A Cuppa and a Catch-Up

You can’t beat a cup of tea

It’s May! I can hardly believe it. Happy Bank Holiday to you all, and – as my good friend Rhiannon Bone would say – a very blessed Beltane, too.

Pull up a chair, grab yourselves a cuppa, and let’s have a good old catch-up, shall we?

I am very well aware that I haven’t been around much on here lately. I apologise – again. I have been incredibly busy, working on not just one, not just two, but three different writing projects.

The first of these is currently having a final proofread. I have had a gorgeous cover designed for me by the lovely, and very patient, Berni Stevens,  and I’m just waiting now to make any final corrections before things move on to the publishing stage.

New book coming soon!

There will be a cover reveal and a pre-order date coming very soon, but I can tell you that the book is due for publication around mid-June. It’s not a Kearton Bay book, nor a Skimmerdale book, but it’s very close to my heart. It’s set on the Yorkshire Moors, not far from Kearton Bay (!) and a scene takes place in Helmston, so readers of the KB series will feel on familiar territory. We have brand new characters, including a heroine I loved and a hero I fell completely in love with. I’m always nervous when I’m about to have a book published, but I really hope you’ll enjoy it.

I’ve also been working on the second Skimmerdale book, and it’s been great fun to be back in the Yorkshire Dales with my old friends. I’ve especially enjoyed renewing my acquaintance with hunky sheep farmer, Eliot, but that’s me. I’m shameless. I’m not sure when this book will be published but I will definitely keep you updated when I know more.

Thirdly, I’ve been writing a Christmas book, and that should be coming out in late October/early November. It’s set in and around Farthingdale and Moreton Cross – villages that also appear in the Kearton Bay series – but will feature completely different characters. I’ve been getting to know a very different sort of heroine in this one. She’s quite challenging, and she has a rather lovely fella whose life she’s about to turn upside down – or is she? Hmm…

Can’t believe my book’s in the libraries!

So, as you can imagine, it’s been all go lately, and that’s why I’ve neglected the blog and for that I can only apologise. Hopefully, you’ll all think it was worth it in the end. 🙂

What else have I been up to? Well, I sent off a story to the lovely folks at The People’s Friend, and it was accepted. It’s going to be published as a pocket novel on July 27th. It’s provisionally called The Doctor’s Daughter, although that may change. I’ll be publishing it on Kindle at some point in the near future, but it’s always lovely to see a copy of your work on the shelves of WH Smith or a supermarket – even if it’s only for a couple of weeks. My previous pocket novel, All Because of Baxter, has been published in large print format by Ulverscroft, and copies of that should be in various libraries right now. That’s made me very happy, as I spent practically my entire childhood in one library or another, and I never dreamt in a million years that one of my books would be on the shelves one day. It just shows you!

I’ve also been setting up a new website. You may notice that several pages of this blog have gone missing, and that’s because they’ve been incorporated into my new site instead. However, this blog will remain, as will the book reviews, and there will be a link to these pages on my new website. It’s been quite a faff for someone as technically challenged as me, I can tell you! Find me at http://www.sharonboothwriter.com

Me and Jessica in a very windy, cold Scarborough!

It hasn’t ALL been work, though. On Saturday I ventured out of my writing room into the real world. I caught the train to Scarborough to visit my lovely friend and fellow Write Romantic, Jessica Redland, who was giving a talk at the Seastrand Cafe on the seafront. We had a fabulous day, and even though the talk didn’t go quite as planned, we had a lot of fun. Mind you, the weather was a bit grim. My teeth were chattering! Of course, it WAS a British Bank Holiday weekend so I should have known. 🙂 You can read all about Jessica’s event here.

So, I think we’re all caught up for now. My cup of tea has actually gone cold, so I’m off to put the kettle on.

Have a great week.

Out of the cave to look at the Sky

Hmm, where am I? This place looks familiar…Oh, wait! I know where I am. This is my blog, isn’t it? I thought I vaguely recognised it.

outlander-characters-with-text

Nothing would make me miss this!

