Friday, 30 January 2015

Pre-edits - was.

I am working my way through the list of words my publisher has listed. Words which should be either be deleted or used sparingly.

At the moment I have highlighted 'was' and am murdering it when I'm not feeling suicidal. I enjoy writing novels but not the hard work of pre-edits, writing a synopsis and then the time it takes to work with my excellent contents editor and line editor.

I hoped to finish the novel by the 1st February but now think it won't be ready to submit until mid-February.

Thursday, 29 January 2015


The Amarylis, a Christmas present, seemed to be in a sorry state when I received it. After a very slow start it has been growing an inch and a half or two inches a day. Now, it looks as though the bud is on the verge of opening. After it has flowered, if I cut the stem, will it flower again next year. Should I feed it?

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Book catalobgue.

I have decided that I need to make a catalogue of all my books - particularly the non-fiction. I spend too much time searching for a book I need that has hidden itself somewhere. Oh for more space to keep them and more time to read them.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Testament to Youth etc

Apart from being very busy with the pre-edits for Monday's Child, I've been out and about more than usual. I intended a dinner held in honour of my sister-in-law, whose mother died recently. In spite of the sad occasion I enjoyed meeting many members of her family and my late husband's family, some of whom I had not seen for years. However, I sympathise with her. She said the house seems empty without her mum. I know how she feels, I think of my mother every day and miss her.

I've been busy hanging framed photos of the grandchildren on one of the walls above the staircase. Last time the hall was decorated all the picture hooks were removed. It then seemed such a big job to replace them so I've been putting them up a few at a time.

Apart from this, I have been livening up the house with potted foliage. I love flowers but the ones in pots are over so quickly but I hope the money plant and others will survive for a long time. Today I bought a four foot tall plant with the stems plaited together with fresh foliage at the top. Even on sale it was expensive and so was the ceramic pot I chose. The problem is that now it is in the living room I'm not sure where it looks best.

On Sunday I went to see Testament of Youth based on Vera Britain's autobiography. It's years since I read the book so I can't remember if the script takes liberties but I can say I think the film is excellent. I shall buy the dvd when it is available.

Time to have something to eat and then get on with a few 'writerly' matters.

Friday, 23 January 2015


I am now examining my use of that in my new novel Monday's Child. Frequently the word is superfluous, a sentence needs to be rewritten or which is more stylish. Anyway, I find pre-editing boring but necessary.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Line Editing. Checking 'and'.

Yesterday, I took a day off. Today I felt guilty so I finished checking how often I wrote 'and' in Monday's Child the sequel to Sunday's Child a romantic Regency novel. I have divided sentences into two, rephrased sentences as well as occasionally, very occasionally using gerunds.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Pot Marigolds, Lettuce, Larkspur

I have two large beds of earth in my front garden in which I combine herbs, strawberries, vegetables and flowers. Last year pot marigolds made a wonderful splash of colour. Inspired by a programme on television called The Allotment Challenge I plan to grow larkspur. It's pretty colours will add charm to my cottage style vegetable/flower patch.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

The Medieval Housewife

I am reading The Medieval Housewife & other women of the Middle Ages by Toni Mount. It is only 90 pages long but packed with information and with plenty of photographs, including those of re-enactors. |A useful addition to my collection of non-fiction for research.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Gothic Exhibition British Library

Today I visited the Gothic Exhibition at the British Library with a dear friend. The exhibition traces the history of Gothic literature and films. The first emphasis is on Hugh Walpole's Castle of Otranto, but there are references to gothic subject matters in the mediaeval period and in Shakespeare.

We enjoyed the exhibits of texts, handwritten pages, books old and modern and the history of gothic films including The Birds based on Daphne du Maurier's short story. I came away inspired with material for Tuesday's Child a follow on novel from Sunday's Child, published by MuseItUpPublishing and Monday's Child which I am almost ready to submit.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Indoor Garden

At this time of the year, apart from foliage, there is little I can arrange in vases, so I have decided to have an indoor garden. I shall choose the plants carefully giving consideration to their situation. I'm not in a hurry to populate every room in the house with potted plants. Yesterday I bought a money plant to join the mother-in-law's tongue on the shelf above my built in shoe rack. I need one more plant which will also thrive in suffused light and cool conditions. Above them I have hung three photos in a single frame of my grandson performing in a gymnastic display.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Line Editing

Now that I have written Monday's Child the follow on novel from Sunday's Child, traditional regency romances, it is time to work on the line edit. I have a list of words which I check including 'and'. It is boring going through the novel deciding when to delete the word, when to rephrase a sentence and when to substitute another word. So far I've been through 150 pages and have nearly another 150 pages to check.

To mitigate my boredom I checked how many times I had used round instead of around. It's amazing how often I write - for example - she looked round instead of around. I suppose it is a minor point but in my opinion round applies to something which is round, an apple, a ball, an orange etc.

