Yesterday, I received a copy of the back cover blurb for my Christmas book, 'Christmas Wishes At The Lakeside Cottage' - to be published September 2023.
The story is book two in a new series set in Hawkshead, Cumbria - where a blended family come together for a festive family wedding. What could possibly go wrong!
Available to order: here
A drum roll please, here's the blurb:
Welcome to the Lakeside Cottage . . . a place for loved ones to share the perfect seasonal escape . . .
The Carmichaels are gearing up to make this festive season the Christmas of all Christmases, as this blended family gathers at the Lakeside Cottage for a Boxing Day wedding...
Lowry can't help but think her mum's whirlwind marriage is more than a little rash. But after she raised her single-handedly, Lowry is determined to be there in return.
Helen has watched her ex-husband remarry three times already. The fourth might succeed in breaking her heart. Or it might force her to finally move on.
Martha has worked for the Carmichaels for over three decades and has guarded all their secrets. Now she has a secret of her own. Admitting it will be the hardest thing she's ever done.
These three women will do anything for their loved ones. But as revelations come to light amongst the stunning snowy countryside, the greatest lesson will be learning how to live for themselves too.
Four days remain and the graph is looking like this. Not the progress I'd planned for this month but a snap shot of reality. I've juggled the best I can with the Christmas structural edits and the summer book proofreading, so I'm happy.
The reality is you can't plan for everything. So I'll 'drive my own bus' and take charge by extending CampNaNoWriMo into the month of May. I'll complete my structural edits by the 10th and then pick up my writing at whatever point I reached with the CampNaNoWriMo until 31st May. Though, I've no doubt life will throw a spanner in the works to keep me on my toes!
My last blog post outlined how my CampNaNoWriMo plan for April needed to change because my structural edits for my Christmas book had landed. I rejigged the plan enabling me to complete the edits by deadline day and still spend a small amount of time each day on my CampNaNoWriMo ... well, that plan has also changed! On Friday, my proofreading for the summer book arrived.
To put this into context mentally, April's CampNaNoWriMo story revolving around characters X, Y and Z has been bumped aside for the story about Lowry, Helen and Martha, but now the story about Beth, Koo and Lulu needs my attention instead. My poor brain, I love how it can switch projects and still remember who is who and which plot I'm working on!
The amended-amended-plan, for this weekend: proofread my summer book which will take approximately 12 hours to read aloud in the hope of finding errors/typos and submit back to editors. Come Monday morning, I'll return to the structural edits with Lowry, Helen and Martha as my main focus, with some time spent each day on X, Y and Z plot!
If you're keeping up - well done!
Update: Proofreading complete - I spotted 29 typos, additional spaces or missing full stops. Fingers crossed, the professional proofreaders find things I might have missed! My voice sounds like Bonnie Tyler's but there is no other way for me to proofread a book other than reading it aloud. Job done! I'll next see this book on 20th July - publication day!
Nearly three weeks into April's CampNaNoWriMo and 'the graph' is looking like this! Quite an unusual graph for me! Not the progress I'd imagined or planned but the reality of an author's life. I wonder when my structural edits arrived? It doesn't bode well regards hitting my 50,000 word target by the 30th - I think, I've waved goodbye to that goal!
I've stuck to the amended plan - focus on my Christmas book edits for the majority of my day and pinch an hour of the evening for my current writing project. Though switching between character casts does throw up some interesting anomalies whilst writing!
A plus point, I'm loving the Christmas book which is always a thrill to reengage and rediscover your characters - believe me, you fall out of love with your book on completing the first submission. Having literally lived, breathed and dreamt about the characters for four months you can't wait to say 'goodbye' so it is nice to be rereading and reworking certain scenes. It's nice to read the jokes and humour afresh too, after an absence of a few months. Though my brain always throws up new ideas which I need to suppress, as it might lead to a complete rewrite, so carefully note these for future books.
All in all, I can't complain because the alternative would be no structural edits, no current writing project and no new ideas ... and the very thought of that devastates me! On that note, I'll get back to my edits and be grateful for this 'unusual graph'.
Today, I spotted a lovely YouTube post created by Alison May, who writes romcoms and contemporary women's fiction, offering five top tips for writing.
Many of you might recognise Alison's name as I've mentioned her many, many times in my blogs as I have previously attended many writers' retreats organised by Alison and Janet Gover. Alison also offers critiques and editing advice - visit her website below for more details.
The YouTube clip is short enough for a coffee break - so enjoy! Press here for the YouTube link. (You might know the author to whom top tip number three is linked!)
Click here for Alison's webpage - where you'll find further details about forth coming writing retreats and her editing services.
Tadah, my structural edits have arrived! Life always throws me something during a NaNoWriMo month - always! So the plan to write the second half of my current novel has slide from the priority spot of my 'To-do list' as I have four weeks to complete the edits. I can't complete both tasks 100% - I'll be found rocking at my desk if I tried!
It can't be helped, proving that authors need to be adaptable in switching their projects and imagination, as necessary.
For those that are unsure, structural edits arise when your editors have read your finished manuscript but have lingering questions about the motivations, actions and character arcs of the story being told. I see their queries as a need to enlighten specific scenes and details whilst fading or deleting other aspects, which are currently too prominent. This is my least favourite stage, though once it is complete and ready to return, I usually dance around the room!
New plan: focus on my edits for the majority of my working day then hit the creative writing needed for NaNoWriMo, as a treat at the end of each editing shift! That sounds like a do-able plan! Mmmm, we'll see.
Followers will know that I use the London Writers' Salon's daily Zoom sessions to assist with my writing schedule. Each day at 8am, 1pm and 4pm (and sometime 9pm), I connect to their Zoom site and sit in silence with a whole host of wonderful human beings from around the globe doing the exact thing I'm doing - writing! It sounds crazy but something very magical happens at each session - I also get to see human faces which tops up my connection with our species!
Anyway, the sessions are mainly weekdays which means that many people can't join as they are attending to 'day jobs' and normal life routines. But during the month of April, they are trialling a new session at 9am on Saturday mornings. Now, I realise there has been weekend sessions at 8:30am for a while, I sometimes attend those, but I think this new 9am Saturday session is to test the waters for a bigger weekend plan. So if you wish to join a beautiful network of fellow writers, please take a peek at their website and join! It's free! What have you got to lose other than the unwritten words you would have written if you had attended!
Any type of writer can attend - whether you're published, unpublished, completing business work, a student - if you are writing and have work to do you can join in.
I'll see you there - 9am Saturday morning!
Press for the link: London Writers' Salon
Press for the link: Saturday morning trial session
NOTE: It's Saturday morning at 9am - there are 192 writers from around the globe writing together!
A weekly walk, with head held high, whilst etched with guilt and shame.
A contrast to her lowered brow, hiding sorrowful tears and pain.
You read the signs and forged a meaning, before her mask was set in place.
A gallant soul enduring silence within a vast and empty space.