Thursday, 28 February 2013

The Canterbury Tales

After a busy morning I stopped at a charity shop on my way to the Health Centre to swim and enjoy the jacuzzi,sauna and steam room. I bought a secondhand copy of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, which I have been intending to re-read for a long time.

I don't have time to enjoy reading these tales for very long but I shall enjoy dipping in and out of it. So far I have read the Introduction and a little bit of the Prologue which begins:

When that April with his showres swoote (showers sweet)
The drout of March hath perced (pierced) to the roote,
And bathud (bathed) every veyne (vein) in such (licour)
Of which vertue (virtue) engendred (conceived) is the flour (flower).

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Renovation, Redecorating

I am renovating and redecorating my sitting room.

Before a combination boiler was installed there was a gas fire in the sitting room. The gas fire was removed so the fireplace and the surround serve no useful purpose and take up too much room on the wall. So I have employed someone to remove it.

At the moment, the sitting room is decorated in three shades of cream. I am now considering a different colour scheme taken from my embroidered silk cushions. The background is cream, the embroidery is in apricot, pale, pale yellow and a shade of very light sage green. I am thinking of putting wall paper where the fireplace was (there are alcoves on either side), painting the rest of the walls pale pale yellow and the woodwork white.

The colour scheme would be sunshiny on cold days, and go well with the white upholstered sofas and large chair, the laminate floor and cream venetian blinds at the window.

I considered painting the room green to match the colour in the cushions but can't imagine the result.

Decisions, decisions.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

This Morning

Woke up at 7.a.m. Completed the pre-edits of another chapter of my new novel. I have been looking forlornly out of the window at the cold, grey day. I knew it would be freezing cold and wet but even so hoped it would not. I'm like a child at a sweetshop window staring not at goodies but at my neglected vegetable garden, some stalwart curly kale, a little New Zealand spinach, some brussel sprout tops, a few turnips, some beetroot greens and various herbs. At this rate it will be ages until I the soil's even warm enough to plant the new potatos which I'm chitting, not to mention sowing seeds.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Cooking for Guests

Rather pleased with myself today. After I finished the pre-edits for another chapter of my historical novel I cooked for guests who will be coming this week. First I made a lot of thick cheese sauce while I cooked macaroni. When the macaroni was ready I stirred cheese sauce into it and then put it in the freezer. Next I made a leek and potato pie. I divided the remaining sauce into two, stirred the leeks into one half and the potatos into the other half, then I piled them in a pastry base and covered it with pastry. Phew! Two main dishes in the freezer. Tomorrow, I shall make an apple crumble and put it in the freezer. Preparing food in advance means that I don't cook everything on the day or days and can keep up with my writing schedule.
Rather pleased with myself today. After I finished the pre-edits for another chapter of my historical novel
Rather pleased with myself today. After I finished the pre-edits for another chapter of my historical novel

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Pre-edits, Football and a Builder

A satisfactory morning so far. I completed the line edits for a chapter in my new novel, and also realised something seem contrived so I adjusted the plot to cure the problem. I've also checked my e-mails, including a very interesting one from an author who is a good friend.

The rest of the day will be busy. It's bitter cold but my eight-year-old grandson insists on playing in a football match. Don't children feel the cold? I'll look after his brother and sister and make lunch for them before we all go shopping with his mother, and they get their hair cut before they go back to school after half term.

I've just looked in my diary. The coming week will be very busy, people coming to lunch with me, the builder removing the old fireplace and mantlepiece in the sitting room and levelling the floor, lunch out with a good friend next weekend. Except for the noise and dust when the fireplace is removed I'm looking forward to it and determined to keep up with my self-imposed writing schedule.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

My day

Another busy day. It started when I turned on the lap top at 6.a.m and started work on the novel I'm getting ready to submit. I completed the pre-edits for one chapter and tweaked it. I have now completed 100 pages out of 240. After I finish the pre-edits I shall read the novel from beginning to end looking for errors and making notes for the synopsis. When my synopsis and c.v. are ready I shall submit the novel. The nail biting period period will follow for about three months while I wonder if the publisher will accept it.

