Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Blankety Blank

New file on desktop called "New manuscript".

New word document open called "New manuscript".

Guess i'll be attempting a brand spanking new manuscript, then...

Monday, 14 November 2011

Still breathing... just.

Scrape me up someone, i've just come to the end of editing my ST manuscript, THE LIGHTHOUSE.
I have somehow ended up with more words than the last draft. Err, that doesn't sound very good, does it?

But... ( and yes, here comes the bit where I justify myself wildly. Yeah, but.... yeah, but... )

But... I know that I edit quite heavily as I write, so I might not be the speediest but I do write quite clean.
And also, in my defence, I have added in a couple of whole new scenes, so am landing the blame squarely on that.
That's my story and i'm sticking to it. And it's my story, so I can do what I like at this stage, lol!

Have since printed it out and of course am now spotting a zillion places to re-edit the edited edits. (Did I just have a Donald Rumsfeld moment?)
It's a bit like painting the Forth bridge. When does it end? When should you stop tinkering? Do I go back in for another round? No clue.
It's ended up at 83k, which is kind of where I was hoping to be so am glad.

I have to say a mahoosive thank you to the fabulous, gorgeous, ever-so-clever and eagle-eyed minxes, for not shouting IT'S SHITE at the top of their voices, and for sticking a mirror under my nose every now and then to make sure i'm still breathing. You are super cool ladies, I thank my lucky stars.

Am going to take a breather. By the looks of the lists the kids have already stuck on the fridge, Christmas is coming...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011


My name is Joanne, and i'm addicted to Authonomy.

Or actually, my Authonomy writing name is Millie, but either way, I have a new fave writing site to add to my list. I've chosen Millie as it's a shortening of my maiden name, and one of my best buddies always calls me by it so it feels familiar. In the land that dreams are made of, i'd like to have it as my published name.

Boy oh boy, Authonomy is huge! I have no clue what i'm doing yet, but am hoping to get the hang of it soon.

I've lurked on there since starting to write the ST, and this morning I finally took the plunge and uploaded the first three chapters. If anyone fancies a read, they're here:

The Lighthouse by Millie J

I've been really fortunate with comments so far, and have found so many new books to read. Have had a really giddy, happy kind of day.

Authonomy rocks!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Big news in my world

Yesterday I :

1) Made chicken soup
2) Vacuumed
3) Prevaricated over new boots
4) Posted the partial of my ST to agent in London
3) Drank wine to calm nerves

Did you spot the big huge scary thing in there? And no, not the vacuuming.

Yesterday was  D-Day. I  posted off the partial of 'The Lighthouse', along with a query letter that i've already decided was beyond stupid and the synopsis that near killed me and still includes a dead dog.

Not to mention the fact that I forgot to include the self addressed stamped envelope.


Had huge debate with myself over whether to send it separately, but then wouldn't that just draw attention to the fact and  look even worse?

It's no wonder I needed wine to calm down, is it? Am still feeling slightly hysterical, and am aware it's not going to get easier waiting for the mail every day for the foreseeable. At least I know there won't be a great thump as my m/s comes back, because I failed to send the flippin' envelope!

But anyway, it's gone. Wish me luck?

Thursday, 29 September 2011

One dead dog away from a country song

My synopsis, that is.

The damn thing is massive, it's killing me. Am putting up a brave battle, but it's winning at the moment.

It needs to be one sheet of A4 to fit the agents submission criteria, and it's currently *cough* about four.

And what's worse, there actually is a dead dog in it.

Will not go to bed tonight until it's done.

Miles to go before I sleep...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

The End

Today was a happy dance day in my house - I finally typed 'The End' at, well, the end of the first draft of my manuscript.
Am going to spend the next couple of weeks with the kids, and then when they go back to school it's onwards to revisions. Am looking forward to it!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Anna Boatman talks about New Voices...


Grab a coffee and come on over to the Minxes of Romance, because...
drumroll please...
the lovely Anna Boatman, editor from Mills & Boon, has joined us to talk about much anticipated New Voices 2011 writing competition.

Are you still here? Go! Go!

Friday, 12 August 2011

It's just that....

Good news - have now officially hit ninety percent on my word count-o-meter.
That makes me H.A.P.P.Y  :O)   Plus am at the really juicy bit, so it's coming easier than it did at some points along the way. Hoping to complete this draft & be onto revisions by the time August is out.

