Sunday, 30 December 2007

New Year and all that

With the New Year just around the corner I guess thoughts turn to plans for the future. I know mine certainly do. Along with all the usual stuff (lose weight, excercise more, be kind to people you can't stand) there are things that I hope to do with my writing. In the past I have been pretty non specific about exactly what. It amounted to "I want to be a writer." But my writing has come on so much in the last year and now I need to be more focused. Or I should probably say that I want to be more focused. In 2007 I had my best year ever in terms of success and although that success is incredibly modest when compared to most people's it was my success and I am proud of it. So what if I only had 6 pieces published in 2007. That's 5 more than in 2006 which was 1 more than any year before that. I submitted 47 pieces of work so 12.7% of them were successful. So okay it's not great but it's a start. The first step.

So in 2008 I aim to
  1. Submit a bare minimum of 5 pieces of work a month. - That would take me to 60 which would represent an increase on 2007's output of 27.6% which any company would be happy with.
  2. Work on the WIP folder regularly. There are some ideas in there that just need developing.
  3. Finish the first draft of NMBK. It's been left alone for a while while the other stuff has been going on and I don't need to but would like to get back to it.
  4. Make a contract with myself to work a minimum number of hours each week on writing. Twelve and a half would take my working week up to 50 hours. That should be achievable especially if I can get a few hours in on Sundays.
  5. Continue to enjoy writing. Afterall, if the big break doesn't come in 2008 I've still got the day job to fall back on.

So there you have it. In a nutshell they are my New Years writing resoloutions.

Happy New Year everyone!!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas

Just wanted to stop by and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Enjoy your day doing whatever it is that you do with hopefully people that you love. That's what I'll be doing.
Lots of love
Gonna B

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Santa's on his way

With just 2 more days until Christmas the day job shows no sign of slowing down - at least until 4pm tomorrow. At least the good thing about this time of year is that the public are generally in a good mood, or at least most of the time. However it also means that there's lots of work to do. In fact, I'll be working today and I have to tell you that doing the day job on Sundays is one of my pet hates. The only saving grace is that I work for a charity which does sweeten the pill slightly.
Anyway, my writing week. There wasn't a lot of it to be honest. I looked at a couple of stories from my WIP folder and even tweaked a bit but nothing substantial. I came up with an idea for a short story, or at least a title which I wrote down and shoved in the pocket of my jacket. Must retrieve.
I also finished something this week. I finished the first draft of the project that I've called Topsy. It was such an achievement because it means so much to me personally. Writing it helped me through such a difficult time. I don't think that I will try to get it published in the big wide worldbut I do intend to work it to the end and turn it into some sort of "book" just for me. Not everything I or any of us write has to be for profit or mass publication. Sometimes we need to do stuff just for us. This was/is one of those things.
As I sit here in my living room with my laptop on my knee and the Christmas tree a few feet away with presents under it I feel calm and to be honest a bit warm and fuzzy inside. When I was little I used to dream of writing something that was published and wanted to see my name in print more than anything else. I have achieved that now but the feeling is still there only now the goalposts have moved. Now, I want to see my name in print MORE OFTEN.
Anyway, that's about it really. I'm going to have a cup of coffee and walk the dog before I go to work. Or it would probably be more accurate to say that Himself will walk the dog while I follow him round dropping Christmas cards off at the neighbours' houses. Then after work it's going to be a long hot bath and then cook a ham. Tomorrow won't be so bad because I'll be working with a dear friend and we plan on playing the Chipmunks version of Jingle Bells for the last hour . If you've never heard this particular rendition of this festive classic you should because it is hysterical and the first thing I'll do at work this morning is play it a couple of times. Then on Tuesday I'm going to have a day with my menfolk and the dog and reflect on how blessed I am to be loved by some fab men. What more could a girl want for Christmas?
Hope yours is all you want it to be.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

This blog and other stuff

as you may know I have been thinking in the past couple of weeks about my writing and where its going etc. I was also thinking about this blog. I love making entries here because it's like catching up with an old friend. But sometimes it'll be Friday night and I'll realise that I haven't visited here all week. Sometimes it's because I've been too busy doing other stuff but other times it's because I've not had anything to say.
Sunday is a day when generally I have the time to blog and so I have decided that each Sunday I will tell you about my week. I know that it works for some people so I'm going to give it a go.
So let me tell you about my week.
As I mentioned the other day I sold a story this week which is always good. Yesterday I received my contributers copy of TL Fast Fiction (Summer Special) I always feel a bit odd seeing my name in print. Maybe I just haven't gotten used to it yet. Ginny Swart had a couple of stories in there and I also saw one from Sue Houghton so I'm in good company.
I'm still editing my Topsy project but that is therapy more than anything else. It doesn't seem like a real writing project any more.
That's my writing week in a nutshell. Not really a lot but it's been that kind of week.

w/c 16/12/2007 This week I'll..

nothing. Or at least to commit to nothing. In case you hadn't noticed it's Christmas in 9 days. It's the busiest time of the year in my day job and I'm working every hour God sends and then on top of that I haven't bought Himself a present yet. I've no doubt that I will do some writing but I'm not sure what.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

A second job

I have been thinking about what I want from my writing next year and trying to work out how I am going to achieve that. I have decided that I need to take on another job and that job is freelance writer. I have discovered recently how much can be achieved when someone puts their mind to it so if I'm serious about writing I need to make a serious commitment to it. What I need to do now is work out the minimum amount of time that I can commit to writing and contract myself to that time.
I hope that there'll be plenty of over time available.

Twice as nice

I sold another story today which is always a good thing to do. It was one that I wrote couple of months ago when I was writing as a distraction so it has now paid off twice. First there was the distraction value and then the hard cash that I'll be paid for it. Can't be bad.

Monday, 10 December 2007


I found these questions on DJ Kirby's blog and thought I'd give it a go. I'd be really interested to know your answers

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?

2. Real tree or artificial?
Both The main tree is artificial but we rescued a small real tree a couple of years ago. It’s rooted so has lasted a couple of years but if I’m honest it does look a bit ill this year.

3. When do you put up the tree?
Usually around 10th December

4. When do you take the tree down?
As soon after New Years Day as I can get away with.

5. Do you like eggnog?
Never had it

6. Favorite gift received as a child?
A doll with hair that grew, unfortunately I can’t remember what it was called

7. Do you have a Nativity scene?

8. Hardest person to buy for?
The mother-in-law

9. Easiest person to buy for?
My other half is pretty easy to buy for. We’ve been together a long time

10. Worst Christmas Gift you ever received?
A jumper bought by someone who shall remain nameless. It was polyester and powder blue, need I say more?

11. Mail or email Christmas cards?

12. Favorite Christmas Movie?

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
Around October

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?The whole roast turkey dinner. It comes as a package so you can’t pick out a single thing. It’s just all yummy.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree?
Clear at the moment but there have been coloured

17. Favorite Christmas song?
Silent Night

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

20. Angel on the tree top or a star?

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Morning. Himself and I open our stockings in bed and then we open the rest as a family after we’ve walked the dog.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year?
The greed and commercialism

Sunday, 9 December 2007

w/c 09/12/2007 This week I will...

  1. Evaluate what it is that I want from my writing and start to form a plan.
  2. Finish the first draft of Topsy.
  3. Continue to edit Topsy.

I'm still here

Like I said last Sunday, the week that we have just had was going to be a huge week for me away from writing. As a consequence of that I haven't thought about writing much (other than the short story that I subbed by email). But I am here, I am alive and I am well. A cloud that has been hanging over me for the last few months or so has lifted at least temporarily and at this moment life is good.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Setting goals

I've given some thought this week to what I want from my writing in 2008. I've come up with a couple of things but one of the things I have to be realistic about the amount of time that I will be able to give to writing. Unless I win the lottery sometime soon or get a call from an editor who thinks that they made a mistake by turning down my novel I'll be earning my living from a full time job. That has to come first of course (unfortunately.) Then there are my family commitments.
I don't want you to think that I'm making excuses already because honestly I'm not. I'm trying to be realistic so that I don't set myself unachievable goals. There would be nothing more disheartening fo rme as a writer if I felt like a failure because I'd set my goals to low. On the other hand though I don't want to set them too low either.
I think I need to give it more thought.
Watch this space.

w/c 02/12/2007 This week I will

  1. Continue to edit Topsy (it's very slow progress)
  2. Develop another idea from the WIP

Won't commit myself to too much this week as I have a couple of big days pewrsonally this week. On these days especially Wednesday I don't see me doing any writing at all.

Just to add one more thing, I'm going to try and come up with an ending to the story that I worked on from the WIP folder last week.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Will hopefully hear in March

I submitted another story to Thats Life (Australia) today. Hopefully I won't hear anything (apart from the acknowledgement that Mary sends out) before March. Anything less than that and it will probably be a rejection. I've not subbed much recently so this is another step in the right direction.

Something to ask Santa for

I was just working on my Topsy project which hopefully will be finished in a week or so (fingers crossed.) I was doing actual writing rather than editing and as I've said before, my preferred method for a first draft is with a pen on paper. I was looking at the words as they formed or rather the shapes of the words and I have to say that today I liked my handwriting. Unfortunately that's not always the case, sometimes I think that its scrawl. But today it was really rather pretty. It must be down to the pen I was using. It wasn't mine though, it was one that I borrowed. Maybe I'll have to ask Santa to bring me my own.

