Beautiful Corfe. Have you been?

Corfe Castle is as its name suggests; a castle nestled high on the hill in the village it dominates and lends its title to. As a child, on our way to Studland Bay, I’d gaze wistfully at its majestic beauty, my forehead pressed up against the window as I dreamed of lords and ladies and princesses of yesteryear, always dreaming of visiting one day with my own gallant knight. Corfe Castle had me entranced, and I knew my first experience within the castle grounds had to be with someone special. Not just anyone, but the man I was going to marry. Continue reading

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Planning and preparation for novel number three underway

As some of you know, in October 2012 I embarked upon a new adventure when I left the world of Monday to Friday, nine-to-five, in favour of becoming a full-time mother, and writing at every available opportunity (usually when my daughter slept, which gave me a good two and a half hours each day).

In November 2012, I wrote my first novel, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). What then followed was months of many, many revisions until I felt the story was finished and ready. The problem was, what started out being a contemporary romance novel, turned into what some might call a time-travel romance, which was never my intention. This, of course, complicated matters as there began lots of shifting back and forth to make sure dates and times and scenes corresponded with each other. Then, finally, at the beginning of the year, I decided to put it out there via a contest, and had some wonderful feedback, albeit along with a polite rejection. I’ve since had further feedback, suggesting that the pacing needs some work. So, I decided to sit on it for a while, and begin revisions on my second novel, Labour of Love, which I also wrote during NaNoWriMo 2013.

Novel number two was a fully planned and executed contemporary romance, and I have to admit, I absolutely loved writing it. I had my moments when I wondered if the dynamics would work, but two very wise women both told me, write what you want to write. In honesty, my hero and heroine are more true-life than glitz and glamour. I’ve been informed several times over that the rich alpha male is what sells – the happy ever after that romance readers aspire to. Except, I live in the real world, and people have real problems and have to find ways to overcome them. I’ve read plenty of romance/women’s fiction novels in my time and always love the books I can identify with – the ones where I’ve been there, lived that, had that type of relationship. I’ve never aspired to fall in love with a rich man and live happily ever after. Just a good, honest, loving man, who would take care of me (and he certainly does). So I’m going to stick with it, but will let it rest for a while before I return to it and read it objectively. After that, I might – just might – think about sending it ‘out there’.

In the meantime, novel number three is the sequel to my first novel, Time for Love, which is set in two different time zones and has the customary antagonist. The thing is, the antagonist became so much fun to write and literally jumped off the page, that I felt it necessary to give him a story of his own, along with his very own heroine. So, the planning has begun. Since I finished the second draft of Labour of Love, I’ve been drafting a synopsis and character profiles, and am about to delve into research into the 1930s (the time of The Great Depression). Incidentally, this one won’t be an easy task, much like its preceding story, but I’m going to have a lot of fun writing it.

While I’m busy squirreling away, I’d like to say a little thanks for your continued support. I know there are plenty of you desperate to read Time for Love, and your patience is gratefully noted. I look forward to being able to deliver it in time and equally hope it’s worth the wait. 🙂

Book number three in the making

For those of you who read the opening chapters of The Gateway many months ago, you’ll be interested to hear that they’ve changed a great deal since Emmeline’s story first emerged in my head. I can’t share any of it with you currently, as I have sent it for consideration to a publisher and am awaiting their response: yay or nay. I pitched the story to them last week, and was over the moon to pique their interest and be invited to submit the entire manuscript. Even if the only response I get is thank you but no thank you, that’s good enough for me, as I’ve taken the first step in getting it “out there”. 

More excitingly, as many authors find, one or two secondary characters have gradually taken on a life and journey of their own, and I’ve found myself over the past few weeks curling ideas around in my head, tasting scenarios and wondering how I could share their story. Then, yesterday, I found myself penning character traits and backgrounds, and before I knew it, a sequel had unfolded before me. I’ve just spent half an hour typing it up, and will probably spend next week doing research into the mid 1930s (that’s all I’m saying for now). 

