A little bit of this and that … AKA ellipses, short paragraphs and pap

Thought I would give you an update of what is going on over here in sunny / cold / raining / threat of snow / foggy / icy (delete as applicable when reading after checking the weather) Norwich. Many things have happened since I last took the time to blog about anything, but, alas, not many of them are interesting enough to engage or titillate you, dear reader – or engage or titillate me, for that matter. Work has taken up most of my time since the New Year dragged its sorry ass into 2015, followed by me and my fat one.

As you may, or may not, be aware, I have just finished a Valentine’s story for the annual Valentine invitational over at the Academy of Bards. Obviously, I was late. I tried so hard to get it completed on time. Believe me. I diligently worked at it every evening after finishing all the stuff I had to finish for work – even when my laptop gave a wonderful Oscar winning performance of a dying duck. Then it all seemed to go even more tits up. I know some nights I only got about 400 words down on the page, but it seemed as if the last 200 words had something against me and did not want to get written, or, to be more poetic, be born.

I’m exaggerating of course. It wasn’t the last 200 – more like the last couple of thousand – but it seemed as if I was so close to completion for so long that I believed if I sneezed hard enough to allow my fingers to smack against the keys, Three Syllables would have been completed in good time to send off to the lovely ladies at RAB. But, alas, I think the reason for the ending being dragged out was because I just didn’t want the story to finish. No. Not because I didn’t know how to end it, but because it had been with me for nearly a month and if I finished it, then I would have to get on with all the other stuff I had waiting to be done.

Yep. A screwed up reasoning, but one I am sticking to, your Honour.

To be perfectly honest, I was quite pleased by the way the story panned out, something I am not used to saying about any of my own work. I think it worked well with the prequel whose title I had to think up all by myself only to come up with The True Meaning After All – not one I think truly fits the story, but one that will have to do for now. (Maybe you could get your finger out of unmentionable places and send your idea to me – thereby to be rewarded with an ebook of mine of your choice. Or, if you think it more fitting, the threat of me sending you an ebook of mine being lifted.)

Talking of books … erm … tenuously, I shall link this next part … Beginnings is out and about in the big world once again. I have to admit, this edition is so different to the edition that was out before. Believe me – so much work has gone into this version and I believe she is now the book I always thought she could be. Don’t get me wrong, I always loved Beginnings, always said she was the favourite of all my stories – until I began the editing and revision process. Man. I could not believe the changes I had to make, the additions I put in … Jeez.

Mainly it is all down to a variety of things – my writing (I think) has improved since originally writing the story, the expectations of the readers are different, working with different publishers and editors … the list could, if we let it, go on. But, after all is said and done, the essence of the story has not been lost. It is still about love, about friendship, about longing for ‘the one’ to actually sit up and notice you are alive however many years have passed. To me, love doesn’t go out of fashion.  Or does it?

Beginnings still contains so much of me in her, actually even more so after revisiting her once again and adding the thoughts and emotions of me as an even more ‘grown up woman’ than I was when I first penned her. I think any writer will tell you that there is always a little bit of her or him in every book they create, and for me there is no exception. However, I can’t believe it is over nine years ago that the idea of writing the story of Lou and Ash came to me – over nine years since I leaned back in my chair, cocked my head to the side and reread the opening paragraphs only to think ‘I can do something with this’.

Consequently, I am more of a gardener than an architect when it comes to writing. I plant ideas and see what happens; plant and water and nurture and clip them until eventually I surprise myself with the outcome. I don’t think of myself as an adventurous or exotic gardener – just the run of the mill kind that doesn’t really stray far from my own back garden because I am happy to plod along and create something I feel I can relate to. Maybe, sometimes, it gets overrun with weeds, a little like now, but I always hope that the essence of the garden comes through to the person looking at it.

WTF? For a moment then I thought I had well and truly gone off the point, and, if I am being truthful, I did. However, I doubt many of you have gotten this far into this blog anyway …

What else do I need to tell you? Hmm. Let me think …

Once!!! Yes. Once. I am in the process of editing her ready for her re-emergence this summer. It was good to read through her even though I was making changes as I went. One thing I have noticed is this – I have definitely cut back on all of the ‘…’ I used to do. I honestly can’t understand why I had such a fascination with ellipsis, or ellipses if I wanted to get all plural on my ass. I peed myself off on more than one occasion whilst going through, and I know I must’ve done the same to other readers. That, and, at times, the excessively short paragraph.

Like this. Or…

Grin.

One thing that hasn’t changed is my annoying sense of humour.

Or has it?

I can remember not long after Once was published and I won an award from the Lesbian Fiction Readers’ Choice Awards for comedy. Obviously, I was really excited, as anyone would be if his or her book had been given the big thumbs up by the reader. But, I can still remember thinking ‘I thought it was sad’. Shows how much I know doesn’t it. Maybe if I write a comedy I may get an award for drama. Food for thought.

If you have made it this far, well done. I salute you. You have resilience and perseverance and deserve a medal or even a mention in the New Year Honours List. Kudos, dear reader.

On a final note, I am seriously considering writing the next instalment of Erin and Bran’s story for Easter. If you have huge objections about that, let me know will you? I don’t want to flog a dead horse.