The Right Title

I had a story published recently called "What's in a Name?" and when it comes to short stories, the answer is probably a lot.
Finding the right title for a story is a constant challange for me. Afterall the first part of your story that an editor sees is the title and they have to be grabbed by it. The last thing that I want for my story is a bland title. If you see a dull title. If they see dull title they might assume dull story.
The title isn't everything but it is plenty. I have had previously rejected stories accepted and the only thing that I have changed is the title. I guess that speaks for itself.
sally had an entry on her blog about this the other day so if you haven't already seen it pop over there.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

What happened next?

I chose something from my WIP folder to work on. It's a short story written on the back of some A4 sheets of paper that had sales figures on the back. So clearly I had got this idea when I was at work and grabbed whatever I could to write it on, probably during my lunch break. But that break must have ended too soon because the story is almost finished. Unfortunately it stops mid sentence. I guess the phone must have rung or something and I never got back to it. As first drafts go it's not bad, but what on earth happened next? I don't know how I meant to finish this story. I've just typed it up, trying to get a feel for it again, hoping that the ending would come to me. sadly it didn't. I'll be going to work tomorrow, maybe it will come to me there.

Pitching again

I sent a letter to a publisher trying to sell myself and my novel to them. It's a new approach because for me I thought that if I could get a publisher to agree to look at it, my mss might not sit on the slush pile quite so long.
I'll let you know what happens.

Thank you...

to everyone who visits this blog. When I first started it I didn't imagine that anyone would. I don't know what brings you here but I hope that you like what you find. You are very welcome here - and if any of you would like to get a duster out and tidy up a bit please feel free.

w/c 25/11/2007 This week I will...

  1. Continue to edit Topsy.
  2. Develop at least one piece from my WIP folder which is now bulging thanks to my clearing out the top drawer of my desk.
  3. Think about what I want from 2008 and plan how I'm going to get it.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Old habits don't die

I always write the first draft of anything (apart from emails and this blog) with a pen on paper. I love the way that words form on the paper. I know it's probably a bit old fashioned but I don't see myself changing my habit. The second and any subsequent drafts are written/edited on my lap top but for a first draft it has to be a good old fashioned pen on paper. Sometimes I even like my handwriting - but not often.
The reason I mention this is that I was clearing out that top drawer at last and I came across a zillion bits of paper with the first draft of lots of things written on them. I think I made sense of most of them and as a result my WIP folder is now bulging.
Best get on with it.

The elusive person

I'm going to pitch BTL at a publisher this afternoon. Like I said the other day all three agents that have seen it have said good things about it so I know that it has some merit. I believe in it and not just because it's my baby. I just have to find someone who believes in it as much as I do. I know that they're out there I just hope that I live long enough to find them.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Targeting Markets

I've been working on non fiction projects more recently. I think that there are two reasons for this. Firstly I tend to write about whatever takes my fancy on any given day and sometimes that is something other than what goes on in the fantasy land that is my brain. And secondly the market is much greater. So if I want to earn a second or better still primary living from writing I have to target that greater market as well. I've only had a couple of successes in the past in non fiction but there was a time when that was all I'd had in fiction. We all have to start somewhere and if you're at the bottom of a ladder there is only one way to go. I don't expect and don't aim to be a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist but it would be nice to be able to see a few bits in print. When I setting myself targets for 2008 (is it really only 6 weeks til Christmas?) I'm going to have a non fiction section for the first time.

w/c 18/11/2007. This week I will...

  1. Continue to edit Topsy.
  2. Work on another non fiction idea that I had yesterday when I was at work.
  3. Clear at least the top drawer of what I euphamistically call my writing desk

Monday, 12 November 2007

Free verse - poetry or not?

You may or may not have noticed the verses that appear on my blog. I am reluctant to call them poetry and don't pretend that they are because I'm afraid I can't get away from the theory that poetry should rhyme. It's probably a generation thing. I read a lot (or see the articles at least) in writing magazines about free verse and it confuses me. Isn't free verse just a series of thoughts written on seperate lines rather than just a normal sentence? That's the way I see the stuff I write anyway. But maybe that's just me.
I'm not saying that its wrong - just that I don't understand it.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

A crumb of comfort and rave refusals

Remember I said that if I didn't hear from the Australian agency about my book by Thursday tea-time (their time) that meant that they weren't interested in it? Well, like I said I didn't hear from them so that was a bit (lot) disappointing. I did however get this email from the agent on Friday.

"Thanks for your submission.
Though your writing shows many strengths, I wasn't quite captivated enough by the material you sent to proceed any further.
Very best
L T" (she obviously wrote her name but I don't know if I'm allowed to put it on here.)

Okay do I know it's not much but I'm taking some comfort from the fact that she took time out of her day to send me a message.

Sadly she is the third agent who has had at least one good thing to say about my book but didn't feel that they could take iy any further. Relatively speaking, my rejections have been great.

w/c 11/11/2007 This week I will...

No "Last week I ..." entry because it has just occurred to me that I write everything I have done on here anyway so I would just be repeating myself and run the risk of being boring (me boring? Perish the thought!.) So from now on, or at least for this week because by next week I may have forgotten, there will only be what I plan to do this week. And that is as follows:
  1. Start to edit the Topsy project.
  2. Edit and prepare to submit the non fiction piece that I wrote yesterday ( okay I just realised that I didn't mention doing that before.)

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Mixed day

Bad news from Australia, or rather no news which amounts to the same thing. They said that if I hadn't heard from them by Thursday tea time they wouldn't be taking the matter any further. As they were sitting down to tea in Melbourne while I was asleep and there was no email waiting for me this morning I'm guessing that'll be a no. C'est la vie, it's all part of a writers life. However I have just heard from the publishers of the erotic stories that I have written in the past (or rather the one's Roxie wrote) that they are going to be available on audio download. So I will get paid twice. Hoorah!!! If there's one thing better than getting paid once, it's getting paid twice.
I was thinking about what I wrote here yesterday and I thought it was a little depressing. However when I thought about it I realised that I am experiencing things and feeling emotions that I never knew existed so at least when it's all over I'll have lots of new things to write about.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Better things to come?

The ugliness that I've been mentioning for the past few weeks (or is it months?) is at it's ugliest. And let me tell you it is way uglier than I thought life could be. When my life is pretty again maybe I'll explain more. I've been happy with the amount of writing I've produced over the past few weeks but I fear I won't be able to say the same this week. Thank goodness I had a good Sunday.
Last night I dreamt I was looking in a mirror and I liked what I saw (not generally the case when I'm awake.) I'm choosing to take it as a sign that there are better things around the corner.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

Thank God for Sunday

I did about an hour and a half of writing this morning and I've just done the same now. But today is Sunday so I had the time to do that, fitting it around making lunch, washing up etc. But the rest of the week I work 9 - 5.30 so by the time I get home and do the stuff that I need to do there's not a lot of time left for writing and that's assuming that I have the energy. My dream of getting the big break may be some way off given the amount of time that I can give it each week.
It's times like this when I wish that I had spent more time writing when I didn't work. But the kids were little then and they were my priority.
But then, I guess nobody said it would be easy.

Unopened emails

True to my word, I haven't checked my emails before I wrote this (blogging doesn't count does it? No it can't today because setting out my plans for the week here is part of my writing regime.) It was relatively easy though because the chances of THAT email arriving between the hours of 5.40 on a Saturday evening and 6.20 on Sunday morning have to be remote. But hang on a minute, it's been day time in Australia while I was asleep. You can rest assurred That if there is anything of significance in my mailbox you will hear about it later.

w/c 03/11/2007 Next week I will....

focus on the following 2 things.
  1. Getting the Topsy story to it's present completion point. It will go further but only after more reserach which can't be done for a few weeks.
  2. Edit and type up Roxie's story.

w/c 28/10/2007 Last week I

  1. did way over 3000 words on Topsy.
  2. Sent BTL to Australia
  3. Submitted a total of 6 pieces out, one of which was accepted.
  4. Edited and typed a short story written ages ago.

I think that was it but I am happy with what I achieved last week as it was my most productive week in ages.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Easily distracted

Why is it that before I can start doing anything on my computer be it write, edit or anything not connected with writing (I mean literally anything) I check my email. Maybe it's because I'm hoping that there's going to be the email I'm waiting for to be there. From next week I'm going to try and get into the habit of doing what I switched the computer on for in the first place before I check messages. Maybe that way I'll do more work and less chatting/surfing/all the other distractions the internet offers because God knows I take precious little distracting. I don't know how well I'll manage because that email might be there but I'll give it a go.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

New approach a success

I've just emailed my book off to the Australian agency. I figured that there would be nothing lost in trying to pitch it down under. Nothing ventured - nothing gained as they say.
I'm feeling really good about the amount of actual writing that I have done this week rather than just thinking about it. (I think about it a lot.) My new approach to setting myself targets has definately worked for me. I guess that's what it's all about i.e. finding what works for you.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

A quick update

Thought I'd let you know how I was getting on with my reduced schedule.
I have probably written about 2000 words so far on my Topsy project and my submission for the Australian agency is ready to go and will be emailed tomorrow night. On top of that I have submitted the entry to Gcities which I mentioned in my previous entry and I submitted a short story to a magazine in South Africa. This afternoon I'm also going to submit another short story.
This will be my most productive week in ages so I'm starting to think that less is more if you catch my drift.

