Hello lovely people. I’ve been heads down with the novel, trying to get it finished in good time for my New Writers’ Scheme deadline, and feel I might have neglected you all rather. And that simply won’t do. So I thought I’d pop by and update you on the fun stuff I’ve been doing since My Tricky Middle, and in between the hours of dedication at my keyboard.
The tricky middle is now a distant memory. I’m pushing the 100,000 mark and some of the sentences even make sense. It’s a case of editing and filling in a few research gaps, and I can see a glowing candelabra at the end of the tunnel. But I can assure you, while all this tippety-tapping of keys has been going on, Jack has not been a dull boy…
I’ve been to some sparkly and spangly events since my last blog, and wine might have played a teeny part in some of them. (If only the glasses had been that big and my waist really was that small.)
In March I attended the RoNAs. Wow – what an event. Iona Grey won The Goldsboro Books Romantic Novel of the Year with Letters to the Lost – which I have subsequently read and would highly recommend. Anita Burgh and Claire Lorrimer, both winners of the Outstanding Achievement Awards, gave inspirational speeches. And, because she did write the funniest line ever in a book, I was thrilled that Milly Johnson not only chatted with me, but gave me a big, blue sparkly hug as well.
I started to attend the Norwich Chapter of the RNA, already being a member of the Chelmsford Chapter, and made some new friends. One of whom, Heidi Swain, travelled down to London with me for the RNA Summer Party – where a quantity of alcohol was accidentally consumed…
I decided to rock the big, red blob look with wibbly,wobbly high heels a size too big. I kept accidentally finding myself with a glass of wine in my hand and a charming chap from Simon and Schuster was most understanding when I pinged my chips over him. (Well they were threaded onto a cocktail stick, for goodness sake. How do you deal with those one handed?) Claire Harvey won the Joan Hessayon Award for The Gunner Girl – but there were some fabulous books shortlisted, including Heidi’s The Cherry Tree Cafe.
In June I was invited to attend the Launch of Heidi’s second book; Summer at Skylark Farm – another smashing read, and a fab party to boot.
I finally met the gorgeous Mary Anne Lewis in real life, having been chatting away for months on social media. She is another NWS member, and Heidi had dedicated the book to her, so it was an emotional day for all.
And then something rather sad happened; my beautiful feline writing buddy, Seymour, got attacked in our garden by another cat. He is our partially-sighted rescue cat, only four years old, but a most affectionate boy and excellent companion during the solitary hours I spend at the keyboard. A claw went across his mostly functioning eye and the damage was too bad to save the eye. Life really sucks sometimes, doesn’t it?
But cats are ever resourceful. With a miniscule amount of vision in the remaining eye, a naturally outgoing personality, and the curiosity that cats are renowned for – he’s doing absolutely fine. I’m not sure he’ll be much help spotting typos any more, but he’s great at discussing plot development and characterisation.
To bring you up to date, this weekend I attended the RNA Conference in Lancaster. I was a first time conference attender and was blown away by how friendly everyone was. I did know shedloads of people from attending RNA events over the past three years, but I got to make a whole summerhouse of new friends – bonus!
There were many highlights of this event, some mentioned on my Facebook posts, but an agent asking to see my full manuscript has to be the frosting on my cupcake. So whatever comes of this, I do feel I am a little bit further down the bumpy old road to my dream.
There will now be an intensive couple of weeks where I try to knock the manuscript into shape and my boys will have to learn to fend for themselves. (This evening’s dinner was interesting; salmon, vegetables and, erm… NO potatoes. Sorry Mum, I knew I’d forgotten something. Ah well, it helps the waistline and he tried his best.)
So when I finally press send, and Lucy’s Locket lands in the laps of the NWS reader and a literary agent, I think I will sleep for about a fortnight.
Budge up, Seymour. That’s my spot…