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.

Going Backwards to Move Forwards

Oh, the joys of writing! Just when you think you’ve got it sussed, that things are coming together, that everything’s finally working out, bang! There’s another obstacle in your path, and you have to stop, try not to panic, wrack your brains to work out who put that obstacle there and how the heck you’re going to move it. Sometimes, you wonder why you bother, but deep down, you know you bother because you care. Because it matters. Because you love it. But, boy, can it be tough going.

learner_l_plate_sticker_largeThose of you who have followed this blog for a long time (thank you! Aren’t you good?) may remember that – back in the mists of time – I used to have driving lessons. Those were the days. I wasn’t the most confident of drivers, but then, I’m not the most confident at anything – a fact that is pointed out to me with annoying frequency by a variety of well-meaning friends and family members. I was fifty. My mind was turning to mush. My concentration and memory weren’t as they used to be. I had – you know – stuff to deal with. All things which convinced me, deep down, that I would never pass my test. I was doomed to fail. And so I did.

The annoying thing is, I would have passed but for one stupid mistake. I went into the wrong lane at a roundabout and ended up cutting lanes which, my examiner duly informed me, was a serious error and instant failure. So that was that. Now, if I’d had a brain cell to spare, I would have sulked a bit, had a good moan about the unfairness of grumpy driving examiners, miserable weather, busy traffic, stupid roundabout rules and life in general, then I would have booked the test again and carried on with driving lessons in the meantime. But me, being me, I decided I was rubbish at driving and didn’t venture near a car again – except as an increasingly nervous passenger.

In my defence, I moved house twice within six weeks of my test – yes, honestly! – and had my daughter’s wedding to attend, and then it was Christmas…You know how it goes. So the driving got put on the back burner, and as time went on, well, my nerve just failed. I didn’t have the courage to think about taking another driving test. They were far too scary and stressful. The longer I waited, the more scared I got. It got to the point where even the thought of driving a car terrified me. What if I made a mistake? What if I hurt someone? Or worse? Cars are lethal weapons, after all. Better to stick to buses.

Hmm. People who follow me on Facebook might have become aware that my bus journeys into work every day are bus-923199_1920an ordeal. Buses running late, learner bus drivers who take forty-five minutes to complete a twenty-five minute journey, thus making me miss the second bus and causing me to be late for work, gridlocked traffic around the bus station, and a variety of, er, interesting passengers and scary encounters…No, public transport isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Not when you have to get two buses to work every day, at any rate. I was permanently stressed about it, and the recent dismal weather hasn’t helped. You get a lot of time to think, standing at bus stops in the pouring rain, watching smug people driving by in their cars. And what I was thinking, mainly, was, why the hell didn’t I retake my test?

chalkboard-1927332_1920So, almost three and a half years on from failing that first attempt, I plucked up the courage to contact my driving instructor, and, to my enormous relief, she was ready and willing to pick up where we left off. Last week, I got back into the driving seat. My hands were shaking, my heart was pounding, and my legs had turned to jelly, but I did it. Within ten minutes, the nerves had all but gone, and I was enjoying myself. Yes, I made loads of mistakes. Yes, she had to coax me along, remind me to change gear, direct me into the right lane at the roundabouts (dratted roundabouts!) but I was remembering that I used to enjoy driving. How had I forgotten?

I’ve just had my second lesson. I loved it. Yes, it was annoying because she seems intent on making me drive round every roundabout in the city, but I’m remembering now about slowing down, changing gear, getting in the right lane, checking the mirror, indicating, not going too fast…It’s coming back to me. It’s slotting into place. It’s making sense. And I know that, at some point, I’ll be ready for the driving test again, and hopefully I will pass. And if I don’t, well, I’ll take it again until I do pass. As long as I’ve learned how to drive, passing the test is just a matter of time.

And what has this got to do with writing? Well, I’ve been struggling lately with The New Book. It was all going so well board-228826_1280at first. The words flowed, the idea seemed like a good one, I was having fun…Then, suddenly, I hit a wall. It was like, okay, but now what? I knew where I wanted to end up, but I had no idea how to get there. Reading the last scene I’d written, the other day, I realised it was a pointless scene; it didn’t further the story, it added nothing to it. It was filler. A stop gap. A way of telling myself that I was still writing and the book was moving forward. A bit like telling yourself that you have an awful lot going on, and the driving lessons can wait for a while.

