Friday, December 30, 2005

Two good books and the start of a roller coaster ride

Right before Christmas, I had the pleasure of reading two good Mills and Boon books. When one is under the weather or waiting for an operation, a Mills and Boon hits the spot perfectly.

The first book I read was Kate Walker's The Antonakos Marriage. Kate had already described a bit to me, and this helped inspire my latest wip. I was anxious to see how she handled the whole thing, and had I merely been inspired. I need not have worried. The two are VERY different. Thus proving, a little sentence by one writer can spark a whole new train of thought for another. However, it was certainly a page turner and as I had several hours waiting for my operation, I immersed myself in the book. As luck would have it, I was called to go up to the surgical area just as I reached the final chapter. Therefore that night, reading with one eye, I had to finish the story. I had to know how it ended. A fantastic way to escape.

Kate Hardy kindly sent me Her Celebrity Surgeon. This arrived on the Thursday before Christmas. I was very good and did my revisions for the day before starting to read it. I really enjoyed this one as well. A few chapters would be fine I thought. My dh forced me to go to bed without having finished it, and so I was up at 5am, reading it. I thought Charlie was a yummy hero. I don't think it was a weepie, but it was a page turner just the same. And I do want to read the other 2 in the series...perferably as soon as possible.

My own version of a roller coaster ride started today when I pressed the send button for TSD. Fingers majorly crossed. I do think the revisions made it a stronger book. I could understand ( I hope) what my editors were asking for. No doubt I will feel less sure once I know my editors are back from their Christmas break. I simply wanted to get it off my desk! It had also gotten to the stage that it was ready to go which is more to the point. Ihave decided that doing revisions off hard copy is easier in a way.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Eye operation etc

My eye operation was a success. Each day that goes by, my vision improves.

As a really nice incentive to get well, my editor's assistant emailed me my revisions as well a copy of my cover. As soon as I have figured out how to get permission to publish it on an open forum, I will.
I am so proud of it.

The revisions are not difficult and do make a lot of sense. Always helpful. But some of them such as changing a basket of wool in peas or changing the colour of a cloak from green to purple, I should have noticed.
With my new improved vision, I am also catching some of my typos. Cringe.

Nevertheless as I am not allowed to cook, clean or otherwise lift things, working for short burst on TSD has helped. Although the roller coaster feeling will no doubt start, the minute I press the send button and return the manuscript to my editor.

Christmas was lovely and peaceful. My best present was my sight. A cataract operation is a wonderful thing. You do not realise how much sight you have lost, until you get it back!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Season's Greetings

I would like to wish all readers of this blog the joys and wonders of the Holiday Season. A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I shall be taking a short break as I have my first cataract operation this afternoon.

The eye police -- my dh ably assisted by my children have threatened bodily harm if I go on the computer to early. My eldest has agreed to pick up my email. But they all want my eyes well as soon as possible.

So see you in 2006!!!!

Friday, December 16, 2005

A refugee from the Christmas Fair

Today is the younger two's Christmas fair and I am not going. My excuse is that it is primarily for the children. I have sent in items requested and have sent the children with slightly more money than I would have spent if I had gone.
At the fair, there is about a half hour for the parents to look around and all is calm, serene and sedate. The studnets manning the stalls are unfailingly polite. Then the bell rings; the hordes of children descend. Chaos is probably too mild a word for the noise and bedlam that follows, but it is great fun ofr the children and raises a lot of money for the school. Parents retire hurt to a cup of coffee, mince pie and pained expressions.
If I went, I'd feel guilty about not helping. But I gave up doing the PTA several years ago when my dh threatened to go on strike. Making polite chit chat is okay but the mothers I would speak to are all on stalls...
So I am staying at home,wrapping presents instead.
The children will come home with tales and presents. My middle informed that it was all right because she had helped decorate the hall, put up stalls and was working on one. My youngest came home with a request for mince pies yesterday and so we baked some for the stall he is doing. The childen are doing their bit.
The wrapping of presents is getting to be a necessity. I have to find where I have hidden them all. It is no good doing my usual rummage on Christmas eve. One year, I discovered a second lot of stocking stuffers in April! Oops.
But everything that needs to be sent, has been sent. It is just the wrapping and final few Christmas cards that need to be done.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Why write this story?

