Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Ten things you didn't know about me

OK, so I'm still waiting.  And I think I could be waiting a while.  The editor I'm working with will have been busy with the medical fast-track all through the month of August, and she is part of one of the teams for New Voices, Romance is Not Dead which starts on the 6 September.  So I think that will keep her pretty busy too.
So in the meantime, here is an idea blatantly stolen from Jane Holland.  So here it is...

Ten Things You Didn't Know About Me

  1. I wrote my first book age 8.  It was called Shirley and the Magic Purse and I was very proud of it.  My favourite part was the full page describing an army of mice all with names beginning with M....
  2. I am an absolute sci-fi fanatic.  Especially Star Trek The Next Generation.  In my dreams I am Captain Picard's daughter, which means I get away with anything.  But I enjoy all forms of sci-fi and yes, I do have a Star Trek outfit which I have been known to wear on occasion.  But the biggest giveaway is my son, Elliott, who was named after the little boy in ET.
  3. I had a spat with J-Lo's manager.  My friends and I had tickets for TFI Friday in London and managed to blag our way into the bar where Chris Evans did all the interviews.  J-Lo was a guest (it was before she was HUGE) and came with an entourage that almost filled the already packed bar.  Her manager was standing behind me and was a hideous, frantic woman.  As J-Lo walked in and sat down next to Chris this woman was wittering behind me in my ear "Is she okay?  Is she okay?  Do you think she's okay?"  The bar was free at TFI Friday's and I'd had a few.  I couldn't hear the interview for this daft woman so eventually I turned round and said "OF COURSE SHE'S BL***Y ALRIGHT, SHE'S ONLY WALKED FIVE STEPS AND SAT DOWN.  NOW SHUT UP SO I CAN HEAR!"  I think the thick Scottish accent flummoxed her and she shut up.
  4. As a child I was a great singer and had star parts playing Joseph in Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat and the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz.  Today I could clear the room by singing the first few lines of any song.  I am AWFUL.
  5. I am a learning junkie.  I trained as a nurse, then did a BSc degree at night school while working.  Then I trained a health visitor and did a BA degree.  I started an English Literature degree with the Open Uni.  Then did a Masters.  Finally, last year I did a few extra modules in the Masters in Public Health, Epidemiology and Communicable Disease, because I thought they would be interesting.
  6. I've been diabetic since age 8 and do 4 injections a day.  I was a boring teenager and never did any of the rebellion stuff and have always did my injections the way I should.  I had a wonderful Diabetic Liaison Nurse who gave me a reference to do nursing, then spent the next few years trying to persuade me to be a Diabetic Liaison Nurse too, as there aren't any in Scotland who actually have the condition.  I love chocolate and as long as I don't use it as my sole food source there is no reason I can't eat some.  The experience of being a patient is VERY different to the experience of nursing someone with diabetes.  And I firmly believe, that no-one can know everything.  I generally keep well, but like anyone can have spells where things are difficult.  For a control freak like me that can be hard, however I've been blessed with 2 healthy children, so I must be doing something right.

  7. This is my dirty confession - I am a Radley-a-holic.  I can't resist them and firmly believe that a girl can never have too many Radleys.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
    8.  I spend an absolutely ridiculous amount of money on books.  I am a book addict.  I subscribe to the medicals, but buy everything else I see recommended anywhere.  In the last two years I've catalogued every Mills and Boon/Harlequin book I've read.  That's 223.  Taking notes on conflict, black moments, story arcs.  The bonus is that I registered for Gift Aid at the local Oxfam, where I donate all my books.  In the last six months I've made them over £300, so even though you can't find a surface in my house without books on it, I can smile.
    9.  I have absolutely NO patience.  A bit of sad confession for a mother of two and a nurse.  It's kind of strange because as a health visitor I had lots of patience for other people's children and as a nurse I had all the patience in the world for my patients.  But put me in queue and I'm guaranteed to flip my lid.
    10.  Finally, I really, really want to write Medicals and hope that one day, the dream will become a reality.
    Last thing, I want to say a HUGE congratulations to Joanne Coles and Suzanne Jones who both submitted to the Medical Fast-track and received requests.  GO GIRLS!  (Jo also gave me an idiot's guide to learning to link names in blogging, so if it hasn't worked....)

Monday, 16 August 2010

It's away Part 3

So the revisions are done and have flown away to Mills and Boon land.  And I know they've landed because I've had a lovely email to tell me.  So what now?  Because this is the time that the crows of doubt usually land.  And they've been known to heckle me quite a lot.  So I'm looking back through my lists and thinking "Did I capture what they want?" and "Will I be in with a shot?"
Then there is the really big question - WHAT IF THEY HATE IT?  What if they think we've given her two chances, she hasn't delivered, let's just ditch her.  In the meantime Harlequin has a medical fast-track until the 24 August.  If I hadn't had this opportunity I would have submitted. 
Then there is the New Voices contest.  Would I be brave enough to submit a chapter for the whole world to read?  In the meantime I have decided to plan ahead.  I have last year's story to rewrite.  This time with a POV.  I've done the first three chapters but will continue with the rest.  It's good practice in rewriting and editing.  I am also doing Shirley Jump's online class From Good To Sold.  Halfway through and it's proving quite inspiring.  It really nice to read the whole classes homework and the changes she suggests.  I am also planning towork on something else and try and put a synopsis together.  So this is me trying to be calm while I'm waiting, what do you think?

