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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Saturday, 28 March 2009

More Zeros

I like getting cheques, I really do, but the space for millions was blank, the space for hundred thousands was blank, the tens thousands was blank, and the thousands, and, oh dear, the hundreds as well!!

My half yearly royalties from Virgin amounted to £19.46.

Must do better! Although it is only fair to say that the two erotic novels I wrote for Black Lace have been good little earners.

I did do 1000 words on my new project today. I have one more week to work on it, then I'll need to break off and finish the last two essays for my degree (8,500 words). But, by then, I'll know if I'm going to go ahead (and public) with it, or give up.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


ALCS sent me another cheque this morning - Thankee kindly, sir and God bless!

They function like the PLR system in this country, collecting library fees and so on for authors. A couple of my books have been sold overseas, so I filled in the forms, not expecting much. Well, as usual with my cheques, there are rows of zeros at the wrong side of the figures, but it's all good practice for the days of milk and honey.

I wrote another 750 words today, but I wouldn't say I've got started properly yet.

Friday, 20 March 2009

A Short Review

Very short! I can't remember a thing about this book, presumably I read it all. I've written down one quote from Tolkien himself, saying that 'part of the attraction of LOR is, I think, due to the glimpses of a large history in the background: an attraction like that of viewing far off an unvisited island, or seeing the towers of a distant city gleaming in a sunlit mist.'

Incidentally, one of the most sustaining experiences I ever had was reading some of Tolkien's unpublished poems from when he started writing. They were not good. They had all the elements of his style and all his subject matter, but because his technique wasn't good at that stage, they didn't come over very well. Imagine if he'd said, 'Oh, I'm rubbish, I'm quitting.'

The only other note I've made is on the technique of writing in the responses that you want the reader to have. If you want the reader to feel shock, show a sympathetic character physically reacting. '...in his living face they caught a brief vision of the power and majesty of the kings of stone. For a moment it seemed to the eyes of L that a white flame flickered on the brow of Aragorn like a shining crown.

Eomer stepped back...'

I took a workshop run by Garry Kilworth once and I remember him saying that all editors long to find fantasy novels with that huge sense of history in them.

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Glass Cliff in the Post

There's nothing like a fresh eye. Thanks to my critique partner, and a whole free morning, I have completely revamped the synopsis, especially the end, which was very weak, and got the proposal in the post.

I need paper!

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Any Comments Gratefully Received

The Glass Cliff is a contemporary Gothic horror set in the industrial north.

Businesswomen Kari Jordan is delighted when she is promoted to chief executive of Clegg’s Building Company in Lancashire. She’s sure of herself and sure she can rise to the challenge, until dark forces are unleashed against her. Then she doesn’t know if she is going crazy, or if she is truly being fought with Voodoo.

It’s as if she’s two people. Kari hears that a potential whistle-blower’s father is dead. Her deeper, primitive self turns faint. Her rational self insists that the man drank too much, and the whiskey bottle hex was just a coincidence. In the same way, after an attack on her car, she thinks the satellite navigation malfunctioned. She says that only reason she’s selling her Mini is to celebrate her promotion with a Mercedes. She’s shocked to the core when the Mini crashes, killing the new owner, but the deeper Kari’s fears, the harder her rational self works to dispel them.

She has to prove that the five company directors are milking the company and get rid of them. But as she uncovers their misdeeds they fight back with worldly weapons and with voodoo. Kari is smart enough to understand she’s in danger, but she’s too educated to accept the evidence of her own senses, and she’s busy. She doesn’t have time to crack up. She visits a psychiatrist who tells her that she’s been promoted too quickly. Her unconscious mind is suffering from a fear of success. There is a lot of literature to prove the theory. Solid, rational, scientific proof, the kind Kari believes in. There’s no proof and no witnesses when one of the directors lets slip that she’ll be killing a kitten that night, whispering in its ear first so that it carries a message into the underworld.

Voodoo? Kari can’t believe it. Corruption she can go head to head with and understand. She’s met, and defeated it before. But if her enemies are using supernatural forces against her, then she must defend herself. When her computer screen saver flashes up a voodoo hex she visits her psychiatrist again. He tells her she’s paranoid. She walks out.

Against her better judgement, Kari has become involved with a campaign to save Overlook Cemetery, 26 acres of beautiful Victorian ruin. The unworldly campaigners, her landlady, Annette, Barry from IT and a stargazer called Ivor, need Kari’s business acumen to help them fight their battle. There’s dark grumpy Mike Heron, of course. His abrasive personality annoys the hell out of Kari, but he is efficient. He introduces her to a healer, Sue Lincoln. Kari finds herself wearing violet because it’s healing and getting all touchy-feely. Through Sue’s therapy Kari discovers the real personality that was hidden deep within. She feels like a peeled snail. How is she going to defeat her enemies now that she feels so vulnerable?

Handsome, blond, successful Dean Rainford might be the answer. From the start he courts Kari. He says they’d make a great power couple and she has to agree. She finds herself leaning on him, confiding in him, trusting him as she’s never opened up to a man before. He talks to her about Overlook Cemetery. Dean’s right, the city needs more car parking and the campaigners are a shower of flakes. Kari makes a special trip to the local pub to tell the Friends of Overlook Cemetery that she’s quitting. They manoeuvre her into having her aura cleansed. Soaking up warmth and camaraderie, Kari can’t believe she was about to abandon the campaign for profit. She crosses a personal Rubicon not so much by accepting an amulet, but by learning a protective visualisation.

