NaNoWriMo done and dusted

In the end I did it – and I finished 3 days early because were were going away for a couple of days. The word count by 28th November came to 50,401 and I got my winners certificate.

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I started to write a story about four girls, friends growing into professionally successful women. Their ongoing friendships battled through ups and downs, because of their innately competitive natures, work difficulties, and family life with children. It’s ended up quite a different story but was fun to write. I wonder if it will ever see the light of day – probably not, but that’s not the point of NaNoWriMo.

What is the point? It makes you get used to writing every day and practise your writing. It is a good opportunity to test out new techniques and new ideas in writing, that can be hidden or altered later. It can give you a surprise story simply because of the freedom it gives you to write whatever you want. It gives you a reason to ask someone else (e.g. husband) to cook supper for you every night for a month

The down side is that it makes you very boring to others not doing WriMo (e.g. husband). It can make you somewhat one-track minded and can result in unnecessary stress – I actually gave myself toothache from clenching my jaw as I wrote.

Lessons learned – avoid doing it next year – try to continue the daily writing practice – do not clench teeth when typing – appreciate husband more.

On Colne Radio – 12th November 2018

On Monday 12th November at 6pm I was invited to talk to the lovely Sarah Banham on her radio show, Writers Block on Colne Radio (106.6 FM and online). We enjoyed talking about Lawn House Blues, my other books, and the writing process. More can be discovered about Sarah on her blog Love of Books . I hope if you couldn’t listen on Monday evening you might be able to listen to us now by clicking on the link at the bottom of this blog page. Hopefully the programme will then download and you can hear it on iTunes.

The conversation begins after Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s great song from ‘A Star is Born’ – a brilliant film. The rest of the music is a little bit more random but there’s a good Coldplay song at the end too.

The programme lasts an hour but the talking can be found between theses time slots:

4.01-9.32 mins,  14.17-22.18 mins,  32.05-39.50 mins and 50.14-56.40 mins

https://wetransfer.com/downloads/f6c5ef23d6f9e3f8d606bb9dc126b02420181112191906/bfac66a04242aeedfb21b2569decbb6620181112191906/c7fb97

To NaNoWriMo or not to NaNoWriMo?

With three days to go I haven’t quite decided whether I’ll be taking part in NaNoWriMo or not but the very fact that I keep thinking about it suggests I will be doing it. I’ve even written a few notes about characters for an idea I’ve had, which should keep me going for 30 days of daily writing and provide the 50,000 words that NaNoWriMo requires.

I’m not going to structure the writing much, but just practise free-writing, try some different ideas, and let it flow, hoping to do a chapter per day. By the end of November I should have a sense of achievement and the skeleton of a novel or maybe a series of potential short stories. I’ve done NaNoWriMo twice before, in 2011 and 2014, so hope not to feel too overwhelmed by the whole procedure. It’s quite fun getting a certificate, a badge or a banner for your computer when you complete the task.

After an intense few months getting Lawn House Blues published and before I start the more serious ‘life writing’ book I am planning to work on in the New Year, I think having a manic month of experimental free-writing in November might be just the ticket … I seem to have convinced myself.

In case you don’t know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and more can be found about what it involves on their website http://www.nanowrimo.org . It is free to enter but there are facilities for you to make a donation if you wish, to help support classroom kits, free creative writing programmes etc.

NaNoWriMo link

 

Edinburgh

Last week I had a wee break from all things Lawn House Blues and took a trip with my husband to Edinburgh. I am embarrassed to say it was my first visit to this wonderful, historic city, full extraordinary buildings and galleries. The second-hand bookshops were fascinating and the Writers’ Museum a joy to visit. Here were the stories of Robert Burns, Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson.

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On the train home, reading my Writers’ Forum magazine I came upon an advert for ‘one sentence poetry’ and was inspired to write a sentence;

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Edinburgh, I thought you would be grey and stern

But you were brown and warm

And your lofty buildings stood firm

As the autumn wind blew golden leaves.

November Storm

I know it’s only October but here I’m referring to the November storm in Chapter 27 of Lawn House Blues, hoping some of you might by now have got round to reading the book. This is no spoiler alert as even the back cover tells you of a destructive storm which damages the house. I enjoyed writing about the storm and describing its effects. I tried to visualise  it and imagine the Suffolk countryside. I re-wrote the chapter several times to try to make it feel real.

Then quite by chance I visited Gainsborough’s House in Sudbury with friends and came upon the exhibition of Harry Hambling’s work, called The Suffolk Eye. (The book of the same name was on sale in the gift shop). In one corner of the exhibition I saw this painting which is called ‘December sunset’. There were no signs to say no photography so I discretely snapped it with my phone. Here was a picture of how my November storm might begin.

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Once home from the exhibition I was delighted to see the picture again on the Instagram site harry_hambling. I knew that he had lived in Suffolk all his life (1902-1998) and painted the landscape and people of his native Suffolk. He was of course the father of Maggi Hambling, the painter and sculptor, and it was she who encouraged him to paint on his retirement by giving him a set of oil paints.

I loved the colour and atmosphere of this painting and could just imagine Max driving Jenny and Jacob home and seeing these dark, threatening clouds in his rear view mirror before the storm broke.

Thank you Harry Hambling for painting such a wonderful picture for me.

Down to business

Firstly thanks again to all of you who came to Friday evening’s book launch and for the interest you have shown in Lawn House Blues. I hope you’ll enjoy reading it when you have time.

For those of you who couldn’t make it to the launch event or who live far away I have compiled a list of places where you can get a book. (I do have a few copies left at home for any friends who are passing by my house).

The book is selling for £7.99 and the ebook for £1.99.

The paperback is currently available at Wivenhoe Bookshop as well as Red Lion Books in Colchester. Other independent bookshops will be able to order a print on demand copy for you via Gardners, a trade wholesaler who I believe usually arrange delivery within 24hrs.

The paperback is already on Amazon, see Amazon paperback link

The ebook link for Amazon is Amazon ebook link

The other ebook platforms are:-

Smashwords, iTunes, Kobo and Barnes and Noble.

Please let me know on the contact page if you have trouble accessing Lawn House Blues because I’d love you all to read it.

I loved my book launch

Friday’s book launch went well and Lawn House Blues is now freely available for you to purchase, read and enjoy.Photo 21-09-2018, 18 52 06 copy

The Nottage Institute was a great venue and we had lots of space in which our lovely guests could have a glass of wine, mingle, and look at the displays while I signed a few books. They patiently listened to my little talk and a short reading after which they were graciously generous with their appreciation.

From my point of view it was lovely to see old friends and new and I’m only sorry I wasn’t able to circulate and chat more – the book signing table remained busy throughout the evening. It was an exciting and enjoyable event and I enjoyed talking about the Lawn House story and the characters I’d created over the last 2 or 3 years.

I’ve just realised I forgot to ask the audience if they had any questions after my talk. During the evening a number of people said how much they loved the ‘spiffing’ cover but, although I thought they might,  no-one asked where the ‘blues’ in the book title came from. Perhaps you will be able to answer that yourself when you read the book.

For now I’ll just share a few pictures with you. Thanks to the photographers amongst you – there might well be more to come.

1 – GETTING READY   2 – READING    3 – SIGNING

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