Friday, 30 September 2011

Culloden Spirit Released Today

Book Blurb
Carrie Gordon's season in her native York was an unqualified success, until the young man who paid her so much attention married someone else. 

When her family takes a summer trip to her father’s ancestral home in the Scottish Highlands, her handsome Scottish cousin, Duncan McRae, takes an immediate dislike to Carrie, mainly due to her father’s plans to refurbish Cair Innes castle which is in need of extensive repair beyond the means of its present owner and resident, Iain McRae.

Carrie feels the vacation will be a disaster until she discovers a strange young man while exploring the derelict castle, However, she soon learns Ruairi McRae is not what he seems, and the battle he intends to fight was lost by his clan a hundred and fifty years before.

Will Carrie be able to accept that she cannot be part of Ruairi’s world? And when the Roma arrive to camp on Bucks Meadow as they do every summer, who is the beautiful gypsy girl Duncan won't talk about?


Carrie wandered back into the entrance hall to peer behind another door in the corner. Smaller than the others, it opened to a flight of narrow stone steps with a frayed rope handrail that curled downward into the bowels of the building.
Assuming what remained of the kitchens lay at the bottom, Carrie was about to descend into the darkness when a sound above made her pause, listening.
Is someone here?
More intrigued than nervous, she climbed the curved staircase, the treads of which dipped in the middle from thousands of footsteps, to the tiny balcony overlooking the entrance hall like a miniature stage. A narrow window looked onto the courtyard, and off to the right lay a short hallway with light patches on plaster walls where paintings had once hung.
At the end, a wooden door stood ajar. Carrie’s pulse thrummed in her temples as she extended a hand to widen the gap, but before she made contact, it swung open.
“Coom in,” a male voice said.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

I Dedicate This Book - To Me!

Someone asked me recently why I didn't add a dedication to my latest novel. When I begin reading a new book, I often skip the dedications page myself as most of them tend to be lists of the writer's family members, or the generic, 'to my darling husband', leaving me to wonder if their husbands and children actually contributed to the writing process, or if the author adds them automatically.   

I did add dedications to my first two books, the first in a Kate Winslet gushing way thanking everyone from my Mum to the milkman, but in the interests of not being repetitive and predictable, I haven't done so for my two subsequent novels.

I admit, this was partly through pique - as neither my husband nor offspring have even read the first two, so didn't see the original dedications anyway and I doubt if they will read the next two either. Besides, I'm not a real novelist am I as my books are only available online.

And what about all those times when they have come upon me typing away and have rolled their eyes saying:

You're obsessed with that effing laptop
Are you still working on the same book?
Editing? You've finished it, so why mess with it?
Have Harper Collins phoned yet? No? then why bother?
Did you know you've rubbed off all the letters on that keyboard?

So basically - stuff 'em! That flyleaf stays blank until at least one of them reads a book I have written!

Sunday, 25 September 2011


It's my birthday - although I think I'm over the formal opening of presents at the breakfast table ritual. I remember when birthdays used to be anticipated for weeks and family whispered together in corners and pointedly changed the subject when I appeared - well I think it was my birthday they were discussing [!] The day itself always felt different and every trivial wish was granted because it was a special day.

As the years have passed, my centre-of-the-universe-for-a-day status has been gracelessly downgraded - until when I woke up this morning I almost forgot it was my birthday. I have played them down for the last few years as the numbers mounted up, besides, I don't feel any different - until I look in a mirror and see my mother staring back at me.

This year the celebrations, have been postponed as everyone seems to be busy. My phone is full of texts saying, 'the dinner has to be next week', 'the cards are on their way', and 'the pressie is tucked away at home but we are away this weekend, drop it off when we next see you'.

Ten years ago this would have upset me, but not this year, I am thrilled my kids have busy lives and my birthday has been relegated to an alarm set on their mobile phones where it belongs. I hate surprises anyway, I need to know what to prepare for, and nowadays I am asked what I want in advance, which I regard as a bonus.

And there were croissants for breakfast - so today's not so bad! 

So Happy Birthday to all fellow Librans, especially my birthday twin, author Diane Scott Lewis.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Watching Willow Watts Released Today

And here's a promotional plug for a my role model, Talli Roland. While I am yawning over my coffee in the mornings, this lady blogs, writes, travels, writes some more and always has a finger on the pulse of vibrant London life she loves and knows so much about -  not bad for a Canadian!  