Okay, I know, it’s been a while…Sorry! I have been very, very busy lately, and staying away from the internet, including my blog, has been vital, if I’m to meet the deadline for book four. The good news is, it looks as if I will meet that deadline. I would be furious if I didn’t, quite frankly, since I’ve been living like a hermit for simply ages now, tapping away furiously at my computer, shut away in my little office, declining all offers to go out for the day, and even shunning my favourite programmes. Except for Outlander. Hey, I’m only human!

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My inspiration. Burton Agnes Hall, East Yorkshire.

So, for the last few – crikey, I’m not even sure myself how long it’s been. Weeks? Months? Anyway, for the last however long it’s been, I’ve been working very hard on my fourth full-length novel, which is the third in the Kearton Bay series. It follows the story of Will and Lexi, and a lot of the action takes place in Will’s stately home, Kearton Hall. It’s been an absolute joy to write, although I actually began to write it way back in 2012, can you believe? I’d just completed the first draft of what became There Must Be an Angel, and while I was taking a break from that novel before beginning to edit it, I started work on what I thought would be the second in the series.

Eventually, around sixty thousand words in, I decided it wasn’t working. I deleted loads of scenes, chopped and changed things, and then abandoned it to go back to work on Angel. Then, Rose MacLean started nudging me to tell her story, so I wrote A Kiss from a Rose next. After that, I wrote a pocket novel for People’s Friend, and then felt the urge to write something different, so I completed This Other Eden, the first in my Skimmerdale series.

When that was finished, I knew it was time to return to Kearton Bay, but I dabbled with another couple’s storyline before deciding now was the right time to return to Will and Lexi. I tried loads of different things for those two! In the end, I retrieved all those deleted scenes one night and sat looking through the story I’d started so long ago. And it worked! I wondered why I’d decided it wasn’t right, and thought about all that time in between, when it could have been written and out there. But, things are never wasted, and everything happens for a reason. I think maybe I needed to do other things before I tackled this story. Anyway, the upshot of it is, the third Kearton Bay story should be published in September, and I’ll give you more details about it in the next few weeks.

Penny-Dreadful-Season-2

I can’t resist this fabulously weird programme!

So, having emerged from my writing cave, what did I do first? Well, I’m embarrassed to admit, I caved in (see what I did there?) and got Sky back. I’d cancelled it, determined to do without it because I didn’t have much time to watch television anyway, and I really wasn’t that bothered. Then the rotters only went and announced a new series of Penny Dreadful! Well, I tried to be strong, really I did. But when your workmate is eagerly telling you how fantastic the latest episode was, and what an amazing series it’s shaping up to be, what can you do? I kept saying to my husband, “Shall we get Sky back?” and he kept saying, “No, we said we wouldn’t.” And we’d both sit there, grim-faced as we pretended that it didn’t matter that we could no longer pause, rewind or record anything, or that everything we fancied watching was no longer available to us. Then we got home from work one day, and there was a letter from Sky offering us a deal. Come back for half price for a year. I held up the letter. Husband looked at it. We looked at each other. He said, “Do it.” I grabbed the laptop and that was that. Oh, but Penny Dreadful is worth it!

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Yep, that’s how it felt!

Anyway, I deserved a reward. Not only have I been working very hard on the writing, but I endured a visit to the dentist. And not just any old visit, but an emergency appointment type visit, and we all know what that means! Toothache! A broken tooth and a night of agony was enough to convince me to put my nerves aside and get my behind plonked in that dentist’s chair. In the event, it was a long visit. I have weird roots, apparently, that curve round and hook in the jaw bone and, sadly for me, as the dentist removed the tooth, the straight bit came out but the curved bit snapped and remained wedged inside. It took an hour and a half of desperate chiselling and hacking, three injections, two top-ups, a call for reinforcements, a cut gum, four stitches and two exhausted dentists to finally get that broken root out of there. I left with a face like a hamster, clutching a prescription for antibiotics and a pack of gauze “just in case”, feeling very proud of myself for being so brave. In truth, I can’t say it was painful, because it wasn’t. I was totally numb, and the dentists were absolutely lovely. When the injections wore off…Well, that was another matter! I’m currently doped up on painkillers, which is why this post is probably a long, rambling mess. I may read this in a few days and be horrified. Mind you, it won’t be the first time!