Durham Cathedral

I read about the Gcities website in Writers News and thought I'd have a look. I submitted an entry about Durham Cathedral which they accepted. You can see it at,360493/46/record.html

Sunday, 28 October 2007

w/c 28/10/2007 This week I will...

  1. concentrate on Topsy. It's non fiction and fairly topical, relevant to stuff at the moment so needs to be worked on now. Target - 3000 words (but hopefully more)
  2. submit BTL to the Australian agency.

That's all I'm going to commit myself to this week. Of course that isn't to say that it is all I will do just that even if I don't do anything else this week I Am going to do these two things. Like I said in a post earlier this week I need to focus on the furure, the bigger picture, call it what you will. I need to get more structure to my writing if I am going to be serious about this thing.

That structure forming starts now.

w/c 20/10/2007 Last week I ...

  1. wrote 1000 words on Topsy
  2. wrote 1000 words on NMBK
  3. submitted 4 very short pieces of fiction

Friday, 26 October 2007

Something to work out

I had a new idea yesterday which has excited me a lot and I started to put some things down onto paper today. It was while I was doing that, that it occurred to me that I really need to learn to concentrate on a particular project. It's ok to have a few things on the go at once but while I'm working on lots of things at once nothing is getting finished. i don't know what the answer is but I know that I need to work it out.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Spring clean - the order of the day

I've just been having a look through my writing cabinet where all my work in progress is stored and realised how much there is. I have masses of stuff that isn't quite finished or needs a final polish. I really need to go through it all. I won't throw any of it away but I need to get it sorted, finish the good stuff and work on the rest.
So even though it's October I think a spring clean is required.
I also really need to go through all the work I've got archived.
Best get the mop and bucket out.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Deadline met hoorah!!!

The deadline for getting the editing done to the piece commissioned last week was Monday Australia time. I didn't want to mess it up by not getting it there on time so I finished it and sent it off on Friday night. It is so important to meet deadlines so the last thing I wanted to do now that I seem to have got a toe in with this magazine is blow it.
The weekly targets that I set myself are not written in stone and when the ugly stuff finishes maybe I should become a stone mason.

w/c 21/10/2007 Next week I'll

  1. write 1000 words on each of NMBK and Topsy
  2. Finally submit the steps story.
  3. Try and clear up a few loose ends.

w/c 14/10/2007 last week I....

  1. had a story commissioned by Thats Life! Australia.
  2. Had a story rejected by Woman's Weekly.
  3. Finished Roxie's story
  4. Edited the Australian commission.
  5. wrote 1000 words on Topsy ans NMBK

All in all considering everything else that's going on I'm pretty pleased with this week(apart from the rejection of course.)

Friday, 19 October 2007

Another hit down under

I've had another story commissioned in Australia which is good news. I've been asked to cut it to fit which isn't a problem apart from the fact that the dealine is tight. In fact I really need to get in with it.
I had a story rejected by Womans Weekly today which was disappointing but goes with the territory. Maybe I should try it in Australia. To be honest I was wondering if I should try to get myself an Australian publisher for my book as they seem quite keen on my stuff (well at least two editors are.)
Must get on - I need to lose a couple of hundered words.

An apology in advance

I said that I would submit this week but to be honest I haven't and I won't before this week is out so apologies for that.
I just can't get my head around submitting anything new at the moment because the ugly stuff is starting to get really ugly so the writing is my distraction. I also apologise for not being around much but I want you to know how much I appreciate you dropping by and your good wishes.
Thanks - you are a lovely lot.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Focus on the plan

I've just checked my list and I only have 7 pieces of work out there in the world which is nowhere near enough. Submitting work has been a problem for me recently. I write it, I edit it, I polish it but then I don't do anything with it. Okay, so I know I've got all that other rubbish going on at the minute but I could submit at least one piece of work a week. The other stuff is actually starting to get a bit harder but I have to look beyond the present to the time when it will be over. I need to focus on the plan and part of that plan is writing.

w/c 14/10/2007 Next week I'll...

do the usual stuff, you know, work on Topsy and NMBK. In addition to that I will
  1. Finish Roxie's story.
  2. Polish and submit the steps story (ok I know that was on last week's list too)
  3. Submit at least one other piece.
  4. Do anything else that takes my fancy

w/c 07/10/2007 Last week I

  1. Worked on Roxie's story
  2. Worked on Topsy
  3. Worked on NMBK

It doesn't look a lot on paper but considering the week I had I am fairly pleased.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Thanks to Womagwriter

Womagwriter recently tagged me for a meme. I've taken a few days to have a think about my answers so here goes.

Total number of books
I probably personally own (Himself would want no part of my Auten collection) about 100 books. However we have about 500 books in the house ( at least half of them in boxes because the bookshelves are full) so I'm never short of something to read.

Last book read
A pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy. It was a present from Himself for no reason other than he saw it and thought of me (that's what he tells me anyway.) Really good book and apparently a bit autobiographical.

Last book bought
Relics - Pip Vaughn Hughes. I've got no idea what it's about but Himself got very excited when I mentioned I'd seen it so I had to buy it for him. I honestly can't remember the last book I bought for myself.

5 Meaningful Books
The Girl with the Pearl Earring - Tracy Chevalier: An incredibly erotic book without any sex.

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - Dee Dee Williams: The true story of the Native American which is nothing like Hollywood.

Ghosts - Ed McBain: It introduced me to one of the best writers of dialogue that I have ever come across.

Tess of the D'Urbervilles -Thomas Hardy: I identified with Tess so much. I am probably the only person I know who understood her.

The Trial - Franz Kafka - I couldn't help but enjoy it even though I didn't know what was happening.

Now the hard part because every one I read has already been tagged before. But the blogs I read the most are Sally Quilford, Womagwriter, Cally Taylor, A Writer and Leigh Forbes. There are plenty more that I pop into now and again but these are the ones I read the most.

Thanks for the chance Woamgwriter

Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Just stopping by

I want to write an entry here but I don't know what to say. It's kind of ironic really because I've just read an article about someone who says that they want to write a book but don't know what to write about.
I've had the afternoon off work to take care of a few bits and bobs and that's done now and I find myself with an hour to spare. Do I clean the bathroom (or any other room you'd care to mention)? Do I attack the mountain of ironing that is officially the highest point above sea level for miles around? No I switch in the computer and write. Okay, well writing might be stretching it a bit. I answered a couple of emails, wrote an entry on the private blog I'm keeping about the rubbish that is still going on in my life, had another look at my fiftybeans story just to make sure it really was there and now I'm here.
Maybe I'll read an old story and see what I can do about/with it. Yes that's what I'm going to do. I'll let you know how I got on.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Something else for the CV

A while ago (quite a while ago in fact) I submitted a 50 word story to The Meridian 50 Beans project. I'd given up on it and to be honest forgotten about it. But I heard today that it's been published on the fiftybeans website It's not a paying piece but it's still an achievement and something else for the CV.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

w/c 07/10/2007 This week I'll...

  1. work on my Topsy project
  2. work on NMBK
  3. work on Roxie's story
  4. polish the steps story and submit it to the competition it was written for.
  5. Submit something. I've just had a count and I only have 8 pieces of work out there. That is nowhere near enough. Most people trying to bew serious about this would submit in a week.
  6. Not be too hard on myself because this is the week that Himself and I should have been in Rome. But the "rubbish" that I refer to from time to time has meant that we have had to cancel. Needless to say I may be a little down this week but by that same token I will be looking for distractions too. I'd got a magazine interested in some photographs of Rome but they say that they'll still look at them when we do go.

w/c 30/09/2007 Last week I

did pretty much what I said I would I think. I...
  1. worked on NMBK
  2. worked on the story that Roxie is writing
  3. wsorked on NMBK
  4. worked on my Topsy project

I also had an acceptance this week which I enjoyed.

Friday, 5 October 2007

The blog won the raffle

I almost deleted the post I made around midnight because I don't know what it was all about. But one of the things I said to myself at the beginning was that I was going to write as I felt at a particular moment. So last nights nonsense stays.
Like I said I couldn't sleep and I wanted to talk to someone. The blog won the raffle.
Just in case anyone is interested, I went to bed just after I'd posted the blog and went to sleep after about 10 - 15 minutes. I did wake up a couple of times but wasn't too tired this morning.

