Monday, 26 October 2009

Busy Week

It was a busy week last week, as you can probably tell from my lack of any blog posts. It’s a shame because there was a lot I wanted to talk about last week, most obviously the appearance of BNP leader Nick Griffin on the BBC’s Question Time panel programme.

In hindsight, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get to talk about that last week as most of what I’ve read in the lead up to Thursday and the reaction on Friday was not particularly… considered. There was a lot of over-reaction to his appearance and I’m glad I didn’t add to it. If I still feel that way inclined I might try and jot a few thoughts about it in the cold light of day this week.

This week should be a bit quieter for me. I hope. I’m planning to get some writing done, but since I’ve been pontificating over what my next piece will be, I’m not sure how much success I’ll have. With a bit of luck I’ll be able to make some headway on a project and it’ll grab me the way that E&E did.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Submission is in. Now, the waiting game

This morning I have ‘officially’ submitted Eternally & Evermore to Phaze for consideration of publication. Now, as they say, the ball is in the publishers court and all I can do is cross my fingers and wait.

Before I submitted I re-wrote the book’s blurb and the verses i told you about last week that come at the start of each section of the story. The new versions are below. I also managed to find dialogue quotes from all fifty-two chapters to use as headings. I’m not going to put them here though cause they might well change for be deleted in any case. I like to think of them as a starting point.

What I really need to do now is make a start on my next piece. Obviously, I’ll keep you updated on how that’s going, but in the meantime, here is the new blurb and new verses.


Love doesn’t make the flowers smell sweeter, Love wakes you up to the world around you. Love won’t make you flawless, but Love will take away the fear that holds you back. Love isn’t the destination, Love is journey you take with the one person who cares more clearly than anyone else.

Twenty years after saying they’d love each other “Eternally & Evermore”, teenage sweethearts Amy and Will are reunited to discover their love burns as strongly as it ever did. But while Will is a successful lawyer, Amy has walk a tougher path. What secrets does she harbour? What ghosts litter her past? And what horrors will they still have to endure before they can finally be together “Eternally & Evermore.”



Love doesn’t make the flowers smell sweeter.

Love doesn’t make the morning birdsong or the sunrise and sunset any more beautiful.

Love wakes you up to experience the world for the first time.


Love doesn’t make you flawless.

Love doesn’t make you rich or smart or funny.

Love takes away the fear that holds you back from being the best can.


Love isn't the destination.

Love is the journey you take with everyone in your life that cares about all that you are.

And you reach the end with the person who cares about you more than anyone else on earth.

X-Factor twins

Just a quickie. Simon Cowell’s X-Factor is back and the live shows are underway. This year we have the worst act to go through to the live shows in the history of live television, ever.

But damn, they are funny.

The X-factor twins. Or is it the X-files twins. John & Edward (or Jedward). Man they are terrible.

Still, here is a link to their performance of Britney’s “Opps I did it again” this week, complete with red PVC outfits and the “But I thought the old woman dropped it into the ocean” at the minute mark. I defy you to watch this without laughing your head off.

And while we’re on. What was Whitney Houston on? Watch her performance and tell me she isn’t high as a kite. They’ve actually missed the worst bit off this clip. Really, she gets worse.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Chapter Headings

I must admit that I’ve never been a big fan of chapter headings. They seem to me to take far too much time to think up and don’t add all that much to the story. That said, I had a funny idea last night. What if I include a dialogue quote at the start of each chapter rather than a heading in Eternally & Evermore.

In theory, there should be a line of dialogue in each chapter that nicely sums up that chapter.

So I’ve been trawling through the story looking for quotes. So far I’ve done twenty-four chapters out of fifty-two. About half way, then. Here they are. Let me know what you think of this idea and the quotes I’ve picked out.

  1. “Better not to ask than get embarrassed by the knock back.”
  2. “It must be great to be so in love. To have some close to you like that”
  3. “There’s nothing worse than living with regrets.”
  4. “You’re going to do it. Aren’t you, William?”
  5. “Hate is a strong word.”
  6. “You’re a better man than he’ll ever be.”
  7. “He’s not worth it.”
  8. “I think this is the part where you kiss me.”
  9. “You can hold my hand, you know,”
  10. “But it’d be worth it. Wouldn’t it? I’d be worth it?”
  11. “I was thinking that, perhaps, the wait might be over.”
  12. “I actually tremble when you touch me.”
  13. “Yeah. I know. Eternally and evermore.”
  14. “Youth is wasted on the young.”
  15. “I just know she’ll be pleased to see you.”
  16. “So, at the risk of sounding vulgar, what’s it worth?”
  17. “There’s something I need to tell you.”
  18. “I always said she’d be mine and not yours, didn’t I?”
  19. “I just needed to know.”
  20. “I knew it. You still have a thing for her.”
  21. “You just accepted it. You weren’t supposed to just accept it.”
  22. “Could you and I ever just be friends?”
  23. Life got in the way, that’s all.”
  24. It’s complicated.”

