Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I know, I know...

I said I’d come back and blog about London and this year's AMBA lunch and so far I’ve notably failed to deliver, which I think we'd all agree is totally unlike me. (No snorting at the back, thank you) The reason for this is that I’ve returned home feeling quite spookily full of creative energy - as well as wine, chocolate and lovely pudding - and am desperate to throw myself wholeheartedly back into the book. Think this is probably the result of hanging out with fabulous writers and talking process, heroes, conflict and romance, and also because for a long time I’ve had a lot of other stuff cluttering up my head and stealing my writing time. Now, suddenly, my calendar is clear and my brain is working overtime. (If it could start having fascinating ground-breaking epiphanies about parts of the story I haven't already written, that would be great.)

Anyway, in lieu of a proper report I'll leave you with some of the pitifully few photos I remembered to take...

Sharon Kendrick, Lynn Raye Harris, Karin Stoecker and Lucy King at the AMBA lunch (Just look at the glasses of water - aren't we all good? Or is it just that the wine has been knocked back already?)

Abby Green, pretending to be a paparazzo

My new favourite place to work.

If I don't post much in the next week or two, it's either a) an excellent sign that I'm fully immersed in the world of the book and am incapable of sensible comment. Or b) that I'm not, and am buried under the duvet with the biscuit tin. (Occasional clues as to which is applicable might possibly be available on Twitter.)

In the meantime - I'm definitely sparing a thought and a biscuit for those of you anxiously awaiting New Voices announcements and feedback. So many entries, so much talent - and so much courage for putting it out there. There might only be one winner, but for many people this is the first step on a great journey. My advice is don't be too worried about getting there quickly - just enjoy the scenery and the people you meet on the way.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

On the go

I'm sure there must be some kind of mathematical-type equation for the phenomenon that occurs when you're desperate to write, when the characters are holding lively, witty, heartfelt conversations in your head and dramatic scenes are presenting themselves vividly every five minutes, and the rest of your life is so busy and full of stuff (workshops, admin, getting your grey roots obliterated in readiness for presenting yourself in public at the annual Mills & Boon author lunch and Toast, sorting out the Home Front in advance of a three day absence etc) that it's virtually impossible. I think it might involve the concept that creativity + inspiration is inversely proportional to opportunity. Or something. (Help me out here, maths genius Ros...)

Anyway, I'm off to London tomorrow, and I will be taking my laptop to write on the train. Last time I did that I was writing a sex scene in a hot tub on the balcony of an alpine chalet. It all got a bit embarrassing as I was wedged in beside one of those aftershave-scented, iphone-dependent commuter boys, and I KNOW he was reading what was on my screen rather than his spreadsheet of sales figures. This time, to avoid embarrassment all round I have extravagantly invested fifteen of your finest English pounds upgrading to first class, on the basis that the increased space might mean that anyone sitting nearby is out of reading-range, and will probably be far too busy and important and high-powered to be interested anyway. (But just incase, I'm thinking of taking a copy of one of my books. 'Here,' I can say kindly. 'You can read a proper printed version, if you like.')

Back next week with headlines and photos. If I remember to a) pack my camera and b) take it out of my bag at all. Am v v looking forward to being enveloped in M&B sisterhood and talking/drinking/laughing/eating* enough to sustain me through long deadline weeks ahead...

* (admittedly, eating not usually a problem during deadline weeks. But can't argue with primitive instinct to lay down fat for survival in hard times. Ho hum.)

Monday, 6 September 2010

Eeek! Exciting!

At last the day has come when the New Voices competition is up and running, with a very glamorous and gorgeous website, just waiting to be filled with glamorous and gorgeous first chapters. If you have one tucked away inside your computer, now's the time to expose it to daylight, print it out (because mistakes are always a million times more noticeable on paper for some reason), give it a polish and then get it posted. What have you got to lose?

On the same subject, this Thursday sees my contribution to the search for Mills & Boon’s next signing with a special library event in which you can (hopefully) find out the highs, lows, facts, figures, dos and don’ts you need to know about writing for the world’s best-loved romance publisher. The cupcakes are ordered, the library ladies are prepared, and there are even a couple of spaces left (At least there were on Friday – you can check by phoning Nantwich library 01270 375361. But don’t put it off, in the manner of uber-procrastinator me, because they were down to the last few tickets!)

If you’re coming to the event from out of the area and don’t know your way around do drop me an email (via website mailbox) and I’ll get back to you with Useful Info. (How hard it can be to find your way around a town the size of the average B&Q superstore I don't know. But email me anyway!)

Friday, 3 September 2010

All Good Things Come To An End...

...including the summer holidays and my Balfour Competition. After our final trip (involving much excitement, planes, trains, an A-List celebrity, Abby Green, unflattering clothes, Natalie Rivers, a shopping centre and Heidi Rice, amongst other things - more details at some point in the future) all girls are back at school today and the house is quiet. So messy it looks like hundreds of teenagers broke in and held a rave here while we were away, but quiet. You can't have everything.

Last night, in between searching for pens that work, hockey socks, Jane Eyre and ties, the daughters picked out the names of ten people who will be receiving copies of Emily's Innocence. Thanks to everyone who contacted me - wish I could send out copies to you all, but well done Caroline, Kelly, Kristy, Amanda G, Amanda C, Peggy, Jane, Denise, Jayne and Jacqueline. If you left your address I'll get your book in the post today, if you didn't I'll be emailing!

And at some point, I'm going to get my (mysteriously wider) ass into the White Chair of Creativity and write. And write and write and write...