Monday 27 August 2012

Back to normality...kind of.

Last week was beyond hectic, but I finally feel like I’m back in control. There is still the issue of burst water pipes underneath my home, and the impending major work to be done on the house could burst my bubble, so for now, I’m opting to bury my head in the sand.

I am new to this whole getting published thing, so there is a lot I didn’t know about it, and probably a lot more I still don’t know. Because I’m a British author and I’m getting published with a U.S based publisher, there were some lovely forms I had to fill out so that I get all of the money I’m entitled to. Now, when it comes to forms, I am on the dumbest side of dumb. I like things to be explained to me step by step, and even then I have to meticulously read over the instructions just to be on the safe side. Luckily for me, my lovely publisher introduced me to this blog, without it, I’d probably still be looking at the blank forms wondering where to start. So, if you happen to be in the same boat as I was, and you’re faced with the oh-so-exciting W7 and W-8BEN IRS forms, then  that blog is a good place to start. The forms probably aren’t that difficult to work out alone, but if you’re anything like me then I’d definitely check out this post for guidance.
So now that I finally have an ITIN, I am glad to see the back of those forms (cue sigh of relief). But that doesn’t mean I’m any less busy. I’m between edits at the moment so I have a bit of time to get back to my works in progress. I am furiously tapping away at these every spare minute I have right now until the end of the month. Because I have promised myself that September will be primarily for edits and revising for the dreaded exam that’s looming (I’ll probably also have to vacate the house at some point to avoid being knee deep in water while plumbers and builders sort out whatever the hell is going on underneath the floorboards).

I do hope to get around to re-designing my blog at some point too, and I promise to start blogging a little more regularly. Thank you all for reading this slightly rambling post, and I really do hope your all having a wonderful day.  

Thursday 23 August 2012

Admissions of love, leaks and absolutely no sleep

To say that the last few days have been stressful would be an understatement. I have resolved to try and see the funny side...and I am really trying hard. So, to give you a bit of a back story, if you read my last post you will know that we have been decorating. We bravely changed our boy's room around so that he'd be sleeping in a bed, and in doing so we disrupted his perfect sleeping routine. Throw in a eight week old baby and a huge work load and you can all understand why I've had next to no sleep for THREE nights! 
Now, you should also know that we changed our living room around, we've got it perfect, I love it! We finally managed to put up (and alphabetize, thanks to my fiancé’s OCD) our ridiculously large collection of DVD’s and CD’s. When I say ridiculously large, we could probably start a DVD rental company from our front room. So all this is done, we gave ourselves a pat on the back, and then this morning we had a knock on the door to say a pipe has burst and their going to have to come into our front room and take all the floorboards up. Oh! I took this news with a trembling lip, rolled my eyes up towards the ceiling and though why?!
Within five minutes I had a call from my landlord, informing me that a plumber would be out this afternoon to do the work. Great, so I need to clear out the front room all by myself. And yes, that does include the hundreds of DVDs and cd's that I wasted a good couple of hours of my life alphabetizing yesterday. I’m still on the phone at this point, very distracted and very tired, so when I go to hang up the phone, I accidently tell my landlord ‘I love you, bye.’ I hang up the phone and stare at it, realising what I’ve just said. Just to clarify, I don’t love my landlord, I’m just tired and used to saying that at the end of a phone call with my family or my fiancé. So I’m too mortified to ever want to speak to my landlord again, I just hope he doesn’t take my declaration of love too seriously.
So, I’m writing this blog in the hopes that any moment now the leak will have magically fixed itself, and I don’t have to touch a single thing in my newly decorated room. But I think I might have to accept that that is not going to happen, so suffering from lack of sleep and caring for a grumpy child and a baby, here I go, and in true British style, all I can really do is 'keep calm and carry on'. Thanks for reading, and wish me luck!

Saturday 18 August 2012

It's all go again

A couple of days ago I breathed a sigh of relief, because I was finally on top of everything. I sat down with a cup of tea and relaxed...for about half hour. Suddenly it's all go again, and although most of it is good, I will tell you about something quite heart-breaking in just a moment.
First of all, the reasons I have been busy are that one, I am in the middle of writing two stories at the moment, both of which I am very excited about, so I keep switching between the two every time I get a new idea. I can't complain about that, after all, you all know I love writing. The second reason I'm busy is because of the work on the two stories I have already submitted. Again, all fine, I'm enjoying that. Third, I finally set up a Twitter account. Now, this is where it starts to get a little bit stressful. I am young, I'm meant to be tech savvy and up to date with social media, but I have been avoiding Twitter for a while because, well, it confuses me. I know what you're all thinking, those of you who have it, what is confusing? That's just me, and it's just something I don't get, but I am proud of myself for taking the plunge, so I'm hoping that in a few days, when I've got my head around it, I will finally have caught up with the rest of the world. Follow my progress here :)

Now it's time for my heart-breaking story. This is not anything to do with writing but my inability as a mother to comprehend that my babies are growing up. My fiancé is upstairs right now putting furniture together because my son is going into a bed, which means that soon enough, my baby girl will be moving from right beside me into a cot in her own room. Ok so I might have been exaggerating when I said heart-breaking, but for me this is kind of a big deal. Anyway, I am now going to spend some time away from my laptop in order to test my practical skills in helping the other half with the furniture making. This could be disastrous; I am renowned for my clumsiness. I'll let you know how this goes!

