The website really doesn't do it justice and, when I booked my week away, I had no idea of the delights that would await me:
- A beautiful location
- Three delicious home-cooked meals a day (although I only got up in time for breakfast once!)
- A breathtaking view of the countryside and the sea from my room
- A hot tub in the garden! (with a view of the sea)
- A sauna
- Books in every room
- Fascinating conversations with the other writers/artists/poets staying at the retreat
- A snug filled with over 200 films
- A maze of paths in the 5 acre gardens that lead to a waterfall and river
- A cute little dog called Jack who happily accompanied me on my walks through the countryside to the sea
- Fun nights out in the local pubs - pints of Guinness (of course), Bulmers cider, Irish music, dancing and the mostly wonderfully friendly locals (I was chatted up by a 21 year old one night and it wasn't for a bet! ;))
- And best of all - the freedom, space and quiet to get on with editing my novel.
Anam Cara is a magical place - not just because it's so homely and welcoming and sits in one of the most beautiful parts of the world I've ever visited - but because it frees you up from all the stresses of real life and allows you to write. Before I left I was editing an average of 500 words every other day. Whilst there I edited between 2,500 and 5,000 word a day!
I really, really didn't want to leave but it seems I've brought a bit of the magic back with me as, after a couple of days off, I've continued to edit about 3,000 words a day. I'm now 45% of the way through novel 2 and am hoping to complete the first edit by the beginning of October (I'm aiming to get to 50% by the end of this week). There will be a few more edits after I've finished this one, including one where I'll read out my novel aloud, before it'll be in a good enough state to show to my agent and editor but it's finally starting to come together and several scenes have even made me laugh out loud.
What else? While I was away I found out that Take a Break Fiction Feast would like to publish my story "Marry Me Man" and, before I left, my agent informed me that my first book has been sold to China! That's eight countries (including the UK) that will be publishing it now - something I still can't quite get my head around. In fact, I don't think I'll really believe it until I've touched and stroked each version of my book!
Talking of the first book - not long now until publication day (15th October). I can't believe it's nearly here. Last October, when I found out Orion were going to be publishing it, feels like yesterday. No news yet on a date or venue for the launch party but we're working on that. Chances are it won't be until some time in November - but at least there's more chance of my book actually being in the shops then! I'll release more details when I know them.
I'm also planning some fantastic competitions to celebrate my book's launch - including a short story competition with a prize that, hopefully, un-agented writers will find very exciting (I'm saying no more!). Details of all the comps will be publicised on this blog and my website nearer the time.
I've also answered a few emailed interviews with a few more still to complete.
Oh! I'd love to have some kind of virtual blog tour to celebrate the launch of my novel. I think the way it works is that bloggers who'd like to host a 'leg' of my tour let me know (in the comments box?) and then we work out some kind of a schedule so each blogger posts on a different day. If you'd like to take part (you can ask me questions, I could write a guest post for your blog, anything you fancy really) please leave a comment below. I'm hoping it can all kick off with the first tour 'stop' on 16th October - the day after publication day.
Okay, now my head's spinning with everything I have to do...