The idea behind this of course is to give you a sense of the direction of the story just from these quotes. I don’t think any of them ‘give anything away’ so to speak, but I can see the progression of the story in them. But then, I would wouldn’t I? After all, I know what happens. 

I’ve also written a short piece about love that I’ve split into three and will appear at the start of each of the three sections of the story. It serves no real purpose, but I like it. Here it is.


Love makes you smell the flowers you never knew were there.

Love makes you hear the birdsong in the morning and see beauty in the sunrise and the sunset.

You think Love has made the world a beautiful place.

But Love just woke you up and made you experience the world for the first time.


Love won't make you flawless.

Love won’t make you rich.

Love won’t make you smart or funny.

But Love will take away the fear that holds you back from being all you can be.


Love isn't the destination.

Love is the journey.

You take it with everyone that cares about everything that you are.

And you get to the end with the person who sees you more clearly than anyone else on earth.

I must admit that this was inspired by something I read recently. I also need to say that at this stage both the chapter quotes and this statement of love before each ‘part’ are very much subject to change. One idea that has been floating around my head is to replace the dialogue quotes with song titles that say the same kind of thing. Although that could be a lot of work finding said song titles.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Looking forward

So, I’m really excited about getting Eternally & Evermore to a state where I think I can submit it to Phaze and see if they’ll publish it. I genuinely think it’s the best thing I’ve written to date. I know that there is still work ahead, editing is never easy and even since I ‘finished’ it the other day I’ve had thoughts about areas I’d like to amend – some pieces of dialogue in particular I think could stand to be padded out a bit to really show the emotion of the characters. But this is always an exciting point for a writer to be at.

It’s also the point at which you have to look forward to what you do afterwards. I’ll be honest, I worried that what ever I write next won’t be as good. I’m worried that perhaps I’ve reached the peak of my ability and it’s all down hill from here.

I’m worried about this because the new piece I have been writing while editing the second draft of E&E suddenly doesn’t seem up to the job. It seems flawed and just not good enough. Trouble is, while I know who the characters are, I’m not sure what their story is. And honestly, after Will and Amy and Sophie and the others, I’m not sure the characters are good enough either.

So that leaves me looking for something else. Something that will be worthy of being a follow up to E&E. I have a few idea – ideas have never been my problem. Often I have so many ideas that I forget half of them (which is kind of frustrating). The problem isn’t having ideas – it’s finding that one idea you can develop in to something worthwhile.

There is one story I’ve always wanted to write, but while I know what the ending is and know what most of the plot is, I don’t know how to ‘frame’ it in a believable way. I don’t know how these two people would meet given the situation that one of them is in. Yes, I know, vague is an understatement here. Sorry.

Then there the book who’s opening I’ve had written for a long time but that I can’t nail down the rest of the story. (Actually, I have a few like that)

So what I need is to take stock. Take time to think out which one of the ideas i have floating around would make the best book. Which would have the best characters and a plot that will carry the reader along to a big finish.

We shall see.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

How good it feels when you think you’ve got something “Right”

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be able to make a guest posting on Antonia Tiranth’s Blog. That’s in addition to the post I was able to make on the Virtual Book Tour blog last week. If you haven’t read one or both of those posts, then please feel free.

But more importantly…

Yesterday I finished going through the first draft of Eternally and Evermore, making changes (actually very few changes in the last 30 chapters or so) and I think it’s now ready to go off for submission. Which, naturally, I’m very, very happy about.

And you know what else I’m happy about?

It’s bloody brilliant!

Seriously, it is. Look, I now I shouldn’t be saying that because I wrote it and I’m biased, but honestly, I’ve never been this excited after reading something I’ve written. It’s like… I can’t explain it. It feels like I got this one right. Not just right, but right. Do you see what I mean? Let me try and explain.

Eternally & Evermore is a story of two halves. In the first part of the story, the hero, Will, is insecure, naive, a bit nerdy. In short, he’s a typical teenager. By contrast the heroine, Amy, is confident and outgoing. She’s the queen of the school, the girl all the other girls want to be and the girl all the boys want. Including Will. Or at least, that’s the way she seems. The story is told from Will’s point of view and Will is thoroughly in love with Amy so she seems to be this goddess for the first part of the story.

