Thursday, March 29, 2007

Busy Days

I chose a new story and began the first chapter, then received the edits for Feodar's World from New Concepts and we went on a boat trip on Westernport Bay, visiting a decommissioned submarine and the seal colony at the Nobbies, a rock formation at the western end of Phillip Island. We went very close to the rocks and were downwind so it was both malodorous and noisy, with seals swimming around and under us the whole time. We went elsewhere to eat because I don't think any of us could have faced a barbecue in such company.

The edits were great. Lots of thought provoking comments on my writing style and effective suggestions on how to improve it. I love edits, because I'm aware how much I have to learn and have taught long enough to read between the lines.

The new story is rolling well, one chapter down and the complications emerging. I'm looking forward to a good days work.

Wish me luck


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Educating Rita

We are subscribers to three amateur theatrical groups and go to 10-12 productions every year. Lat night it was Willy Russell's "Educating Rita" presented as a "two-hander" (only two players).

It was great. The staging was imaginative, filled with subtlety, and the performances were crisp. We left the theatre eminently satisfied.

It was a great antidote to thought because our younger daughter heard me discussing my dilemma about the next story for Whiskey Creek Press and threw another story into the mix. It is set in 1972, the year I wrote it, and tells the story of a young dancer, living in Brisbane, becoming involved with two men in the Australian Coastal Shipping Industry. It was the first novel length manuscript I ever produced and was written ten times on a small portable type-writer as I learnt how to write. It's her favorite, (mine too, I suppose) because every character was drawn from life and set in a world I knew intimately.

Like Rita, I've been "educated" since then and am a better writer, so it is tempting to go back.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Quo Vadis

The literal translation of Quo Vadis is supposed to be Where are you going and that's exactly how I feel at the moment.

Rachael's Return and The Widowmaker are behind me for the moment. Where do I go next? I've sorted through my works in progress and sifted my story files pondering the question.

Whiskey Creek Press publish general fiction as well as romance and I'm tempted to try my hand in a different field. There's a couple of offshore oil industry tales in my story files that nag for attention, but I have a contemporary romance completely plotted, with the first chapter written.

The result is me reading all three stories and thinking hard. The safest course is the contemporary romance, but ...

Wish me luck.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Whiskey Creek Press

The first draft of Rachael's Return sits temptingly in my computer and I resist its charms by reviewing a manuscript already submitted, but now overdue, pondering two things. How can I improve it and where do I send it next. Enter Debra Ann Womack of Whiskey Creek Press with contract in hand. She has a pleasant, businesslike manner and I am prepared to love her instantly.

The Widowmaker is a contemporary romance set on Phillip Island, near Melbourne, Australia, and revolves around the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on arguably the fastest racing circuit in the world. We went down there to research the story and had a marvellous time visiting the haunts of my youth and great changes that have occurred since then.

So I face acquainting myself with another publisher, another editor, knowing I will learn much from the experience, and looking forward to it.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Hello again

We took a break after the wedding (we needed it) and then I settled down to serious writing, finishing the first draft of the third book in the First Family series.

I surfaced a few days ago to find life had gone on around me (It's always a surprise), the silence from one of my publishers had taken on a deathly tinge and the submission period of another had stretched a month beyond the normal response time. The latter is not unusual. The response time for Feodar's World was seven months (the file went missing on somebody's computer) and an early submission to Harlequin took nine months for a response.

It's a writer's life.

Ending a draft is always a time of evaluation. Questions like "Which publisher do I want to target?" "Do I like the direction my writing has taken?" "Which story line do I feel like exploring?" tumble through your mind, trying to displace the world you've just left. If they didn't, you wouldn't be able to approach it again with fresh eyes when the time comes.

I always try for at least a month between drafts. It's not easy, but less time than this hides the flaws in familiarity and I fall into the same mind traps.

Wish me luck