Watch this space

Roxie did write today and so did I.
Roxie's story is coming along nicely but not progressing as quickly as I would like it to. My work is mainly a distraction from the real world.
I've just remembered a competition I meant to enter. I wrote the story so I need to check that I didn't miss the deadline. I don't think I did, I'm fairly certain that it was November but I need to check that.
maybe I should also go to bed. It's 12.15 (that time may not show on the blog but I assure you it's real) and I've been to bed once but got up again because I couldn't sleep. Maybe I'll give it another go.
Watch this space for any more entries tonight because if I still can't sleep I'll be back.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Roxie writes again

I'm writing with renewed vigour this week on the back of my success in Australia. Today I worked on the story that Roxie (my erotica writing alto ego) is working on. When I'm scribbling I can see people looking at me and I dare say some of them are wondering what on earth I am writing in my tatty little note book. If only they knew.
I must get around to sending my book out to another agent/publisher ( I haven't decided which one to try yet) I do have another agent to try that an author recommended to me so maybe I'll try them first. Either way I need to stop thinking about it and send it out there again.
Roxie will probably be writing again tomorrow as her book is small and neat and fits discreetly into my handbag.

Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Hit me again

I spent a lot of time just hanging around yesterday so I worked on Topsy and wrote probably about 1000 words or so. I tried to work on NMBK but by that time there was another woman hanging around too and she insisted on talking. It was okay though.
Just checked email to see if there was any news on the story shortlisted by the Australian magazine and found that there was a message from them. It wasn't about the shortlisted story though but about one that I sent them about a month after I sent that one. (Are you still with me?) They are going to use it in their Summer Fiction Special. How good is that? I guess that if they're going to use the one that they told me was shortlisted I should be hearing about that fairly soon. Watch this space.
A great big Happy Birthday to Himself who is 50 today.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

It's just rubbish

I mentioned in my "This week I'll" post for this week that it's going to be a tough week for me on a personal level. To be honest the next 2 - 3 months could be tough - or maybe not so bad - who knows? Please bear with me if I'm not as dedicated as I would like to be. It's just a temporary blip - I promise. The rubish in my life at the moment isn't going to take it over - I won't let it. It's just rubbish.

w/c 30/09/2007 Next week I'll

  • work on and try to finish the erotic story one of my alto ego's is writing.
  • work on NMBK
  • work on Topsy ( my new pet name for my non fiction project)
  • write on this blog at least 4 times.
  • not beat myself up if I don't manage these things as this week is going to be tough on a personal level

w/c 23/09/2007 Last week I...

did everything that I said I would although maybe not in the quantities that I would have liked. I also received a rejection late last night which was disappointing but part of the job. I'm sure I'll live, I just need to try harder.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Still here

Just to let you know that I am still here and still writing. It's just that there's a lot of domestic stuff going on this week so I haven't had a chance to blog. A big hello to anyone who's been here. Started a new short story last night. Anyway got to run - need to see a man about a dog (so to speak.)

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Back in my arms

I worked on NMBK today for the first time in about 7 weeks. It felt good to have my baby back in my arms again (okay in my hands really.)

Sunday, 23 September 2007

First time in a month

If you have read this blog before you may know that there is some stuff going on in my life at the minute that has put writing on the back burner. I have however in the past week or so realised that I should focus on the plan for when it is over and life is back to normal. The plan involves writing so I have tried to get back to it.
So I just want to announce that I have just submitted a piece of work. That's the first time in a month.

A cool idea

My favourite book of all time is "Tess of the D'Urbervilles." I originally read it in school and I have read it over and over again since.
How cool would it be to have someone say that a book you (I) had written was their most favourite book?
Very cool.

w/c 23/09/2007 This week I'll...

  • Continue with my non fiction project.
  • Work on NMBK - even if it's only 100 words. I've ignored that baby too long.
  • Polish the stuff that's still a bit dull.
  • Submit at least one piece of work.

The bullet points are back. That's a good sign. I did them without really thinking so it must mean that my heads in better shape - for today at least (or is it just this hour?) If it's just going to be for the hour I'd best get on and write something before it goes again.

w/c 16/09/2007 Last week I ....

worked mainly on my non fiction project - the one that's growing like Topsy. I also thought about NMBK for the first time in weeks. I also polished a couple of things (stories not furniture) but not to the standard where I would want anyone else seeing them.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

A mixed batch

I heard yesterday from an agent who has been looking at my book. He said that he had enjoyed it but that he wasn't sure if he could place it in the current tough market. So now I'm looking for another agent to send it to. Or I was thinking maybe I would try a publisher direct. I want to believe that he enjoyed the book so if he did I must be able to find someone else who does.
So that was a little disappointing but then today I heard from a magazine in Australia that a story I sent them some time ago has been shortlisted. The last acceptance I had from them came about 7 months after submission so I wasn't surprised that it had taken them so long to get back to me. In fact it was encouraging because the two stories of mine that they have rejected in the past have been returned quite quickly. That was some good news just when I needed it.
Maybe I should consider trying to get my book published in Australia.

Open writing competitions

Today is the first day that was just for me in ages and I was relaxing with a cuppa I flicked through the latest edition of Writing magazine this morning and came across the 2008 writing competition calendar. I noticed that almost all of the story competitions have an open theme. You can write about whatever you want. How on earth do you come up with a winning entry - or any entry come to that? I think I now know why I've never entered a competition that didn't have a theme before.

Monday, 17 September 2007

A bit like Topsy

I've done lots of writing today compared to what I have been managing lately. I wrote a bit more of the short story that I started last week and about 1000 words on my non fiction project.
That particular project started off as what I thought would be an article but it is growing - a bit like Topsy. (I don't know who Topsy was but my mum used to say it a lot)

Sunday, 16 September 2007

w/c 16/09/2007 This week I will...

polish the short story that's in the first draft stage and finish the other one that I started last week. I will also try to find a market for the 60 word stories that I wrote a couple of weeks ago. I will submit at least one piece of work.

w/c 09/09/2007 Last week I....

started 2 short stories. I completed the first draft of one of them but the other one is probably only 100 words or so. I also worked on a non fiction project that will be ongoing for a few months at least.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Focusing on the plan

I had another rejection today. The editor in question complimented the story, saying that they liked it and that it was beautifully written but just not right for them. It's actually a story that I love so I'm going to find a market for it.
I'm trying to get my mind back on writing more. There's nothing that I can do about the other stuff that's going on but I/we have a plan when the bad stuff finishes and I need to be writing.
Plus when I'm writing the bad stuff disappears temporarily so if I could only get my head to stay in the writing. I need to focus on the plan.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Central Fiction Depts

I sent a story to the Central Fiction Department of D C Thomson about six weeks ago. It was submitted by email so you can imagine my surprise when it was returned to me today in the post. It was rejected but they had sent it back to me along with some guidelines for some of there publications.

I'm not sure how the central fiction dept works. I know that it means that your work gets considered for a whole range of magazines rather than just one but it does feel a bit impersonal.

I started a short story - a regular 1000 word plus short story. That's the first one in weeks. I guess it's progress.

The contract came yesterday for the story that's going to be published by Xcite books. I signed it this morning and sent it back. Thats what it's all about.

Sunday, 9 September 2007

w/c 09/09/2007 Next week I will

.... submit at least one piece of work. I will also polish a couple of other pieces that are lieing around gathering dust. It's not a lot but like I said the other day life will be a challange for the next few months and writing has to take a back seat. My dream is important to me but some things have to take precedence.

w/c 02/09/2007 last week I....

worked on a couple of pieces of flash fiction.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

Another lesson learned

I had two responses yeterday. One was a negative and the other one was sort of a positive. That is to say that although they are not going to use it at the moment they want to hang onto it for a later date. It was something that I wrote about what I'm going through so I'm okay about it not being published right away because it already served it's purpose by helping me through a moment.
Being honest about myself I'm not too disappointed about the other. Okay, I am disappointed - maybe I should say that I'm not surprised. It was a story that I submitted when I came across a market and thought "that story'll do for that," I have to stop doing that because it doesn't work. So even though it wa not the answer that I wanted it has taught me a valuable lesson.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Roll on Christmas

I mentioned the other day that D Day was Wednesday (yesterday.) Lets just say that the next three months are going to be a challange and my "gonna be a writer" attempt will definately be secondary. I will however keep writing and keep you up to date with my progress. Like I said before writing is a distraction.
With God on our side though we are looking forward to a fantastic Christmas.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Very short fiction

My concentration span is a bit short at the moment so I've been working on some very short fiction. I know that there are a couple of markets for 60 word stories so maybe I'll submit to those. I got the 250 words competition entry down on paper (figuratively speaking) yesterday only to find that I need to lose 64 words. I guess I'll be pruning again.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

w/c 02/09/2007 Next week I will....

do more. I have realised that there is very little (okay nothing) that I can do personally about the situation that has taken over my mind and my life at the moment. (I will tell you - one of these days - when it's over probably.) That being the case, unless I choose to go mad (which will do no-one any good) I should distract myself. That being the case I am going to try and write more and not just in my private space.
I actually did a bit of NMBK for the first time on weeks today and that felt good. So I will try to do more of that.
Also I will try to polish the piece of flash fiction that I wrote last week and I will try to submit a story to an overseas market that I have in mind.
Note that I said try. That's because D Day is this Wednesday.

w/c 26/08/2007 last week I....

didn't do a lot of stuff that can be submitted anywhere. I did write a piece of flash fiction and I did submit a short non fiction piece to an American market.
I think that was it.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Not a lot of words

I read about a competition the other day that involved writing a 250 word story using a photograph as your inspiration. I thought I would have a go. I wrote it in long hand this afternoon and will get it typed up and the words counted soon. That's when I have to start pruning I suppose. 250 is not a lot of words. Actually it's an excercise that I have really enjoyed. With so few words to work with you have to make every one count. You have to tell the story without any of the padding.
No rejections so far this week which is good. However there have been no acceptances either which is not good.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Who are you?