After I finished writing and reading e-mails I tidied the house. By then my 3 yr old granddaughter arrived with her 8 yr old brother. They got the toy farm out and really enjoyed sorting out fields, the farm yard, anmal pens etc., and a pond surrounded by artificial trees while I made a vegetable curry for lunch. Diced potatoes, peas, cubed paneer, (Indian curd cheese available from some supermarkets and Indian groceries). tomatoes and spices  I serve it with chappatis, green salad and yoghurt. Their mum joined us and we really enjoyed it as well as the pudding, mango pulp.

The worst part after cooking is clearing up but my daughter loaded the dishwasher while the three year old sat on my lap and made up stories about the pictures in Mr Nosey who gets his come uppance for being so nosey.

The rest of the day was quiet, I read, watched a corny film and am now working on the lap top again.

Friday, 22 February 2013

An author's Early Morning

More often than not I am awake by 6 a.m. when I make a cup of Rooibus tea and switch on the laptop.

By six o'clock this morning, my painful back a little better in spite of the osteopath's treatment on Tuesday, I started work.

At the moment, amongst other things, I am working on pre-edits of my new novel set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart 1702-1714. I have highlighted the words on MuseItUppublishing's pre-edit list e.g. around instead of round as in she looked around not she looked round, toward instead of towards and as.

The pre-edits tighten the novel, and while I'm going through them I'm also tweaking it. Hopefully, I can finish a chapter a day and keep up with other commitments.

I revised a chapter, had breakfast and then checked my e-mails.

It's now quarter past ten and almost time to turn off the laptop and get on with the day until 4 p.m. when I shall review a novel, critique a chapter of another novel and get on with other 'writerly' matters.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Repercussion, Writing and Web Site

Yesterday my back hurt from my neck to the base of my spine. Ouch. Not sure whether or not to continue with the osteopath. Is this a case of no gain without pain or pain without gain. I have been treated by osteopath's in the past but have never had such violent reactions after two sessions.

To add to my problems, yesterday afternoon my laptop went into hibernation so I couldn't blog and failed to keep up with some other 'writerly' activities.

Today has been a good day. My back still hurts but not as much although I don't feel any improvement. I completed the pre-edits for Chapter Eight of another novel set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart 1702 - 1714. My web designer Twin Technology owned by my twins sons have updated the first two pages of my website. As soon as possible I shall be updating the rest of it, bit by bit.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Visited an Osteopath today

Visited an osteopath today, my back is painful, partly due to the hours I spend writing etc., on the laptop and computer. I must find time to go swimming more often and make sure I walk round the green every day.

It's my second visit to this osteopath. Last time all the muscles in my back burned on the next day, but I'm still hoping the treatment will improve my back.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Long Day

Today seems as though it has been longer than usual. I've managed to put in my eight hours writing and working on other 'writerly' matters. In addition looked after a three-year-old making play dough biscuits with her, helping her with a sticker book and doing jig saws. I spent time discussing the front garden, where I grow vegetables in two large beds, with my gardener who comes once a fortnight to do the heavy work. I also tidied up the house and went shopping before working on my new novel, answering e-mails etc. Half an hour until bedtime in which I hope to finish reading The King's Mistress by Emma Campion, an enjoyable novel about Edward IV's mistress Alice Perrers

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Far Above Rubies

Yesterday there was a fault which prevented me from blogging. Today the laptop is slower than usual but it's functioning.

I'm away from home so I 've only worked on copy edits for my novel Far Above Rubies which will be published in March. As the month draws closer I'm becoming more and more excited about the book launch. The hero in Far Above Rubies is a young man who served the East India Company during Queen Anne Stuart's reign - 1702-1714.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Writing & Sore Muscles

Recently I've been spending more time than usual working on the laptop or computer. It's made my back, neck and shoulders ache and caused sore muscles, so I saw an osteopath earlier in the week and yesterday I went swimming. I have another appointment with the osteopath and have made up my mind to swim more often.

At long last the sun is shining so, after dealing with various 'writerly' matters I shall gather vegetables from my garden for lunch, probably turnips and curly kale to have with peas and a vegetable pie and gravy. I will then sow vegetable seeds in a heated propagator, and if I have time begin tidying the greenhouse

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Submission to Publisher

This morning I checked and double checked my submissio and ran it through the grammar and spell check on the computer and then submitted it with the hope that the publisher will ask to read the complete novel which begins:

Chapter One

Cassio Castle – South East England


Alice stumbled after the sturdy squire, who guided her from her home in Lovage village to the nearby island fortress, Cassio Castle. After ascending steep stone stairs, they trod the length of a dim corridor. The squire halted. He pointed at a massive oak door which stood ajar. “In there.”