This first part of the story is awkward and uncomfortable at times. It’s meant to be that way – it’s about teenagers and that’s how teenagers feel most of the time. Or rather, that’s how Will feels as a teenager most of the time. But just when Will and Amy are professing their love for each other and promising they’ll be together ‘eternally & evermore’ (they got it from a song) we are suddenly propelled twenty years in time – to the present day – and everything is different.

Will is divorced – and not from Amy – and he has a teenage daughter he sees less often than he would like. He’s also a partner in a successful law firm and one of the most respected lawyers in his town. He’s confident, assured, decisive. He’s grown into the man his teachers thought he would. But Amy comes comes back into his life after a school reunion and his world gets turned upside down.

Amy is also different than she was as a teenager. She’s less confident, less secure. If fact, she and Will seem to have switched places. She’s downtrodden because of what her life has thrown at her and needs Will to help her find the strength she once had.

This second part of the story is also a reflection of Will’s change in demeanour. It rockets along at an incredible pace – never letting up as Amy has revelation after revelation for Will and events push them towards one of the most dramatic climaxes I’ve ever written.

If people were saying that Kissed by a Rose should have been a movie, God only knows what they’ll make of this. Yesterday I started reviewing chapter 22 and raced through to the end (chapter 51 and an epilogue) unable to stop myself reading it. It just carried me along and I had no say in the matter.

Like I said, I know it’s bad form to talk up your own work like this – but I can’t help it. And I know that every writer thinks the last thing he wrote is the best thing he’s ever written – but this really is the best thing I’ve ever written. By far. Even the villain of the piece – John – leaves you feeling for him and understanding what he’s gone through and why he is like he is.

I cannot wait to see what the publisher makes of it. I hope they like it even half as much as I do. And I can’t wait to get it ‘out there’ so you can all read it and then I hope you like it too.

I’m feeling pretty elated right now. Long may it last.

Friday, 9 October 2009

To Kindle, or not to Kindle, that is the Question

I know, I know, I’ve been a bit of a bad boy the past week or so in terms of keeping up with the blog. Not a single, solitary entry. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to write about, it’s just that I haven’t been able to find the time to write it.

Okay, that’s not 100% true. You’ll see why in a second.

Work has been  bit crazy this week which has left me shattered when I get home. Add to that a very active almost-4-year-old running around the house and a wifey who’s not in the best health and is miserable because of it, and my ‘alone’ time (usually after everyone else has gone to bed) suddenly becomes very, very precious.

And I’ve been using that ‘alone’ time to do some reading instead of writing. A waste of time? No, not in the slightest. A good writer is first a good reader and I haven’t been doing nearly enough reading in recent months. So I’ve been catching up. I’ve also been slowly working my way through the first draft of Eternally & Evermore – tweaking, adding, cutting and generally turning it into a more polished second draft.

Now, I love a good book. Something solid that you can hold in your hand. Something you can feel, smell and drop in the bath once in a while (yes, I’ve dropped books in the bath before now). But, much of what I’m reading is currently published electronically and I really don’t fancy printing it all out. Reading on the laptop is not the most comfortable thing to do, though. Which leaves me with a problem. My new phone has helped. It’s a G1 – a Google android phone – and so I can use it to read e-books on – even if the screen is a bit on the small side. Let’s just say it’s not an ideal solution.

This is why I’m quite excited by Amazon’s realisation that there is indeed a world beyond the USA and their long-awaited release of the Kindle to the UK market. Okay, so it has to be shipped in from the US, we have to pay import taxes and it only comes with a US power adaptor, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

So, now, I have a dilemma. Do I get one? Do I become a UK ‘early adopter’? Because, honestly, I’m fairly happy reading on my phone. But it does drain the battery something terrible and that screen on the Kindle does look much bigger and easier to read.

But then there’s the fact that the Kindle is tied to the Kindle store. The tie-in to iTunes is the reason I didn’t buy an iPod or iPhone, so can I justify buying a similarly tied-in reading device?

I honestly don’t know. I’m tempted to wait a year. Prices will fall in that time, won’t they? But they said that about iPods and Apple were able to constantly change the device to keep it as a ‘premium’ product. So will the other e-readers fall in price? The Sony reader hasn’t shown any signs of a price drop yet.

I honestly don’t quite know what to do. But I must admit that getting myself a Christmas present this year is very, very tempting.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Guest Blogging at Virtual Romance and Erotic Book Tour

I'm guest blogging today at the Virtual Romance and Erotic Book Tour, where I'm talking about what it's like to be a man writing in a genre dominated by women.

You can read the post here


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