I got to thinking earlier about the people that read this.
Who are you?
What brought you here?
Have you been here before?
When I started to write this blog I wasn't sure that anyone would ever read it. But that didn't matter because I enjoyed writing here and so I continued.
Whatever your reasons for being here, thank you for calling and if you want to tell me a bit about yourself please do.
OK I'm off to check out a couple of the blogs I like to keep up to date with.

Overseas markets and websites

I wrote a short non fiction piece for an American outlet today. I polished it briefly and sent it off. that's not something that I would normally do but it was something that was written from the heart and that is what this particular outlet were looking for. We'll see.
I've also spent an hour or so looking into setting up a website. With my limited success I know that I might not neccassarily have a lot to put on there but I remember an editor once telling me that I should be ready for when my big break comes. Maybe she has a point.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Bare bones

I have put the bones of the short non fiction piece I mentioned yesterday down onto paper today. Its just the bare bones at the minute but when I decide on the right market I'll put a bit of meat in those bones and send it out into the world.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Lesson in life

A lesson I have recently learned was reinforced this week by the news of a couple of high profile sudden and tragic deaths. I'm not going to elaborate on these because this is neither the time or the place to do that. If you are reading this in Britain around the time that I write it you will probably know at least one of the things that I am referring to.
Anyway, back to the lesson I have learned.
Life is something that we hang onto by the most delicate of threads. Life as we know it can be changed without warning in a heartbeat. Life itself can be over in the blinking of an eye. We take for granted that tomorrow will always come and that it will be just as good as today.
With that in mind, if there is something that you want to do you should do it. Don't procrastinate and make excuses. Life is too short for that. Don't talk about doing it - DO IT.

w/c 26/08/2007 Next week I will...

do what I can. I had an idea for a short non fiction piece today so I will try to get that down and maybe even submitted. Other than that, I have things that I hope to do but I'm not prepared to commit myself to anything other than to do what I can.
Life sucks a bit at the minute.

w/c 19/08/2007 Last week I did...

very little if truth be told. Well I did some writing on my private blog but as far as writing stuff to sell I didn't do a lot. I did get the short story down onto paper though. I think I did more too but I can't remember what.

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Lazy piece got what it deserved

I received another rejection today. It was a non fiction piece that I had submitted months and months ago and had forgotten about. Upon reading it again I'm not surprised that it was rejected as it was a lazy piece that was submitted before it was ready to go any where especially where it went as it was sent to the wrong outlet. My only excuse is that it was sent out before I got serious about this writing lark and so it is a mistake that hopefully I shouldn't make again.

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

When you need to write...

you've got to write.
I had a phone call this afternoon (when I was in the supermarket of all places) that threw my day out of kilter. I couldn't think straight and I could barely function. I went back to work and sat at my desk and just looked at the computer screen. I sent an email to a friend ( I couldn't ring her because I had no idea what time it was in her time zone) then I stared at the screen somemore. Then I said out loud to myself "I've got to write." I picked up the nearest pice of paper to hand and a pen and started with the words. "I've got to write." I was going to reproduce exactly what I wrote here but decided against it because it's too personal and not at all connected to my writing. When I had finished I read what I had written and then read it again. Then I had a cup of tea and did some work. Pouring my thoughts out onto a piece of paper and allowed me to put my thoughts into some sort of order and re-focus. It was the most effective thing I did all day.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Good news forces correction

I said earlier that I had 18 pieces of work under consideration but that needs correcting now to 17. I heard mid morning that a saucy little number that I have written (using a pseudonym to protect my mother's modesty) has been accepted by Xcite books for inclusion in their erotic anthology "Ultimate Sex."
This is the second erotic story that I have had published by Xcite - I had a story in "Sex and Seduction." Maybe I've found my genre.
Just when I was feeling miserable about my lack of success this happens and brings a smile to my face and makes me believe that anything is possible.

w/c 19/08/2007 This week I will...

finish polishing the children's story and prepare to submit it to my chosen publisher.
Get the idea I had on to paper.
I came across a funny short that I'd written in one of my notebooks. I'm going to type it up and play with it a bit to find the right market.
I should mention that D Day could be this week so all of the above may go out of the window.

w/c 12/08/2007 Last week I...

Kept the keyboard ticking over to an extent. I wrote some entries on my private blog which is helping me deal with the other stuff in my life. I will let you in on the secret one of these days but not yet. It's not really about me you see.
I also cut and polished a short story that I remembered I'd written a couple of years ago.
I had an idea for a story for My Weekly.
I had two rejections last week (boo!!!) but still have 18 pieces of work out there.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Action plans and sales reports

Went back to work on Thursday and hadn't realised how tired I was. Being perfectly honest and holding my hands up I have to say that I haven't really written since Wednesday (apart from action plans and sales reports.) However I do have an idea for something which I want to submit to My Weekly so I'm going to start getting a few ideas onto paper in a minute.
I read on other blogs the success that others are having with their writing, stories that are being accepted, work thats being commissioned etc and I have to say I've been feeling a bit down by my lack of success recently. but then I remember that I still have lots of things (18) out there that I haven't heard about and if all of them are accepted, it will be my best year ever. This is something that I want to happen for me so I have to keep my chin up and keep plugging away.
Success will come knocking at my door eventually I'm sure.
Anyway, must press on - ideas waiting to go onto paper.

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

A spot of housework

I polished the children's story today. It's not shining as much as I need it to yet but it's getting there bit by bit. I'm going to polish it a bit more tomorrow.
I chased up a few stories yesterday but only with editors that said to give them a nudge if I hadn't heard from them in a certain amount of time. It didn't illicit a response from any of them yet but hopefully it will do soon.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Cut, cut and then cut some more.

I wrote a story for young children a couple of years ago and sent it to two publishers. Both of them wrote back and said that they liked the premise of the story but that it was too long for the age group that it was aimed at. I'd filled the story with lots of magical things ( lemonade ponds and gingerbread cottages not wizards and warlocks) which I thought made my story special. The publishers had suggested that these things didn't add anything to the story and if I'm honest I was a bit miffed by that. So I put the story away to forget about it until the day arrived that the world of literature decided that stories for the under 5's need to be twice as long as they are at the moment. A day that I don't think I'll live to see. Anyway, in a nutshell I had completely forgotten that I had ever written that story.
The other day when I was just floating around the computer doing nothing at all I came across it again and set myself the challange of knocking it down to size. I've had a lot of time to fill in the last few days and this was how I filled them.
My story which last week was 1470 words long is now 732. The fripparies have all been deleted and all that is left is the premise so maybe after a polish I'll send it out again.
Of course I've still got the original just in case the literary world does turn itself on it's head in my lifetime.

Double Whammy

Two rejections today. Yah boo hiss!!!!
What a bummer.
One was the letter that I sent to Bella just 4 days ago so I'm not too disappointed about that but the other one is a story that was/is written around Halloween/Guy Fawkes which I submitted to a magazine three months ago hoping to get in early. But now that has been rejected it might be too late to get it out to another one. The editor actaully said that it was a "nice quirky story" but just not what they were looking for at the moment. A small consolation but one at least.
I'm going to take the bull by the horns and chase up a story that has been with an Australian magazine for over three months. As I have discovered only to well in recent weeks you might not like what you haer but it's better to know what you are dealing with. If I'm dealing with another rejection I'd rather know than hang around in hope. They have said to chase up submissions after 12 weeks so I guess it will be alright. Actually I know that it will because the story of mine that they published had to be chased up three times.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

w/c 12/06/2007 Next week I will...

do whatever I can. I'm not really in a position to commit to anything definate it will all depend on what the week holds for me. I don't mean to sound glib but like I have said writing has had to take a back seat at the moment. All I can say is that I will try to keep the keyboard ticking over.

w/c 05/08/2007 last week I...

  • Didn't work everyday on NMBK - although I did do some.
  • Queried a couple of overseas markets.
  • Edited an old story.
  • Submitted 2 fillers.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

2 days on

I did send the short piece to Bella yesterday. I have also spent a lot of time writing about the situation that I find myself in. Putting it down on paper makes you think about things as they actually are, it also is like talking about it.
Anyway, back to writing. As I said on Thursday I am now more determined than ever to achieve success as a writer sooner rather than later so I will try and concentrate on getting something down on paper and submitting it. It won't be my priority but I won't forget about it all together.
Having said that I want success as a writer, I'd give up that aspiration forever it it would change anything. A bit like a kid saying they'll never ask for anything else EVER as long as they get what they want for Christmas.

