Friday, 30 July 2010

London Walking Tour

As mentioned last Saturday I went on a walking tour of London with four other romance writers. We met up in Jermyn Street and from there went up Piccadilly, to St James' Park. I am not quite sure where we went from there but I know we saw I think Marlborough House. We went to Pall Mall, Mayfair, Berkely Square and Marylebone. On the way I took lots of photos of places and houses I never knew existed. The architecture of some of the houses was amazing and certainly not like you see today. I saw Spencer House and other houses that belonged to past aristocrats. We stopped off at a pub for lunch where I had a nice chicken and bacon sandwich made with flat bread and some peanuts. Then on for more walks. I saw lots of houses with windows bricked up, which meant that they were built before the window tax. Some years ago houses were taxed for the number of windows, so people who lived then if they couldn't afford all the taxes bricked their windows up. Something I learnt that day. We walked and walked. Saw Locks the Milliner's who made hats for the rich and famous, a pub which was either the oldest and second oldest pub in the West End. Saw the Saudi Arabian Embassy and other embassies. Saw Connaught Hotel, after we stopped off in a near gardens where I was chased by a wasp. Pesky things. We ended up in Marylebone, in a cafe where we all had cold drinks, which we were gasping for by that time. All in all I had a great time. As I said to Mum I am not normally interested in history but enjoyed the day as I found out and saw things I had no idea of knowing before. I can tell you that by the time I got home my feet were tingling after walking for miles. My legs started hurting the next day. I might do it again if one is arranged.

Walking is something I have to do more of. As I am not at work now I am not doing the walking and have no real reason to walk to the station now. So from this morning I decided that I shall walk to the station each morning to get a Metro, unless I am going shopping that morning and walking then. Watch this space to see how I go. I need the excercise as I have already put on a few pounds since being at home.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Another writing update

So where am I with my writing now? Well, I am still working hard, as I can, on Georgina's story and will be revising Chapter 5 later today. I have just sent Allie off for a critique so now wait to find out what a consultant editor thinks of it. I have already had ideas on how to change things, so will merge those with whatever they come up with. I have possibly sold a mini article via an agency to an online content provider, and have sent another one off to the editor so wait to hear about that one. I have also emailed a story for an anthology, with a deadline of end of September so a while to wait for that one. I have another story in mind for another competition but don't know if I will get it there in time as the deadline is 12th August, which isn't that far away now. Will start writing that this afternoon. And that is where my writing is at now. Oh yes, I have decided to see if I can develop plans for my writing while I can and have booked in for a professional development planning service session and wait for a date for that, as I have said I'm free all of August, except one day.

I think that's it. Next time I will talk about the walking tour of London I did at the weekend.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Conference - Day Three

Well back I went to Greenwich on the Sunday, the third and final day, in the hot sun.

The first talk I went to was by US author Rosemary Laurey who talked about what paranormal is and how to write it, then she answered questions which were mainly about her own books. Then came Adele Geras talking about young love, and what it is and involves. She also answered questions, one of which was what age range reads what. She said that 8-12s like to read teen books and teens YA books. Now I was pleased to hear that because a local library has recently told me that they believe Rosie is too old for 8-12s. It wasn't the first time that I'd heard that children like to read about characters that are older than themselves.
Then came lunch which was Lancashire hotpot, which was very nice.
I then went to the extra talks. I listened to Jane Wenham-Jones talk about getting yourself known and out there and her advice is when you are first starting out to say yes to most talks offered and to smile. It was interesting as she is a good speaker. I then went home after that and relaxed after the exhausting but inspiring weekend. Can't wait for next year.

Well, that was my conference weekend. Next time here will be about where I am at with my writing.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Conference - Day Two

Off I went back to Greenwich last Saturday for the second day. The first talk I went to was by Dee Williams. She talked about her 20 years of being published and the changes she's seen during that time. A full report will be on the RNA website soon. Next was Kate Harrison who talked about managing your writing career. She read fictional letters from fairy tale characters about writing and being published and got us to write answers about our own writing and what we want from it. Made me think about what I really want out of mine. Then was the ladies from Mira about their new teen paranormal range. I was v interested as it might be something I could do and gave me ideas. Then was lunch.

Then I listened to Janet Gover talking about researching areas you don't know or live in. I learnt a lot from that. Then was Samhain and I am definitely going to target my romantic suspense novels, when I write them, to them as they are friendly and accept new authors. A definite must for me. Then came all about social media. I am still unsure about going on Twitter and might stay with Facebook for now.

Then came the BBQ and I preferred that to the Friday dinner, and it was on time. A nice time I had and I left early so I could get home at a reasonable time to get up early the next morning.