With faltering footsteps Alice stepped across the threshold of a magnificent bedchamber furnished with a huge bed, painted coffers and many other items. She gasped for she had never imagined such luxury. Until now she only knew the two rooms in the thatched cottage she and her large family shared with the livestock they hoped would survive winter’s frozen grip. Here a log fire blazed and a blend of dried lemon balm and lavender, which she was familiar with, scented the air.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Publisher's Questionnaire

This morning I tackled a publisher's lengthy questionnaire. Writing a short biography is not one of my favourite things. Listing the authors and titles of the books for research was easy. Answering the questions about which niche my novel would fill and which are the primary competitive books on the market were difficult.

Tomorrow I have to polish my letter of introduction and the synopsis as well as formatting the first three chapters of the novel, and then I can submit them together with the questionnaire by e-mail.

Hopefully, the publisher will want me to submit the complete novel to consider publication.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Revision, 'Writerly' Activities and Snow

My New Year Resolution was to blog daily. I've broken it.. This weekend was taken up by family. I treasure my time with them so, as the saying goes, I went with the flow, and enjoyed myself.

Today, apart from beginning to revise a novel set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart, 1702-1714, I began to tackle a backlog of writerly activities. After that I planned to sow seeds in containers which fit into a heated propagator but when I looked out of the window I saw a winter wonderland of snow and ice. Instead of sowing seeds I continued decluttering my house. I'm still going through files full of my short stories, cuttings, letters and other material, keeping some and discarding a lot.

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Growing organic food.

I am planning what to grow in my greenhouse and organic garden.

At the moment, in spite of the heavy snow earlier in the year, and the cold weather, I have curly kale, New Zealand spinach, brussel sprouts, winter cabbage, turnips and beetroot greens (which can be cooked like spinach) in the garden; and I have lambs lettuce and radishes in the greenhouse.

Every year I grow something new. Two years ago I planted an expensive disease resistant peach tree but so far it has only produced one delicious peach. This year I am going to grow a dwarf, self-fertile, nectarine that I can grow in the greenhouse and which will crop well. Talk about being optimistic!

Keen gardeners always visualise perfection but rarely achieve it, howevewr if one thing fails something else is sure to be successful. Usually I manage to grow 50 or 60% of my own fruit, herbs and vegetables. I also utilise weeds such as dandelions in various ways.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Finished my novel

I am patting myself on the back because, this morning, I finished tweaking my novel set in Edward IIs reign. Writing this novel has been so intense that I felt exhausted and when back to bed to have a nap.

All that is left before submitting it is applying the spell and grammar check and tweaking the synopsis and my letter of introduction to the publisher I plan to submit it to.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Revision, Writing and Research

Only two more chapters of my novel set in Edward II of England's reign to tweak. Phew! This novel is - to use a cliche - a labour of love.

Writing and researching a novel without any assurance that it will be published requires enthusiasm,dedication and perserverance.

There was a time when I thought I would never be published and am delighted because MuseItUppublishing has published three of my historical novels and will publish a fourth in March. One is set in the reign of Queen Anne Stuart 1702 - 1714, and two are set in the Regency Era, and my fourth also set in Queen Anne's reign will be published in March, 2013.

Monday, 4 February 2013

More about revision.

Lots of things I should have done today. Instead I concentrated on tweaking my novel set in Edward II's reign. When I revised the novel I was also working my way through a vicious infection. It required two lots of antibiotics and left me exhausted. At the time, I though I did a good job of the revision. All I can write is that I made a lot of mistakes. It really isn't worth persisting when really ill.

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Historical Research

While tweaking my novel set in Edward II's reign I found a historical inaccuracy. That sent me scuttling to my non fiction books on the era. I also consulted Burke's Peerage and Baronetage which is very helpful. I'm very relieved  to have solved the problem which saved me having to re-write the last third of the novel.

Yesterday my thoughts turned to my organic garden so I went to the garden centre to buy first early seed potatos. I'm also growing micro greens and sprouting beans.  At lunchtime I looked at the home grown vegeables from the freezer with great satisfaction. The beetroot were particularly sweet.


Historical Research