Word Prompt Response: Dream

Dream                                               

From writer to author that’s the dream for many right?… Right, for me now it is, believe it or not I actually didn’t  imagine myself as a published author, I just wrote stuff as I love it it’s how I express myself just like painting my nails every week  or putting on some make-up in the morning. Me a published author? Nah! Not until a publishing deal was put in front of me did I ever dare to dream that big. Even  when I answered a publisher’s call and it happened  I still  found it then and now  hard to imagine that this dream, so many writers have is about to come true. 

Secretly, I guess I imagined my love for creative writing would come to something even if all it meant was just moving out of my current day job as a teacher, to being paid to write content for a magazine or website on subjects I enjoy and mean a lot to me; whether that be human civil rights, women’s and racial  issues, make-up and fashion etc.

 So anyway, now that I have completed my first novel and working hard towards my submission deadline on editing it, before I submit for the 31st July. You can read all about the challenge I’ve set for myself here  , I’m now (I think) living the dream of an average Jo (or Joanne) making the exciting but challenging journey….. fulfilling a dream  from writer to author.

Dreams come in all shapes and sizes,  with regard to me writing  I have a small one now  I’m  on this journey… I hope and dream that my book does well! Like every soon to be published author. In my mind I have no idea how I quantify ” does well”,  all I know is that I hope that my romance suspense story touches a few hearts and starts a fire in each reader’s heart for the  romance/suspense genre, makes a few people laugh, sit on the edge of their seat turning pages unable to say  that’s it I’m off to bed, work, the gym, to make dinner as they are engrossed in the story line. I hope that  my book is loved by readers internationally and they connect with it as it is set in 3 different locations which may be 100% foreign to them  (France, London and the English coast). Most of all I hope and dream that this is one of many books I get to author, and further opportunities to write come my way.

I’ve got the writing bug even more than I had it  before, my creativity is probably the sharpest it’s been these last few months ! I hope the Universe brings my  hopes and dream to life. Not just for me but so I can leave a legacy for my baby boy to be proud of. I hope and dream that he can start school in a few years and say ” yeah my mama she’s a bad ass writer” when asked what his mama does 🙂 ” … OK may be not quite like that as a toddler but you know what I mean, as he grows up he can be proud of the legacy that I hope and dream to leave for him to discover.

Happy dreaming readers! I hope your hopes and dreams come true also, whatever they are.

xoxo

 

 

 

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Day #71 I’ve Completed My book!

Oh wow, I’ve done it I have really done it.  I’ve been writing every chance I got solidly and with 71 days to go until my deadline to submit to my publisher, just now I wrote the last chapter, the last paragraph and the last word of my first book. I’ve got 93,000 words down on paper and I am over the moon.

It’s hard to explain how else I feel apart from relief that I will  meet my deadline, joy at my achievement, nervousness over the whole editing process I’m about to do before I finally submit and excitement over the  release of my first book in September.

Was it hard work? Yes! But I never lost my mojo or experienced writer’s block funny enough I really got into the story, was it a challenge? Hell yes! But a very enjoyable one. Would I do it again? Of course in a heart beat I still have 2 more book ideas.

Over the next 71 days I’ll start the editing process to chop down some words, check over my research and also make sure that the final manuscript is the best it can be. If you missed my earlier post on editing I’ve decided to take some advice from this article I read which you can view here in this post. If you missed the earlier post on what it is that I’m actually writing oh sorry make that what I’ve WROTE then you can read all about that here

Stay tuned, I’ll keep blogging on how the editing process is going and any random interesting thoughts also.

 

Word Prompt of the Day: Buddy

Buddy

I got excited when I saw this morning’s writing word prompt of the day, ” buddy” this is the second  prompt I’ve responded to that personally means something to me. Why you ask? 2 main reasons.

The word buddy or friend means a lot to me, I’ve reached the age of 33 and I’ve honestly learned that friends come in all shapes and sizes, races and ages they also enter and exit your life for lots of different reasons. But what’s important  about friendship / buddies I’ve learned at 33 is  1. what  you learn from  a friendship  /buddy 2. how does it help move you forward or have you realised this friendship is holding you back 3. your true friends make themselves known to you in many ways, and your deadbeat tag-a-long buddies who really do not enrich your life, or never there for you, believe in one-sided friendship or even worse are secretly competitive or jealous also show their true colours; and it’s up to you to decide whether this is the kind of buddy you need in your life. I’ve shed 1 girlfriend like this I can count in 33 years.

