Thursday, 8 December 2011

Finding Yourself

I've just been crying my way through the special features on the final Harry Potter film (yes I'm a geeky emotional girl. Sue me!) and as per usual when I think of the magnificence of these stories I get to thinking about Jo Rowling, how she works and her immense talent, tenacity and imagination. It also got me thinking about how she'd written EXACTLY the kind of story I would want to write, had I one tenth of her imagination.

Jo's world building has been so immense that she knows everything about her characters and the world they live in. Now I don't think, actually I KNOW I don't have the faintest idea of where to begin to create a world with that depth, but I do like the idea of the secret world hiding in plain sight (a la Harry Potter and Stephanie Meyer's Twilight) as these are places you can escape to, but you also feel could be just around the corner. My first story 'Feral' incorporates the idea of 'others' living amongst us incognito, and when I decided I was going to give this writing lark a go, it was always with a paranormal edge (Joss Whedon and Buffy have a lot to answer for!). Unfortunately, coming up with original ideas and characters has been slightly less easy, as you know anything with witchcraft is going to be likened to Harry, and anything with vamps is going to be... well let's just say Twilight isn't the only one in that parade!

To date my writing attempts have been limited to romance, for no other reason than, it's what I know! I know about love, I've been in love a few times, all of whom were very good boys/men. I am fortunate not to have a horror story or a bad break up. I also know attraction in it's many guises, and that physical attraction won't necessarily relay to an emotional or mental connection. I know these things so I attempt to write about them.

The question is do I stick to what I know (and don't read nearly enough of), or do I get thinking and make that leap to fantasy/paranormal Teen/YA (which I read more of), but is definitely a saturated market at the moment?! So 'Who am I?' who the hell knows, but I'm having fun finding out!


Friday, 28 October 2011

What do you find Romantic?

I was just reading a really good article over at the excellent Let's Talk Romance blog (the same wonderful people that ran the 'Pitch Your First Page' contest.) Anyway this particular article was about romantic gestures more precisely book vs real life. I had to think about this because I didn't want to leave any out (I know I have, but I still can't think of them.) I do have a romantic story/reminiscence from the romances in my life. My husband does what I think is the most romantic thing in the world, he dances with me. He can't dance! But when certain songs play, or when I ask he'll slow dance with me, whether it's in the middle of our lounge or at our annual Mummy/Daddy friends Christmas do. I always think it's the little things that are most romantic, the little touches, gestures, those that remind you they love you so much they just have to be near you. So now I'm wondering what do you find romantic? I posted my greatest hits over at the other blog (use romantic gestures link above). Feel free to post here or there. Inquiring minds want to know! X M

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


Hi all,
Well the New Voices competition is in it's second phase. Twenty one entries were chosen out of one thousand and ninety. Pretty impressive work by the editors I think. I was not among that glorious twenty one, but I'm totally good with that. I wasn't even overly disappointed, I'm not sure I'm a Mills and Boon girl, but it doesn't mean I'm going to give up! I didn't get one negative comment. I was given good constructive criticism by wannabes like myself as well as Mills and Boon authors. And to be perfectly honest, I'm really thrilled with that. I've met and conversed with many wonderful new people all of whom are in the same boat as myself, but just in different locations, some newer than me (I haven't even been at this a year) others have been writing for much longer.

Towards the end of the first phase I heard of another competition aimed at Breathless Press. This was a 'Pitch Your First Page'. Basically I did a bit of quick editing with my first story 'Feral' to give it a quicker start, and copy and pasted to Let's Talk Romance Blog (The lovely April Dawn who posted the competition is an author with Breathless Press). There were only ten entries in all, but I came third! I was pretty chuffed about this for two reasons 1) I thought there was only going to be one winner. 2) It was the first thing I'd ever written! Oh the prize was getting the full manuscript in front of an editor. I don't know how I'll go with this, because just in case you hadn't heard, it was the FIRST THING I'VE EVER WRITTEN. And what I mean by that is, I knew nothing! I didn't know stories had to have both internal and external conflict, I didn't even know what that meant?! I just sat down and wrote a ten thousand word eleven thousand five hundred word story about shapeshifters, gypsies, and magic. Was it good?! I hope so, I liked it. Serenity Woods thought it/I had enough potential to critique it for me, and she's still talking to me so can't have been all bad. ;-) So within a few weeks I've entered two competitions after thinking I never would have done that. I have to admit I'm really proud of myself. And thankful for the wonderful support I've had from friends and family.

And as for New Voices... I've come out the other side of this competition with a (slightly) better understanding of what it takes to write a Mills and Boon romance, and a bunch of truly lovely facebook friends. Ooh I also managed to win a Mills and Boon Goody Bag which I'm rather excited about (though I don't have it yet?).  I think that's a pretty great pay off for three thousand words ;-)  X M

Monday, 19 September 2011

Taking the Plunge and telling the World!

So after obsessively looking at my roses on the New Voices competition website, and being quite happy with both the roses and the comments I finally took the plunge and told my immediate world about both my website and thus my blog!