One of the many things i'll be addressing during revisions is my frankly audacious overuse of the word 'just'.
The lovely, beautiful Wordle reliably informs me that, so far, I have used it 236 times. Holy cow! That's, like, *cough* alot, isn't it?

Note to self: Just delete those unjustifiable justs!

Do you have any words that seem to crop up over and over in your writing? 

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Scrap that...

Am no longer ticking along nicely. My eldest son has a horrible virus and my littly has just this morning broken out in chicken pox, so am under house arrest with two restless kids.  The last couple of days have mostly been about taking temperatures and giving out medicine and hugs. Word count since last post = zero. Best laid plans and all that. 

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Ticking along nicely

Ola amigo's! Summer is upon us, which means the kids are now all mine for six whole weeks - goodbye lovely writing time, i'll miss you! Actually I won't, because I'm determined to make time before they wake and after they sleep - i'm on a bit of a roll, so stopping isn't an option.

I'm still writing the first draft of my ST attempt, word count is currently 63,000 with an aim of around 80,000, so almost eighty percent there. I'm currently slightly obsessed with updating my ticker at the end of each writing session to see it inch towards the end, but happily I know what actually needs to happen to get me there. All praise the pretty plan! Thank you, Julie!

I am hopeful that I'll reach the end of this draft before the end of the six week holidays, but then what do I do next? Do I dive straight back in for editing, or is it best to put it away for a bit and come back to it with fresh eyes? And how long does that take? And

I read that the 2011 New Voices comp has been announced. Exciting stuff! I think i'm going to declare myself out this time around, am not brave enough. Or should I flip the coin over to the positive side and say i'm going to be brave and stick with the ST despite not knowing if it's a big old bag of crap?

Yeah, that sounds better doesn't it?

Happy summer everyone! Unless it's your winter of course....

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

#MarryingCadeWave Stop Seven

It’s launch day for the lovely Sally Clements’ fabulous  new book, Marrying Cade, and to celebrate, she’s having a Mexican wave of excerpts! You can keep up with the wave’s progress on the twitter hashtag #MarryingCadeWave – and add a tweet with the hashtag to chat with everyone else who’s reading along!

Here’s how to do it…these are the stops, just call in to these blogs to read each excerpt (they start at stop one, and finish at stop ten). Alternatively, start wherever, and click on the next stop link at the bottom of the excerpt. Or just click on the buy link, to get your own copy of Marrying Cade!

Stop One – Talli Roland’s blog
Stop Two – Maya Blake’s blog
Stop Three – Nas Dean’s blog
Stop Four – Joanne Coles’s blog
Stop Five – Romy Summers’ blog
Stop Six – Lorraine Wilson’s blog
Stop Seven – Joanne Pibworth’s blog
Stop Eight – Suzanne Jones’ blog
Stop Nine – Lacey Devlin’s blog
Stop Ten – Sally Clements’ blog

Stop Seven’s excerpt…

“So do you.” She grinned, revealing white even teeth. Long fingers reached up and smoothed over his jaw line.
Cade held himself in check, resisting the urge to rub against her like a lonely cat.
“Are you growing a beard?” Her tone was deep, sexy, teasing.
Cade struggled through the sensuous fog that descended as her fingers touched his skin. Melo’d always teased. “Maybe. Do you like it?” Her eyes were no ordinary blue, but deep sapphire.
She dropped her hand quickly. “I love it. But Rosa won’t. She’ll probably ask you to shave.”
Adam pulled out a chair, and Melo sank into it.
Cade took his seat again, and helped himself to an olive-topped crostini. Melo picked an olive from the platter and popped it into her mouth. The cherry gleam of her lips was impossible to ignore.
Adam poured her a glass of wine. “So, how’s my Rosa?”

Before you go on to stop eight,  tweet this to  help continue the wave!

Now, continue on to Stop eight here!

Review at Madeline Ash’s blog…

Lots of luck with the wave Sally!!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Minxy Birthday Giveaway!

We're celebrating over at the Minxes of Romance this month, because it's our birthday!

We have lots going on and competitions galore - first up this week, you have the chance to win Lorraine Wilson's beautiful Riva Bag. This is the prize winning bag that caused a stir in the Mills & Boon competition, and it could be all yours!!

Come on over, we'd love to see you.