Around 2 years ago, I also learned that friendship can be maintained via letter  as in you’ve never met or even spoken to this person, in some cases never even seen a photo! Yes hand written  personal letters sent millions of miles across the Atlantic and Pacific ocean just once or twice a month can really seal a friendship or bond with a buddy but you’ve never even met or spoken to. There’s something special about this type of buddy /friendship made when you click via letter and you can’t wait to hear back once you’ve stuck your international stamp on  the envelope and sent your letter off.

 I have mentioned before in my reflection #1 post how grateful I am for my overseas girlfriends who I write to, these random women of different ages and races some who speak French  we write in this lovely language to maintain my fluency/ bilingual ability  to practice. Some who don’t speak a word but we have common interests and connected via letter writing forums and write in English. For the last 2 years I can count buddies I’ve made in the USA, Canada, France,  Germany,UK, Austria and as far as Australia who I have ”spoken to” via letter solidly for 2 years and I would say yes she’s a buddy! Amazing as a writer I feel letter writing should not die.

last weekend, guess what? I had the real pleasure of actually meeting one of my French pen buddies from Paris when she came to London with her husband ! After almost 2 years of writing back and forth our friendship is sealed, last weekend to actually hear her Parisian accent and have a conversation with her that did not take weeks/ months to finish was amazing. This year  over the summer, I also hope to meet another UK pen buddy when I travel  down to the English coast for a holiday.

The second reason this word buddy means a lot to me personally is because in my book I’m  about to finish writing this month, the main character’s story is ” shown” a lot through her exchanges with her buddy, so the whole concept of a buddy is a main feature  which helps to progress  my story lines/ drama I’ve plot out for my main female character in my book. I like the word buddy, it means a lot, personally and creatively as a writer it’s helped progress my creativity in writing. 

 Did you know that us Aquarius star sign folk are meant to be the most loyal of all star signs when it comes to friendships/ being a buddy? I’m the world’s biggest pen buddy nerd, I don’t actually care… judge me LOL, this is part of my life and I don’t intend to stop writing to buddies that I may not ever get to meet. As my son grows older, it is something I would encourage him to think about too as a child making sense of the world as a way to learn about the world and different cultures, which has been a great experience for me.

So reader, what do you think about friendships via letter? Do you enjoy a more slow paced friendship / buddy building with people and have pen friends all over the word? Have you ever thought of finding a distant buddy / pen friend but been too scared of looking like a nerd? What does the word buddy mean to you?

 

 

 

 

 

Day #79 (What a Badass!)

I hit a mile stone of 80,000 words this eve, it’s Friday night and still the night is young only 10.00pm , I’m fully awake and ready to go for hours. I took a break and checked in on Twitter, I read a really uplifting tweet by a fellow writer who liked one of my tweets so naturally I went to her  Twitter page and found she had posted this  article from Writers’ Digest ” 7 Reasons why Writing a Book Makes You a Badass”, I like the sound of that! I read it and smiled all the way through.

The article filled me with pride, motivation, joy, hope  and  renewed my can do attitude to complete my book and publish that badboy! 

I never started this book with the mission to become the next Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jackie Collins, EL James, Martina Cole or JK Rowling  some badass female writers who have made millions from their work in well respected genres, no I started for me, my enjoyment and to get down 1 of 3 story ideas I have on paper. It’s not about money or fame it’s about accomplishment to do this hard but seriously addictive and enjoyable job of writing a book now that I have scored a publishing contact for it. While being a mother, working full time and getting on with life I feel a great sense of motivation kicking in  this evening to finish up the last few chapters and start my editing process, so thank you to the writer who tweeted this.

I better get back to writing, just wanted to share this article with everyone out there who has thought of writing a book or is currently writing, read the link below and get back to your lap top and write you badass 🙂

Click me you badass

 

Day #84

Oh as the deadline for submission to my publisher draws near I am now getting  REALLY excited for the book, and the characters in the book. I’m now wrapping up the story and around 75,000 words deep pre editing!