Friday 17 August 2012

The hardest thing...

I am very happy to announce that Beachwalk Press have accepted my second story, The Best of Both Worlds, which is the second in the Rags and Riches series. I'm so excited to begin working with my editor on this one, as I am already learning so much from her while working on Business and Pleasure.
As a writer it's so rewarding to see your hard work paying off. Everybody prepares you for the rejection letters that you will inevitably receive when you start sending out your work but the truth is that nobody can prepare you for the elation you feel when you finally get that nod of approval. I think I'm just as excited this time around.
I am working on the third story in this series, and so far I am having a whale of a time writing it, but I was also looking through some of my older unpublished stories, thinking I might revamp one or two of them and send them off. That was when I decided that actually, one of the hardest things about writing, for me, is learning to be self-critical. When somebody else tells you that your work isn't what they are looking for you can console yourself with 'oh it’s just not their cup of tea'. But sometimes you just have to read over your own piece of work and realise 'yeah that sucks' and then hit the delete button. It's a hard and brutal process, but recognising the flaws in my own writing is probably one of the best lessons that I've had to learn so far. As long as it makes me a better writer, it will be worth it.

Tuesday 14 August 2012

Who are our characters?

When you’re writing, sometimes your characters seem to take over, and sometimes they even change the story, because even though you might have planned out exactly how things are going to happen in each chapter, sometimes you get to a point and you think ‘no, actually, he wouldn’t do that, it goes against his beliefs’. I actually love it when this happens, when the story kind of runs away with you, because although sometimes it creates problems, I definitely think it makes the characters come to life.

But, where do we get the idea of our characters in the first place? I personally love people watching. Nights out, or day trips to busy places are a great place to just quietly observe and take in people’s little ways and habits. You see people acting in cute ways or sometimes even see them acting badly, and an idea pops into your head about how you could incorporate that into your story, and just like that, you come up with an interesting character.
When I’m reading I love to wonder how other writers came up with their characters. Does the MC act the way the writer does, do they give us an insight into the writer’s life, or the people they know? It really is fascinating, and it definitely adds a whole new dynamic to the story sometimes, especially when characters are open to interpretation. Next time you’re writing, or reading, try it out, try and think where your characters came from, or try and figure out where somebody else got theirs!

Friday 10 August 2012

Summer time!

It is exceptionally good weather today. Anybody who happens to live in Britain will know that we are not famed for having the sunniest summers, and so on this rare and very hot beautiful day, I have put on my flips flops and sunglasses and headed to... the back garden! Well, it's better than nothing, but with two young children and a heap of work to get through, there's not much point going too far while the fiancé is at work. 
But while I'm sitting here, contemplating making a dash to the beach for some ice cream later instead of concentrating on my work, it’s got me thinking about how I've spent summers in the past.
Last year I lived in a flat down by the sea front, and with only one child to contend with, I loved spending my days on the beach playing in the sand, building sandcastles and the like (all for the benefit of my son, of course). 
Three years ago, pre children, I spent the summer days working, and the summer evenings in a flurry of barbeques, camping and beach-partying, and feeling so carefree and in love that I was pretty much on top of the worlds. 
Previous summers have seen me escaping to sunnier countries. The best holiday I ever had was when I went to Italy, I fell so in love with the country and the people that I swore I'd learn the language and live there one day. The worst holiday I ever had was when I went to Greece, I mean, I still had a pretty good time, but I remember my friends and I pulling up in a bus to the most run-down resort you have ever seen, and laughing to ourselves, thinking 'Pity the people who have to stay here... oh yeah, it’s us!' Still, that holiday provided me with an arsenal of anecdotes which people never seem to tire of hearing, and perhaps I'll share them on here sometime!
Summers just seem to be the days that we look back at as we get older and think, yep, we had good times. I always love to hear about people's holidays, so if you feel up for sharing, you know where to find me. If you're having great weather right now (or even if you aren't) then go enjoy it! Have a great summer guys!

Wednesday 8 August 2012

The muses are at work!

This week has been brilliant for coming up with exciting storylines! I really don't know what's got into me but I hope it sticks around. I have begun making notes for, and solidly planning some stand-alone books to write after I'm done with the series I'm currently writing. I really love being so inspired, because it doesn't usually come so easily. I usually have to go looking for inspiration, say a walk, or listening to some new music, that always helps. I bet everybody has their own way of finding inspiration, and I'd definitely love to hear about it.
Talking of inspiration, this week has truly been a week where I am proud to be british. Since it's the big thing at the moment, I think the Olympics definitely deserves a mention. I must admit that usually I'm not that in to watching athletics or sport in general on the television, I'm the type of person who'd rather be out doing it, but I have been watching this years Olympics with a tear in my eye, just watching so many peoples' dreams coming true right in front of you is kind of magical. Not just team G.B for that matter, but everybody putting their hearts and souls into it... well maybe that has something to do with my recent wave of inspiration.