I mean it's one thing to have strangers staring at your words when they randomly find you, or other writers who are understanding of what it takes to put yourself out there.  But knowing that people you know, that you talk to on a (semi) regular basis will see the demons that lurk in your brain, is a pretty scary prospect.  What I've learned about myself recently is, I don't care what they think (well not in this regards, I love my friends and family and their opinions always matter to me).  But I'm happy and proud of myself for doing this.  I've written a short story(approx. 10,000 words), a novella (approx. 25k) and now am attempting a novel which should be about 60k, I'm currently 8,000 words in and I think that's a pretty damn good effort for someone who has no idea what she's doing!

I've been fortunate enough to have support from the people I have told, and I've met a bunch of wonderful people in similar situations to me, all trying their damnedest to make their dreams a reality.

To all the ladies (and one man, I know of) who have submitted a chapter to New Voices congratulate yourself on making it this far.  To all the mentors, readers, writers, editors who have taken the time to comment and engage with us, thank you.

Hmm, now I think it's time I got a bit closer to that 60k mark!

x M

Monday, 15 August 2011

Criticism and Competitions

When you're trying to be a published author, as much as you eat, breath, sleep and sweat YOUR story, you have to know how to adapt.  Because at some point you're going to give that story to an audience, whether it's friends, family, strangers or editors, and your story will have to fulfil their needs (especially the editors, if you want to get published!)  Therefore you have to be willing to consider that maybe, just maybe, you are not the only person invested in your characters and that others may have valid and, dare I say it, an even better idea of your story's failings than you do.

Now I'm certainly not saying everything they say will be right, or indeed warranted.  What I am saying is that you need to keep an open mind, gain some perspective and steel your yourself for the rough times ahead.  Because as much as we'd like our stories to be bought as is, without alterations, the likelihood of that happening is, I'm guessing, fairly close to nil! (Though I've heard of at least one exception.)

As for me, I pigeon holed myself into thinking I was going to be purely paranormal, well guess what, I'm attempting my first contemporary story, and if that wasn't enough I'm going to enter it into a competition!  Mills and Boon's New Voices.  I'm adapting a story I'd barely started, and one was originally going to be paranormal.  It's going to be an interesting endeavour, in regards to how well I'll handle the criticism and how I'll manage to write not only a novel (my first) but also one without any paranormal elements.

I'm hoping my little experiment is a success, not necessarily in terms of the competition, but in proving to myself, that I can go beyond what I thought I was capable of.  Wish me luck.

Monday, 8 August 2011

When you CAN'T write

I didn't get any writing done this weekend, much to my annoyance.  Though I can't complain too much because writing (especially at the unpublished stage) isn't seen by others, as being of any credit.  Now if I was making any money from this my husband would be far more willing to let me do it, knowing it was of benefit to the family.  Currently it is just a form of 'me time' as far as he is concerned.  (I don't know this for a fact, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure it out.)  What I'm saying is, any time I can write without listening to complaints about neglecting my family, is a good time to write.

So why am I not complaining about not getting to write this weekend.  Well, I got to be an immensely proud Mummy instead and nothing, not even writing a best-seller can beat that!

My beautiful (and often wilful) four year old daughter, did a dance show (it was actually a dress rehearsal for a show she's doing on Tuesday for some elderly people).  Her dance class is wonderful, it places importance on the children enjoying themselves (especially the under fives) rather than being technically brilliant or having perfect hair.  Fortunate really, as my girl has a mane of untamed curls.  Anyway at the end of the show all the kids came out on stage and one from each class got given a trophy, it was for things like always wearing their uniform and their attitude etc.  Well my little darling got it because in November she broke her leg!  By the time she went back to dancing, two weeks after the removal of the cast, she was back into the swing.

So what can I say, I missed a weekend of writing, for a moment of my daughters reflected glory, and that is worth gold! x M

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Kia ora and Welcome

Hi, I've decided to bite the bullet and attempt to write a blog.  For a person who wants to write I'm completely crap at this kind of thing.  I could never keep a diary as a kid, I don't tweet very well, and my social networking is passable.  But here I am to give this a go.

A bit about me.  I'm a Kiwi (New Zealander) living in the UK with my husband and two young children.  I decided at the end of last year that I'd like to give writing a go.  I made a half-arsed attempt many years ago, but like I say it was half-arsed!  I grew up reading my Mum's Agatha Christie's though I wouldn't call myself an avid reader, even though I enjoy it very much.  

I was a TV addict growing up, it was mysteries and action shows when I was a kid, Hart to Hart, The A-Team, Knightrider, that kind of thing.  As a teen I loved vampire things, read Dracula, loved The Lost Boys, watched Fright Night a few times, though I in no way was a fan of horror!  In my early twenties Buffy the Vampire Slayer arrived (on tv) and I LOVED it.

Thirteen years down the line, married, two kids and I decide to write a story, 'but what about?' I ask myself.  Hmm 'paranormal romance' I answer.  I've always had a thing for vamps, but damn they've been done to death, so for a first attempt I decided on shape-shifters, everyone makes up their own rules/lore these days anyway, why don't I.

I then found (stalked) a wonderful author, Serenity Woods, who offered to look at my story.  She gave me some great constructive criticism and kept me in fits of laughter with her comments like 'Yum' about my hero.  So thanks to Serenity's influence and the other wonderful women I've met via her at TMAS, I am hopefully learning to be a better writer.  If you'd like to see a snippet of my work check out my website by clicking on the picture of me with two wonderful Buffy (amongst many other things) actors, Brian Thompson and James Marsters.