Thursday, October 16, 2014

Catching Up

I made  a mistake this week - I decided to tidy up and sort out my office . . . . That will leave me ready to focus totally on the book I'm writing - once I've organised my teaching notes (and  prepared the hand-outs for the Relax and Write course on  Before You Submit Your Novel - The Practicalities  at Weetwood Hall next weekend. )  But organising my teaching notes led to organising every  last file of hand-outs, course notes, writing exercises . . .

OK, it was a great excuse to buy some new stationary and lovely coloured files   . . . but it still took up too much time and - well, do you know that time when things get worse before they get better? That's the way things look this morning! The Babe Magnet is also preparing for a course on Writing  About Your Life - so he has hand-outs to organise as well.

But there's one thing about being busy in a practical sense - it leaves my mind free to think and plan the new story (working title currently  The Wrong Bride ) so I'm also scribbling down notes and making plans as I put papers in  files and plan work on synopsis, first chapters, opening lines  . .etc for the 24th- 26th.  And the story is growing as a result.

Other book news -  I was looking on Amazon  last week and discovered this cover. It's for a 3 in 1 By Request collection of past titles reprinted in one volume. This one - Secret Love-Child  - is coming out at the end of October. The title of mine that's in it is Kept For Her Baby.  Not exactly a 'secret love-child' story.  But definitely a novel in which the love of a baby is very important!
The other two novels in this volume are by Catherine Spencer and Tina Duncan

I also spotted another 3 in 1 volume coming out in January: His Revenge Seduction -   this time my novel The Konstantos Marriage Demand (the book that was awarded Best Presents Extra by Romantic Times in 2010) is I  the collection with books by Melanie Milburne  and Elizabeth Power.  I don't have a cover to share with you yet  -0 but I'll post it when I see it.

If you haven't already noticed, there is now a brand new Facebook page for all the Harlequin  Presents Authors. Lots of news,messages, and interest for anyone who loves reading Harlequin  Presents (Mills and  Boon Modern)

. Why not come along and 'like'  it - and join in all the fun.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tote Bags 'n' Blogs Day

Today is the 12th of October so it's my regular day for posting over on the Tote Bags 'N' Blogs  site.

So that's where you'll find my post about writing about connected characters  - meeting up with characters from past books and seeing what's happened to them in the time since I last 'met' them.

Do you like stories where a character from a previous book reappears and gets their owns story?  Are you interested in seeing how other people from past stories have been living and getting on since the end of their own story?

That's what I'm looking at today and I'm thinking about one of the minor characters from A Question of Honor.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Last Course of the year

Just finalising the details of my next course at Weetwood Hall in Leeds at the end of this month, and Lois Maddox tells me there are still some  places available on this course if anyone is interested - if so contact Relax and Write  for details 

The course is this:
Before you submit your Novel - The Practicalities with Kate Walker
Get your novel ready to send to a publisher.
This course will cover the preparation needed before  submitting your novel to a publisher:  
• Writing a synopsis that sells your story.
• Polishing those first three chapters. 
• What to include in your covering letter – introducing yourself to the Editor (or Agent). 
• Pitching the unique selling point of your story 
• Pinpointing the type of reader and the market you’re aiming at.

or you could try  this one - running at the same time:

Write About your Life - build your anecdotes into memoirs/short stories with Stephen Wade
After this, the next course coming up in Leeds will be March 2015.
There will be the Advanced Course in Fishguard in February but I believe this is already fully booked.

Weetwood Hall Leeds 13- 15 March 2015'Write a Mini-Memoir in a Weekend' with Alison Chisholm

'How to Self-Publish Your Writing' with Malcolm Chisholm

'Write Romantic Fiction' with Kate Walker

'Write the Past' with Stephen Wade

Further details of all courses are on my web site Events Page.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Cats and Computers and Pink Hearts

I had a wonderful, fabulous time at the Writing Retreat  Focus on  Romantic Fiction  and enjoyed every minute of it. I had a great group, the surroundings were lovely, the weather great. It was wonderful to talk to students about their own writing in the one-to-ones, see light bulbs go on in their eyes,  and then watch them go to different corners of  Weetwood Hall - to their own single rooms, or other spots - at a table in the lounge, a settee in a quiet corner, or a table out in the sunshine . . . and write.

Me too - because I do all the writing exercises I set people to show that they work - or try them out to make sure they work.   So I came back with pages of notes and ideas for the next book, made while I was sitting waiting for   anyone who needed help to seek me out.

There was wonderful food, wine, and company. So thank you so much to Lois from Relax and Write (the  focus is in the name) for all her organisation and efficiency, and to Jo, Claire, Marie, Linda, Penny, Sallyann, Melissa, Emma  for being in my group. I hope I'll see you again soon.

