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Archive for the ‘How is my muse today?’ Category

My name is Jane and I’m a Goodreads addict. There, I’ve said it. I’ve had many addictions over the years, so this is nothing new, but I’m hoping this will develop into a long-lasting relationship and not just a quick fling.

So what other addictions am I happy to confess?

Lush

What can I say… Sweet fragrances, quirky names, cool products, blue riband quality at high street prices

Chocolate

Nuff said 🙂

 

Ben & Jerry’s

I still feel a shiver of pleasure when I think about the yumminess of Chunky Monkey. Banana ice cream with nuts and slivers of dark, oh so wickedly dark chocolate

 

PNR

ParaNormal Romances – everything from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, through Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy to DB Reynolds Vampires in America and Nalini Singh’s Psy / Changelings

 

Hawt cowboys

Not so much Louis L’Amour, more Lorelei James, heh heh

 

And Goodreads.

 

I first dipped my toes in via the KindleSmut reading group, then I expanded to find other like-minded readers… and now I co-moderate a readers & writers Group. How did that happen?!?  LINK

Not only can I keep a list of what I’ve read (including ratings and those all important reviews), I can indulge in my PNR and Hot Cowboy addictions at the same time * grin *

My other great addiction, the one that’s grown into a full-time-obsession, is my writing – and even here, Goodreads can help. It has a MyWriting page. I can load short stories, extracts and teasers – entire novels, chapter by chapter if I feel so inclined. And so I’m playing around with it a little. Check it out, see what you think – feel free to comment  🙂  LINK TO JANE’S WRITING

Who knows, it might rub off on you too 😉

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It’s true, I am the Goddess of Cat Summoning

I bet you didn’t know that! It’s an obscure title, or rank, or however you describe deities, I’m not really sure. It’s definitely a step up from Mad Cat Lady, though 🙂

It came about through a bizarre evening spent rescuing a tiny field mouse from one of our 6 cats. Our 6 House Cats, I might add, one of whom was intent on playing with this new, squeaking toy under the dining room table. My young son accompanied me to the compost heap at the bottom of the (pitch dark) garden with Mouse. I carried Mouse, he shone the torch to guide our way… and the conversation went broadly as follows:

Son: You know how people sometimes have near-death experiences? And they see a bright light to walk into?
Me: Uh huh.

Son: Well, maybe Mouse will think that’s what’s happened to him. He sees my torch and thinks it’s a bright light from Mouse Heaven.

Me: < laughing > Would that make you God?

Son: I’d be God of Mice.

Well…. When your child has suddenly become God of Small Squeaking Creatures (we haven’t clarified yet whether his Godhood extends to all small rodents), it leaves you feeling a little inferior – but not for long.

How does the old saying go? If you can’t beat ‘em – join ‘em. And if we’re about to be overrun with mice looking for their spiritual leader, it struck me we might need some balance. I am now the Goddess of Cat Summoning.

BTW, I must say THANKS to my brilliant friend Elise for the pictures – mwah mwah 🙂

Following on from this, my friends all wanted their own Godhoods and so we developed a few rules:

1 – you can only be God / Goddess of something trivial / useless

2 – it has to be appropriate for you

So go on, if you could be God / Goddess of anything, what would it be?

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I’m a visual person. Yes, I deal in the currency of words, but I try to paint pictures with them. And when I’m scoping out a story I love to have some visual references to help me.

Some writers use the pinboard method: relevant or inspiring pictures / photos are literally pinned to the board where the author can look at them near at hand. I sometimes look through old photos for inspiration about locations. The gothic house on the header of this blog site is one that I looked at many times over a number of years, eventually incorporating it into my new series of linked stories (The Talisman Series).

The thing that helps me the most though, is the character images. When I start to rough out a character profile, I usually have a fairly fluid idea of how they look…. and then I find the picture. The. Picture. Two of my current recurring characters are ex-marines Jack and Tanner. Now I’ve been getting to know these characters for the past year, but their physical likenesses crystallized perfectly for me when I found THIS picture on the web.