Thursday, 9 August 2007


Writing hasn't been exactly top of my list of priorities today as a very close family member got some very bad news. I did however manage to submit a short piece to Readers Digest. I also worked on a short piece for Bella but I haven't sent that yet. Maybe I'll manage that tomorrow when writing still won't be top of my list of priorities. It'll be a few weeks at the very least before it gets back to the top I think.
The flip side is that I am now more determined than ever for success to happen for me sooner rather than later so I guess I should try and make writing my priority.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Fun in the Sun

I haven't done a lot of writing today, mainly because the weather has been so gorgeous so I've spent a lot of time outside. Himself and I took the four legged one for two walks in the wood that's close to where we live and then there was wine on the bench this afternoon. A pair of collared doves make their nest in the trees at the bottom of the garden and their chicks have just started to come out the nest. It's a bit worrying that they appear to be very tame and didn't even get off the floor when the dog walked into the garden. Himself shooed them up onto the washing line and they sat there for the rest of the afternoon watching us. We were sat on the bench with a glass of red wine watching them. It was very peaceful and very relaxing.
Having said all that though I did work on NMBK and a filler that I'm preparing this morning after the first walk and before the first sit on the bench.
Talking of the filler. I've never actually submitted a filler before so I just hope that I'm going to do it right.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

A Chance Comment

I've often read/heard writers say that they got an idea for an article or story by something that they saw or overheard. This has never really happened to me - not directly anyway.
Until today.
I was in the hairdressers and I was sitting waiting for the colour to work it's magic I was flicking through magazines not really reading about people I've never heard of who are famous for God knows what reason. The radio was on and the presenter said something and it was like a light bulb going on over me head and I thought "Yes, that would work."
I'll let you know if anything comes of it - or rather when something comes of it.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Helping Hands

I'm not going to name names here because I don't want to sound like I'm name dropping.
About a year ago I was looking an authors website and decided to email them saying something along the lines of how much I admired their work and how I aspired to be where they are one day. I was so surprised when this person emailed me back offering advice and support.
Since I have had more success with my writing I have had more contact with established writers and I have been amazed by their willingness to help me in my efforts to succeed with my writing.
Just today I asked a writer about targeting overseas magazines and they have given me some leads and lots of food for thought.
This blog was started on the advice of another writer.
A book I have written is being considered by an agent because an author that they represent put in a good word for me.
Another author keeps my spirits up by telling me that they did it and so can I.
I can't thank these people enough for taking the time to connect with someone they don't know personally but who is where they once were.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

w/c 05/08/2007 This week I will...

  • edit the other story that has my new character in it.
  • work daily on NMBK
  • target at least one overseas market
  • edit an old story eith a view to resubmitting

I'm going easy on myself this week as He and I are off work this week too. If I were on holiday by myself I would probably write most of the time (the dust will still be there tomorrow) but I don't like to do that when He is here even though he is very understanding.

w/2/29/07/2007 What I did last week

Last week Himself and I were both on holiday so we spent a lot of time just hanging out together and walking the dog (don't know who is more tired her or us - okay it's us.) However I did manage to..

  • work every day on NMBK
  • changed to name/setting in an old story to create a new chasracter.
  • submitted a short story to a competition.

The only other thing that I wanted to do that I didn't was find a new market for an old story so for last weeks efforts I give myself a 7/10 (I'm making an allowance for the fact that I am on holiday.)

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Broadening my horizons

I've read a couple of articles this week about the abundance of opportunities there are for English writers abroad. This therefore is clearly something that I need to look at. I have been published in Australia before but I have only targeted one magazine - maybe (no definately) I should try more. It's something that I'm going to start looking into this week.
In the global village that we live in the world is my lobster ( I would say oyster but I'd rather pull all of my toenails out than go anywhere near one.)

Friday, 3 August 2007

Words and Pictures

Just wanted to point you all in the direction of which is the blog of my dear friend and artist Jan Weiss. While you're there check out PINK TREE - this is our first collaboration but I hope not our last. When Jan asked if she could use my words on a piece of artwork I immediately said yes and I like what she's done. Hope you do too.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

The Worst Part

For me, the worst part of writing is the waiting... for a reply from editors. I don't blame them because they are busy people with more than just my contribution to consider but that doesn't alter the fact that I hate it.
I remember reading once in a book produced by the Writers Bureau that if you hadn't heard from an editor in 6 weeks it was a good sign. It meant that your piece had made it past the initial read and rejection stage. Unfortunately I don't think that the same holds true today. It seems that a wait of three months or more is the norm - at least for those of us that haven't built up an individual one to one relationship with an editor yet.
It is weeks since I heard anything - good or bad - about aomething that I submitted. Espresso fiction said to give them a nudge if I hadn't heard from them in six weeks. Well it's two weeks since I gave them that nudge and I still haven't heard from them.
I look at my list of when I sent what to where and try to work out if there's a pattern to the acceptance/rejections that I've received in the past but so far I haven't come up with one. There's an Australian magazine that I submit to and in the past they have taken between 2 and 6 weeks to reject a story. I've had one with them for 10 weeks now but I'm trying not to get too excited as this could just be a new rejection record. It took them the best part of 7 months to accept the last story that they took from me so I might still have a bit to wait. They pay well so it will be worth it in the end.
I think that it's the not knowing that bugs me. Obviously I want an editor to want what I have sent them but if they are going to reject it I'd rather know so that I can look at it again and resubmit. By that same token I want an editor to give my work due consideration. My mother (should that be a capital M) would say that I want to have my cake and eat it. She wouldn't be wrong.
I understand why I have to wait but I don't have to like it.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Colin Firth's shirt (amongst other things)

Yesterday I announced to Himself that I wanted to watch the dvd of the BBC series of Pride and Prejudice. I wanted to do this because
a) I love the story
b) I'm off work for a few days so I have the time
c) I will never tire of seeing Colin Firth in a wet shirt.
I watched the first 3 episodes last night and will watch the rest this evening (still got Colin to look forward to.)
Wonder if the BBC will make a 6 part adaptation of one of my books.

Another Lesson Learned

My writing work space is wherever I happen to be sat at any given time. I think that I 've said before, and if I haven't I'll tell you now, I do almost all of my first draft writing in long hand with a pen in a note pad, book or whatever is to hand. These various bits of scribblings and musings then get shoved (filed) in my desk (big belly laugh here as my "desk" is actually a 3 drawer Ikea unit which the printer and my lap top live on top of.) Any bits and pieces that I come across in the various magazines that I read are also filed there.
Today I decided to clear my desk of anything that shouldn't be in there. Amongst the things that I threw out were three first draft copies of short stories that have already been types and in two cases submitted to magazines, two out of date competiion entry forms and the 2005 edition of The Writers and Artists Yearbook.
I think that it's time I developed a better filing system.

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

More Research Required

I am always amazed when I look at the websites of some other writers by the places that they submit work to. How do they know about all of these markets and magazines? I've never heard of half of them. I think - no - I know that I need to research possible markets more. It's a small enough pond as it is without me ignoring a great chunk of it. (Okay, I know you can't have a chunk of water but you know what I mean.)
Also I'm confused about whether I should submit more to non paying outlets. I have read that especially when you are learning your craft that you should build up your portfolio by getting published wherever you can. I have also read that to give away your work is to devalue it. I suppose that I have to decide which I want more.

Monday, 30 July 2007

A new boy in a new town

Today I created a new character - well not really created because he already lived as someone else. But today I renamed him and moved him to a new location and he is a new person. The plan is that I'm going to write a series of stories with him as the central character (I've already written two.) When I've got a few more maybe I'll be able to sell them to Channel 4 (or similar) and they can turn them into a television series.
How's that for a big oak from a little acorn?

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Harry Potter etc

I've heard a lot of talk about the latest Harry Potter book and the whole Harry Potter phenomenon in general this week. I can't comment on the books because I've never read one but the people I know that have enjoy them. Likewise with the films. I've never read any of the books or seen any of the films because it's not the sort of thing that I am in to. I never liked the Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings either.
I've heard it said that the later Harry Potter books aren't as good as the earlier ones and they only sell because of the hype surrounding them, but as I've already pointed out I'm not qualified to comment on that.
What I will say is that who amongst us would not like even a tiny piece of the success that J K Rowling has had from the writing of this series of books. I'll tell you right now that I would.

Back on track and full of ideas

I'm hopefully going to get back on track with my writing this week, at least that's the plan. Although I didn't do a lot of actual writing last week I did have a lot of time to think and I came up with more ideas for things that I want to write about. The problem with that is they are added on top of all the other things that are already flitting around inside my head and I wonder if I'll ever get chance to write them. I really need to work on better time management. It's a fault that I have in all walks of my life so why should writing be any different?

This week I will

w/c 28/07/2007
  • write 100 words each day on NMBK
  • Create a new setting for a couple of old stories.
  • Submit the short story that I wrote for Writers News (closing date 16th August so I really need to make sure I do this this week.)
  • Edit and resubmit an old story from my short story folder.

Okay so I know this is a bit of a cop out because it's basically the same as what I said I would do last week but the difference is that I'm going to do it this week...promise.

What I did last week

w/c 21/07/2007

I didn't do a lot of writing really last week because there was so much other stuff going on in my life that took priority. I'm not going to beat myself up about that because as important as my writing is to me there are some things that are more important. I did work on NMBK each day so I was pleased with that. I will try and catch up on some extra work this week.
For my efforts last week I give myself 4/10 but I can live with that under the circumstances.

