Friday, April 30, 2010

Doing the happy dance

Well I'm pretty happy this week. After years of writing, I've finally been offered (and greedily grabbed) a contract for my first novel. 53,000 words of romance. Yep, Wild Rose read my re-done, polished manuscript and I'm going to be published.
Woo Hoo! The book is Catch me a Catch, the story of a reluctant matchmaker and a man who's sailed the Atlantic to discover his roots.

Selling this book brings back to me just how lucky I am as a newbie to be able to draw on all the wonderful resources available to help me. I couldn't have achieved publication on my own, there are still so many things to learn, and so many excellent teachers out there who have given so generously of their time and expertise to help me. So it seems only right that this, my jubilant blog entry, says thank you to all of them - all their links are at the side for further details.
First on the list must be Vanessa O'Loughlin of Inkwell Writers, who runs such excellent courses in Dublin. Vanessa is a tireless whirlwind whose encouragement and wise advice is invaluable to new writers. If any Irish writers are reading this, get thee to Inkwell - pronto!
It was at one of Vanessa's workshops - the Mills and Boon one, that I met and learnt from Trish Wylie and Abby Green. Both lovely ladies, full of excellent advice about craft. Thank you, ladies. In Australia last year I attended a workshop by Ally Blake in a library in the foothills of the Dandenong Mountains. It was a great day, and once again, the advice and support was phenomenal. Thanks Ally!
Working on CMAC, I brainstormed the ideas over 2 online courses given by Laurie Schnebley Campbell. Plot via Motivation, and the follow on masterclass. This really helped to make sure that the characters were defined, and Laurie is a gem - I've said it before, but I'll say it again. So thanks, Laurie!
I entered this book into the New Writers Scheme given by the RNA in London, and got it critiqued. I've done the NWS a couple of times, and it means that an experienced romance author reads and comments on your book. Also useful.
Finally, I worked on the book during Don McNairs online class, 21 steps to fog free writing, which was a revelation. Don points out the mistakes that writers make, and teaches you to fix them. Thanks, Don!
I'm lucky enough to have a fabulous group of romance writers to moan to and bounce things off. The Minxes of Romance, so thank you minxes - for everything. Also a shout must go out to all my blogging friends, who are so supportive and have such interesting and informative blogs, and can be guaranteed to dish out sympathy when I need it, and a boot up the ass if needed too. Thank you everyone!
The last person to thank is my editor at Wild Rose, Cindy Davis. Who read my manuscript so quickly and gave such stellar advice on what to change. On Wednesday, It was Cindy who broke the news in a lovely (but freak out making) email. It said simply, "Hi, Sally. Guess What?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

5-5-5 Award

I've received the 5-5-5 award from the lovely Suzanne Jones, so thank you Suz!

So, 5 questions, and 5 answers. Not too taxing! Here goes.

1. Where were you 5 years ago?
Writing sporadically, doing Nano every year.
Charging around dropping kids here and there.
Typing up inventories dated from 1806-1855 and peering at ancient handwriting, trying to make it out.
With a four year old underfoot.
Mourning my dad.

2. What was on your to-do list today?
Writing. It is every day now. I did some.
Get the household up and out - success!
Washing (as writing above)
Catch the mouse in the kitchen - attempted, but failed. Grr!
Do a blog post - you're reading it.

3. What 5 snacks do you enjoy?
Licorice All sorts. Vital writing fodder.
Crackers and strong cheddar.
Chocolate - preferably very dark.
Baileys. Liquid, but thick liquid, so I reckon it counts.
Smash and tunafish. (Shameful, but true)

4. What 5 places have you lived?
My imagination

5. 5 more bloggers
Hmm, this is a difficult one. I love so many, how can I choose just 5? And I think most of my favorites have been nominated already. I'm including websites, because I think a lot of them are interesting too! So, trying for some new ones...
Tuscanycious - Because I've set my new book on a Tuscan island.
Discover Tuscany blog - full of interesting Tuscan stuff...
Regency House Party - Its not a blog, but its a fascinating reality show on Channel 4, with a Regency House Party as the venue, and all contestants are living the regency life...
Solfatara Volcano website. A different book research subject.
A regency lexicon - Some hilarious words here.

Now I have to nominate 10 bloggers to receive the award. This is also difficult, but I'll start with minxes.
Maya Blake
Romy Sommer
Lorraine Wilson
Joanne Cleary
Sri Pammi
(Get a blog, Nia and you'd be nominated!)

And also,
Maisey Yates (excellent video of Danger Baby!)
Jackie Ashenden (cos I'm following her manuscript's teething problems avidly)
Shirley Jump (because I'm starting an online course with her tomorrow...)
And Trish Wylie (we live on the same island)

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Hughge inspiration

Well, things are going well, over in Love and Chocolate land. I'm revising the 'big reject', which basically involves examining it with a beedy eye, making a rewrite or two, and shouting 'PIZZAZZ! GIVE IT MORE!' at regular intervals, to the fright of my poor bemused family.
I've also started in on a new romance, titled 'Marrying Cade.' Cade is the eye candy that my heroine, Melo has had her eye on since they were teenagers. She thinks she knows him, but he's changed in the ten years since she last saw him. He's not the nice guy she always thought he was. Not even close. Although he has his reasons, which should become clearer as the ms progresses.
Like all good romantic novelists, I've had to do research. Have had to wade through sites of hotties to find him. I'm proud to announce, that the moment I found him the words have been running fast and hot. I know he looks familiar, although his hair is different, and hope you'll all agree that he is a HUGHGE inspiration!