Sunday, November 22, 2009

I've finished!

My second round of edits that is :)

They're due to my editor on 1st December and I've finished early. I'm not 100% happy (when are we ever?) but there isn't the time to do a third round of edits so I'll give it a quick read through during the only evening next week I've got free and then send it off to my editor and agent for their verdict.

That's a very scary prospect considering no one, other than me, has read a word of novel 2 so I'm totally relying on my own instincts as to whether it works or not. I nearly showed a couple of chapters to someone the other week but bottled it.

I thought I'd be utterly terrified (rather than just 'very scared') at the prospect of showing it to my agent/editor but:

a) it's a considerably better novel than it was after the first draft (good thing too - the first draft was atrocious!)

b) An editor I was talking to before the RNA party the other night (more on that later) reassured me that all authors struggle with their second novel and most of them bite off more than they can chew by trying something a bit different (as I've done) and editors are prepared for it

c) I have faith in my editor to help me make it a better book

d) I'm finally moving flat in a couple of weeks so I've got plenty to occupy my mind

Of course that doesn't stop me worrying that it's not as good as 'Heaven Can Wait' but I've done the best job I can do considering I only had a year to write and edit it (and a full time job to commit 8 hours a day to).

Talking of Heaven Can Wait, I was utterly gobsmacked to find out that my novel was awarded the only 10/10 in the history of ChicklitClub reviews! Wow. (more pressure to make book 2 good!).

Thanks also to The Secret Writer for telling me that The Daily Record (Scottish newspaper) reviewed my novel and for then sending me a copy! They said "The perfect blend of funny, smart and --sob -- pass the Kleenex, this might just be the best chicklit debut of the year." Double Wow! (pressure, pressure, pressure - a'shuddup Cally and just enjoy it :))

What else? I went to the RNA party the other night. Kate, my editor, very kindly invited me to pre-party drinks with some other authors and editors and I gratefully knocked back a couple of glasses of champagne in a hotel bar near Victoria. The RNA party was fab. It was held in the gorgeous library of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and I picked up a copy of the the new RNA short story anthology - Loves Me, Loves Me Not. I spent some time with my agent's PA (very lovely she is too) and chatted some more to the editor I met for the first time at the pre-party drinks (also very lovely and shares a mutual interest in 1940s films - I must get hold of a copy of 'All About Eve').

Loveliness obviously comes in threes because AnnieEye came up to say hello while I was chatting to the PA and editor (I told her to look out for the tallest brunette in the room!) and we had a great chat about all things book related. I also met her very sweet and smiley daughter. My good friend Leigh also found me and demanded the latest goss on my life (always happy to oblige Leigh - I think the PA and editor enjoyed it too! ;)). I then went on a bit of a wander - collecting signatures for my copy of 'Loves Me, Loves Me Not' and was lucky enough to get Katie Fforde, Judy Astley and Jane Wendham-Jones's autographs (amongst others).

The party ended too soon (it just sped by!) and I jumped in a taxi to join Liz Fenwick, Leigh, Julie Coen and lots of others in a very nice Italian restaurant. I was seated opposite Liz's son (DD1) and what a heartbreaker he's going to grow up to be. Impeccable manners too, Liz should be very proud. Time must have been on fast forward that night because, all too soon, it was time to leave to get a train back to Brighton. Ms Forbes had missed her train home and I was more than happy to offer her a sofa for the night. When I woke up the next day I found out she'd been awake and working on her novel for 2 hours. What a star!

Oooh yes, going back in time a bit (blogs are magic like that). My very talented cousin took some
more photos of me recently. She's very, very clever (and a dab hand with retouching in Photoshop!). Here's my favourite.

Do get in touch if you'd like her to take photos of you/your family. Her rates are very reasonable as she's only just starting up her business.

I think that's about it for now. So here are a few photos of 'Heaven Can Wait' I haven't got round to posting...

My friend Seb spots a copy of 'Heaven Can Wait' (no idea where, somewhere in London I imagine)

JJ finds a copies in Bangkok!

Twitter friend CSO_Andy spots some copies in Borders, Bournemouth

Beth finds a copy in Borders, Silverlink

Cassandra poses with the copy Pierre_el sent all the way to the States

My sister-in-law's sister receives her copy in Hawaii and takes it to the beach (lucky book).

Soldiers read supernatural romantic-comedies too! (oh okay, my friend works at an army barracks and asked him to pose with it!).

p.s. Apologies for anyone still waiting for an email/interview from me. I WILL get to them as soon as I can. I haven't got any weekends free between now and my moving day so any free evening I have will be spent packing. I promise to get all emails/interviews replied to by Christmas. Feel free to nudge me if I don't.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 26 (a very interesting dinner party)

Today is the last day of my Virtual Book Tour (I can almost hear the sighs of relief from here! ;) and we're off to visit David, a fellow Brightonian!