Have a great week. xxx

Step Away from the Delete Button!

Today, I honestly feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. No, it’s nothing to do with dieting. If

I'm not going near them!

I’m not going near them!

only! That’s a whole different story. Suffice it to say that I was doing quite well, until I spent a week at my daughter’s house, pet sitting and house sitting, without my husband keeping his beady eye on me. Left to my own devices, I skipped gaily around the aisles of the supermarket (I’m lying, I couldn’t skip to save my life) and filled the trolley with all the treats I have been deprived of for the last few weeks. I daren’t get on the scales now. I’m my own worst enemy, as my mother frequently points out. Thank you, Mother.

 

Anyway, I digress.  Today – as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself – I feel a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. Today, I got the urge to work on Kearton Bay Book Three. I have been avoiding it for so long that I can’t begin to tell you what a relief it is to be able to say that. Well, write that, but you know what I mean.

Before I found the razor...

Before I found the razor…

I have procrastinated for so long over this book that I’ve grown a beard. Hey, it’s not my fault – it’s my hormones. Or lack of them. Or something. Anyway, I’ve shaved it off now. But the point is, I didn’t want to write it. Why? You tell me. Maybe it was because I was afraid that I couldn’t write it. You see, There Must Be an Angel took simply ages to write – two and a half years, actually. When I’d finished it, I immediately began work on A Kiss from a Rose, and although that had its ups and downs, once it got going it was a joy to write. By the time Angel was published, Rose was already finished and ready to send to the editor. There was no pressure, no worries, no stress.

 

A little snack to help me think

A little snack to help me think

When Rose was being edited, I knew I had to get on with the third novel in the Kearton Bay series. So what did I do instead? I panicked. I came up with plot lines and characters. I even wrote several scenes. Then I thought, this is rubbish. I can’t use this! So I put it all in the recycle bin, and paced up and down a lot, and ate a ton of chocolate, and lost the ability to sleep, and decided I was a total fraud who only had two novels in me. I knew I had to write something. Anything. So I wrote another story which, thankfully, was accepted by DC Thomson and published as a People’s Friend pocket novel.

 

Rose was published. People loved it. They wanted to know when they could read the third instalment. I sat staring at my computer in a daze. I had nothing. So I wrote another novel, with a completely different cast of characters, and a whole new setting – the Yorkshire Dales. Then I wrote a short story and that was published in The People’s Friend, this time in the magazine. And still I panicked whenever I thought about Kearton Bay. What if I couldn’t do it? What if the third book wasn’t as good as the first two? What if I couldn’t get back into the “feel” of the series? What if, what if, what if. In despair, I picked up my Kindle and read There Must Be an Angel all over again for the first time since it was published. It felt great to be back among my old friends. It was almost a family reunion!

My only bin not full of chocolate wrappers

My only bin not full of chocolate wrappers

Then, this morning, I woke up and I just knew. I wanted to write that book. I wanted to go back to Kearton Bay. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I went into my office, cup of tea in hand, switched on my computer, and began to type.  As I wrote, it occurred to me that one of the scenes I was writing was similar to one I’d written all that time ago. Out of curiosity, I went into the recycle bin and dug out the thousands of words I’d written and ditched. I sat, engrossed, as I read through them. My cup of tea went cold. (It’s okay. I have a very understanding husband and he made me another one!) I enjoyed myself so much that before I knew it, it was time for lunch, and my brilliant husband brought me up something to eat. I sat there, thinking, why did I ditch all this? It’s the story I wanted to tell. It’s the story I still want to tell. What was I so afraid of? So now, those pages have been drafted back into Scrivener, along with the new words that I’ve written this morning.

