Friday, 25 June 2010

A very sad day

Wednesday was a very sad day for me. As those of you know who follow this blog, I have been made redundant. I was finding it hard to carry on working knowing I had to leave there so it was agreed that I could leave early and Wednesday was my last day working in a job I've been doing for just over 20 years. I had a leaving do on Tuesday, because of the football on Wednesday. My line manager gave a speech which was well researched in that she mentioned all about my writing letters, getting prizes for them and my novels, and also mentioned how many students I'd seen over the years. Too many to count I think. We had nibbles and drinks and I enjoyed it. Also, my dear colleague and friend Michelle, gave a talk too, describing our working relationship like an ideal marriage, with my loyalty and letting her do the work her way. I will miss you Michelle. Wednesday I handed over to the temp, did a major declutter of desk and drawers and cleared out lots of paper, which went for recycling. I was taken out to lunch by two colleagues to the London Hilton and had a very nice time and a very full stomach at the end of it. In the afternoon I got another presentation, with music, where I was given 2 gift cards (for WHS and House of Fraser), a bouquet of flowers and a big card. Here is the card:

I read the messages that night and I have to say I did have tears in my eyes at all the well wishes for me and my writing, and esp Michelle's. I gave some of the others hugs near the end of the day to say farewell.
At the moment it feels like I am on holiday and will be going back in a couple of weeks time. Then it will probably hit me that I am not going back to work. I have promised to keep in touch with some of them at work and that I will do starting today.
My next post will be about writing and my new writing regime now that I am a lady of leisure.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Books I loved as a child

I've been tagged by Nell Dixon (thanks Nell) to name the book I loved most as a child. So here we go.

I can't remember one particular book but I did love reading Enid Blyton's Famous Five books and the school books such as Malory Towers. I loved the mystery and adventure side of Famous Five and think maybe that's why I like reading adult romance suspense and write children's books with a bit of magic and mystery to them. I loved the midnight feasts in the school books and wanted to do that myself. Again maybe liking that sort of book is why I've written my current children's books in a school, and plan to write more in either a school or college.

I now tag Janet Gover and Julie Cohen.

Talking of children's books, I have got a rejection for Allie from the publisher. She said that I did a good job paring it down but it read too fast and needed to keep the lessons to a minimum, there were too many references to Rosie for people who've not read it before and too much telling rather than showing. I think I might send it off to be critiqued to give it a good go again, whilst I continue with Georgina's story.

Back to work.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Loving writing

Whilst I was writing a story for a competition last week it came to me that I really love writing. It is something that I really enjoy doing, and something I want to continue doing and hopefully make a career of. I also love talking about writing to other writers, something I found out last week when I went to a social get together of children's writers. We got talking about our writing and what we were doing currently, and whilst listening to another author, I came up with ideas to help her (which I think she'd done anyway) but I enjoyed the chit chat. I had great fun and can't wait to meet up with more authors again.

Today I am going to revise Chapter 4 of Georgina, and try to cut at least three pages from it. The first page and a half I have in mind to cut anyway as I have decided that each chapter will either start as her journey to school or be at school, to make the action start immediately, as that is where the things happen to her. I typed up revisions to chapter 2 at the weekend and it's now down to just under 51,500 words. A lot to go. Tomorrow I will revise Chapter 4.

Back to work now.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Latest rubbish diet challenge

I have decided to do a gradual no zero waste week by starting with one room and gradually reducing waste in all other rooms at my house. This week I am doing no waste in my bedroom and so far so good. All I have put in there is a bit of fluff, no tissues or wipes which usually go in there during the week. If I reduce waste in one room then there will be less in the bag at the end of the week that goes in the bin. Next week I plan to try to reduce the waste in the bathroom, and I have ideas how to go about doing that.

Well, must get on with work now. Be back later this week about writing.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Revising Georgina

I am now hard at work revising/cutting Georgina's story. The first draft typed up came to 54,242 words and now after cutting both chapters 1 and 2, it is down to 52, 445 words. Still a lot to do. Chapter 3 is I've counted currently 20 pages long, and ideally I want it that halved, so lots of work to do. I have decided to do it in two stages. Stage 1 is cutting the number of pages in each chapter down to hopefully 10; then stage 2 is moving scenes about, probably forward, like I had to do in Allie. Hopefully by the end of stage 1 I will know how many more words I will need to cut to get it down to either 30,000 or maybe even less at 25,000. I have calculated that if each page is 250 words (standard length), and I have 10 pages in 10 chapters, then it might work out about 25,000 in the end. 10x250 = 2500 x 10 = 25000. I shall put down each stage of revisions and word counts here when I have done revisions as I either do each chapter or two chapters in a week. We shall see how it goes.

I think later on in the week I shall put here my latest rubbish diet challenge.

Saturday, 5 June 2010


I had my third Chatterbooks session this morning and believe it went well. I gave my talk about how Rosie got published, from first idea to being published, which included showing drafts, proofs, contracts and cover agreement. Then I answered questions on being a writer, and lastly I did my colour foods workshop, which I hadn't done before. It's pretty similar to my letter one I did at Manor House last month, in that instead of letters I had colours that everyone had to write foods that colour. I then asked them to write down if they had magical powers, how they'd get the foods to get people better. The two boys (brothers) both were fixated about germs and killing them. All in all I really enjoyed it and managed to sell one book, to the library.

My next talk/session will be at Bromley Oxfam for the Oxfam Bookfest in July, where I'll be doing a book reading, quiz with prizes for the children who have signed up for it, answering questions and a book signing.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

It's gone.

Allie is now complete and on her way to a publisher. I managed to finish printing it all off with the query letter at the weekend (it helped having the Bank Holiday off). While I wait to hear about that book, I am working hard on Georgina. And I do have a lot of work to do on that. Whilst typing up the chapters last week, I found scenes that aren't relevant to the story, so I need to change or cut those out. I had mixed up one lesson with another so have to rewrite that. And then when printing out chapters over the weekend, found that they were at least 20 pages long, which is twice the length they should be, esp when I heard Sophie McKenzie say that her chapters are no longer than 6 pages. A lot of cutting and moving around text to do to come for me, me thinks. I don't mind, it's half the fun the revisions.

Must get on with some work now.