It’s all rubbish, of course, and it certainly doesn’t work. Although Kari manages to sack Dr Ian Wallace, (despite an unsettling visit from his Beninese wife) nothing is going well. Dean is angry with her. A construction worker dies. Kari is held legally responsible for a breakdown in health and safety that caused the accident. It’s her darkest hour. She doesn’t seem able to operate at her old level or in any of the new ways that she’s been exploring. The whistleblower finally gives Kari the information she needs, but then she dies. Kari is overwhelmed by the magnitude of the corruption she finds within the company, and the danger around her. She won’t give in. She collects up every weapon around her, spiritual and temporal, and goes to confront the directors.

The directors have decided to deal with Kari for once and for all. They summon Baron Samedi who, although happy to create death and mayhem, is by no means a biddable spirit. The Friends of Overlook cemetery appear to help Kari. The Baron takes Bob West instead, and Frances’s sanity. Former skeptic Jagtar Batoa sizes up the situation and decides to emigrate to Canada. The company would appear to be under Kari’s control, but she becomes aware that she has one more enemy left. It appears to be Mike Heron, but its actually Dean Rainford.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Creating a Synopsis

A few years ago I attended a workshop run by Marina Oliver at a Romantic Novelists conference on writing a synopsis. Marina knows what's what. She does quite a few workshops and she has written several books about writing, as well as being an author herself. I think writing a synopsis is really hard, so each time I like to use teaching notes as an outline in the hope that eventually I'll get the hang of how it is done.

Marina advises writing down some basic information first - title, genre, theme, name of heroine, significant facts about the heroine such as her aims, the name of the hero and some significant facts about the hero such as his background. From this you can work up a first sentence. One good tip is to always write the synopsis in the style of your book.

The Glass Cliff is a contemporary horror story set in the industrial north.

Well, I've spent all morning wrestling with what comes next. I think I need to go back to Blake Snyder's Beat Sheet and see if that helps.

Monday, 16 March 2009

To Do List

The weather was so lovely and springlike that I didn't do any work at the weekend. I did read Writing Magazine in the bath, but it's no wonder that I'm not rich and famous yet! Must try harder.

However, the NWS critique is in the post and I have a couple of week's breathing space before the next two college assignments are in the post so next comes:
  • Write a synopsis for The Glass Cliff and get it in the post
  • Create a website
  • See if I can turn a film script into a novel (I won't name the film until I know whether it's going to happen or not).

And I have the next three mornings free. Hurray!

Can also report that I passed Numeracy Level I with 93% and have started working on Level II. I'll get another morning a week back when I've achieved the second certificate.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Applications Complete!

And in the post. All I have to do now is cross my fingers and pray that all the logistics (including an offer of a place!) work out and I get to teach creative writing.

Should I be telling you this? There's a good article below on whether writers should keep blogs or not.

http://www.theglobe andmail.com/ servlet/story/ RTGAM.20090306. wbkread07/ BNStory/globeboo ks/home

What do I think? Sympathy for both sides. I get horribly stuck with books sometimes - and it's no use sending out rubbish, but I've also waited eagerly for a sequel.

Perhaps fortunately I don't have a pack of rabid fans watching my every move. The main purpose of this blog is to note progress, or not, towards where I want to be.

Tomorrow is taken up with a doctor's appointment, maths, work and a hair cut and Saturday is booked. OK then, Sunday I work on that synopsis!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Road to Success

I like books written by successful people. I don't like biographies much, because they tend to be a list of facts with a bit of speculation thrown in. Autobiographies are much better because as a reader you get a better sense of the personality of the achiever. Renee Fleming is fascinating. Did you know she wasn't that good at the time of finishing her studies? Everyone turned her down, but she carried on, learning, studying, perfecting. Here's a few things I noticed:
  • She sought out successful people - in person or by book and DVD and learnt from what they did.
  • She turned setbacks into stepping stones - it's lucky the Met turned me down because then I could study with X.
  • She asked for help - she had terrible stage fright at one point and she visited therapists, sports coaches, psychologists, other singers ... anyone and everything until she had an answer.
  • She worked hard.

Good for her!

This week is application form week - there's three of them to complete for Bury College, but I will try to review another book tomorrow.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Public Lending Right

I forgot to mention PLR!! Possibly because it's not an exciting cheque that arrives in the post but is paid straight into the bank. There's been some debate in America - they think authors shouldn't get PLR. I am deeply appreciative of mine! Only 3 figures this year. Missed 4 by a whisker, but it is paying for all kinds of useful and necessary things. I love reading the statement - some of my books go out from the library 2,000 times over a 12 month period. It's so great to think of people reading them - and enjoying them I hope.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Editor's Role

A nice man from Bolton brought the new toner (now there's service!) and so Florist is printed and in the post.

I cannot remember where I saw this, but somebody once said; 'It's not your [the writer's] job to decide whether your book is any good or not. Your job is to write the thing. Leave it to the editor to decide whether it's any good or not.'

Monday, 2 March 2009

Revamp Complete

Florist is now completely rewritten and, I think, much better for it. The best thing for a novel is some professional feedback and time in a dark drawer. I can't understand why I couldn't see it the first time round. It would have gone in the post today, but I need toner. The old cartridge lasted for at least two years and the printer seems fine so I rang the office supplies people (I met them through my old job in Blackburn) and he said: how's the writing going? What a good memory.

Finished my reflective essay last night. There's only 8,500 words between me and my degree now!