In honour of the final day David has thrown me a very unusual dinner party with some unlikely guests (I'm the most unlikely one with so many celebrities at the table!).

Find out which celeb discovers my embarrassing secrets...

p.s. Thank you SO MUCH to everyone who hosted a leg of my Virtual Book Tour. I can't begin to express how grateful I am. I know you all put in a lot of time and energy into making it work and I really, really appreciate that. Thank you too to everyone who re-tweeted or facebook-ed links to the different interviews and guest posts and to everyone who's been reading them.

I am utterly exhausted but there's no time to stop. I still have to edit novel 2 a second time and I've only got a few days to do it. As a result I'll probably be a bit quiet this week. Apologies if I don't reply to your emails/interview requests/tweets etc. They are on my 'to do' list - I've just got a hell of a lot of work to do first...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 24

Apologies again (and especially to Kate H) for failing to write a guest post for yesterday's leg of the virtual book tour. I'm away from home at the moment with limited internet connection. Normal service will resume in a week's time!

For now...

We're off to Debs blog for a review of Heaven Can Wait and a book giveaway. Debs was kind enough to buy TWO copies of my novel so she could give one away.

And she's posted a photo of someone very discerning reading my book.

Click on the link below to find out who...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 23 Oooops!

Today I was supposed to be visiting Kate Harrison's (author of "The Secret Shopper Unwrapped" and "Old School Ties") blog but I've got a confession to make...

I just haven't found the time to finish the guest post I wrote for her.

I'm so sorry!

Visit her anyway, she's written some great posts about writing and publishing:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 22 (advice and editing)

Today we're off to visit Catharine Withenay (see what she did there? Catharine - With - an - 'a'). I've moved house a lot in my life and from the sound of Catharine's blog profile her life's very similar.

I talk to Catharine about jobs I've done, moving house, advice for writers and what I most enjoy about writing. I also invent a really rubbish metaphor that compares editing with wall building!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 21 (where I write, writing retreats)

Today we're off to Sue Guiney's blog to talk about writing and retreats.

I knew Sue was the author of the novel "Tangled Roots" but it wasn't until I visited her website to do some research for this this post that I realised quite how many strings she has to her writing bow! Not only does Sue write novels but she's had short stories and a poetry collection published and a play performed. She also teaches writing workshops!

I'm very honoured to be interviewed on Sue's blog today...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 20 (short stories)

If you're a women's magazine short story writer you'll already be familiar with womagwriter. If you're not - where have you been?!

It's safe to say that womagwriter's blog has become a vital hub for everyone writing for the womag - women's magazine - market. Back in't olden days (I don't know why I've come over all Yorkshire) you had to trawl the internet and write to the magazines to get hold of their fiction guidelines. These days you can just pop over to womag's place and there you go - all the guidelines you could wish for (UK and abroad) - and she keeps the information updated too.

Today womagwriter has very kindly published my guest post on my background in short story writing...

...and if you leave a comment after the post you could win a signed copy of 'Heaven Can Wait'!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 19 (using 'the hero's journey to write a book')

Today we're off to visit Kate Lord Brown's blog.

Not only is Kate glamorous and stunning (see photo on the left for proof!) but she's got herself an agent at Curtis Brown, was a finalist in The People's Author (a memoir competition on the Alan Titchmarsh show on ITV) and writes a fantastic and thought provoking blog - complete with writing prompts.

I've written a guest post for Kate about how I adapted 'the hero's journey' to write 'Heaven Can Wait':

Tomorrow womagwriter will be posting a guest post I've written about short stories...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 18 (friends, blogging friends & spirituality)

Today I'm being interviewed by the Queen.

Okay not the queen - blogger's very own Qwerty Queen! I've met Qwerty a few times 'in real life' and she's a fantastic woman - very supportive, a good listener and pretty damned wise too. The last time we met Qwerty and I polished off a bottle of wine in record time! That's my kind of woman!

Talking of friends (another smooth segue), Qwerty 's questions today are about exactly that - how friends, online and 'real' - influence my writing. She also asks about my novel and my own spiritual beliefs. Find out what I said...

Tomorrow Kate Lord Brown will be posting a guest post I wrote about how I used 'the hero's journey' to write my novel...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Virtual Book Tour - Day 17 (doubt, motivation and reward)

Today we're off to Cathy's blog to talk about writing and self-doubt, motivation and reward.

Cathy is a thoughtful, honest and big-hearted blogger. Not only does she blog about writing (she's a winner in the Tonto short story competition and her short story will appear in their anthology), the X-Factor and living with MS, but her blog has single-handedly educated me about the reality of raising children with autism. If your understanding of autism is limited to articles that appear on TV or in the news you really should spend some time reading Cathy's blog.

Why have I included a photo of three paperweights on this post?

Check out Cathy's blog to find out...