Then I stopped writing all week, because I was too scared that I was making things worse. What if I wrote myself into a dead end? What if I ended up ruining all the good stuff I’d already written by adding rubbish? What if I ended up absolutely hating the whole project? You know. A bit like telling yourself that the buses are getting you to work every day, anyway, so what does it matter if you can’t drive?

Yesterday, I sat and had a long think about The New Book. I took it back to basics. What did the heroine want? What did the hero want? What was stopping them from getting what they wanted?  What was this book about?

light-bulb-1002783_1920I opened a document, and I began to type. Not a new scene, but working out the answers to those questions. I looked back at the scenes I’d already written. I saw what fitted with those answers and what didn’t. I understood which parts would have to be cut, and what needed to be added to move the story forwards. I wrote a brief outline for future scenes which would keep the story moving in the right direction. The fear left me. I realised that, as long as I understood how to drive the book along, and where I was going with it, successful completion was just a matter of time.

Sometimes, you have to go backwards to move forwards. You can’t just get into a car after three and a half years and expect to be test-ready instantly. You have to relearn, remember, build yourself back up and absorb the instruction. And you can’t always write the first draft of a book from beginning to end, no matter how much you think you’ve planned it, and no matter how sure you are that you know where you’re going. You have to pause, think about it, restructure, re-plot, cut, take a deep breath…Mirror, signal, manoeuvre, and off you go again.

I’ll get there in the end – with both things!

Have a great week.

Sharonxxx (3)

Catching Up!

Hello to you, dear readers! (I sounded a bit Miranda-ish then, didn’t I? Sorry. Not that that’s a bad thing, I hasten to add. Sounding like Miranda, I mean, not being sorry. Shall I start again?)

Hello! I hope you’re having a lovely weekend, whatever you’re doing. I thought I’d pop up this post because we haven’t had a chat for a while, have we? And I think we are well overdue a catch up.

It’s been a busy few weeks, as you can probably imagine. Once Upon a Long Ago was published on the 26th once-ebook-cover-3September, and it was a massive relief to push Lexi and Will out into the big, wide world. It was as if I’d had the longest pregnancy in history and had finally given birth. (I’m back to Miranda again, aren’t I? In her “what I call” Call the Midwife role.) Their story did start back in 2011, after all. At least in my mind. It’s been a long time…

baxter-ebook-coverJust a couple of weeks after that, I published my Christmas novella, Baxter’s Christmas Wish. That started life as a People’s Friend pocket novel, but it’s now a cosy festive story, all brightened up with tinsel and glitter, and is on sale for just 99p so, really what have you got to lose? And it’s also available in paperback, which is lovely. Actually, all my books are available in paperback. I think we forget that, sometimes, because the modern publishing industry seems geared to ebooks, and I have to be honest and say the Kindle versions of my books massively outsell the paperbacks, but it’s always lovely to have a copy for my bookshelf and, besides, my mother doesn’t do ebooks.

So, what else have I been up to? Well, today, I’m over on Helen Pollard’s lovely blog, chatting about the Kearton Bay books, the pros and cons of writing a series, and those gorgeous Yorkshire settings. You can read our conversation here.

sharon-booth-1I’ve also just published a short story on Wattpad. It was something I wrote ages ago, and I didn’t quite know what to do with it, but today I thought, why not put it up for anyone and everyone to read for free? I’m kind-hearted and generous like that, you see. You can read Lilac Wine here.

Finally, I’m hard at work on Skimmerdale 2. Aren’t I just! Do you know, I was actually up until half past three this morning, tapping away at my laptop! That’s dedication for you. I have to admit, it’s lovely to back in the Yorkshire Dales, and even lovelier to be back in the company of my gorgeous sheep farmer, Eliot. I am completely smitten with him. I can’t imagine why. Just because he’s got gorgeous black curls, and dark chocolate brown eyes, and a smile to die for. Funny, I seem to be hearing the Poldark theme tune in my mind. I wonder why? Life is a mystery…

I’m hoping Skimmerdale 2 – which currently has two possible titles and I’m not sure which, if any I’ll choose just yet – will be out in spring 2017. Then I have an idea I’m working on for another Christmas story, but this time it will be a full-length novel, and quite different from anything I’ve published so far.

So you see, I’m quite busy, and yet I still made time to have this cosy little chat with you. I’m a star, aren’t I? I may 14656275_1099993676784537_180263359679327718_nsound a bit deranged, but I’m currently fuelled by  coffee, crisps and Cadbury’s Creepy Cake Bars, which have a cinder toffee filling and are much tastier than you’d expect with that name. (This author would like to point out that other cake bars are available, and not just from Cadbury’s. And I should know…)

Have a great week!