Friday, 20 May 2011


In my last post I mentioned my big grand plan, and here it is, slap bang in the middle of my dining room table. It's taken me the best part of today to build it, and just looking at it makes me grin!

I saw the method outlined on the fantabulous Julie Cohen's blog yesterday, and it's turned out to be a really invaluable help. I was getting myself in a right old tangle with everything - muddled up subplots, & characters who were behaving ,well, completely out of character.
Doing it this way has organised the jumbled threads into colour co-ordinated plot lines, and it's helped me to realise that I had some things happening in the wrong places. I swear I had to move those notes around at least five zillion times before I could finally stick them down - and even now they are moveable if necessary.
It's nowhere near as organised as Julie's example, but for a first crack i'm feeling pretty pleased with it and fired up with fresh focus.
Let me at it!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Juggling around my pans a little...

I heard the verdict back from Mills & Boon today on the partial sub (one chapter & synopsis)  I had in with them - it's a no go, unfortunately. At thirty weeks it's been a killer of a wait, but I very much appreciate the fact that they took the time to give me some detailed feedback and ideas of how to improve it. I'm going to take some time to mull it all over. Rejections need a little time to settle in, don't they? This one somehow feels less of a blow than the last, which hopefully means I'm developing that thick skin we're told we need. From here on in, you have my permission to call me rhino-girl.

They also advised me to send any future submissions via slush, so it feels sort of like the end of that particular leg of my writing journey. It started when I entered the 2009 writing comp and was lucky enough to place, and it's been an up and down ride since.
I've learned so much from working with a lovely editor, i've met some terrific friends, and I hope i've grown as a writer.

My grand plan ( you have to have a plan, and it's gotta be grand, right?) is to take some time out from targeting series romance and continue writing the single title i'm working on at the moment.  It's my first attempt and I have no clue what i'm doing, but I'm having a fabulous time doing it.
So, i'm going to rearrange my metaphorical pans around a little on the cooker. I'm pulling my ST pan to the front and turning it up to a vigorous boil, and winding my beloved series romance pan down to a simmer on the back ring. Please don't let any of my gasses blow out!
Why, when I type that, do I feel like the new kid on the playground again? It's like playing dress up, trying on different outfits to see which one is the best fit. Trouble is, I really kinda loved my feather boa and I feel like someone's told me to put it back in the box.
Not that any of it's a game, I realise. It's all bloody hard work, whether series or single title.

These last couple of years have taught me one big, huge, amazing thing though. I truly, truly love writing. It makes me happy, it makes me laugh, it makes me cry, and I want to do it forever.

Monday, 4 April 2011

April word count challenge

Over at the minxes we are having a BIG April writing challenge - choose your target and come and join us, we'd love to have you on board. The lovely Lacey has even made badges and word count bars for all comers. :o)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


I have finally settled on a name for my ST project.


The Lighthouse.

Anyone want to guess what it's about, lol?!

(and no, it's not a flasher.)

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Howdie peeps...

Man, I 'm bad at blogging!

It's been some time since my last post, for various reasons that are too long to bore people with. Suffice to say that up until recently I'd been lucky enough not to have experienced anxiety problems, but they landed on my shoulders in a great heap a few months back and i've had a bit of a battle getting shot of them to be honest.
Anyway - am not going to grumble about it anymore as it is what it is, as they say, so back to business. :o)

On the writing front I'm nineteen weeks into waiting to hear back from M&B on a first chapter I sent in as a result of the NV competition, so no news to report there.

I'm currently focusing my efforts on my first bash at writing a ST, which I am happy to say i'm still very much enjoying. I'm about a third of the way in, and half of the time I think it's going fabulously and the other half of the time I contemplate hurling it in the bin. :o) All just about normal I reckon?

It's certainly different to sit and just go for it, letting random secondary characters get in on the act sometimes, and trying to get my head around how to vividly paint more than just the two main characters within the story, weaving in subplots around the main head is spinning with it.
I clearly have no clue what i'm doing, but happily that doesn't seem to diminish my pleasure a jot.
I've ordered Donald Maass's 'writing the breakout novel' to hopefully help me along a little, i've heard so many good things about it that it's a pre-birthday prezzie to myself.

Lastly, can I big up my fellow minx? I'm proud as punch of Sally Clements for her fabulous new release Bound to Love - check out that beautiful cover! Snap up your copy here.

Right - i'm back to half term hell, sorry, fun with the kids.

See you soon, promise!