Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Chapter 2 is typed up

I have now typed up Chapter 2 (finished at work on floppy) and copied it over to the proper document at home. I did a word count and it already comes to 11,500 words, a bit too much I think so far. I feel that Chapter 2 is too long, so might divide it into 2 chapters - morning and afternoon once I've done the whole book. I have already started writing Chapter 3. Most of what happens to Allie depends on what lessons she has that particular day, and I thought yes let her learn that in English and that in Citizenship. To be sure that I was teaching her the right lessons, I have searched on the net for the national curriculum and hey, what I thought to teach her is about right for her year, so will go ahead and put it in the book. She has one member of her team at home so far, and will have 4 more I think to help, plus one at school. Things are about to get tougher for her in this chapter, to come to a climax in Chapter 4 when realisation what is happening dawns on her and she confronts Mrs Zabberwol. I can't wait to write this. I have decided that after writing this one, I will in fact finish the set and write the 3rd book which is Georgia's story. Then I will rewrite Forgotten Memories as a RS and try to target an e publisher.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

A tasty surprise

You remember that I said I'd won a prize of some organic wine for my star letter in Healthy and Organic Living mag? Well, I was wrong. I didn't win that prize at all but I organic hamper bag full of tasty goodies.
I got home on Thursday to my mum saying that I'd received a parcel which had intrigued her all afternoon. Anyway, I opened it to find the organic hamper bag, which contained poppy seed dressing, honey, Fairtrade tea, crystallized seville orange slices dipped in dark choc (I thought it was dark kirsch cherries but have just found out differently), cider mustard, giant milk choc buttons and clotted cream fudge. The milk choc buttons my mum and I ate that night and were very tasty, the mustard and fudge I gave to our next door neighbours, and the dark seville slices, well, that are more than tasty. It was a much better prize for me than I thought, and to prove I did get it, here is a picture of some of the goodies and its bag.

Don't you think they look tasty? The dark seville slices are the ones in the black and orange tub at the front next to the honey. I didn't put them at the front like that on purpose, honestly.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Chapter 2 is finished!

I have just finished writing Chapter 2 of Allie. It has taken less time that I thought it would because it is very quiet here at work with most of the students either on their summer holidays or away abroad as part of their course, and yesterday and today I have been on my own because my supervisor is off sick and not giving me back letters I have given her to check and sign. So being on my own in the quiet has proven useful to me. I have also been typing Chapter 2 up then saving it on a disc, as the work has slowed down here now, until my supervisor is back tomorrow (I hope). I was thinking of starting Chapter 3 next week but if it's quiet again tomorrow then I might start work on it then as I know how it will start.

Also this morning I got some information for an article I want to send to an organic magazine I regularly read. I just needed addresses and websites to put on it which I managed to find and wrote them down, so I can complete it at the weekend and send off, with my photo, next week.

Well, this is all for now. Must look like I'm doing some proper work.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Allie - Chapter 2

Well, have nearly finished Chapter 2. Allie is getting even more suspicious of her head, Mrs Zabberwol, sure that she has powers of sense of nearness. Allie is starting to get her team of helpers now, with one girl who throws cans etc away and one who throws paper away. There will come helpers who waste water and electricity, food and its packaging, plus Rosie and a couple of others from Rosie's team. I mentioned before that there will be a twist in this book, with enemies. I have already created one enemy from one of her teachers, but will create one that comes from outside and nothing to do with the school, might be one of the school girls who is new. I am debating in book 3 whether to include another enemy from outside and mention he is an enemy from the previous head's reign, who I am thinking of making the person in charge of another series I have in mind. I am quite excited about this idea.

Well, must get on with some work. Have a bbg here at work to go to shortly and looking forward to that. Have never had bbq food before, and am wary of it in case it's not cooked properly. I don't want food poisoning tomorrow. I shall live.

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Allie - so far

I am now up to a third through Chapter 2 of Allie, and so far I have made her dream of being in a dark room which sucks air out of her, which I made into reality for her during a lesson. She suspects that some of her teachers and the head have powers, especially now that I have given her one of her own, and she also suspects that her best mate Rosie knows what is happening to her and why. By the end of the chapter I think I will give her another magical power that can help the school, and more by the end of the book. I have decided that for the next few chapters, Allie will have a dream to warn her of what is about to happen so she can figure what she has to do to solve the problem. I am having fun writing this book, like I did Rosie, making up all these powers and magic for my girls. I didn't do any writing today because I didn't feel like it but will get back to Chapter 2 tomorrow for some more fun with Allie.