Thursday, 26 July 2007

A Day Off - or not

I thought I'd take a leaf out of Sally Quilford's book and give myself a day off from writing. With all the stuff that I have to take care of today I said to myself this morning when I woke up that today I give myself permission to not write. The thing is that by 11 o'clock I found that I didn't want the day off. By that time I wanted to write.
It was good to know that I didn't have to if I didn't want to though.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

The message I'm waiting for???

I don't know about you but when I open my mailbox and I see that I have lots of emails I always get the feeling that there's going to be one in there from an editor wanting to buy a story or someone wanting to publish my book. I have been known to get excited in those few seconds before I press the button only to discover that I've won £m's in an internet lottery, some bank that I've never had an account with want me to validate my details, a barrister in Africa wants to give me thousands of pounds that was left to me by some bloke who died in a plane crash etc etc etc. Why? Of the thousands of emails that I've received only 4 have been from editors wanting to buy something I've written. You'd think I'd learn but I haven't checked my emails yet tonight and...well. you never know do you.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Eating the elephant

One day last week I announced here that I was going to write 100 words on my novel every day. Well, just to keep you up to date, I have done that. Every day I have written the 100 words that I committed myself to and then some. I'm chuffed to bits by it because the novel is coming along and I am happy that I'm getting some discipline into my writing. Okay so I know 100 words isn't a lot but my novel is like eating an elephant and has to be done bite by bite.

Better now

I almost removed my last entry but one of the things that I decided when I started this was that I would write what I was feeling at a particular time honestly. So, I decided to leave it as that was how I was feeling at that particular time. I would just like to add though that I'm now in a much better place (it's not half so dramatic here.)

Doing it for me

Today is a bad day for me. Someone I love dearly is going through something that I cannot help them with. They are alone and at the mercies of others. (That sounds so dramatic but I'm in a dramatic sort of place at the moment.)
However I am so glad that write because I've been able to put what I'm thinking and feeling down on paper and it has helped me. It's not anything that is going to be published or even submitted anywhere, it wasn't written for that. I wrote it to help me and it has.
That is why I write. Whatever may come of my writing I do it because I like to. I do it for me. If I can bring anyone alse some pleasure that is a bonus.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

This week I will...

w/c 22/07/2007
  1. Work daily on NMBK.
  2. Edit a couple of stories that were written about the same character. I need to give him more depth.
  3. Submit the story I edited last week to the Writers News competition.
  4. Go through the Short Story file and give a rejected story another chance, after polishing it up a bit of course.

There's not a lot this week as I have some other stuff going on in my life this week which will come before writing so I'm not sure just how much time I'll get.

What I did last week

No entry yesterday or Friday. On Friday Hinself picked me up from work and took me to dinner which was lovely and then yesterday I'd just had a really bad day at work and all I wanted to do when I got home was curl up on the end of the sofa and go to sleep (which I didn't do incidentally but I didn't put the computer on either.)
Last week I set the following tasks.
1. Write 500 words on NMBK - did that and then some.
2. Type and edit a story I written in Harrogate - did that and submitted it to Shortalk.
3. Go through short story folder and resubmit an old story - did that.
4. Submit a travel aticle to my local paper - I didn't do that. I decided to send a query to the travel editor who replied saying that they'd just done a piece on a similar subject.
5. Edit the story I wrote for a competition - did it.
I also queried a different magazine about an article I plan to write and although they didn't say they wanted to see the prose they do want to see some photographs.
For last weeks efforts I give myself a 7.5

Thursday, 19 July 2007

What I've been thinking

I was thinking today about how I'm feeling about my writing. I'm actually feeling a lot better than I have. I feel like I'm finally starting to get some structure to the way that I work and I am focusing more on the job in hand.
I wonder though if I spread myself too thin (it'll be the only bit of me that is too thin.) What I mean by that is that I try to do too much at once. I have my novel, usually a short story and maybe even an article on the go at the same time. Maybe I need to concentrate my efforts. Having said that, surely they all allow me to hone my craft (okay that might be a bit OTT - maybe I should have said that it helps me practice my writing.) And selling a few stories and articles earns me a bit of pin money while I wait for my big break.

Everyone's a winner

I submitted a short story to a magazine today. It was the one that I referred to in "a good rejection" so maybe this editor will like it too but only more. Hopefully they'll like it enough to buy it.

I've written in my lunch hour for the last three days which is good. It's good not only because I am writing each day but it also makes me move away from what I'm doing and take a break. So it's good for both my jobs - everybody wins.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

getting the right picture - hopefully

Himself and I are off to Rome in October and I outlined an article that I propose to write and pitched it to an editor. I got a very quick reply saying that unfortunately they have recently printed an article about Rome (sod's law) but they would be very interested in the photographs that I said I could provide to back up my article and have asked to see them. I know it's not an offer of anything and maybe they were just being polite but it made me happy.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Making the Time

As I've said before I feel that I don't write enough. No I more than feel it, I know it. It's just the old thing about life getting in the way. But following on from yesterday's post I knew that I had to make time to write my 100 words on NMBK even if I didn't write anything else. I DID IT. I thought about how and when I could schedule some writing time and I did it. I don't normally take my book to work but I did today and then just before 3pm when I knew I wouldn't be disturbed I took a late lunch and wrote. I managed way more than 100 words so it was the most satisfying lunch I've had in a long time.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Little and often

As you may or may not know I'm struggling with the mid section of my book NMBK. I have decided to try and write 100 words each day. Okay so I know it's not a lot but if I'm doing something every day it should focus my mind (that's the plan at least.)

Making Each Word Count

I have come to realise that when the word count available is rigid you have to make each word count.
I've just edited a short story for a competition and I can't get the smile off my face. If I say it myself (and lets face it no-one else will...yet) I did a good job. I am very satisfied with the results and the story is much better for it.
I was pretty close to my word limit and there was something else that I wanted to introduce into the story so I knew that I was going to have to do a bit of pruning. By really setting my mind to it I was able to get rid of the odd word here and sentence there. In some cases I changed two words into one that meant the same thing. The result of my pruning was that it gave me the spare words to introduce another element into the main character's life.
A productive hour I think. In fact I think I might have earned a piece of cake with my coffee (just a small one of course.)

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Easy like Sunday morning

A Sunday morning doing just what I want - what bliss.
Himself is at work doing something highly technical that I don't understand at all, the kids haven't surfaced yet and the dog has already been walked. So I've spent the morning working on some short stories, pinged off an email or two to various people including the travel editor of our local paper (I figure there's no point submitting my article to them and having it sit on her desk for a month or two before they tell me they no longer accept freelance work.) Then I decided to type and edit the short story that I mentioned in "This week I'll..." I like it but where I'll place it is another thing all together. Where do you pitch a story about a guy on death row the night before his execution? I'm going to have to think about that one.

This week I will...

w/c 15/07/2007 I will
1. Write 500 words on NMBK - I will try to do more but I'm committing myself to 500. I know at this rate it's going to take me a couple of years to finish it but once I get past this stumbling block of the mid section I'm confident the juices will flow more freely.
2. Type up and edit the story I wrote when I was in Harrogate.
3. Go through my short story folder, polish and resubmit an old story. (It won't sell if it's not out there.)
4. Submit the travel article I wrote about Prague to the local newspaper.
5. Edit and polish the story I wrote for a future Writers News competition.
I can do those. Definately! ( How's that for confidence?)

What I did last week

Last week I set myself the objectives for this week of
1. Writing a letter for the Gaurdian's family supplement.
2. preparing and sending my novel/synopsis to an agent.
3. Writing 1000 words on NMBK.
Well, I did the first two but only managed about 200 words on NMBK.
I did however submit a couple of things that weren't on my list.
I received one rejection.
I currently have 14 pieces of work under consideration.
On a scale of 1 -10 I give myself a 7 for my work on last weeks objectives

Saturday, 14 July 2007

My writing course

I'm doing a correspondence course in writing which has no time limit. Over a year ago I became disillusioned because I felt that I didn't get support from my tutor and I haven't completed an assignment in all of that time. But I thought that I may as well try and complete the course as I'd already paid for it so I committed myself to completing my outstanding assignment by the end of June. I did that and I got my marked assignment back today.
The good news is that I my tutor has changed because my original one has now left. I actually feel like this one critiqued my work rather than just criticised it.
I think that I might actually complete it now.

The right words

The book I am writing has three parts as most things in life do. The first draft of the beginning is finished and I have a fair idea of what I want from the third part but I am really struggling with the middle. Yesterday I wrote, I deleted, I wrote, I deleted again and again. (Deleting isn't quite right because as I write the first draft in long hand with a pen it was really I wrote, I crossed out etc etc but that's a minor detail.) Eventually after about two hours I had 100 words that I was happy with. At least they were the right words...I hope.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

A good day

I had a day off from the day job today and I managed to fit quite a bit in.
There were a few things that needed doing, a quick trip to the supermarket which those of you that read my previous blog about how I feel about supermarket shopping will appreciate was a trial for me. Then there was a wizz round with the hoover, 2 loads of washing and some ironing and I even made pizza from scratch (I made the base and everything.)
Then on top of all that domesticity I did the following literary tasks.
1. Submitted a letter to The Guardian.
2. Submitted a short story to Shortalk.
3. Submitted a short story to The Weekly News
and last but by no means least
4. Submitted my novel to an agent.
On the downside though, a story that I sent to the DC Thomson central submission department was rejected. I actually think the story is good but maybe just the wrong market. I'm consoling myself that a few of the stories I've sold had been rejected by the first editor I sent them to. I'm not sure I like central submission departments, it seems impersonal but if that's the way they want it I guess I'll have to get used to it. I've had to get used to worse things in the past.