The post brought the return of the Donald Maass book from my critque partner who hopefully found it as useful as I did.It was a good time to get it back. I know some people find him frightening, but I find him rather comforting. I like the way his mind works. I am probably wierd, but I have known that for awhile!

I dipped into the book at the Stakes chapter.
At the end of the chapter one section struck me. Whenever you are writing a book, you need to know WHY you are are writing the book. And if I stopped writing this particular wip WHY would it matter. The old why question again.

There are many valid reasons for writing a particular book, but I do think it is helpful to know WHY you have to write this particular book now at this given moment in time and space.

Why am I writing PBB? Because the hero would not leave alone and kept whispering in my ear, because I really want to write about roman marriage and show another more human side to Rome. Because the conflicts of the characters interest me. And ultimately because it is a story I feel the need to write.

If I stopped writing this particular book, why would it matter? Because I want to tell Lupus and Aemilia's story. Because I keep thinking about the story. Because I hate leaving anything half done. Because I believe in this story and its ability to speak to people other than myself. Because I love the characters and would hate to think their story would be untold. Because the subject interests me and then it would haunt me and I'd be writing a version of it anyway. Because it has captured my imagination and refuses to let go.

The purpose of the exercise was to remind me that I am writing from my heart. If you write from the heart it shows in the stakes you give your characters, and the situations they face. Because you care, it shines through in your writing. Or at least that is the theory...

So go on -- do a little soul searching. Why are you writing your wip and why do you need to finish it? Are the stakes high enough for you?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Frosty mornings and frustration

Today was sunshine and heavy frost. The cobwebs and leaves finely etched with white. The sun bright enough to hurt your eyes. Absolutely glorious. The sort of winter weather I love.

I have been working hard on my wip, but I am at the point where I normally query. I can't query at the moment because I have not heard back on TSD. When I first started submitting, I did send in another full while they were still considering the first one. This gave the editorial staff a chance to guide me on to the strong mss. I don't know what would have happened IF I had not given into temptation and sent the second one in. Had I waited, I porbably would not have made some of the errors but who knows.

After thinking long and hard about it, I can't ask for status on the one currently sitting on my eidtor's desk. She knows it is there. She told me so in mid-October. Under my contract, HM&B have 90 days to decide. I should stop being impatient and realise that my editor looks after other authors besides me. She will get to it when she can and her words will be like gold dust. I know the wait for GH was worth it.

My wip is moving forward, (I have reached the approximate half way point) and I am in love with my hero which is always a good place to be. Besides, the further I am with this one, the less I will have to do when I can submit the full. Thinking positively here.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Winter means wet

It is tipping it down, the sort of weather that makes me want to curl up next a fire with a good book and a hot mug of tea.

Last night, having rescued Liz Fielding's The Marriage Miracle from my middle's room, I was able to do just that. Luckily my dh had decided to have an early night as tears were streaming down my face. It was such a lovely lovely book, unput downable. Kate Hardy has already tipped it for a RITA and if it doesn't get one, all I can say is that the book that does win will have to be out of this world. A thoroughly enjoyable story and I urge anyone who hasn't read it to do so.

I did my usual bit at Tesco of rearranging the books so that books by friends will appear first and foremost. Umm all the Liz Fieldings were sold out. Most of the HIstoricals had gone as well. I managed to pick up The Christmas Visit which is a historical Christmas Anathology.

My middle tells me that The Captain's Lady which is by a new author whose name escapes me is very good. The book is missing, presumed in the middle's bedroom. I have read Jenna Kernan's Winter Woman and enjoyed it. One good thing about the combining of Harlequin Historical and M&B Historical is that more Westerns are now making their way over here. This one dealtwith trappers and was set in 1835 in the Rockies. As my mother lived in Denver for a few years, and when we visited, we did ltos of sight seeing, it was great to read about the region.

One of my favourite restuarants in Denver is The Fort which is run by Sam'l P Arnold and is an exact replica of Bent's Old Fort. If you ever are in Denver, make the time and go. You won't be disappointed, but the Hailstorm drinks are not for the unwary.... The food at the Fort is modelled on recipes from the 19th century. Mr Arnold is one of the foremost food historians of the era. His Eating Up the Santa Fe Trail gives real insight into the way everyone ate. Much better than I had imagined. I read the book when I was going through my trying to tame the solid fuel Aga stage and was really fascinated by the way people cooked in the past. As the Aga has been converted to oil, it is no longer a necessity to use the heat but old recipes still hold a fascination.