I know some of these students have signed up for the  next course - The Practicalities of writing - so  I'll see you then.   Meanwhile, we're planning courses for next year - March first. . . then others
. Watch this space.

I'm lucky to be back blogging here as  when I got home it was to find that Charlie the Maine Coon had ripped open his neck and had had to have stitches and now  needs to wear a plastic collar/cone/to protect his wound. Luckily The Offspring and his lovely fiancĂ©e were on hand to make sure he got to the vets.

Then I switched on my computer - or, tried to - nothing! It was dead!  Totally . Several expensive days later - new computer, the work of the computer technician to save as much as he could - I'm back up and running. But I'm still finding things have gone missing - including my whole address book. So if you were expecting an email from me and haven't heard - that's why.
So it's a good thing that I was prepared ahead of things and I wrote a blog for the Pink Hearts Society before I went to Leeds. Because today is the day for my Date With Kate over on the PHS today. It's   Time Out Thursday so I'm talking about what I do to relax - with talk of some of the wonderful theatre treats I've enjoyed recently..

Thursday, September 25, 2014


No I'm not retreating from life or writing  - but I'm busy finalising the details of the event I'm running this weekend.

It's not  exactly a course but a retreat - or as I've called it, a Focus. I'll not be running teaching sessions as such  but I'll  be helping my students focus on their  work - the novels they have written already - and showing them what works, and what doesn't. And then I'll be helping them to do more of the first, and less of the latter. And making them write more! There'll be plenty of time for one-to-one sessions, as well as group discussions.

It's the first time I've run this sort of an event and I'm really looking forward  to it. I know many of the students who will be there and the thought of spending a weekend with them discussing writing, and talking about their work in the comfort of a 4* hotel, with all meals provided is just heaven.  I might even  get some of my own writing done - if there's ever a break in the talk!

This weekend is fully booked, but I'm hoping to plan more like this in 2015.  So if you'd be interested, check out my Events Page  - or write to Relax and Write Courses to ask to be  let know what I'm doing.

I do have some more Relax and Write courses coming up -  there's one on the Practicalities of writing:
  • Writing a synopsis that sells your story.
  • Polishing those first three chapters.
  • What to include in your covering letter – introducing yourself to the Editor (or Agent).
  • Pitching the unique selling point of your story.
  • Pinpointing the type of reader and the market you’re aiming at.
That's coming up at the end of October
There are still some places on that course if you're interested.

And some courses have already been booked for next year:

By popular demand I’ll be back in Fishguard  again in 2015 to run the Advanced Romance Writing Course  again -
  • Date:  Friday 13th  February – Sunday 15th February  2015
  • Location: Fishguard Bay Hotel, Fishguard Pembrokeshire
  • Course: ADVANCED Contemporary Romance Workshop
Though the last time I checked, this was either already full  - or had just one place left on it. This course does sell out  very quickly, so if you're interested, contact Writers' Holiday   asap.

The very popular Writing Romantic Fiction   will be back at Weetwood Hall in March next year 
  • Date: 13- 15 March 2015
  • Location: Weetwood Hall Leeds   
Again that's with Relax and Write    

And of course there's the fabulous Writers' Holiday at Fishguard in July  2015  (27th July - 1st August)

So maybe there's something here that might interest you?

And if you want to know what past students have thought about my courses - their comments are here:

Anyway, back to the course preparation  . . . and if you'll be there at Weetwod Hall  from tomorrow - I'm so looking forward to seeing everyone!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Introducing Rachael Thomas

I'm back from London - where I had a wonderful time. It's always great to meet up with fellow authors, talk face to face, and get to know the new authors, the ones with sparkling brand new  books and that wonderful glow of excitement that comes with having achieved their dreams.

There were a lot of new signings  at AMBA this time - I'm afraid I might forget some of the names if I try to list them all - but I do remember- because she was sitting directly opposite me -  Andie Brock who won second place in last years So You Think You Can Write and whose book is coming out in January.

There was one other new author I just couldn't forget because her special day was rather special for me too. This was because Friday was the day I got to introduce Rachael Thomas, one of my former students,  to everyone at AMBA as she joined us for her first lunch as a published author.  She even got to see her book on the shelves in the shops in London.

Regular visitors to my blog will remember how, at Fishguard for the Advanced Romance Writing course last year, I presented Rachael with her name on a book  - in the shape of a cake, iced to look like a HMB romance title.  I knew it had always been her dream to see her name on a real book - so I was almost as thrilled as she was when her So You Think You CanWrite 2013 entry made it into the ten ten selected submissions.   It didn't get into the top three - but that didn't hold Rachael back - and  after working on revisions  for her SYTYCW  submission, she finally had the call.

But I'll let Rachael tell you her story- welcome  Rachael-

From Stalker to Author

To be here, on Kate Walker’s blog is so exciting, not just because my debut Presents will be out in October, but because my writing journey began with a very special book.

