be a little delay hearing back from her, so I'm trying to ignore that for now.
Almost as soon as I pressed Send on that submission, my laptop had to go for a bit of TLC with a nice computer guy. So, here are some things a writer does when they don't have computer access:
Here are a few photos from my trip:
I'm not usually a hoarder. If you look around my house, there are a few over-crowded shelves and there's a cupboard that doesn't shut properly, but nothing a quick straightening can't fix. But one thing I've always done is keep old drafts of stories and novels.
Last night, while having a major procrastination session, I sorted out my filing cabinet. In some cases, I had six, seven or more copies of the same story. Worse, some of those copies were exactly the same. So I started to shred... and shred... and shred.
I found some gems - a handwritten first draft from a story I published in 1996, and a few fantastic openings or random lines that I'd forgotten about, which have already sparked some ideas.
But most of all, I found space. All I have to do is write enough to fill it back up again!
It was quite interesting to go back over some very old work. Some of it was awful - terrible - and it was reassuring to see how far I've come since I started. I kept a couple of those early stories, but threw out the rest - sometimes there's no point holding onto things that don't work anymore. I haven't quite brought myself to shred the novel I keep returning to (yes, 20 years later, and I'm still considering re-working it again), but I think I have to. For my sanity, if nothing else.
It's the last day of March, and it's beautiful!
One of the downsides of having a dog and not driving is that I end up at the same place almost every day. One of the upsides is that it is an amazing place, full of wonderful dogs and their humans, and the view always takes my breath away. Each and every time. And I'm talking literally here, not figuratively - sometimes I gasp!
I'm currently between writing projects, again. (It seems to happen quite a lot, I really should be more organised.) My aim to take the whole of March to redraft and edit my novella halted abruptly when I finished on the 20th and immediately queried it. I'm now waiting to hear back.
My next tasks are to start on preparations for launching You. I. Us. in June. I have two signings already set up - and guess what? One's in a speciality hot chocolate cafe! Yum yum yum...