Ahem … this is actually the final note. It will be ten years next month since I sent my first story, Hearts and Flowers Border, to the academy. Therefore, I will be doing a giveaway of my stories – and a signed paperback copy of Beginnings. So, if you are interested, watch this space. Not literally watch this space – I mean ‘figuratively’. I will let you know in more detail closer to the time.

So, this is a final final final note. Spring is nearly here. I know that fits with NOTHING else I’ve mentioned (apart from the weather), but I just thought I would shove it in right at the end. I love spring. Time for change, rebirth, new beginnings and longer days – not to mention it is closer to the end of the school year.

*fist pump*cover_Beginnings_500x800

Nicki Minaj Meets Santa

tshirtI thought I would introduce my Christmas tale here on my blog just so you get an idea about what is happening. I don’t want you to be thinking ‘Just a mo … this doesn’t feel finished.’ The reason why you may be thinking this is because I have split it up in to four sections that I will be uploading from now until Christmas.

You may also be wondering ‘Why has she done that?’

Or you may not give a flying fig.

The answer? I felt like it. I felt like splitting it into sections. What I’d set out to do was to split it into twelve sections and do the twelve days of Christmas – I even split Scrivener into 12 sections and called them ‘days’ and everything. Then time started to play havoc. I know the twelve days of Christmas are not before Christmas – I’m not THAT stoopid. But, I also knew I wanted to give you something for Christmas.

Too many C words in the last paragraph.

Talking of which, after reading from a reviewer that I’d put in 18 f words in my story Mary Christmas (found in Unwrap these Presents), I’d just like to say there are 19 in this one.

Smile.

Seems like I am the Nicki Minaj of lesbian fiction – and if you want to get me a t-shirt for Chrimbo please see attached picture.

One final thing – I have no idea what to call this story. So, maybe we could have a little competition about the best title. Please avoid derogatory suggestions as I have used the lion’s share of them as I was writing it.

So … let me think. How about an ebook for the winner? You could even wait for the prize and hang out for the new revised version of Beginnings out in January. Your choice.

And on a final note … watch this space.

 

 

And the winner is … Or should I say winners?

winnerFinally I get around to picking out some winners of the selection of ebooks I have offered out to you. Man. I think it would have been so much better if I had just done one book at a time as I got myself in my own kind of pickle when I was putting names into a hat. You lot didn’t help either with your ‘I’m easy’ (no you’re not) and ‘I’ll have anything up for grabs’. But then again, maybe I arranged it all wrong. Maybe it would have been better if I just had all the prizes ‘winner’s choice’ with one signed copy of something – maybe a petrol receipt or my shopping list. That, as they say, would teach a bunch of you a lesson for being vague.

But. I did it. Sat here in my pjs this morning writing names onto scraps of paper just like in the good old days when pens and scraps of paper were cool. I could have incorporated some of my teaching strategies for picking kids out to share their work- you know, the lolly pop stick with numbers or names, write all names onto paper and throw my pen at it (the kids always like this one as it has an element of danger), or even logged into Teacher Toolkit and entered all of your names into the name generator. However, the old way is always the best way.

I am wondering at this point how many of you have skipped past all of the gaff before this and are scanning to see if your name is in the list below? If I wrote ‘cabbages’ or ‘shag monster’ here would you not even get the benefit of the mention of one of your five a day coupled with a reference to shagging beasts? Hopefully yes. I’m hoping that you are reading this blog because you are interested in how I nearly met an unsavoury end when I thought I would have to do ‘maths’ and not just because you might have won something.

Okay. Here we go. Imagine me unsticking a golden envelope and sliding out a card. This action will be followed by a knowing nod and a mouthed ‘I thought so’ whilst looking smug.

And the winners are:

Ebook copy of Still Life – Niyah Garisau

Ebook copies of Forget Me Not – four instead of three in total (the last two stuck together as I pulled it out. I know. I can’t even pull out bits of paper right. Please don’t hire me to work a raffle for you) – Lara Estes, Kathleen Alman, Anita Furlong and Anne Maguire

Winner’s choice – Barbara Gosz – you can choose between any of my ebooks even though you said either Still Life or See Right Through Me.

Signed copy of Still Life – Karol Christmas.

I would like to say thank you to everyone who participated, and can the winners let me know the format you would like via email please so I get your email address? As for Karol – address please.

Hopefully I’ll be doing another book giveaway soon with the release of Beginnings. I am just about to make my changes to the ending of this book and the editing will be over. I really really really (and I mean really) hope you like what both Day Peterson and I have done to my baby (I mean book not child – it is a form of endearment and I always personify my stories as I believe I have given birth to them. And yes. I’ve gone off on a tangent). She has had an extreme makeover and I am really pleased with the outcome.

So. This will be my Sunday. Firstly, finishing the edit of Beginnings, then finishing Barring Complications whilst snuggling up to two furry men, then a little bit of writing on my new story. All this pleasure because it is pouring with rain. It is times like this I love living in England.

Have a wonderful Sunday. Keep reading. cover_Beginnings_500x800