Well, must get back to work now.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Conference - Sunday

The first session was a PR round up and it was rather impressive what PR the RNA had got over the year.
Then came a talk by Jane Wenham-Jones, who was very funny talking about how she wrote her how-to book, and ended telling us about her yogurt and cucumber spa incident in Egypt, which had us in fits of laughter.
All these talks were in the chapel, which had glass windows..
After break was a session on how to get your website to help promote you by Kate Walker, with added briefs by Julie Cohen on why she changed her website design and why she chose that design, and by Anna Scamans about why she chose her website design (because it reflected the mood of her book and also the cover of her book). It got me thinking about possibly having a website of my own in the very near future. We shall see.
Then finally came the talk from the agent, Caroline Sheldon. She talked first about the loss of the NBA and what it has meant to the publishing world. Then talked about what she and her agency does and how they operated, followed by a Q&A session. It was during this bit that my ears pricked up when I heard her say she also represents children’s writers and I made a note of this. I also made a note that she liked bright coloured folders.
Then it was lunch and fate took over when Caroline sat next to me. It was during lunch that I heard another writer who was sitting diagonally from me say that she had pitched Caroline, and I began to think why can’t I then. So my heart beating loudly whilst I waited for the right moment, I plucked up courage and finally pitched Rosie to her and she said, yes, send me a letter telling me all about it.
So whilst I waited for Angela to do her packing and get back to me, I drafted a letter to Caroline, which I added to on the train home.
So, the conference ended for me on a high, and I got home very happy. And I can't believe all that was a week ago now.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Conference - Saturday

Breakfast was OK. I had cornflakes with the chocolate flavoured Oatly I’d brought with me, but was hungry by the first break so had a rich tea, again which I’d brought with me. The first talk was called Arresting the Editor by Diane Pearson, the President of the RNA. She talked about arresting the editor with your first line, which should set the tone, mood and scene of the book. This made me think that I wasn’t sure if my novella did this. She also mentioned that most editors prefer a short synopsis, which doesn’t tell the whole story but gives a hint of where the ending is going. This was conflicting advice that most of us heard already been told by agents etc, who had said that they wanted to know the whole story including the ending.
The 2nd talk was all about networking at parties and how to approach editors and how not to. It was really funny. It was taken by Eileen Ramsay and Liz Bailey and I have to say they are a great team. First they told us how to network then they showed us by pretending to be horrific writers then nice ones. Then they got us to team up in 4s and one of us has to be the writer approaching the editors and guess who got first go at being the writer…yes, me. I was teamed up with authors, Ivy Lord, Catherine King and Dee Williams, who were very helpful to me and gave me advice on what to say etc. I have to say that this session and my team was very helpful for me and it was what I did in that session that helped me do what I did the next day at lunch.
The 3rd talk was Sense of Place by Anna Scamans, who writes RS for Medallion Press and keeps her English sense of place in her books. She got us writing pieces on photos she gave us about making a character comfortable in one place, then out of their zone in another. I found this very good and the pieces I wrote I might make into novels later on.
The 4th talk was by Midas about PR, which wasn’t that helpful for me as an aspiring author. This was where my lack of sleep and warmth overcame me and I had to leave the room for some air. The lady next to me, Marjorie (Hi Marjorie) was very kind and came with me and gave me some water to drink. Of course, others had seen me leave the room and during the day and the next people were asking after me. That is the RNA members for you. They are so kind and warm to you.
Then was lunch which I wasn’t too impressed with, esp after having to queue up for it. I had samosas, brown bread roll with sunflower spread and new potatoes (cold). Then after lunch was Sue Moorcroft’s talk on writing commercial short stories. I found this very helpful as I have tried these before without luck and now might give it a go again. Then was the talk by rom-com writer Jill Mansell and how she writes. She writes like me in longhand but then gets someone else to type it up. What amazed me is that she doesn’t write in chapters, just writes the book then divides it into chapters. She does do a time line for her books, which she showed us sellotaped together pages of paper. Jill was very nice and sat opposite me at dinner
She sat next to Sarah Duncan, who writes women’s fiction, who sat next to Jane Wenham-Jones (rom-com) and Kate Harrison (chick lit) who was opposite Katie Fforde.

I then went back to my room to relax but couldn’t and ended up reading and sorting things out in my bag.
The dinner wasn’t that impressive either for me. It was a starter of ryvitas with salad and pate. I ate the ryvitas and tomato bits but nothing else. Then was the main of roast duck, new potatoes, green beans and carrots. I don’t normally eat duck because it usually tastes fatty but this didn’t. The dessert for me was fresh fruit consisting of pineapple and grapes. The others had a lemon cheesecaky thing which looked delicious.
After dinner was the awarding of the Elizabeth Goudge trophy, and this year was won by Imogen with another fairy story. It was Imogen’s first conference and she was in tears of surprise at winning.
We then went onto the bar for a drink and chat and I met another writer called Alison whose sister actually lives in Forest Hill, near where I live.
I tried to get to sleep and have a restful night but it wasn’t to be again. My home bed was starting to call for me.