Day three will be here over the weekend.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

RNA Conference - Day One

I think I have now got over the tiredness from the conference last week, esp the travelling to and from Greenwich each day. So now I am reporting what I heard and learnt starting on the Friday, Day one. As a day visitor I was there all day the first day. The first talk was by publisher Random House. The gist of their talk I got was that Radio 4 was good for short stories, you should know your market and write for your market, which makes it easier for them to sell the books to supermarkets. Eg Katie Fforde knows who she is writing for so they do too, so they know whom to sell her books to. For promotion, work hard on your website and social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter. When you are writing your book, you should make it catch their eye by making it easy to sell with a great hook/concept. Also, when you query one way to find out which other authors are like your books is to look on Amazon where they have the words If you like this, you will like this book too. I might do that with Rosie and see if anyone else is there.

The next talk was by David Shelley of Little Brown. I didn't take many notes from his talk but he was one of the first speakers to say that digital is going to be great for authors in the future, as he said that by 2012 ebooks could be up to 10% of sales in the UK. He also mentioned he likes Romantic Suspense but he said they can be called psychological suspense because the woman can be in jeopardy.

The third talk was by Tom Holland of the Society of Authors and he also said that digital could be good for authors in the future. He said that they are currently pushing the press to up the royalty rates for digital for authors as they don't think it's fair at the moment. He advised that authors look on their website for the recommendate rate. He also said that authors could use snippets from Amazon reviews for promotion.

Then it was lunch and then it was the start of the main conference, where Katie Fforde and Jan Jones congratulated everyone with news of sales for books and writing works. I wish I had emailed her about all my letters this year. Never mind. Maybe next year.

After that I went to a talk about writing for the US market, with a panel of authors who do and an agent. The Americans it was said are far less secular and have a funny attitude to sex. They do a lot of promo and the agent said that sometimes if publishers/agents have a choice of seeing an ms from an unpublished author and one has more online presence than the other then they might go for the author with more promo. US readers like a mixture of character nationalities, and write from the heart. The settings doesn't have be in the US. Us readers also like justice to be done and the villains published. YA is huge at the moment as well as fantasy and steampunk. Hot at the moment is paranormal, ghosts, werewolves, straight romance, RS. Readers also like futuristic by the publishers aren't buying. It didn't put me off wanting to write for the US.

Then it was romance through the ages with four novelists published in each decade answering questions. Then it was to the bar and the meal. The food was OK but it took too long to be served up and I left early and I believe so did a lot of others who were frustrated at the time it took.

Tomorrow I will write about Day Two.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Rubbish Diet

As mentioned last time I am going to talk about the rubbish diet, which now that I am not working has gone downhill. I had been taking mixed plastics to work to recycle but now I'm home full-time I can't and have had to throw away a few already, which annoys me. So I have tried to make up for it by recycling as much foil as I can and keeping shiny wrappers to send off as much as I can. It's hard going and all I can do is wait for my council to come up with a plan for plastics. Someone else wrote up to the local paper the other day about it, so hopefully they will get the idea that it's more than one person who wants it.

Well, my Oxfam book event yesterday was a flop. We didn't know until the last minute that the day clashed with schools' sports days, and so no one turned up. The manager bought a copy from me though, which was good, so at least I had one sale in the end. She came up with the idea that next year if children's authors are to be involved then perhaps it should start a week before so that it doesn't clash with school events. So maybe next year it will be better.

Next time I will talk about the conference and what went on there. Nothing naughty when it is me, I can assure you. But others...

Friday, 2 July 2010

A new writing regime

Now that I am home full-time, I have made up a new writing regime. During the week I work on my current novel and short stories, Saturdays are my research days, where I research magazines and publishers for potential things to write to them about/for. This idea I got from a reference book I've previously mentioned here by Nancy I Sanders. She gave me the idea that I could do more than stories and have decided to try my hand at puzzles. I have found a couple of children's magazines to aim for and will probably write to one of them next week, as I have ideas for puzzles in mind already. That is one thing I am now doing. I bought an expanding file this morning for the magazines and ideas I have now, also mentioned in the reference book.

Work on Georgina is taking pace now and it's now at just under 44,000. A lot to go to reach 30,000 but I now have the time to take my time doing this. I also have two stories on the go and hope to finalise these for sending out next week, along with a piece about recycling at work.

Meantime, next Monday I have the book event at my local Oxfam in Bromley. Am looking forward to that, and have been practicing reading an extract for the quiz. The manager is friendly to me and has said that they will reimburse me the money I've spent for the prizes if I take the receipt with me. Which I will do and won't forget. Then at the end of that week I have the RNA conference which I can't wait to go to and chat with my fellow romance authors.

This is my news for now and the next post will be about rubbish diet.