Today, I was thinking about the way stories end, and  as a writer you always aim to please your readers, however what if the ending you have in mind is not a happy ending for all characters? This is not the case with my story, what I’ve plot out is some kind of happy ending that’s satisfying; however a few weeks ago I had a conversation with a friend of mine she to is writing a novel (or has been writing this novel for some time), her predicament is that her ending is not  too pretty. We discussed whether an ending in a story ALWAYS needs to be happy; personally I don’t feel it always has to be what do you think? Life  is not always pretty and if you’re writing a plot line with rather deep or serious issues sometimes things may not turn out pretty in reality. Also sometimes it’s  refreshing to read something that’s not all sunshine and roses. This is just my view.

I encouraged my friend to keep writing, and write what feels natural if there is a death, suicide, murder or something a bit ”unpretty” at the end of the plot so be it! Yes, 9/10 readers may want a nice ending but reality needs to also be considered also.

So my question is, when it comes to your reading pleasure do you always need a happy ending? Does genre play a part in whether an ending should be happy or not? When it comes to the  romance genre (as that’s what I’m writing now) do you as a romance reader need a pretty, happy and loved up ending or not? Do you feel dissatisfied if you don’t have this in a romance genre book?

These questions I feel are good research into the genre to see what  romance readers generally feel and think… let me know your thoughts with a comment.

 

Day #92

Pinch punch it’s the 1st of the month which means I have just 92 days until my final submission date for my completed book, to my publisher. Scary! Less than 100 days to go. But I’ve been on a roll in between the day job, nappy changes, nap time and any other time I can steal to sit in this very spot behind my lap top;  I am more than confident that I’ll make it. Also booked a holiday just 2 days after my submission date to have some quality time with my family, and make up for all the hours spent right here behind this lap top solidly writing. I can’t wait for both dates, submission and holiday.

I feel the next 92 days will probably be the most important 92 days of my life! And so I will share here and there my progress, thoughts and experiences in the run up to submission day.

A few weeks ago, something so surreal happened to me, I walked into Waterstones (the UK’s number 1 book store you could say) on a busy Saturday morning, as usual my eyes lit up as I took in the shelves and tables piled high with books, new releases and special offers etc. I head to the lift and stopped dead as I entered (literally); my eyes bulged open wide as I  thought wow in a few months MY book will be available in Barnes and Noble in the USA, maybe just maybe someone will take time out from their busy Saturday schedule, to  head to the book store on a mission to find and buy MY book, also MY book will be available on the shelf of  a well respected book store for others to brows, pick up and indulge in a little romance and suspense .

I stepped into the lift with some very normal people, who I’m sure were a bit unsure just how normal I was as I had the biggest smile on my face and I actually let out a little laugh with excitement, inside I high fived myself. I’m sure they thought I was laughing at ”the voices” in my head or I was some kinda crazy as there really was no reason to let out a laugh, in a packed lift, on it’s way to the 5th floor…. Hey what do I care! I was high as a kite on excitement and adrenaline. 

Today, I realised just how much I’m really eating,sleeping and breathing my characters. While preparing my son’s breakfast in mid stir of his porridge this morning, it came to me that last night I had mistyped my Heroine’s date of birth; the year I typed would have made her 30 during the time frame /scene I was writing, not 32 as originally planned/mentioned so far in the story. I wrote this scene at about midnight last night, and at 8.00am this  morning I remembered an error I had made?? It just popped into my head like a mental note that I need to buy some milk LOL.

Of course, mid stir of my son’s porridge I did what all women and mamas out there do, I multi tasked…. one hand reached for the lap top, the other stirred  the porridge I located the paragraph and edited the DOB for my Heroine phewwwwwww!  One less thing to edit.

 If you’re a writer reading this has anything random like this ever happened to you while writing your manuscript? Do you go into complete eat, sleep, breath characters mode in the final throws of completion?

Speaking of editing, I read a really interesting article about ” how to” edit your manuscript before you turn it in to your agent or publisher as a completed piece of work. This article  described a good editing process as the ”5 Re-read Program”. You may even know you it yourself, but as this is my first ever submission experience it’s new to me!

