First – see below for some fabulous pics from my Devon break with my writing pal Alix, taken on this Saturday night's TSV from Fuji. What a lovely relaxing time it was and got tons more story done too! 38300 words down, another 17000 to go… and also this week – the May RNA party – inspiration from some of the stalwarts of British fiction.
Second – what a fabulous birthday theatre trip I had last weekend, too, courtesy of my lovely son Brad! A day up London where we saw something quintessentially English, as well as a highly recommended production of something archetypally American!
And third, it seems I may have been asked to do something I haven't done for a long time…
When I got the invite from one of my lovely writing group to come stay and get away from it all for a few days, I never realised how far away from it all it would be! But actually, my pal Alix has a lovely little place in Belstone in Devon, near Exeter, and it backs onto some fab Dartmoor hills – with all the wildlife.
So 200 miles later, there I was catching up with one of my lovely friends and being looked after wonderfully – am very lucky to have had such a fabulous host, bless her! Shame about the weather – it's been so lovely here but quite overcast in Devon – disappointing but everything else was fab. Including being able to use a new product I'm launching tomorrow on QVC…
Almost in Alix's back garden there are fields galore, with free-roaming cows, sheep and the native Dartmoor ponies that delight the children by wandering up to their school bus stop every morning – it's a different world. And so quiet, and the freshest of fresh air – I slept like a log, and felt invigorated, despite being up late both nights, continuing the story of Sadie the businesswoman and her quest to find an investor but who ends up finding romance…
And the best thing of all is that I'm one step closer to finishing the first draft of the novel! (more below)
Fuji bridge the gap
The pics above were, believe it or not, taken from the same place the only difference being the incredible zoom on the Today's Special Value Fuji bridge camera I'm launching on Saturday night at midnight. It's amazing, 16MP with an HD camcorder built in – and a flash, wideangle and so much more. And lots of manual modes as well as being a point and shoot. Good Father's Day pressie eh! Here are some more examples:
Both taken from the same spot remember! Imagine what you could take without moving from the spot. And it's a camera with a zoom that's controlled on the lens instead of a rocker on the top of the camera – so it's even more like an SLR – so even more reasons to get it for that proud guy who's a bit fussy about what his camera looks like!
Guys – imagine no more moaning 'cos the shot's too far away and you've missed something – get the camera for those intimate shots of the kids you wouldn't normally be able to achieve 'cos they'd become self-conscious, or 'cos you'd scare the wildlife away, eg. you could you get this –
Well I've been well-impressed by it! Am looking forward to launching it on Saturday night at midnight so do join me then if you can. Considering the last time I did a bridge camera, it sold out, again, it's a good idea to order it earlier rather than later – especially if it's for dad on Father's Day (June 19th).
RNA NWS – OK?
Now being fully in 'creative writing' mode, it was only appropriate that I rushed back from Devon to attend the May party for the Romantic Novelists' Association, where I met some interesting characters, and caught up with a few friends I've been making at the various writing courses I've been on.
Was particularly chuffed to chat to Sue Moorcroft (Google her, her books are fab!) whose workshop I attended last year in York. Her first book 'Starting Over' was a bestseller for WHS Travel amongst other things. She's agreed to do an interview with me over the next few weeks, like the one I did a few blogs back with Liz Chadwick.
Sue teaches writing, and has had success with a new publisher called Choc-Lit – my kind of books! They're unusual as a publisher, because they don't insist that their authors have agents – nearly every other publisher does. Hence my interest in them too – when I eventually deem my tome to be worthy of sending to them! I also chatted to a Daily Mail photographer called Grant – maybe you'll spot their mention of the Party night.
The party was particularly important for the new writers – last year's finalists for the New Writers' Scheme were announced – and the winner won £1000 and a prestigious award – well done to them all. It's always worth lookin g out for these new authors – some of their work is excellent (see Romance novelists association.org).
This year, I'm one of their New Writers on their scheme – it's a highly sought-after opportunity that they're always oversubscribed for – it was full the day after the application forms went up in January this year. Thank goodness I got in by being sneaky and sending the form off immediately to arrive guaranteed next day before 9am. The lady in charge said it was full by the time the postman came the next morning!
Part of the NWS membership is to obtain a full critique of your new novel, and the deadline's August. So having done another 5000 words at Alix's house this week, I'm progressing nicely towards submitting my 55-60000 total.
The 'SFD' should be done by end of May – or perhaps during my June hol in Center Parcs – see below for more news of that holiday (:-)). And then I'll revise it several times before sending it in and holding my breath for a couple of months to see what they say! If they think they're good enough, they pass them on to agents and publishers, so it's really beneficial to be involved with this lovely group of ladies.
Morris or Judy?
I mentioned last week that Brad and I were off to London as he was treating me to a theatre show, well he didn't let me down! On the way there, we passed through Trafalgar Square, where the tourists were getting a sample of fully-fledged English entertainment – a Morris dancing competition! The juxtaposition of all the dancers and the tourists in one of the UK’s most famous landmarks was not something you see every day – so I videoed a sample for you!
Anyway, after a lovely lunch we then saw the Judy Garland life story 'Over the Rainbow' – I can't praise it highly enough. Tracie Bennet played Judy. Tracie is a great actress whom you may remember playing Sharon I think it was several years ago on 'Coronation St', and also I think from 'A Bit Of a Do' with David Jason (correct me if I'm wrong – not got time to Google it!). Anyway her characterisation is superb, her acting phenomenal and her singing perfect. Sooooo entertaining – and not too dear, given it's in a smaller theatre off Whitehall.
Also last weekend, I joined up with an old friend of mine, whom I attended drama classes with 30 years ago, to go to see 'Thor' at the cinema (not bad, specially if you like sci-fi and six packs). Anyway, he kind of asked me out on a kind of date – not been on a 'proper' one of those for ages!
So I'll keep you informed how that's all going… maybe! And we may be going on holiday together in the summer… If there's anything major to report back in the romance department you can be sure I'll… keep it to myself! Haha!!
Anyway that's all for now – am off shortly to meet an agent from a big London company, to find out all about an exciting new author you may wish to read, more about that next week. And about the date. Or not… hee hee…
Have a fab weekend,