And finally, a big congratulations to two Australian Medical Romance Authors who won a R*BY for their stories.
Sharon Archer for Marriage Reunited: Baby on the Way Winner of Short Sweet
Amy Andrews for A Doctor, A Nurse: A Christmas Baby Winner of Short Sexy
It's lovely to see medical authors getting recognition for their work, sometimes medical books aren't eligible for some awards, or are overlooked, so I was delighted to see some medical authors waving the flags.  Well done Ladies!

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Revisions received, time to get to work!

Okay...so this is me.  Stuck between plain terrified and stressed!  I've received my revisions from my editor and it's time to get to work. 
The truth is they are fine.  Five pages of notes and a genius action plan which is very concise and just what I need.  It tells me in one page and a few bullet points exactly what to change.  Some things are going to need a little thinking through.  My problem here is the time scale.  I need to give some indication of how long I think the revisions will take me.  Of course I want to do them all NOW.  But right now, I'm really not that sure how long they are going to take me.
Plus on top of all that - I'm scared.  There I've said it.  I'm scared I might do these wrong.  You know what I mean.  I'm a data nerd and posted on eharlequin about getting some stats, and someone gave me some.  I wondered how many people who submitted partials were asked for fulls.  Then how many fulls got revisions. Then how many get second revisions and how many go on to be bought.  I've seen lots of people on the eharlequin boards who've got to this stage and then got a big fat R.  So that's what I'm afraid of.  But on to better things...
Jenny Harper who I met at the RNA conference sent me a sparkly pic of my black dress.  Who said black was boring!  I was also invited to join an email group for Writers Scotland which seems very informative and supportive.  And last but not least I heard Rachael Johns talking about an online course on her blog and decided to join in, so Shirley Jump's From Good to Sold (I'm rubbish and don't know how to do things that link) now has myself, Rachael and Joanne Pibworth on board.  It seems we apparently are the bad girls at the back of the class, some things never change!  It's proving to be value for money already and it lasts until the end of August.  So I'm listening to what she says as I'm plotting my revisions.
Last of all, good luck to everyone at the Romance conference in Australia - I'm expecting FULL reports on your return!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Holidays....and waiting...

So we have just got back from a fabulous Mediterranean cruise on a beautiful ship with Swarovski crystals in the stairs.  Yes, you will have to look hard at the picture to see them but I swear they are there!  I could also tell a few tales about a terrifying visit to the Medina in Tunis and a very annoying man at Heathrow who rebooks your flight when you've been delayed.  But this is not an adult only blog and swear words are definitely not allowed!
So a week spent in Genoa Italy, Pompeii, Palermo Sicily, Tunis, Palma Majorca, Barcelona and Marseille was certainly something to dream about.  Can I pretend it was all research for my next story, which incidentally is set on a cruise ship?  Actually, I wrote it last year and am currently revising it.  Not because any of the geographical details are wrong, just because I managed to write a whole romance novel with no POV.  Yes, I did.  55,000 words of it.  Actually I think there should an award for that and I do mean a raspberry type award.  Never mind, revising is fun and it gives me something to do, it also means I can see improvements in my work which I am eternally grateful for.

I wanted to post some really cool pictures of Pompeii but when I looked at them all I realised that I had lots of pictures of the artefacts and practically no pictures of the family.  Ooops. 

So decided to take a bit of artistic licence and show you a picture from Chateau D'if in Marseille.  It was the prison that inspired Alexander Dumas to write The Count of Monte Cristo and was absolutely fascinating to visit.  See, it is connected to writing! The cell I am pictured in held one prisoner for 19 years.  All the prisoners names and length of stay were above each of the individual cells (including the one that inspired the story and - no - he wasn't a Count).

And now for the waiting.  Because that's what I'm doing.  I'm still waiting to hear about the revisions that they want done on the current book.  Patience is a skill I have never been very good at (and being a nurse and a mum that almost seems a criminal offence) so I guess it's time to learn.  I know that right now M & B are fast-tracking all medical submissions in the month of August. So I think I might have to wait until that is completed.  I actually would really like to submit the other story I've revised but I know that I can't.  I also would like to try and submit to the New Voices Romance is not Dead competition - have you seen the fantastic prizes??  But I know that I won't do either of these things.  Both seem like fabulous opportunities but I've been really lucky and am currently working with an editor so I think it wouldn't seem fair to try and do this too.  I remember the furore last time around and wouldn't like to be part of that when right now, I have an opportunity of my own.  I also wonder if I really have the guts to submit a chapter that everyone in the world gets to read.  I mean, really, what if everyone thought that it was rubbish and said so??
So I'm going to sit here patiently waiting.  But I'm not back at work for the next ten days and my fingers are itching to type.....
Anyone else submitting?