Her second humorous contemporary romance, Watching Willow Watts,  is out today, here's the blurb - well worth a look.

Talli Roland has three loves in her life: chick lit, coffee and wine. Born and raised in Canada, Talli now lives in London, where she savours the great cultural life (coffee and wine). Despite training as a journalist, Talli soon found she preferred making up her own stories – complete with happy endings. Her first novel, The Hating Game, was an Amazon UK best-seller, remaining in the top 100 for over two months. Watching Willow Watts is available on Kindle now. Talli blogs here and tweets here.

For Willow Watts, life has settled into a predictably dull routine: days behind the counter at her father's antique shop and nights watching TV, as the pension-aged residents of Britain's Ugliest Village bed down for yet another early night. But everything changes when a YouTube video of Willow's epically embarrassing Marilyn Monroe impersonation gets millions of hits after a viewer spots Marilyn's ghostly image in a frame.

Instantly, Willow's town is overrun with fans flocking to see the 'new Marilyn'. Egged on by the villagers -- whose shops and businesses are cashing in -- Willow embraces her new identity, dying her hair platinum and ramming herself full of cakes to achieve Marilyn's legendary curves.

But when a former flame returns seeking the old Willow, Willow must decide: can she risk her stardom and her village's new found fortune on love, or is being Marilyn her ticket to happiness?

Monday, 12 September 2011

Reading Manuscripts Aloud

PhotobucketThe lovely lady who is recording my novel Trencarrow Secret for the audio book version e-mailed me with some minor discrepancies she found in the manuscript.

After receiving one mediocre review of this book, I was further depressed to think I had missed these points, but fortunately I have a wonderful publisher who has agreed to pull off the Kindle edition and make the relevant changes for me.
'I hope you don't mind if the novel becomes unavailable for a day or two?' she said.
Mind? I'm ecstatic, there will now be fewer chances of readers spotting my blunders!

I thanked my audio book lady for her excellent editing, but couldn't help commenting that my confidence had been dented; this was her response:

I think the brain often sees what it expects to see, not what is actually there. One probably only really notices some of these things when one reads them aloud. If you don't think you can write, you should have seen me weep in the scene with Marie and David. I got really rather attached to the characters, and needed copious supplies of tissues during the last few chapters. My proof-listener has fallen in love with Henry.

What greater compliment could an author receive than they made their reader cry, and I think she is right, I must read my manuscripts aloud in future to help bring those glaring faults to light.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Friggin Passwords!

My e-mail account has been hacked - again. This time it didn't simply clog up my contact list with spurious e-mails, the hackers have changed my password so I cannot log on. I can also no longer get into my Yahoo groups. When I go to the 'Help' section and click the relevant box, I get a message that says, 'To change your password enter your old password'.
But it doesn't work!
So I click the, 'I no longer have access to this', and it says 'Wait 24 hours and come back to this page where we will ask you your securty question.'
What security question? Oh, the one I set up six years ago and have never had to use since? That security question?
If I cannot recall what answer I gave then, does it say 'Wrong answer! Every trace of you has been obliterated from our system and you no longer exist.'
Ain't technology wonderful?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

When Is A Galley Just Another Edit?

I have been offline for a while, [and still am really-this is being thrashed out at a tiny Internet cafe at the beach] which has given me time to complete the Galley Proof Worksheet for my latest novel, Culloden Spirit, coming out this month.

There is a problem with learning the craft of writing, because the more you write, the more you learn, and if you edit something you have written, say two years before, you are going to virtually re-write it.

When I began editing this manuscript, I made the mistake of only focusing on the specific areas my content and line editors pointed out to me. When the galley arrived I decided to do a final read through on my e-reader in search of those pesky commas and repeated words which crept in during the formatting.

I was horrified to find something I didn't like on almost every page, not necessarily grammatically wrong, but something that jarred with me, didn't sound like something my heroine would say, or well, was just plain wrong!  The Galley Proof Worksheet turned out long enough to qualify as another edit.

My publisher, the lovely Lea Schizas, hasn't exploded - yet - and if I know her she'll put this down to an exercise in making the story as good as it could be. Lucky for me.

The trouble is, I don't see this as a one off - when will I get it right? On the fourth, fifth or even sixth read-through? Or am I doing what I am supposed to, evolving as a writer with the more words I get down on paper?