As part of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, I host the Birmingham Chapter’s quarterly meetings. I joined the Chapter many years ago just as the first author was being published and vowed that I would read the debut novel of each author. The reading list below reflects my current status – I’m on the penultimate book with just Claire’s book remaining to complete my current reading task. Well done to each author! There's an Amazon link within each book title.
Finger crossed, I’ll be ready and waiting for the next publishing contract to be signed continuing my debut reading task.
Claire Huston - Art and Soul (currently reading)
The debut books read so far:
Kim Nash – Amazing Grace
Josie Bonham - A Good Match For The Major
Tora Williams - Bound To Her Blood Enemy
Marilyn Rodwell - The Wedding Drums
Mick Arnold – The Season Of Love
Julia Ibbotson - A Shape On The Air
Sally Jenkins - Bedsit Three
Christie Barlow - A Year In The Life Of A Playground Mum
Morton Gray - The Girl On The Beach
Lynn Forth – Love In LaLa Land
Bella Osborne - It Started At Sunset Cottage
Alison May - Sweet Nothings
Janice Preston - Mary and The Marquis
Several followers are tracking the progress of my Christmas book ‘FROM SHETLAND, WITH LOVE AT CHRISTMAS’, so I’ll happily share this week’s news.
Back in March, I was given a month to complete ‘structural edits’ for my submitted manuscript. This involves rewriting specific scenes as certain elements were lacking or too subtle to convey my original meaning. For instance, one character sounded ‘sterner’ than I ever intended, a minor character needed removing as he was surplus to requirement and another couple needed more emotion in a certain scene. The ‘biggie’ was that my epilogue needed drafting. I hadn’t written a full epilogue prior to submission as I wanted to know if my editor agreed with the journey so far. Now, I had the green light, so needed to produce the goods by crafting the final few pages.
Mmmmm, this is where experience comes into force. Over three weeks, I wrote the epilogue five times. I deleted it on four occasions. Seriously, that is not my writing style. I tend to think, muse over the details and boom, write it! Not with this epilogue. I wrote the scene from the view point of one character, but didn’t like it. Rejigged it three times using the view point of others … then deleted each one.
At this point, I knew I had to trust my instinct and be patient. In each deleted epilogue, the details, descriptions and dialogue where all there, but each one felt wrong to me. The magic was missing. Years ago, I would have panicked. Not anymore. I’ve learnt that my brain will always throw up the ‘magic’ if I give it time to ponder.
The days were passing, my writing time was dwindling and still, I had nothing. It’s like having all the ingredients for a cake but not being able to bring it together successfully.
My imagination suggested the perfect stage setting which could showcase the necessary details and create the magic. It meant I had a shed load of research to complete - which is a first for me at this late stage. I had a tough week, filled with early mornings and very late nights, but it was necessary if I wanted to do the book justice.
Then comes the final moment when you’re ready to press ‘send’ and you pray your editor loves the epilogue.
Thankfully, she did! Which makes that final week worth every moment.
I can now relax, switching my imagination to another project, as my Christmas book moves to the next stage of ‘copy edits’.
It is 1:30am. Yes, you read that correctly and I'm about to finish work for the week! Seriously, I am. I have been working on structural edits for my Christmas book. The last six days have been pretty intense as I have juggled with the edits and dramas on social media, but hey, these thing are sent to test us.
Anyway, my edits are done and dusted! I pressed 'send' about ten minutes ago. I have a brain which is buzzing with book details, adrenaline racing through my body and the excitement of a child on Christmas morning. There's no point me even attempting to sleep for the next couple of hours, so I will head downstairs and watch TV allowing my brain to download.
My edits mainly consisted of highlighting emotions and clarifying specific details which I hadn't crafted clearly enough in the first submission. I've scraped two chapters and rewritten those with different backdrops reinforcing the books themes. And, I'm very proud of my epilogue for this book. It meant I had to complete another batch of research, which is late at this stage, but I had a new idea and instinct forced me to follow my gut. I can't wait for my editor to read the final section and hear her reaction. Finger crossed, it's the same as mine. I think it will be. I dearly hope it is.
It goes without saying that any job to achieve a work-life-balance you need to find a happy equilibrium to support a healthy body and mind. So, I shall be taking the next few days off away from my regular structured day to read, sketch and play music. I'll write, because hey, you know me, it's like breathing but I will only do the bare minimum each day to keep my Camp NaNo ticking over.
From Shetland, With Love At Christmas - is available for preorder via Amazon.
The pictures says it all!
Exciting time for book bloggers as they get the chance to read my next novel prior to publication in return for an honest and truthful review. If you have a netgalley account, please apply. I realise that not every blogger is selected to review, but if you don't ask, you'll never know!
For me, I can't wait to received feedback on my new cast of ladies: Jemima, Melissa and Dotty frequenting Lerwick Manor allotments. They each have a passion, each have varying knowledge and each desire a missing element in their lives.