Bits and Bobs

Firstly, some of my favorite people in the world have finalled in the ‘Romantic Times, American Title II” contest. It’s not quite the FOX version-no one has to sing-thank goodness. It’s a contest to find the best unpublished historical romance writer and offer them a book contract with Dorchester publishing. It’s kind of based on the same idea as the singing thing: 3 judges who make sarcastic, helpful, insightful, useless comments on selected parts of the manuscript and then we-that is, the public get to vote on the one we like best. Each week, the lowest scoring manuscript gets kicked out.

So I’ve got three writing buddies to cheer for: Gina Black, Maria Geraci and Debra Parmley. I’ll let you know how everyone is doing and encourage you to go and check out their entries in RT or RT online.

Last time I blogged I was twiddling my thumbs-in a writerly sense. and musing about chocolate. Now I have spent the week doing real edits for my real editor. It was quite a weird feeling. But best of all, I got to delete all the extra “and, but, still and that’s” that were cluttering up my prose. I really have a thing for long complex sentences. (you might have noticed that already…)

I’ve finished the edits now-I know I’ve reached the point where I want to twiddle with it too much. Hopefully, I’ll get over this obsession before I ruin the book.

Another editing question came up on a different ms for a different publisher. This ms, Branded, is a very sexy contemporary I originally wrote for a particular Harlequin line. Of course, it didn’t ‘quite fit their needs’ so my agent sent it off to someone else. They liked it but asked me for a major overhaul of my main female character. It took me three months but I did it, only to find that said editor had left…now the new new editor wants me to change it a little more.

I’ll do it, because, this book can still get better and the suggestions so far have been helpful. If I thought the input would destroy the story I wouldn’t. (At some point you have to decide whether it’s still going to be the story you wanted to tell). In this case, I think the suggestions might make it even better- and I’ve learned when editor’s take the time to call, it’s generally worth listening to what they have to say. This is a very tough market to get into.

Lastly, we spent the day in the Gold Country looking at possible properties for our potential ranch set up. I love it out there. Eventually, we’d like to move somewhere quieter and more open where we can keep our horses and ride them regularly. Still a dream at the moment but we’re working on it!

While we are waiting….

I’m in that circling pattern that plagues most writers from time to time. My agent’s sending out my work, I’m editing other stuff and writing new stories. Nothing very exciting to blog about really. Although, I have finally got a grasp on my latest plot. I can see the end, I finally know what my character’s are thinking and there’s only a quarter of the first draft left to write. That’s always a good feeling.
So I thought, now that we’re getting comfortable on this blog I’d mention a couple of things I truly love.
1. Chocolate-OK, everyone loves chocolate. But I’m a Brit. Every so often I have to make a pilgrimage to the British grocer’s seven miles away and buy good British chocolate. I also buy Heinz baked beans which apparently are the shop’s biggest seller, apart from the chocolate. Why buy these beans when Safeway has 200 different kinds? I can’t explain-it just has to be the Brit version on my toast.
Let me get back to the chocolate-a fellow blogger (thank you Wendy) mentioned Galaxy chocolate in one of her blogs. I’ve been craving that particular kind all week. So today I got a Galaxy ripple and ate it on the way back in the car-heaven! Hershey’s make a version of Cadbury’s here but it’s not as good-I can detect the difference in a blind testing (sad but true).
I so love Cadbury’s that I even decorate my Christmas tree in its honour-imagine purple (for the wrapping) and gold (for the gold paper within) and you’ve got the general idea.

2. Handbags-OK, everyone has a purse but I’m a purse addict. Some might say my addiction leads me to peculiar behavior. I don’t really like to use my nice purses. I’d rather keep them wrapped up in their little soft cloth bags and keep them in the box they came in. My favorites? Louis Vuitton, Gucci and top of the tree, Lulu Guinness.
I don’t get the shoe thing-I suppose I should being a baglady but I don’t care about my feet. I’d rather not wear any shoes at all. I’ve told everyone that I want my favorite red LV bag to go in the coffin with me when I die-is that good forward planning or just plain morbid?

I also love cricket, Tetris, rugby and football (the European kind). I’ll wait for a lull and bore you with those another day.

The Grim Blogger

I realized recently, that on my other blog, (the one that stays within a small loop of writers and allows me to gripe a lot), I’ve been getting a bit grim. I suppose I’ve got to the point in my writing career where I realized that it’s just me against the odds. I have a bad feeling that anyone reading my posts over there must be thinking getting published isn’t quite the joyful, liberating experience they thought it might be.
Well it is. (honestly!)
But-I find I have a tendency to grit my teeth and get all ‘driven’ when I get a partial or a full manuscript rejected or a contest entry trashed. I’ve been there so many times-but I’ve finally realized that it’s just not worth agonizing over these things. Now I just write.. In the last year as well as getting published by Ellora’s Cave, I’ve finalled and won some RWA contests, had three fulls rejected and at least ten partials.
You have to make a choice. Give up or keep going. That’s a decision only the individual writer can make. After the dejection of rejection, you have to make up your mind. How much do you want it? How much is it worth to you? Of course, it’s probably easier for me to make these lofty statements now that I’ve had some validation.(g) But I want more. I want to have lots of books published in different sub-genres.
I think it’s my Irish fatalistic streak showing, mixed with some English grit. All I can do is write. I love to write, It’s as important to me as breathing. The rest is out of my hands.
Have I depressed everyone on this blog now?
Let me end on a happy note.
I’ve survived a whole day with 4 kids on my own while Mr Kate heads off to China!

My new cover

As you might have noticed, if you look at the first page of my website, (and if you haven’t-go take a look now, we’ll wait for you) I’ve received the cover art for “Eden’s Pleasure”. I was a bit worried about how it would look. I went to a workshop in Reno RWA called “When bad covers happen to good writers”, it was meant to be funny but one author did mention that a particularly bad cover once set her back thousands of sold copies resulting in less orders for her next book etc etc.

One evening last week, my editor sent me an email with the cover attached. For some reason, the cover hadn’t actually attached itself. I spent the whole night worrying about it. Of course, when it finally arrived the next morning I was so excited. It had all the elements I’d requested, sexy, subtle, elegant and dark. It’s the kind of cover I would pick up for another look if I was in a book store (and to be honest, I spend way too much time and money in bookstores already!).

I think I’ve emailed it to almost everyone I’ve ever met on this planet. It’s so weird to see my name-on a BOOK-surreal, in fact. It’s been my dream for so long and here it is. I printed off a copy to put on my desk so that I can stare at it and marvel at how big my name is. (Childish but true). It’s a great feeling.

In other news-my delightful children-well , three of them, returned to school this week leaving me to the tender mercies of my 3 year old who wants me to ‘play’ dollies with her. All her games end up with me being a baddie who captures all the princesses and ties them up. She also insists that Princess Beona should marry Prince Charming rather than Shrek. I’m not sure why-but it’s amazing that a 3 year old with 3 big brothers still wants to play at falling in love and being rescued. I’ll have to lay off the Disney dvd’s.

I also got a new car after trading in my gas guzzler. It’s odd being down close to the ground again but a joy being able to park without a man following me around with a flag and a measuring tape. The new car has so many gadgets in it that I’ll need to ask my kids to explain them to me. Meanwhile, I’m still locking them out of the car and failing to press the start button then wondering why the engine won’t work. I’ll get there eventually.