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

What I did today.

I wrote a letter to one of the supermarket magazines today. In all honesty I would like the answer to my question about healthy food that's quick to prepare but the £50 voucher makes it really worth the effort (well it's almost money isn't it!) I've also edited a letter that I'm going to send to the family section of The Guardian - I mentioned it in my to do list for this week. One last polish tomorrow and it'll be done. I know a letter is hardly War and Peace but I should give it my best shot.
I had to go to The Borders today and on my way home on the train the sky was really dark with just one shaft of sunlight hitting the sea. It was gorgeous and inspirational. Now I just have to work out what it was inspiring me to do.

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Writing time

If I'm serious about writing for a living, how much time should I give over to writing? Probably more than I should. But the trouble with working full time and having a family to take care of is that writing gets pushed to the bottom of the pile. There's often something else that I should be doing, washing, ironing, hoovering, cooking etc etc. It's not exciting but it has to be done and it's part of being a wife and mother which is afterall my first job. (Just kidding it's not a job it's a pleasure - yeah right, ironing is always a pleasure.)

Monday, 9 July 2007

Norah says no - again and again and...

I keep my rejection slips in a box - I don't know why, I guess it must be the sadist in me. Anyway, I've just gone through this box and discovered that I have more rejections from Norah McGrath at Take a Break than any other editor. In fact last week I git two stories rejected by her on the same day. It's a good job I don't take it personally.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Under consideration

I hate waiting to find out if a story/article that I've submitted has been successful. I know its a part of this trade that I'm trying to break into but that doesn't mean that I have to like it. There is one thing that I hate more though, and that is when you post something on Monday only to have it returned on Wednesday. When this happens the piece clearly hasn't been considered properly and probably hasn't even been read. Thankfully this has only happened to me a couple of times.
On the other hand it you get your manuscript back and it bares the marks of being held and thumbed and read that is very satisfying. It could of course mean that the editer screwed it into ball before they tossed it to one side, but I choose not to think so.

Someone out there

I've been wondering if I've been talking to myself here and maybe I am but I'vr just discovered that someone has viewed my profile. So if you are that person and you are reading this - hi.

Problems solved

Okay, so in the space of a minute of writing the last entry I have worked out that I was using the time zone for the Pacific coast and not the UK (problem solved.) I have also worked out that I'd disabled the title somehow (don't know how but that also seems to be solved now.)

I might get the hang of this in amillion years.
For the second day running I can't put a title on my blog which is a bit odd and I have no idea why it is happening. Hey Ho!!!

Anyway, on my previous blog I stated that it was Sunday morning but when I viewed it apparently I wrote it on Saturday. Just wanted to point out that this was not the case and I am not bonkers - I just clearly live in as different time zone or maybe even a different temperal plane to the rest of the world. (Maybe that's why I've had nothing accepted for months - I'm existing in parallel universe.)

NOTE TO SELF: Must stop watching re-runs of Star Trek.
Okay, so it's Sunday morning and time to set my writing objectives for this week. I used to set these on Thursdays because thats normally my day off from the day job but Sunday is also a day of and as the start of a week it makes more sense.

So for w/c 08/07/2007 I will

1. Write a letter to the Guardian's family page.

2. Write 1000 words in NMBK (my novel)

3. Prepare and send of the manuscript to the agent that was suggested to me.

I know that doesn't seem a lot but what's the point in setting long lists that I'm never going to have the time to do?

Saturday, 7 July 2007

I'm back from my foray north of the border, tired from 12 hour working days and glad to be home.

Himself and sons number 1 and 2 seem no worse for my absense other than son number 1 hasn't had a cooked meal all week. But hey, he's big enough and ugly enough to take care of himself and I'm sure he hasn't gone hungry.

No reply's from any of the places that are considering my stories/articles but at least that means that there were no rejections I suppose. No acceptances either but you can't have everything.

Sunday, 1 July 2007

Be back soon

A message here to anyone who may read this. Is there anyone out there? Actually this is a bit weird because I'm writing this in a public domain and it possibly will never be read by anyone but me. Never the less, here goes.
I have to go away with the day job tomorrow until Friday and won't have access to the internet so I'll be back in 5 or 6 days time. Hope you miss me.
At least I should get the opportunity to write while I'm away because there'll be nothing else to do in the evenings all alone in my hotel room. (Are you feeling sorry for me yet?)

A good rejection

...if such a thing exists. Actually it does in this case I think. It came via email from the editors personal email address saying that they liked my characterisation and the subject matter but there was no twist in the tail just an interesting message. They told me not to be disheartened because they like my style and would be happy to see more of my work.

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Another outing

Decided to send one of the stories that was rejected the other day out again. This time I'm sending it out to an Australian magazine that published another of my stories earlier in the year. They pay well too so that's an added incentive. Here goes!

An irrational hate

Like I said in a previous entry I hate supermarkets. I hate them with a passion. For me there is no such thing as a happy shopping experience in a supermarket.
1.take something from the shelf to put it in the trolley
2. take it out of the trolley and put it on the conveyer belt
3. take it off the conveyer belt and put it in a bag
4. put the bag back in the trolley
5. wheel the trolley to the car
6. take the bag from the trolley and put it in the car
7. drive home
8. take bags from the car and take them to the house
9. take the shopping from the bag and put it away.

I'm sure if I was really clever I could think of a 10th stage but I need to get on with some writing.

How exciting is this???

Having a day off today and it's just going to be so much fun.

Time to get the old boiler serviced again. The engineer's just been and given it an almost clean bill of health apart from a new regulation that's just been brought in about a pipe that needs to have a kink in it!!!! The mind boggles.

Now I'm waiting for the guy to deliver the shopping from the supermarket. I hate supermarkets so I get the shopping delivered usually once a week and usually by the same bloke who is really sweet.

I might take the dog for a walk when the shoppings put away, then this afternoon I've got a pile of ironing that's taller than Mount Everest to do.

Can I cope with life in the fast lane?????

Rejection and stuff

My novel was rejected the other day which was disappointeing after them having had it for so long. The thing to remember though is that it is just one persons opinion and it was the work that they rejected and not me personally. I'll send it to the next agent on the list later this week. Someone who was in one of the anthologies I had a story published in has given me the name of their agent so I'll try them. Maybe a personal recommendation will be the thing to swing it.

I also had a couple of short stories rejected this week too. Bummer!!!!!

Once a week I normally set myself writing tasks but as I'm away next week with the day job I'm only setting myself a couple of things.

1. Finish the assignment for my creative writing course that I've been working on forever. I must post that before Monday.

2. Polish a Christmas article and send it to my chosen magazine. Again I need to post this before I leave on Monday.

3. Prepare to send my novel to the agent that was suggested to me. (I emailed them 2 minutes ago to find out if they wanted the mss by post or email)

4. Look at a couple of other agents that have also been suggested to me in case this one doesn't pan out. It's always good to have a contingency plan.

I rarely achieve everything that I say I will in a week because I over estimate the amount of time I'll be able to write. Life just gets in the way.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

My secret life

My Secret Life
Okay so I write, what's wrong with that? There's nothing wrong with that but I still keep it a secret.
Himself knows that I do it but I don't think that he thinks I 'm serious about it..No that's not true, I think he does realise what I want from writing but I don't think he expects it to happen. Becoming novelists is not the sort of thong that kids from an inner city council estate do. Not from the council estates that we were brought up on anyway. On our estates if you had a job you were practically middle class. So although Himself indulges my dream I don't think he expects anything to come of it.
As for the kids I don't think it enters their heads that I write stories. They probably assume that all the hours I spend on my laptop I'm either shopping or surfing the net for things that interest women of a certain age.
My friends and the people that I work with know that I had a story in a book about a year ago that was sold in aid of a charity but they don't know that I'm serious about it. Only one of my closest friends know about my secret life. She is a Californian artist and her support is invaluable.
My family don't know that I had an erotic story printed in an anthology earlier this year and used a pseudonym in case my mum came across it. The truth is that is she saw my name on the front of a book she was reading she'd just think that it was written by someone with the same name as me. Like I said, writing stories isn't something that people like us do.
Well it is now and they'll realise that when I'm on Richard and Judy and my books are on the best sellers list.

This is me

This is me
I was born in Yorkshire in the 1960's and raised on a less than elegant council estate.
I now live in the North East of England with himself, sons number one and two, and a dog.
For many years I've said that I want to be a writer and in the last 18 months have had minor success in the short story market. I have also written a full length novel that has just been rejected for the third time. (Maybe I should take the hint.)
But today I decided that it was time to get serious.Today I've stopped saying that I want to be a writer and started saying that I'm going to be a writer. That is to say that I am going to earn my living as a writer. I have a day job to pay the bills which I happen to enjoy but it's not what I want to do and I look forward to the day thatI can give it up and earn my living from writing.
That journey begins today and I'd like to invite you to walk the road with me.