Eight years ago, Liz Fielding gave a talk at my local writing group and she had with her a book which rekindled my desire to write, not just anything, but romances for Harlequin Mills and Boon.

You guessed it. That book was the fabulous 12 Point Guide toWriting Romance, by Kate Walker. I read it from cover to cover trying to discover all I needed to learn and in doing so, found out that Kate was doing a weekend course run by Writers’ Holiday at Fishguard, which was only a short drive from my home and even better, just six weeks later. So I immediately booked. The weekend was fantastic. It went far too fast, but I took in all I’d learnt and left having booked for the next year. I continued to attend each year, until I became known as one of Kate’s stalkers.

I submitted to Harlequin Mills and Boon and also joined the New Writers’ Scheme run by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. My aim each time I submitted a manuscript was to get a step closer to my ultimate goal of publication. I wrote and wrote, until my apprenticeship, which is how I’ve always thought of it, consisted of eight complete manuscripts and four false starts. In April last year I had yet another rejection from Harlequin Mills and Boon. At this point I really did wonder if ‘it’ was ever going to happen for me, so focused on writing the story I really wanted to write and not the story
I thought was wanted.

I had entered competitions like New Voices and So You ThinkYou Can Write in previous years, without any success. Then a friend encouraged me to enter So You Think You Can Write last September and from that point everything went a little crazy. I was amazed when my entry made the Top 50, which meant I could put my full manuscript on an editor’s desk. Just to have got that far, was more than I’d hoped for, but I was totally stunned when I learnt I’d made the Top 10.

I didn't make the Top 3, but I did get some really useful feedback from the editors and spent last Christmas revising my story before submitting it again in January. When I did get ‘the call’ I’d dreamed of for years it was totally unexpected and I tried to remain calm and composed, but inside I was jumping for joy.

My competition entry was given a sparkling new title of A Deal Before The Altar and will be out in October.

I still have to pinch myself and I don’t think I really will believe it until I see my book on the shelves. I
have had an amazing time over the last eight years, attending courses and conferences, but most of all, making some wonderful friends.

If I was to give one bit of advice to aspiring writers, it would be to write and keep writing, but most of all to enjoy it. As for stalking Kate at Fishguard – guess where I’ll be next February!

I'm so happy to be able to share in Rachael's celebrations - and to see her name on a book  in reality - not the cake one - we ate that! 

If there's one thing about Rachael's  story that  really matters, it's the way that  she never gave up and never stopped working towards her dream.  There's that saying  that  success is getting up one more time than you've been knocked down - and I think that's really true of Rachael's  determination and focus.  So if you're trying to write  or planning to enter this year's So You Think You Can Write contest -  hand on in there and keep trying. And good luck!

PS Rachael was the 14th student from one of my courses to have her book published - I'm now hoping for #15  -   perhaps someone out there will be the one!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Back from Wales

I'm back - but only for a little while!  I just have time to unpack, do the laundry, repack and head out again.
This time I'm heading for London and meeting  up  with some of my author friends and editors for the annual AMBA (Association of Mills & Boon Authors) lunch.

This time will have an extra special delight for me as I'll  be helping to introduce lovely Rachael Thomas to everyone. Rachael was one of my students at the Fishguard Writers and Artists' weekends and her very first book - A Deal Before the Altar - is  out now. I haven't seen it in the shops yet, but I'm so looking forward to seeing it in print and getting my hands on it.

To mark this special occasions,. Rachael will be visiting here blog at the end of the week and she'll be talking about her book - and my course!

We had such a wonderful time in Wales at the Penfro Book Festival. The Babe Magnet gave a great talk and signed copies of The Girl Who Lived on Air. (Incidentally Rachael helped with this book - she took some of the photographs  - Sarah Jacobs' grave for example)

And what a beautiful venue  - Rhosygilwen Manor in Pembrokeshire - it was glorious. We slept in one
 of their courtyard rooms and had a wonderful time. It was so incredibly peaceful, and the gardens were glorious.  We were only there for two nights, but we felt as if we'd been on a full week's holiday.

The owners did ask me if I wanted to consider running a course - or maybe a writing  retreat there some time. I was so tempted! The only snag is that it is a long way from Lincolnshire . . .  but believe me I'm thinking - dreaming - about it.  What do you think? Take a look at some of these pictures  . . . wouldn't it be the perfect place to hide away and write?

I might not be running a retreat in Wales right now, but I do have some planned for the Relax and Write weekends I have coming up. These are at Weetwood Hall - rather closer to home!   The first retreat there is at the end of this month. This one is  fully booked now but I'm hoping to plan some ,more retreats in the future - keep your eye on my Events Page for these and other writing courses I'm running.

And come back later in the week to meet Rachael ands read about her book.

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