Sharonxxx (3)

 

You Don’t Always Know What You Think You Know

knowledge-1052010_1920Research is essential for authors. How many times have I heard that? And I’ve always heartily agreed, because reading something that you know isn’t correct – well, it jerks you out of the story, and that’s never a good thing. Right?

So I’m very glad that I made a last minute decision to check something out recently, and rather cross with myself that I didn’t think to do it earlier. Because if I’d left it, I’d have been kicking myself sooner or later – probably when some diligent reader pointed out that I’d got my facts WRONG!

One scene in my WIP takes place in Scarborough Castle. Now, Scarborough’s not too far from where I live. I can be 14103037_1053187758131796_6037040528867828839_othere and back in an afternoon with plenty of time to stroll around. I’ve even been known to get the bus there. (That didn’t go down too well, as I was only supposed to be going into town for an hour or so, but the bus was just there and it was a lovely day, and who could resist?) Anyway…

Extraordinary as it sounds, I haven’t been to the castle for decades. I’m not sure why. I mean, it’s not exactly hidden away. You only have to look up and there it is, straddling the headland and making the skyline a rather more beautiful and interesting feature. Anyway, it’s so familiar that I somehow fooled myself into thinking I knew all about it, and that I remembered what it was like to go round the place. With my infallible memory and a little help from the website, I could describe a visit to the castle perfectly. Of course I could.

Wrong! Thank goodness for DH who willingly drove me there yesterday, and cheerfully accompanied me into the castle grounds – despite his long-standing and alarmingly savage allergy to ancient buildings and anything remotely historical. It was typical Bank Holiday weather, unfortunately, with drizzle and plenty of mist. Still, we weren’t going to let that stop us. If we waited for sunshine we might never go anywhere. We’re British, after all.

The first thing I discovered was that I hadn’t mentioned that you buy your tickets inside a gift shop. Well, I wouldn’t have done, as I couldn’t even remember there being a gift shop at the entrance. It was so long ago that I last visited it’s quite possible there wasn’t a gift shop at the entrance. In fact, it’s so long ago, it’s possible that the castle itself was still in the process of being completed.

The second thing I realised was that I’d somehow convinced myself that the toilets were inside the cafe, and had one of my characters heading into them. Thank goodness for my visit yesterday, or my character’s own visit would have resulted in a rather embarrassing scene, and possibly arrest. There are no toilets in the cafe. Phew!

But the main thing that struck me was simply this. You just can’t convey the atmosphere and flavour of a place unless14114918_10154464909302350_2219733068235230935_o you’ve actually been. You can Google it, and read about it, and look at maps and photos, but there’s nothing to beat actually being there. Yes, I know it’s not always possible, and I’m certainly not saying that writers should limit themselves to writing about places they’re able to travel to themselves, because sometimes the budget simply doesn’t stretch that far. Sometimes, it’s not humanly possible. But when you get the chance – when it’s right on your own doorstep – there’s really no excuse. Standing inside the castle keep, gazing out over the North Sea, staring in awe at the cannon balls that bombarded the castle during the civil war, imagining the terrible conditions endured by the Royalist troops during the Siege of Scarborough Castle in 1645…You just don’t get that feeling from a computer screen.

Besides, it’s a great reason for a day out! I enjoyed myself so much, I signed up to join English Heritage. DH didn’t go that far, but he did agree that he’d had a fantastic day, and got quite absorbed in reading the information boards and looking at the exhibits. Just shows you!

 

14114982_1053197118130860_1290308887757741587_oOh, and on the way back to the car, we got to visit Anne Bronte’s grave, where someone had left some heather from the moors – a really thoughtful gesture that gave me quite a lump in my throat. All in all, it was a fantastic day. Who needs sunshine?

You can find out more about Scarborough Castle and English Heritage here.

Have a great week!

Sharonxxx (3)

 

Why I Need Those Happy Endings More Than Ever

Two things happened this week which made me think about the value of books, the pleasure of writing and inventing new worlds and new characters, and the delights of escaping into the fictional landscapes that other writers have created.