There are some amendments to be made, and I still have a long way to go, but it’s looking good. Better than that, it’s feeling good. It feels right. It’s working. So the moral of the story is, never, ever delete your old work, because even if you think it’s rubbish, there may well come a time when you look at it and realise it’s exactly what you need right now. And even if it still isn’t right for what you’re working on now, it may well be just the thing in the future. Believe in yourself, believe that you can do it. And, for pity’s sake, step away from that delete button!

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Sorry, but I haven’t mentioned Doctor Who in AGES!

Have a great week! xx

Books, Writing, and the pull of Penny Dreadful

So here we are in July already! I fully intended to write a post a week ago, but it’s been a busy time, what with the writing, family stuff, and the day job. It was my birthday (twenty-one again), and my husband’s birthday (much, much older!) so that preoccupied us quite a lot. And there have been some really good television programmes on lately. I’m not keen on most of the stuff that they churn out, I have to be honest, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed The Syndicate lately, and I’ve been captivated by Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Not to mention my addiction to the amazing television programme, Penny Dreadful.

Penny_Dreadful_S2_Cast-16x9-1What a weird and wonderful show that is! I mean, on paper it sounds fantastic initially. Take the characters from those old gothic stories and mix them all up together in Victorian London – or is it Edwardian? Anyway, populate the dark and gloomy streets of London with Dr Frankenstein and his creature – a tortured, beautiful monster with the soul of a poet; Dorian Gray – utterly perfect, physically, but capable of truly dire deeds; a werewolf (with the surname Talbot – a fabulous homage to the Lon Chaney Jr Wolfman films); an explorer who has lost his daughter Mina to the dark forces; and a woman who seems destined to become the bride of the devil himself. Then, when you think about it properly, you wonder how it could ever work. Especially when you add in evil witches, vampires, The Bride, and a house of wax. Ridiculous, eh? Maybe. But it’s mesmerizing and I love it!

Anyway, I haven’t just been watching Penny Dreadful. Oh, no. I’ve been reading a lot, too. Some of the books have been purely for pleasure, as you can probably tell if you follow this blog regularly, since I’ve posted a flurry of reviews lately. I’m also reading a lot of books for research. Because…drum roll…I’m immersed in writing again!

After a bit of a lull, I’m currently working on two books together. The first is the third Kearton Bay story, and it’s taking shape very nicely. The second is something completely new, featuring a whole new setting and a brand new bunch of characters who are slowly but surely winning me over. It’s a new experience, writing two novels simultaneously, but it seems to be working out well at the moment. The nice thing is, I can choose each morning which story I’m in the mood for pursuing that day, and it’s fairly evenly matched right now. Maybe writing two at a time is the way forward for me. I often have two books that I’m reading at the same time, so why not writing? It seems to see off the “writer’s FZVQfx_B_FHq5Mc5XuvOdg_rblock” anyway.

In other news – not entirely unrelated, I suppose – Book Two in the Kearton Bay series is now with the editor, and we have a publication date. A Kiss from a Rose will be released on 26th September. Yay! I’m so looking forward to sending it out into the world. I had a lot of fun writing it and I really hope you enjoy it. It follows the fortunes of Rose MacLean and her relationships with her mother, her two daughters, her best friend Eliza, and the rather gorgeous Flynn Pennington-Rhys – a hero I fell totally in love with.

If you remember, I mentioned that I’d completed a forty thousand word novella. Well, that’s been cb7accepted by The People’s Friend as a pocket novel, and will be on the shelves in supermarkets and W H Smith in October! I was very excited about that!  When I was a child, I used to spend every Saturday in W H Smith, browsing the shelves for a pony book, my one pound pocket money clutched in my eager little hand. Now, a story that I’ve written myself will actually be on those shelves. It’s an incredible feeling. I never would have believed that when I was trying to decide between Jill’s Gymkhana or Punchbowl Midnight, I can tell you! It just shows, you never can tell what’s in store for you. And as Penny Dreadful reaches its finale this week, I’m biting my nails with anticipation. After everything those characters have experienced, what can be in store for them? What can the writers possibly have come up with this time? Ooh, I can’t wait!

Have a great week xx