Yesterday I watched an amazing video-talk on TED – Brenee Brown’s: The Power of Vulnerability. It’s funny, deeply poignant and produced several bright light-bulb moments that made me see myself in a new light! If you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it. I now understand why and how I’m mutating back into the girl I was at 12. That girl is my most authentic self; she’s the Cari who defiantly wore her heart (dreams, feelings, agonies) on her face with her head upright because she knew it was harder than pretending otherwise. She was wasn’t always kind or happy (she whined endlessly about not feeling well – some things never change), but she tried to be kind and tried to focus on the positive. From the outside her life prospects appeared grim, but she was always busy dreaming up impossible adventures (a number of which we’ve actually accomplished). I want to be that me and over the last few months I have felt more like her. One can’t go backwards, but we all have an authentic self buried under whatever fears we’ve allowed to warp us out of recognition. [Read more…]
Dear members of Regency Romance Novels.com
I’ve finished Dancing the Maypole and it’s on my website ready to read (all fifty-one chapters). For those of you who prefer e-books Smashwords has approved it. For those who might not have noticed, the Goblin has redesigned my website. It now shrinks down to fit all hand held devices that connect to the internet. I hope you enjoy long stories. Dancing the Maypole is twice the length of my other novels. On the Goblin’s iphone it came out as over 1500 pages (but those are tiny pages). In a paperback the book would be about five hundred pages. I would have liked it to be shorter, but the story had other ideas.
Dancing the Maypole follows on from The Hired Wife. A year older, the five Smirke brothers have decided it’s time to help their father find a wife. Knowing Peter Smirke will be attending a house party they put an ad in all the papers. They assume they’ll have at least a week and a half to interview applicants before their father returns to give them his spine chilling glare.
When I started the story, I knew by the end of chapter two that the title would be Dancing the Maypole. Dancing around a maypole is an old European custom that stretches back into pre-history. Originally Pagan, it was a celebration of May day. The dance is performed around a pole or a tree cut down and trimmed for the occasion. In recent times multi coloured ribbons were attached to the top of the pole and each dancer would hold one ribbon. The dancers then dance…half going one way, the other half going the other…and the ribbons entwine around the pole.
The heroine, Isabel de Bourbon, is a tall woman so she is what some unkindly term, a maypole, but half way through the story I realised that the maypole being danced was something bigger. The story is a romance novel, but it’s also about the weaving of the generations. We often think that our choices alone define us, but really it’s a combination of our choices and the choices of our parents/ancestors (both genetic and adopted). Our great to the tenth grandparents made decisions that genetically and emotionally affect us today. All these layers of stories woven together make up our story. I find that utterly fascinating.
Even if you’re not a member, the first ten chapters are free to read here.
Finally…Dancing the Maypole is finished and will be on line very soon. The only thing left to do is format the e-book (another job for the Goblin). Previously there was a lag between the online book going live and the e-book getting done, but I know some of you prefer the e-book format so I wanted to have it all done and ready at the same time. I’ll be sending out a newsletter soon!
I finally know why it’s taken me so long to write the book. I went to the doctors the other week and the blood test revealed a big problem with my thyroid. I wasn’t just imagining my brain running slow. It was a bit unnerving when I picked up the phone to find the doctor had actually called me (not a receptionist) to request that I come in the next day to give some more blood to double check the findings. In movies this sort of scene is always accompanied by morbid music in a minor key! He mentioned going into hospital to see a specialist and possible tests. Strangely, knowing there’s something really wrong has really lowered my stress level. Hopefully I’ll soon feel better and be able to write faster.
I haven’t actually been dead (thank goodness), but I feel like I’ve had a marathon crawl through Hades. I apologize for the long silence. I ended up chopping a few paragraphs off the end of chapter 50 (of Dancing the Maypole) and adding a short chapter 51. I then (in a prolonged moment of madness) decided I’d try to salvage my first epilogue. After spending numerous weeks banging my head I finally gave up the other day and accepted the epilogue wasn’t right and deleted it again. Last night I handed the book over to the Goblin so now I’m done done done! I didn’t want to write a post until I could say I really was done (as opposed to just torturing you with no it’s not done after all). I feel sick with relief. I think it will take several days for it to sink in that the maypole is wrapped. There’s just waiting for the Goblin to finish formatting the book and getting it on line. I don’t think I’ll really be able to relax until I see it on my website. Cross fingers that will be sooner than later!!!