The first was watching a video doing the rounds on Facebook. It dates back a few years, to when JK Rowling made a speech at a Harvard graduation ceremony. The short clip I saw concerned failure. (You can watch the full speech here.) She told her audience about the time she’d reached rock bottom, and was considered, by all conventional measures, a failure. Her marriage had broken up, she was a single parent, unemployed and poor. All she had was an idea. She had no way of knowing how long she would remain in that dark tunnel before she would glimpse some light, and indeed, could only hope that there was some light at the end. There may not have been. Yet, she considers that time a gift. She discovered who her true friends were, learned to treasure the good things she had – not least her precious daughter – and realised that, having faced the worst, she was capable of dealing with anything else that life could, and would, throw at her. She took her idea and went with it, and against all the odds, she turned her life around.

I watched the video, and was moved to tears. I could relate to it so well, as someone who has been at rock directory-466935_1280bottom on several occasions. There were times in my life when I couldn’t see any way out of the darkness. Times when I felt alone in a crowd of people, knowing that I didn’t belong with them, feeling a failure because I wasn’t like them. I tried desperately hard to fit in, to be what they wanted. It never occurred to me, back then, that maybe I shouldn’t even try to fit in – that I didn’t have to be like them. I was unemployed, my marriage was in tatters, I was a single parent, struggling to cope. I had depression, severe anxiety, social phobia and chronically low self esteem. I was so full of self-hatred that I wouldn’t even step outside into my back garden, in case the neighbours saw me. I felt so ugly, so full of self-loathing. I was completely lost, with no idea of where I belonged, let alone how to get there.

cb13During those times, I would escape into books. They’d always been my consolation. During difficult times in my childhood and adolescence, books kept me sane and safe. Those fictional worlds were my refuge, and I will be forever grateful to the authors who created such reassuring and wonderful places. As a troubled adult, books were no less vital to my sanity. If I hadn’t been able to get away from real life for a few snatched hours every day, what would have become of me? I dread to think.

Throughout my schooldays, I used to write stories of my own, but life had become hectic and scary. I stopped writing. It was something else that I would never be any good at. Something else I would fail at. So I put away the notebooks and pens, and ignored the stories that swirled around my head, for years and years.  Until one day, on a journey to Somerset, three characters popped into my mind and absolutely refused to leave. Arriving at our holiday destination, I bought a notebook and began to jot down the people I could see, and what I already knew about them. Those characters became Will Boden-Kean, Lexi Bailey and Joe Hollingsworth, the first characters I created for what would become the Kearton Bay series of novels.

It took me a while to find the courage to start to write. Then much longer to be brave enough to show my writing to anyone. Each step I took gave me a little more faith, and led me a little further along the path to where I find myself now – a published author with three full-length novels, a People’s Friend pocket novel, and two short stories in print. More than that, those steps led me to new friends, a writing group, an online community, a growing belief in myself and a gratitude for everything I’d been through. Because all those awful times led me here, to this point, to a place where I’m happier than I’ve been in decades, and where I can look back and appreciate the people I’ve met along the way, and the lessons I’ve learned from my epic “failure”.

I will never achieve the dizzy heights that JK Rowling has managed, but it doesn’t matter. Through writing, I can heal old wounds, write myself the happy endings that I never got in real life, work out sadness and pain that I never exposed in reality, but can share and cure in the pages of my novels. Writing has given me back my sanity, it’s brought me new friends, new understanding of myself, and self-acceptance. It’s saved me.

The second thing that got me thinking was the tragic murder, on the 16th of June, of Jo Cox, the Labour MP who did so much to try to heal the divisions in our communities. No words can express how horrific this is, nor how desperately sorry I feel for all her friends, family and colleagues – particularly her husband and young children. Her death left me reeling. I was already feeling pretty low about the state of this country. There seems to be so much anger, hatred and bitterness everywhere, and I genuinely fear the direction in which we seem to be heading.

When the world seems too bleak to contemplate, and real life is too much to bear, I need the happy endings I find in heart-81207_1920books. I need to escape to a place where I know there will be a positive outcome, where good will triumph, and where people are kind and caring and full of love. I once read an article in which a journalist dismissed romance novels as a waste of a good writer’s talent. I strongly disagree. In a world of political mud-slinging, prejudice, ignorance and fear, books that remind us that people are capable of loving one another are more essential than ever. I can’t drown out the negative forces that attack me every single day. I can’t ignore the state of the world. I can’t pretend that things out there aren’t pretty damn dire. But I need to believe that in this world, there is still hope, there is still beauty, there is still kindness, there is still love. The fact that people still write of such things, and that people still want to read them, is proof that we’re not lost yet. There are good people out there. Deep down, I know that. I just need reminding every now and then.  That’s why I need those happy endings.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. xxx

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!

12968706_10154178528346424_1935446030_n

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!

tooth-1015409_1920

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