To me, confident and outgoing Jack is the guy at the back. While Tanner, more reserved and quiet – a man of few words – sprawls at the front. Just seeing them ‘in the flesh’ is enough to start a whole fresh set of ideas about how they behave, how they speak, what their stories will develop into. I have no idea who the gorgeous guys are in this photo, but they sure ooze sex appeal. One of my female leads describes them as akin to Greek Gods. And I think this pic works perfectly 🙂

However, it took a while to find this image. Lots of Google searches along the lines of “hot US marine image” and “handsome man in uniform“. Wow… the number of websites devoted to pics of hot guys… well, there’s a few, shall we say! I just hope my husband doesn’t get worried when he sees the recent searches I’ve been running… All in the name of research 🙂

 

 

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Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

Winston Churchill sums this up beautifully, I couldn’t say it any better. Three days ago I typed the magical phrase THE END on my current manuscript.  It’s a big statement – and one that marks only the end of the first phase. I shall leave it completely for a few weeks, then come back to it ‘cold’ and start the reviewing and editing process. I’ve had one lot of feedback, I’ll put it out there with my tame reviewers and Crit Partners (thanks gals) for another reading post-edit… and then edit again. Then, and only then… I’ll start the querying phase. Can you tell I have a background in project management? It comes in useful from time to time.

But in the meantime… God how I miss my manuscript. I’ve spent the best part of the last four months bringing life to the characters, telling their story through their adventures, tragedy, love and ultimate happiness – and now they’ve gone quiet. It’s like when your best friend goes away on holiday and can’t be contacted for a month. I feel bereft.

The great temptation is to leap into the next story, already a vague glimmering idea in my head, but I shall resist. I owe it to my lovely manuscript to give it the best possible chance in the shark-infested-world of publishing – and I can’t do that if I have another story running in the background. It would be like trying to concentrate on a complicated movie while just reading one more chapter of that thriller – and not losing either plot.

So for the next two weeks I shall be delving into my teetering stack of unread books and catching up on all the things I promised myself I’d do when this manuscript was complete. Only, it isn’t really complete yet, is it? Not until it’s out there for real 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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After my Muse demanding attention 24/7 for a couple of weeks, she disappeared. Poof! Gone. Right in the middle of a chapter – I was not best pleased. And it got me thinking. There are probably as many methods for dealing with this, as there are for writing fiction – everyone has their own theory and pet solution. Here are some of my favourites:

 

Procrastination

This one is easy. Make some fresh coffee, flick back through old emails, scan the online newspapers, go hunt out that recipe – you know, that one – that you have somewhere on a yellowing fragment of paper, stuffed on a bookshelf somewhere. Maybe.

 

Diversion

This approach actually feels slightly useful. Move onto another project (of the writing variety, of course). Either do some editing of another WIP, some critting for a friend and fellow writer, or pick up the bare bones of a future project. Even writing a diary / blog entry can help. The act of writing words on paper (or screen) is a great tool for getting the flow back.

 

Research

Ah, now this one is useful. Look back at your notes, remember that thing you were going to look up when you only had five minutes… and go find it.

 

Just Write

This works best for me. After staring out of the window and dipping my toe in each of the above methods, I always come back to this one. I Just Write. I pick up the next segment and start writing whatever comes to mind, no matter how fanciful it may be – it can always be edited, or even deleted. But somehow, it triggers the creative process like nothing else for me.

 

HURRAH – it worked. I suddenly realised the mistake I’d made in the previous segment – the little loophole I’d left undone – and I went back and fixed it. And my Muse reappeared, smiling and laughing at me for wasting a morning when I could have been writing. Okay, she says, you figured it out. So let’s go again.

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Hi there, come on in – I don’t bite. At least, not that often…

I’m an as-yet-unpublished romance writer, working very hard to change that particular state of affairs. I only started writing on a serious basis 18 months ago and have created no fewer than 6 full length manuscripts, although 2 of them were already in a very early draft stage.

Right now, I’m seeking representation, and this blog is intended to (a) follow my steps towards achieving that ambition and (b) showcase my work. Welcome 🙂

It’s painful sometimes. Another rejection will drop into my Inbox and I’ll beat myself up for a while. Had I not researched that particular agent in enough detail? Could my query / synopsis / partial have been stronger? Or was it just luck of the draw?

But there are days – and I’ve had a few this week – where it all seems worthwhile. I have the plot crystallizing in my head. I can see my characters, hear them talking – I feel as though I’m eavesdropping on their lives. The words flow from my fingers to the page, the story spilling out faster than I can write it. All is well.

And all I need is an agent… preferably a yummy one. Well, come on, I do write romance… 🙂

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