Now I have to continue checking 'and'.

Why am I being so pernickety? Because I want to write to the best of my ability.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Recuperating from Muscle Spasm

 At last the pain from the muscle in  a spasm in my back is much better. The relief is indescribable. Perhaps I'll get a good night's sleep after days and nights of acute pain. This afternoon I had a deep tissue massage which should also help.

One good thing about being forced to stay in bed has been extra time to deal with writerly matters. Today I researched competitions for novels. It's so difficult to secure either an agent or a publisher that I'll probably enter my medieval novel in one or more competitions. Mind you, I had two mainstream publishers who did not publish my novels and an agent who did not place one of them. Deep sigh.

Monday, 12 January 2015


For the last few days I have been suffering from a very painful spasm in my back. It is very annoying because I can’t do anything in the garden or greenhouse.

This afternoon I studied a gardening catalogue and wondered whether or not to grow some unusual vegetables such as Oca, which is described as having a great flavour raw or cooked. The description is: “Oca is a highly productive vegetable, it can be eaten cooked or raw and when raw it has a lemony flavour, becoming nuttier once cooked. Oca is blight resistant and requires little or no fertiliser. Harvest approximately three weeks after frost has killed plant canopy. Plants despatched February to April.” Hum, worth thinking about.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Intense revision of Monday's Child

I am revising Monday's Child, a Regency Romance and  follow on novel from Sunday's Child.

I have highlighted 'and'. Substituting other words as well as dividing sentences into two tightens the prose. It also helps me to avoid repeatedly writing 'and then'. The process is boring but the novel will read better when I finish.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Up the Garden Path

Last night the wind and rain surged against the house. By morning the sun shone and the air filled with birdsong. At the moment, I am not well but before lunch I went out into the garden for some fresh air. Although it is so cold buds are swelling on the fruit trees. I'm hoping for a good crop of apples, pears and plums this year.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Spasm & Writing

My writing schedule has be interrupted by a muscle on the right of my back. It is so bad that I didn't sleep last night. Every little movement was agonising. So, I asked for a home visit. I also have an internal infection but won't bore you with the details. The doctor prescribed various medications including antibiotics, one for my innards and the other for the muscle spasm. I swear that if you turned me upside down and shook me I'd rattle like pill box.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Children's IndoorPlay Centre

I took my five year granddaughter to an indoor play centre. Such a confident child. When we arrived she didn't wait for me to show her what to do. With delight she copied the other children. She really enjoyed it - enormous slides which she hurtled down feet first, head first, on her tummy and on her back. She explored all the overhead tunnels and climbing frames, then had a turn on the bumper cars. She also enjoyed the roundabout and loved the Cinderella's coach. The only problem is that she would like me to take her every week.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Exodus - Gods and Kings

Exodus, Gods and Kings, starring Christian Bale as Moses and Joel Edgerton as Ramses in the battle for the freedom of the Israelites. I particularly admired how much emotion Joel Edgerton managed to convey with his eyes. Yesterday afternoon I took my 13 year-old and nine-year old daughter's sons to see this film. They were familiar with the biblical account and really enjoyed it, particularly the gruesome depiction of the plagues. However they thought the slaughter of the Israelite babies, which Moses escaped, and the subsequent deaths of the first born sons of the Egyptians inexplicable and unjustifiable. I'm not sure whether they were satisfied with my explanations. I enjoyed Exodus - Gods and Kings. I thought the characters are believable, enjoyed the beautiful reconstruction of the Ramses's palace in Memphis and the scenes of the backgrounds, including the desert. I also thought the depictions of the plagues were very well done. However, I didn't like the representation of God, but I won't go into that because I don't want to spoil the film for anyone who plans to see it.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Monday's Child, Follow on Novel from Sunday's Child,

I am delighted because I have written the last chapter of Monday's Child, a traditional Regency Romance. By traditional I mean that I have not opened the bedroom door wide. Monday's Child is the follow on novel from Sunday's Child published by MuseItUp Publishing. I am now enjoying planning Tuesday's Child the next novel in the series.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

The Hobbit Battle of the Five Armies.

Yesterday I went with son No.2 to see The Hobbit, the battle of the five armies. I'm full of admiration for the film. I read the book some years ago and was swept away by the story. The film carried me along from beginning to end. I admired the venues, the costumes, the characters, the special effects etc.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Gardener's Diary

I have decided to keep an organic gardener's diary this year. I shall enter details of the garden and record the use to which I put my home grown fruit, herbs and vegetables. This morning the sun shone from an azure blue sky. Although there was a chill in the air it was pleasant outside. I filled up one of the bird feeders with peanuts. Within minutes, the squirrel, which often lurks in the holly bush, fed from the peanuts I spread on the grass.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year

Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year.