The program suggests writers read their completed work 5 times and look for 5 different things each time 1. content 2. enhancement 3. sentence level 4. the little things 5.audible read.I’ve decided I actually will try this process myself as it seems pretty detailed, have you heard of this? Or even tried it yourself? How do you go about your final edit process before you submit if you’re a writer reading this?

So on to progress then, well the count down begins and at day #92 I have hit 60,000 words! I think I underestimated myself as I had in my head that my total word count on completion would be about 50-55,000, obviously when it comes to the editing process the count will probably reduce but I’m about just over mid point in the story and already hit 60,000 I have surprised myself! I’ve also learned that when you plot out your synopsis  for a story, it really is hard to say how it will transfer into a word count.

Right now, I’m at the point where the scenes/plots  have built up ready for me to bring all the drama I have mapped out for my characters towards the middle and end, and really develop  the emotional aspect of the story; I’m at a more challenging point of writing (I feel personally). Now I’m writing different points of views and really need to become these characters in order to  write their scene/POV the best I can and more importantly as realistically as I can.  I’m also bringing the drama to the story and this in my head and on paper is perfect, but getting it right in words is a challenge- that I’m really enjoying; may be I’m just being too hard on myself about how I’m writing ? I’ve found  that I’m  reading and re-reading, chopping, adding and all sorts but I guess it’s all part of the craft.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on some of the things I’ve mentioned if you’re a writer or published author what was / is your experience? And if you’re not a writer but have a POV let me know!

So as I enter day 92 of the count down, the focus is POVs and building some  (more) drama in this romance/suspense story I am just loving writing.

Catch you soon

 

 

 

 

 

A Tiny Taste of What’s to Come

Well, I thought I’d give you all a bit of a taste of what  I’m writing currently, that’s due for release in September 2016.  I’m keeping my cards very  close to my chest! But here is a taster of what inspired the story.

 It’s a modern day romance/suspense story with, glitz and glam, old sckool falling in love, and of course emotional at times. Within the story for the Heroine she has  ”conflicts” that the average women could relate to,  her conflicts are in no way old fashioned or a plot that has been done and dusted a million times (as far as I know) and it is not a typical ” love triangle”. There are some themes that may have in the past and currently do impact on everyday women regardless of age or race  in our day to day society.

The story  is set in  my home town the city of London UK,the south of France and the English coast, UK. Why 3 different settings you say? Well this is a roller coaster and whirlwind romance story (with added suspense), the twists in the plot need different locations to keep the plot alive, and relate to the Hero and Heroine and their current life situations and conflicts I have plot out for them. In addition to this, I just love diversity so why keep the story in one central place? It works so I’m rollin’ with it y’all.

 Romance generally speaking as a genre for me is all about love, emotion, escaping and the sexy times  too but it’s important to me personally, that romance is believable and realistic as well. Yes there can be some glitz and  glam and extravagance  but the underlining issues should be realistic, believable and even shocking if need be. Me I’ve  tried to go for all 3 realistic, believable and in some places a little surprising.

What inspired this story was life, my love for the country France, its language and culture. I also really like how society is made up in this day and age,  and wanted to reflect this. In London you will find so many different cultures  and so my  characters  represent the normal people I see in society  day to day, this is not an all white or all black character line up it’s just like London diverse. I also feel that sometimes when I’m reading books are just not diverse enough in character and the writer writes what they know, the culture they know, the race they know etc too one sided.

Now you may think, this is boring what’s the suspense? Where’s the romance? Where’s the glitz and glam ? Where’s the conflict for the characters? And where the hell are the sexy times?… Well, dear reader this is all the juicy stuff; and if I told you I would ruin the surprise and my publisher would probably kill me! But what I will say is I’m loving every moment of writing and I am writing from the heart , and I hope you enjoy, in fact I am glued to the lap top every chance I can get. And still can’t believe I am about to be a published author. What a head f*ck LOL.

Stay tuned ! Via blog or Twitter. Get to know me, I don’t bite (most of the time), and you’ll get regular updates too on the release of my 1st book.