I’m making progress on Dancing the Maypole. This evening I finished the second edit of chapter 33. A picture is worth about 100,000 words…
The first edit was me going through the whole book with the new editing software (as well as re-writing). Then the Goblin goes through each chapter with red, blue and green pens. The second edit for the first few chapters took days (weeks?). It’s all a hellish blur! For the first month of editing I was working six days a week, but the Goblin (seeing I was starting to lose the plot) counseled me to take the whole weekend off. It helps to have a rest! This gives me time to day dream about other stories, draw, take pictures or watch a movie. The last seventeen chapters shouldn’t take so long.
Some of my favorite shots from my last couple of walks… [Read more…]
I just discovered this website called desktopography. I assume there was a competition and artists from all over the world entered their work. These are works of art that you can download for free as computer wallpaper. I don’t like all of them, but most of them are visually WOW! They’re picture-stories…like illustrated covers from fantasy book covers (only more amazing!). I’d buy a number of these as posters. I’m going to download the moonscape with the balloon-ship…it’s so magical. I love it!
I will of course get some work done today. Dancing the Maypole is getting a mega-edit. I edit, then the Goblin prints off a chapter and takes out his red pen and scribbles all over my story, and then I mega-edit. Last week I made the mistake of adding a few words at the beginning of a chapter and the next thing I knew I was drowning in ripples of changes affecting numerous chapters. I’ll reach the finish line eventually. I’ll be that weird woman dressed in out of date lycra crawling on her hands and knees the last few yards, but I’ll get there. I keep catching colds which is slowing me down, but (when I’m not staring at my wallpaper) I’ll be sanding away at my latest story!
It will take a few more weeks of editing before the story is ready to go on line. It’s getting a three layered mega-edit. I go over it with my new handy dandy editing program that checks spelling and grammar (but it doesn’t catch everything). So the Goblin then edits one chapter at a time. I then I go back over it again and smooth out anything I’d missed. The process is slower than I’d like it to be, but I’ll be less stressed when I send it out into the world.
In this neck of the woods Fall has arrived. The leaves are falling off the trees and the sky has turned grey. Earlier this week I woke to find the countryside shrouded in fog. I love fog! I tried to resist, but I had to take my camera out and see if I could find some pictures. It was cold enough to persuade most of the dog walkers to stay home, but not cold enough for gloves so for most of my walk it was like having the countryside to myself. I particularly wanted to try and capture the thinning trees with their sparse leaves dotting the fog. That was my hope. Here are my favorite shots. [Read more…]
I’ve decided that Dancing the Maypole doesn’t want an epilogue. After coming to a standstill in attempt number three on Saturday afternoon I sort of had a mini breakdown. I think the book is actually finished and ready to run, but I’m subconsciously trying to keep it in the gate (because that way no one can tell me it’s rubbish?). There’s this mutual growing rage between me and the story; it’s time to let go. So…I’m going to give myself a week to not think about Dancing the Maypole and then I’ll get started on the final editing. And hopefully before the end of October you’ll be getting an e-mail (if I have your e-mail) telling you it’s done and online. I hope you like long stories; this one is twice the length of ‘The Hired Wife’. I didn’t want it to be that long, but my characters don’t care what I think. So there’s fifty chapters and it’s done.
After writing the equivalent of thirteen paperback pages for the (unfinished) epic-epilogue (of Dancing the Maypole) I decided to go back and read the last chapter over again. I’m really happy with it! Then I read the epic-epilogue (which threatened to go on on forever), and I had an awful sinking feeling. I knew the epic-logue was all wrong.
I gave in and mentally deleted what I’d long assumed would be the epilogue (I knew the story wanted one, I just wasn’t listening…again…) and after going to bed I tried to figure out what the story wanted (I love my job – I can work in a horizontal position with my eyes closed). This morning I started over and I’m so glad I did. I no longer feel like I’m stuck in a romance writing version of Tron where I have to write my way out of the game… One short epilogue and I’ll be ready to start final editing.
I’ve just finished the first draft of chapter 50 (the last chapter) of Dancing the Maypole. The story decided the last scene should be an epilogue (which will make sense when you read it) so the story is finished, but not finished. At the moment the story has about 138,700 words (the length of two of my novels). One thousand or so words more and it will be finished. I feel like dancing!