Thursday, 27 September 2012

Signed, Sealed and Delivered

     I read my contract, over and over again; probably in disbelief at first. Then once the actual offer had sunk in, I went over it again, this time with my business head on.

    Being unagented, I had tried to do my homework before selecting the publishers I wanted to submit to. It's difficult to know where to start and I just wonder where I would have been without the Internet. I found online Writers Forums and Literary Agent websites invaluable.

   Some publishers have a copy of their contract on their website too, and this allowed me to do comparisons. Luckily for me I have a legal professional in the family, and he also helped me out when it came down to signing on the dotted line.

   So the contract was signed, sealed and delivered. What next? It was time to get down to business and meet the Editor.

Authors join me and tell us about your journey and promote your book. If you're an aspiring author tell us why you write and most importantly if you're a reader tell us what you like to read.

"Please contact me," she pleaded!!!!





Monday, 24 September 2012

Secret Formula?

    When I spoke about sending my MS off with a letter of introduction in my last post; of course I meant the dreaded query letter. There's so much advice flying around out there, I had no idea what to do for the best.

    But the thing I took from the numerous blog posts and books I read, was that the agent/publisher doesn't want to hear about you, the author, they want to hear about your book. They have to look at it from a business sense, bottom line, is it going to sell? Is it worth their blood sweat and tears? After all the reader doesn't really care if you have horns and two heads, but they may want to know if your characters do. The reader wants a good story, and rightly so. I know I do, when I pick up a book.

    So when I decided to send my MS off, I took on board what the experts were saying. I made the focus of my letter, my book, and not me. Even when the rejections came in, I still stuck with the same letter. I was tempted to alter it, or start again, but I didn't.

    I never took any of the rejections I received personally. I told myself, that the sender doesn't know me, it's not me they're rejecting, it's my story. There's plenty more stories whizzing around in my head, therefore if I don't succeed with this one, I will with another. But I wasn't about to give up on this one yet.
    Every time I checked my inbox my heart missed a beat. Then there it was, an offer of a contract from a publisher, I jumped up and down with excitement. Then the day after that I received another, then the next day another. I was spoilt for choice. I did the right thing and stuck to my plan.

    I'm  not about to tell you how to write query a letter, I wouldn't dare. But please take on board the advice from the experts and once you've written your letter, stick with it for a reasonable length of time. For goodness sake don't take comments, or rejections personally.

Do you have a similar story you'd like to share with us?  Or do you have useful advice for aspiring authors?

Friday, 21 September 2012

Finished, tears of joy, or is it tears of sorrow?

    I've finished. I sigh with relief, then I shed some tears. Are they tears of joy, or are they tears of sorrow? Because I'm having to let my baby go out into the world. It's great when a plan comes together, or a storyboard as it is on this occasion. But he's on his own now.

    He's my hero, I love him. But will everyone else? She's so beautiful. But is she beautiful enough? Oh, and the villain, he's scary. But is he scary enough? Yea...h!! The demons have been slayed. Or have they?

    What about the plot? Is the plot original enough? And the hook, I'm hooked. But will an agent/publisher be hooked, or more importantly the reader?

    I've clicked the send button. That's it, my protagonist is going out into the ether on his own. I can only give him a letter of introduction. Oh, I hope they receive him well. Oh no, he's just been trashed. Oh, that's better, he's pending. Oh, he's on his own, he's with strangers and he's having to wait in line. Will he make it to the top pile? Does he have the stamina?

    If you're a reader, what emotions do you like to experience when you read a book? If you're a writer how do you feel when you've finished your ms, and you're ready to send it off, or have sent it?

    Share your thoughts with us. Share your experience with us.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Pen and Paper, or PC?

    The storyboard is finished, the characters profiles have been created and it's time to start the first draft. For some reason I find it easier to be slightly more creative, using a pen and paper to get started each day. Once I'm confident that I'm heading in the right direction and the creative juices are flowing, I then sit down in front of the PC.