I didn’t want to class Time For Love (formerly The Gateway, and a lot different to the original version) as a time-travel romance, but as genres would have it, it would seem that’s the category it falls into. According to Goodreads, a time-travel romance is: A novel that features time-travel or a dual-time story-line with a romance theme. This pretty much sums up Time For Love, as it’s not strictly time-travel, but is set in two different time-zones. The sequel will also follow this theme and I’m already really excited about it. I’m also nervous of the level of research required, as although it’s fiction, some aspects can’t be made-up. How I ended up weaving history into my writing is beyond me, but I really enjoy it.

On a separate note, I haven’t forgotten about my second novel, so painstakingly crafted during NaNoWriMo 2013. It’s completely unrelated to the time-travel romance books, which seem to be developing themselves in my mind. In fact, novel number two – a contemporary romance – has been printed and is patiently awaiting a redraft.

So, while I’ve been quiet, rest assured that I am squirreling away behind the scenes, and seem to have found a new addiction. I just wish I could spend all day dreaming up stories, characters and plot-lines, but real life must go on and I have some potatoes waiting to go in the oven for our Sunday roast. 

Thanks for reading, I’m off to finish making dinner, while my mind wanders to a time long ago. 🙂 

Time for… an update

Well, I didn’t make the top 50 in the contest for So You Think You Can Write. These past few weeks have been both exciting and stressful as I’ve pushed myself to finish the third draft of newly titled Time for Love – formerly The Gateway, and then plummeted down from an intense high when I realised I wasn’t one of the chosen ones.

I think deep down I knew it was unlikely, but there was still that little part of me which hoped I’d at least final after the effort that went into the submission. Everyone who entered knows the struggle we all went through in those first few weeks, but I don’t regret entering the competition at all. The mantra was always “what do I have to lose?”. Of course the answer was nothing, as I’ve now connected with even more amazing people, a network of writers – both published and unpublished – always there to lend a sympathetic ear or bounce about with pom-poms, cheering each other on.

Since the top 50 finalists were contacted, I’ve taken a well-deserved break for a few days, while planning my next project, which I intend to write for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for you non-Wrimos, during which I wrote Time for Love last year).

Once the stress and toll of NaNoWriMo and the first (planned) draft is written, I’ll be revisiting Time for Love, polishing up any loose ends and making it as seamless as possible, then start submitting.

Because I believe there’s a home for this story somewhere, and because I’ll never give up.

Time for Love – So You Think You Can Write 2013

Time for Love – So You Think You Can Write 2013

When I stumbled across this writing contest last year and met so many wonderful writer friends and mentors, little did I know I’d be entering my own manuscript into the competition this time around. The top prize in the contest is a publishing contract with Harlequin books, leading publisher in romance novels throughout the world. While I can’t see me winning first prize, I do hope that this entry will at least be a great opportunity to showcase my work. (Of course, I would be jumping up and down and screaming for about a week if I did win!)

The last few weeks have been spent polishing the first chapter and writing a pitch for the contest, while revising and editing the rest of the novel in its third draft. It’s a really exciting time, improving the story, fleshing out the scenes and increasing tension between the characters.

For me, the best part about writing is actually living the scene for yourself, and that’s when the best of my work shines through. It’s wonderful to be able to visit another world through a story, and trying my best to deliver that world to the readers. 

Now, three days into the contest, I’m keeping everything crossed that I can make the top 50 finalists with Time for Love. It’s a nerve-wracking time, and the only thing I can do to pass that time is to keep on writing. 

Originally entitled The Gateway, I feel this novel’s new title really sums up the story. If you haven’t already read the entry, please do have a look and let me know what you think – just click on the link above. 

Huge luck to everyone else entering the contest – anyone who has written a novel knows what a hard slog it is – so a pat on the back to all of us who have come this far! 

Fingers crossed 🙂