Monday, April 29, 2013

Scaling the Mountain

Happy Monday, everyone! It's a sunny morning here in London (yay!), and I've managed to write 1,500 words of my new novel today (yay!) and, well, I'll be drinking wine tonight (double yay!).

Starting a new novel is always a little daunting. Although I've done extensive planning this time around and I feel I know my characters' motivations inside out, it's a bit like staring up a mountain you're about to scale. Plus, I've found that no matter how much I plan, things always change. A scene I thought would take ages to write turns out to be only half a chapter, or a new character jumps into the fray. While I like the surprises, sometimes I wish writing could just be straightforward! Or that I could bl**dy well stick to an outline!

Plus, there are often those bleating voices in my head constantly saying: 'This is boooooring! No-one will read this! This is booooooring!' I find eating chocolate helps to vanquish them.

I'm hoping to get this new novel out by autumn, although with a baby in the house, one never knows what each day brings. More details coming soon!

So this week, I'll be writing, writing, writing... hopefully.

How do you feel about beginning a new novel? 

Have a great week!

Monday, April 22, 2013

What a Difference A Few Years Makes

Happy Monday, all! Hope you've had a lovely week. I've no idea where mine went!

Today I'm excited to host author Michele Gorman, talking about how publishing times have changed. Take it away, Michele!

What a Difference a Day (or a few years) Makes

In what other profession does one pour her heart and soul into her work, for years, without getting paid? All right, nuns, yes.

But we’re not nuns, are we? Definitely not. No, we’re authors, so we don’t even get VIP tickets through the pearly gates. And yet, there we are, toiling at the laptop, month after month, year after year. For what?

Well, for a lot of things, actually. Because the fact is, we love to write. Every character that we fall in love with, every storyline that comes together makes us happy. Sure, everyone has dreams of writing their first book, quitting the day job, staying in their pyjamas all day to pen novels and watch the cash roll in. But something makes us keep writing, even after that first book doesn’t find an agent or a publisher. We still write, late at night after a long day’s work, without being paid. Why? Because eventually all that writing pays off.

When I started, around 14 years ago, I had the same idea that everyone does when they start. But it took two books to find an agent, and four to find a publisher. I took me six to be in a position to quit my day job to write full-time. I’ve just published the seventh book I’ve written, Bella Summer Takes a Chance, and got to spend months with some of the warmest, funniest characters I’ve ever imagined, exploring the question: does “in love” really exist, and do you have to be in love for a relationship to last? They’re questions that I’m sure lots of women ask (myself included), and it was fantastic to see my characters figure out the answers for themselves…. I think it’s my best book yet.

That’s what I’ve learned from all this – the late nights, sacrificed weekends, knock-backs and rejections. That we get better the more we do it. It never gets easier, because we’ll always push ourselves to perfect our craft, but we get better. That’s good for us and it’s good for readers.

The publishing world has certainly changed since I started. That makes me sound like a rocking chair-bound octogenarian. In fact, we’ve seen an incredible rate of change in just a few years. The Kindle wasn’t launched until late 2007, and’s Kindle store didn’t open until August 2010. Yet by May 2011, eBooks were outselling all other formats on What a difference a few years makes, eh?

So now we can publish with the Big 5. We can publish with small presses. We can publish independently. We can do all of the above. And as tempting as it is to hurry along the process, we do need all that practice to become the best possible writers. So as tempting as it is, try not to rush it. The more we write the better we become. If it’s your dream to have a traditional publishing deal, then keep going until you get there. If you want to publish independently then make sure you give your book the attention that it, and your writing, deserve: use professional content editors and copy editors, and ensure it has the best possible cover. As authors we have more options than ever before. But at the end of the day we are authors because we love to write. And doesn’t that make us lucky girls and boys?!

Michele Gor
man is the best-selling author of the Single in the City series and Bella Summer Takes a Chance. She also writes upmarket commercial fiction under the pen name Jamie Scott. Born and raised in the US, Michele has lived in London for 16 years. 
If it weren't for Twitter and Facebook, Michele would be a much more prolific writer, but wouldn't have nearly as much fun, so do chat to her online:

Twitter:@expatdiaries - Facebook: - Blog:
Thank you, Michele!
How have changes in the publishing world affected you?
Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Friends and Foes

Monday, Monday! And guess what? I'm not wrapped in a blanket shivering, oh no I'm not. I'm actually wearing a T-shirt. Without a sweater! Spring seems to have finally sprung in the capital, thank goodness.

Last week, I had the chance to put on my party shoes, trot lost around Victoria for a little while, then head (via pub) to Belgravia Books where the wonderful Caroline Smailes was launching her latest novel. If you haven't read any of her books... get on it! Caroline's style is unique and mesmerizing.

Me, DJ Kirkby, and a very animated Caroline. (Photo by Pete Dominican.)
Me and author Michele Gorman, who'll be on the blog on Thursday!

I am so out of wine-guzzling shape, so can you believe I was hungover from two glasses of wine? Sheesh!

This week is the London Book Fair, and although I won't be gate-crashing this year, I'm looking forward to seeing my dear friend and crime writer extraordinaire Mel Sherratt while she's in town.

So what of the foes? Well, they're the mindless daytime telly programmes I seem to be falling victim to on a daily basis! No more Millionaire Matchmaker for me. And this time I mean it.

What are your foes, metaphorical or otherwise?

Monday, April 08, 2013

What I've Learned in the Past Three Months

Nothing brings yourself into sharper focus than having a baby. In the past three months, amidst the inevitable fatigue and the millionth nappy change, I've learned a lot! So, in no particular order, here are my revelations. 

About Writing:

I need to write. Even if I'm tired or covered in spit-up, writing has become a part of me.

- Sadly, I am not one of those cool, multi-tasking writerly types who can pen their tomes from the comfort of their sofa. Nope, I need a desk, a chair, and no telly within easy reach! Hence, my new makeshift office. 

I think the word is 'basic'!
- Crying babies do not enhance the creative process (surprising, I know!).

- Despite my more limited writing time, I'm still capable of wasting as much time on the Internet. Sigh!

About Babies:

- Nappies never fully contain explosive poos. I believe this is a market gap and I shall soon be developing my duct-tape diaper design. Watch for it at a Tesco near you!

- You can fall asleep while still rocking the baby's basket. Looks like I possess the multi-tasking ability after all. 

- There's nothing better than your baby's morning smile. Awwwwww!

And in other news, writer DJ Kirkby has a new book out called Special Deliveries. It's a lovely collection of stories from the maternity unit. If you enjoy Call the Midwife or One Born Every Minute, you'll definitely enjoy it, too. 

What's something you've learned recently?

Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, April 01, 2013

A Good Egg

Well, it may be the coldest Easter in the UK since records began, but I'm not going to let that affect my long weekend!

It's a holiday here today, so I'm going to just say this...

Happy Easter!

Good luck to everyone kicking off the A to Z Challenge. See you next week!