I have tried to put pictures in here but they appear in the wrong place, so it's an account without pictures for this day.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Conference - Friday

Well, Angela and I got to Chichester in time. The first talk was just a welcome, then we had Celebrations, clapping anyone who was mentioned who'd had a book accepted/deal done, and then it was the author panel. They talked about why they write what they do and how they got to do it, what they would like to write other than what they currently write, what they thought the next trend in their sub genre was. It was interesting to hear why they write what they do. I agreed with Cat Marsters who said that she writes paranormal contemporary cos she doesn't want to do the research, and I feel the same, and Anna Jacobs bemused me when she said that she resented having to sleep 8 hours, she just wants to write. That is one dedicated writer. I love my writing too but I also need my sleep. After that it was time to relax in your room or go to the bar and I chose to rest in my room but couldn't rest that much and ended up getting up and doing bits and pieces. 7pm was dinner and I wasn't that impressed with my non dairy alternative of savoury mince and white rice. The mince was okay apart from the mushrooms which I took out, but I don't usually eat white rice cos of it being simple carbs and the fact that white rice has a certain affect on me, which it did that night, thankfully whilst I was in my room. I didn't sleep that well either. I woke up in the early hours and stayed awake for a couple of hours, and I think read a bit, ate a bit etc before I went to sleep again.

I was tired the next morning and it affected me badly as I will tell you next time, once I have my notes on me.

Must get on with some more work now.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Conference News

Well, I am now back from the RNA Conference and am pleased I have today off work. I will blog later about everything I did at the conference but for now I just want to tell everyone my news from yesterday. The last talk I went to yesterday was by an agent who mentioned she also represented children's writers. I took note of this, in capitals, and thought I'd write to her later on about Rosie. But then came lunch and who should end up sitting next to me...yes, the agent. During lunch I heard another writer say that she pitched to the agent and I decided that I would have a go. So just before everyone left to go home or leave for the afternoon talk I plucked up courage and pitched Rosie to this agent, and guess what, she invited me to send in a partial to her to have a look at. Was I excited and on a high. I still can't believe I did that. So that is what I plan to do today. Get the partial ready to send off to her this week.

As if I wasn't already on a high, when I got home yesterday in the post was the latest issue of Healthy and Organic Living magazine and guess who's letter was the star letter. Yes, mine! I win a prize of some organic wines, which due to taking medication, neither my mum nor I can drink them, so will be saving some for my brother and giving one to next door, showing them the letter at the same time. The prize is worth £35 and I can't believe it. The letter was all about my feelings on fluoride after reading their truth about it article and then going to the dentist. What an end to the week.

Well, that's my exciting news for now. Back to work tomorrow.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

More small successes

I have had 2 more small successes this week. Yesterday I got the latest copy of Writing Magazine and have a letter in that, and also the latest copy of Crystal, and have a story in that. Have registered them both with the ALCS so don't know if I get any more money for them.

That's all for now. Hope to finish Chapter 1 of Allie later and finish packing for the conference tomorrow.

See you soon.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Green Parenting Show and letters

I went to a small show called the Green Parenting Show in Dulwich, se London last Saturday. Wasn't sure what I was really expecting but it wasn't what I thought it was going to be. I was thinking about a mini Vitality Show of different companies with their different green and organic products but it turned out to be local companies with their products mainly aimed at young mothers and their children (not my mum and I). I suppose it was quite encouraging to see local people using and buying organic stuff, as it is good for the own health as well as their children. I did see there a team from So Organic shop and had a little chat with them, and mum showed them my letter in the newconsumer magazine (mention more later), and they were enthusiastic about it, and the man (owner's husband) told me that they are planning to do an on line newsletter where people could blog and contribute. I sounded pleased, as it could be a springboard for me and my passions. One thing we did buy there and that was slices of organic home made cake, which didn't have milk, soya or egg in. We had chocolate, lemon and pumpkin seed and ginger and they were all nice. We filled in a feedback form and got a goody bag which had eco washing powder in, cereal packs, cereal bars and fairtrade teabags in, all which have either been eaten already or will be put to use soon.

I mentioned letters. Well June was a good month for me and letters. I had one published in Writers News, one in Healthy and Organic Living and one newconsumer magazine. The one in newconsumer was all about converting my dad to using organics but that is no longer true as he has suddenly changed his mind and told my mum in no uncertain terms that he doesn't like them and doesn't want them. That was that convert turned, and I don't know why. That is all I will say on the matter because he has upset me about it after I gave them to him for Father's Day.

The next time I will be here I should be blogging about the RNA Conference this coming weekend.