Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Bravery Award


I’m giving myself a bravery award. Yesterday, together with two other scared ladies, I had a swimming lesson.

Technically, I can swim. Too many years ago for me to admit, I gained my white stripe, one width of the pool, and blue stripe, one width on my front, one on my back and picked up a brick from the bottom.

Since then, I’ve hardly been in a pool and if I do swim, I’m the one with the swan neck hardly getting my hair wet. I panic in the shower if the water gets onto my face. I’m also very short-sighted, which makes getting to the pool side traumatic and fraught with potential accidents.

I decided it was time to conquer my fears and mentioned the possibility of lessons to my son’s swimming teacher. My son is like a little fish - he has his 4,000 metres badge.

So, yesterday found me in the swimming pool, self-conscious, wearing my first ever pair of prescription goggles. They are so good that I could drive in them or even see at the cinema like Hugh Grant in the film Notting Hill.

The swimming teacher is starting from scratch with us and we will get swimming award badges as we go along. My husband suggested that instead of Duckling awards we should get Goose awards!

I left the pool feeling pleased and excited. I had learned to move in the water holding a float and kicking my legs, turn round in deep water safely, blow bubbles and finally, a big deal for me, I put my head under the water.

I’ll keep you in touch with my progress. Boy do I ache today. Goodness knows what I’ll be like when we actually swim. Despite the groaning muscles, I have a little inner glow every time I remember what I achieved yesterday.

What fears have you conquered lately?

Monday, 10 March 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Tour

Bernadette O'Dwyer invited me to contribute to this blog tour where writers share their writing process. 

Bernadette is a member of the RNA's New Writers' Scheme, an English teacher by day; an aspiring author by night. Currently writing her third novel, while her first and second novels wait patiently for an interested publisher, her weekly blog at www.secretwriter1.blogspot.com depicts her journey and  the highs and lows of being an aspiring writer. 

To follow Bernadette via Twitter search for @odwyer_author.

Morton Gray - My Writing Process

The idea of the blog tour is to answer four questions about how you write, so here goes!

1)    What am I working on?

Rock, Paper, Scissors - the story of a hero and heroine who discover that their fathers disappeared, seemingly at the same time, twenty years ago.

The first chapter of RPS was shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award 2013.

I'm currently editing this novel to send to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme for critique.

2)    How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is a difficult question to answer, but my work will be different because of my unique mix of life experiences and the way I think about these.

Writing is a bit like cooking. You start with a set of ingredients, plot, characters, conflict, etc., but no two people will make exactly the same dish, or book, even with the same elements in the mix.

I write romantic suspense, historical and contemporary romance. Hopefully, I intrigue my readers by sowing seeds of curiosity throughout a novel, Making them want to read on to see how each story ends.

3)    Why do I write what I do?

It honestly feels as if the words are downloaded from the ether, so I don’t feel that I have much choice about what I write. Having said that my novels always reflect my love of history and family history.

In the past, I worked with personality analysis for recruitment purposes and I have a fascination for astrology, so these help me with character development.

I people watch and study relationships. I love how events and shared history can change the dynamics between a couple. It never ceases to amaze me at the connections and co-incidences in our lives and how truly small the world is in terms of links between individuals.

Writing for me is necessary to my peace of mind, otherwise my characters nag me. Thankfully I enjoy it.

4)    How does your writing process work?

I write everywhere – on the bus, in the doctors, dentists, at my son’s swimming and piano lessons, outside school, in cafes, when waiting for friends.

The majority of my work is written longhand in A5 notebooks, this then has to be typed up onto my laptop (which is too big to put on my lap!) or by using my wireless keyboard onto my iPad (good for typing up in bed or on the settee).

I try to focus on one manuscript at a time, but ideas come from everywhere and I often have to break off to write a poem or short story. My characters speak to me and often clamour for attention when I am not working on their book. Take for example, the hero I had left in a difficult position whilst he was watching a band in a club – he was very insistent that I wrote him out of his fix and wouldn't let me rest until I had done it.

When I am in pure writing mode I am in heaven and the words flood out of me. I don’t usually set a daily target, apart from during the annual writing challenge NaNoWriMo, but I tend to write 2-3000 words most days.

I am working hard to learn editing skills. Editing is like polishing a rainbow and I am slowly learning to put the colours in the right order and to add the right touches to make them shine. I can be guilty of making plots too complex and editing means that I have to strip out the unnecessary plot lines.

Being a perfectionist Virgoan doesn’t help my faith in my work, but having been shortlisted twice in two different first chapter competitions in 2013, I am beginning to hope that my dream of publication is possible. Up until now, I have been very wary of submitting my work to publishers, but I’ve decided that 2014 is my year to so.

Please let me know any thoughts sparked by my answers in the comments below!

I’m passing the Blog Tour Baton to Lynda Stacey. Over to you Lynda....

Lynda is a 46 year old Sales Director, who currently works for a stationery and office supplies company. Her writing was first noticed by her English teacher in senior school. He encouraged her to become an author or to work in journalism.

However, it was 1984, the miners were on strike and coming from a mining family, she had no choice but begin to work for W H Smiths Do it all at weekends and Rumbelows during the week. Both jobs helped her pay for family food and living costs.

In 1987, she was married and divorced just three years later, her home was repossessed and she was penniless and practically homeless. Since then she’s worked hard. She’s been a nurse, a laboratory assistant, a Scuba Diving Instructor, an Emergency First Aid instructor and a Sales Director.

All of this meant that writing took quite a back seat, but in 2012, Lynda made a conscious decision that she now could and would follow her dream of becoming a published author.

In 2013, Lynda was shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent award and has recently completed her first novel Broken Jigsaw. She is hoping to be published during 2014 and is currently awaiting decisions from agents and publishers within the industry.

Lynda's blog can be found at http://lyndastacey2912.wordpress.com