    I use a 'Speech Recognition' programme to transfer what I've already written by hand, onto 'Word Pad.' Then it's time to let my fingers do the walking, so to speak. Meaning I get typing. I write a minimum of 750 words a day, although I find I can normally write more. Before I finish for the day, I check with my storyboard that I've managed to include everything that I planned for. I tick the key points off as I go along, so hopefully I haven't missed out anything really important. Like setting the scene!!!
    I don't edit on the same day, I do that at the start of my next. Just before I take the pen and paper out again.

    How many words do you write daily? Do you use a PC, Laptop, or pen and paper? Come on share your world of writing with this blog.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Planner, or Pantser?

The little switch clicked and the cogwheels inside my brain began to move. Slowly at first, but nevertheless they started to turn and I came up with the idea for a story.

So what do I do first? Am I a planner, or a pantser? I'm very much a planner, although sometimes I wish I was a pantser.

I still use the basics I was taught at school. I firstly jot down a rough outline. Starting with the opening: I decide on my protagonist's world. Is he/she human, or paranormal? I choose his/her name.

Next, I decide what's the meat on the bones of the story: What happens to the MC, that forces he/she to step out of their comfort zone? Where does he/she go and what course of action do they need to take? What happens along the way?

Okay, I've made very rough notes on the beginning and the middle of the story. Now the end: Do I surprise the reader? Is the ending sad, or heart warming? Does the protagonist reach his/her goal?

These notes fit into one or two pages of a reporters notebook. I then take these notes and plot my story out. Bit by bit, chapter by chapter.

This is how I create my story. How do you? Are you a planner, or a pantser?

Monday, 10 September 2012


    In my last post I told you that I no longer plucked my story ideas from the sky. So where do I pluck them from?

    The answer is everywhere. Firstly: I use the major senses that I was gifted with; sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. Then there's my own personal life experiences, that includes the people I meet, places I visit, books I read and news stories. The list could go on and on.

    Something, someone, or somewhere stimulates my little grey cells. A little button inside my head has been pushed. The seed has been sown, it takes root and it starts to grow. There are times my ideas flourish, my mind goes into overdrive. Then of course there are times the idea stagnates, but I never let it go, I just jot it down. It may take root, and blossom another time.

   Where do you get your ideas from?


Thursday, 6 September 2012

How I Got Started

    The long bus journey back from visiting my grandmother always started with a game of I Spy. But before long my brother and I would become restless. The storybooks my mother had read to us on the journey there, had now been read cover to cover. The threat of tearful tantrums loomed.

    In an effort to keep us amused, she would point to the sky and draw our attention to the various clouds that are prevalent in Scotland. The large, angry looking ones, took on the role of fierce monsters, the villains of the peace. The soft, fluffy ones, became the victims and were much in need of rescue. They had to be saved, from the fiends that chased and threatened them.

     But then the wind changed direction, the shapes of the clouds altered; some vanished, some merged, and victims suddenly became pursuers. She developed stories befitting the characters she had available to her.

    So when Santa presented me with my first typewriter,  I couldn't wait to write stories that I could literally pluck from the sky.

    This is how I got started, how about you?

P.S. My head is no longer in the clouds.

Sunday, 2 September 2012


 Welcome to my blog. Phew!! As you're able to read this post, I must have followed some of the instructions on how to create a blog correctly. The fact that I now have several Gmail addresses, is the bit I definitely got wrong.

 You're hoping that I didn't write this post, just to inform you that I'm not a whizz kid on a computer. Well I didn't; I want to share my writing experience with you. Including the signing of my publishing contract with Featherweight Press, for my debut YA Fantasy e-book, Salvation, No Kissing Required.

 Whether you're a reader of YA Fantasy, a published author, or an aspiring one, I'd love to hear from you. Readers, you're HUGELY important to authors and we need to know your likes and dislikes. Please leave a comment, or contact me. 
 Authors, come on, share your writing journey with me, and your future audience. Contact me and I can feature your work, or an interview with you. I just look forward to hearing from you all.

 My blog posts will be on a Mondays and a Fridays. Next post will be on Friday, 7th September 2012. Take care,and please, please contact me.