Wednesday, 30 December 2009

The date is set...

tentatively for my consultation with Kimberley from M&B.
Fingers crossed it will be on January 7th - I am officially VERY SCARED indeed.

and B.R.E.A.T.H.E

Christmas has been fun, very noisy and messy with the kids - I don't think i've actually seen the floor since Christmas morning.  On the upside, it saves on the hoovering!
I received an array of writing accoutrements - notepads & journals ( hooray, my addiction is being well fed), and a very pretty pen from the boys. I can't complain about not having the tools for the job can I ?
The pressure's on. :o)

Happy 2010 everyone, hope it's a fun and productive one for all. x

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Have hung this on the office wall today.

Although it should actually read keep calm, or drink more wine.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

New kid on the block nerves

About eight years back I conned my then boyfriend (now husband) into buying a laptop on the pretext that I would try to write romance for Mills & Boon, so I have to commend him on his admirable patience - I honestly don't know why it's taken me so long to start my journey, but I am just so glad that I finally have. Who knows how long the journey will take, but that's part and parcel of it isn't it? I've read the mills and boon forums for a good while now, and it was seeing the competition info there in black and white that finally spurred me into action - along with my little one starting nursery and suddenly freeing up my week day afternoons. Again, kudos to my husband for being cool enough to want me to spend my afternoons giving this my best shot - I run a business from home too which has really been forced onto the back burner lately, i'm not really sure at the moment how all that's going to pan out. I just want to spend my time writing, it's totally intoxicating to a level I hadn't fully realized it would be.
Finding writing time isn't simple around a young family, a knackered husband who's working all the time, plus running the business & home too - I feel like i'm juggling (and dropping) the balls all the time, and I don't even want to talk about the unscalable mountain that is my washing pile. I guess (hope) that's pretty normal though!
I find myself carrying my big notepad (note to self: stop buying pretty notepads. Butterflies, flowers, swirls... you name it, I have it. I've always been that way - I was always a sucker for sparkly pencils and fluffy pencil cases as a kid, this is just the grown up version) everywhere with me, and for some weird reason my writing juices seem to flow best just around 5pm, at which point i'm usually running around the kitchen making dinner for the kids, feeding the cats, washing up...I often find myself stirring a saucepan with one hand and madly scribbling away with the other.
When I look back on it to try to make sense of what i've written, it's generally a random collection of words and ideas for lines of dialogue - I don't think i'm going to be someone who plots heavily in advance, I seem to work best by pantsing it, so i'll stick with that for now. I also find that I prefer to work with music on in the back ground, but can't cope at all with the TV or radio. Chatter completely distracts me - but then I am easily distracted. (and in my defense, Loose Women sometimes offers up plot ideas, haha).
I've recently gotten really into spotify, and have built up a playlist that suits the characters and story lines in my book - it's surprised me how much inspiration i've drawn from listening to music whilst writing. It's got to be romantic though, no thrash metal thank you, or who knows what my H&H would end up doing...
Is it normal to eat more whilst writing? I seem to be incapable of engaging my brain without a bottomless cup of coffee and a bag of maltesers on the desk. Or the Christmas tin of quality street, as it is at the moment...BAD.
Aside from chocolate, I'm also developing a big addiction to reading romance writers blogs, but i don't think that's a bad thing. I'm a rookie in this game, and i'm learning so much from everyone else who's been at it longer and who are generous enough to share their ups and downs. I feel unqualified to post on other people's blogs who've been at it for a while, and really unsure of myself.... it's kind of like starting school where everybody else knows each other already. It's probably heightened by the fact that i've never blogged before, it's a whole new world to become accustomed to the ways of. Hopefully the new kid on the block nerves will ease as I go along my own journey - am desperately hoping the addiction to maltesers eases too, or else I am really in trouble!

Monday, 14 December 2009

Strange times...

It's been a few days now since the announcement on iheartpresents, and a strange few at that.
It's certainly made for uncomfortable reading to see good people & HMB flamed unnecessarily ... maybe it's just that i'm a newcomer to the romance writing community and probably don't have a full grip on the politics of it yet.
I have to say though that I have been personally touched by how kind and generous everyone's been to me, but I feel very saddened for Susanna & Maggie. I really hope that they both can still take pleasure in their achievements, although I expect it must have tarnished things greatly for them.
Hopefully the troubled waters will be calmed later, and business as usual will resume.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Red Letter Day!

December 1st 2009. 3.30pm. One of the best moments of my life so far!

That was the moment when lovely Joanne Grant from Harlequin Mills & Boon called me to let me know i'd placed as runner up in the 2009 competition. I was totally shocked, and don't think i said anything coherent at all during the conversation. I was thoroughly flu-ed up and on anti-biotics, and I found myself wondering for a few minutes if i'd hallucinated the whole thing. :o) - like lots of others, i'd gone to sleep hoping and imagining that that phone call would come for weeks, and for it to actually happen was ...bonkers! Needless to say, Joanne was lovely, really excited and bubbly, and it was everything you hope the phone call will be.
Then a Congrats email pinged in from Lovely Joanne (new official name), so I felt safe enough to call my husband, my sister, my brother, my mum....and of course try to remember that i'd been asked to tell no-one until December 11th! I was at home with my two little boys (3&5), and we had ten minutes of crazily dancing around the living room,punching the air, whooping and clutching of cheeks in shock - bless kids, they just go with it don't they, no questions asked. Actually, since then, whenever I mention the competition, my eldest eyes me warily and mutters 'not the crazy dancing again mum'....
Fast forward to yesterday, announcement day. My husband sent me a beautiful bouquet of flowers, and my friends and family were over the moon - it was such a relief to be able to tell them all! It was another big moment to see the announcement in black and white on iheartpresents, just so, so thrilling. I feel so, so, SO lucky! I'm still on cloud nine, i've never won anything in my life.
I'm hugely grateful to all at Mills & Boon for running the competition, it's been a massive experience to take part, and to place is the stuff that dreams are made of.
I'm also aware it's been a huge experience for 540 other women around the world, and I am crossing my fingers and hoping that they all get happy news too soon. I sweat blood and tears over my entry and have bitten my nails to the quick waiting for the results, and I know that every one else who entered did exactly the same. It's not an easy thing to throw your hat into the ring, so Congrats to every last one who entered and lots of luck.
The romance writing community has been a complete revelation to me. It's uniquely friendly & supportive to all, and I have to say a big thank you for the encouragement and advice i've been given over the last few months. Extra special thanks to Robyn, who held my hand and gave such wise advice - I am indebted.
Now I have to get on with the business of writing the rest of the book....eeep!