‘Teaching Mr Leavis’ being sent out to beta readers soon!

Beta readersA short post today (and it will be short this time!) to say: I’ve reached another milestone in my writing journey. Yes, that’s right I’ve finished the first draft of my third (third!! :) ) novel Teaching Mr Leavis.

And I’m sending it out to beta readers soon. So watch this space – I may be able to publish it before the summer if all goes well. Or at least it should definitely be published before the end of the year. Eek!

My thanks goes out to the nine people who’ve very kindly agreed to give their time to have a read of my novel. I have to say I’m always a bit apprehensive at this point in the writing process, the first point at which anyone apart from me gets to read the whole of the first draft of my novel.

Yes, I’ve already shared parts of it on WIPpet Wednesday (where a group of us writers share and comment on each other’s writing), but that’s different. This time people will be seeing the whole of it and that’s rather scary! Will they hate it or (just as bad) be disappointed? As I’ve told people, I feel that this is very much an early first draft, so I’m hoping that my beta readers can share their wisdom on how to make it much better.

But having said all that, it is exciting too because as a writer obviously I want people to read my books. So I’m hoping this will just be the start. That eventually many more people will read Teaching Mr Leavis too. :D

What are your thoughts and feelings when you’re sharing your book with your beta readers and/or editor for the first time?

 

Changing tack

Changing tack

Another short(ish) post. I thought I’d update you with how things are for me right now writing-wise. Well I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and having plenty of heart to hearts with my husband about my writing.

And I’ve been thinking: what do I really want most – to write whatever I want, or to write the books that people want to read? See, I think it’s like this: different people may like different genres of books BUT most people also like reading what they’re used to.

So if someone likes, say, sci-fi, they will usually want to read a novel that is recognisibly that: sci-fi. Similarly romance, or a thriller or a detective story. People like what they like – it may sound trite or like a sweeping statement (which, yes, it could be seen as) but I think it’s very often true.

Now with me it’s like this: I enjoy writing (obviously!) and for a while now I’ve been struggling with being torn between writing whichever story idea comes into my head, or writing for a particular genre and thereby gaining more readers. The thing is I don’t want to write like a fraud – I want to write authentically – to be true to myself and my writing style.

As I said to my husband – you can’t fit a square peg in a round hole. Like the rest of my life, with my writing I can’t be something I’m not. But I need to do something radical. I’ll be honest – my sales have hit rock bottom and yeah I’m really gutted about that.

So at my husband’s suggestion (and this idea has grown and grown on me) I’m gonna try something new. I’m going to write a short(ish) story, maybe a novella, and I’m going to pick a genre and aim my story fairly and squarely at that. It’s going to be a romance, still working on the details and I’m not gonna give too much away, but let’s just say I’m hoping that by aiming at a particular sub-genre of romance, I may be able to do a bit better.

It’s gonna be a bit of an experiment and it may not work, but my hope is that I can get my writing noticed a bit more and who knows – I might have people read this new story and think ‘I wouldn’t mind reading another of Elaine Jeremiah’s novels’, thereby increasing my sales.

It’s a gamble, but hey I’ve got nothing to lose! I do think it’s a bad time for all indie authors at the mo what with Kindle Unlimited being introduced and all that, but quite frankly I’m going to keep persevering with my writing until there’s no breath left in my body! So I’m going to be a bit more calculating in my approach – and write what (I hope) people will really want to read.

Have you ever reached a point in your writing journey where you decided you needed to change tack? How is it panning out for you?

From where we left off

Another short post from me this week as the job’s still tiring me and I have less time. I may not be able to take part in WIPpet Wednesday for a while – definitely not next week anyway as my work days are changing and I’m gonna be working on Wednesday next week.

As with last week, I will comment on as many of all your lovely posts as I can. Thank you all for your comments re marketing last week – at the very least it’s good to know that I’m not the only one who struggles with it.

I’m doing OK with my editing of Teaching Mr Leavis, my current WIP – or rather a rewrite. I just have a thought about it: I’ve had some comments from people along the lines that Jonathan, the antihero hero of the story is quite domineering. And yes to a certain extent he’s meant to be. But at the same time I want my heroine Rebecca to come across as strong enough to stand up to him.

Maybe I’m not making her as strong a character as she could be, especially when it comes to her interaction with Jonathan and I do want her to be tough in her relationship with him. Any thoughts on this appreciated!

So on to the main event: the excerpt I’m sharing is from Teaching Mr Leavis again and takes place a few paragraphs on from last week’s excerpt. Rebecca is surprised and shocked to see Jonathan, who she recently split up with, at her dad’s party. Now she’s talking to her sister Maria and their brother’s partner Linda. Rebecca is none too pleased with the direction that conversation is taking…

I’m sharing 16 lines, my rubbish maths goes like this: 14 for the day + 2 from 2015!

Linda nudged Rebecca’s arm. ‘Mr Leavis looks a bit stranded. Maybe one of us should go and talk to him?’

Rebecca started involuntarily. Maria’s lips twitched. ‘Perhaps you should go and talk to him, Rebecca? After all, you know him already,’ she said.

Rebecca’s mouth fell open and she glared at her sister. What was she thinking?

‘You do?’ Linda asked.

‘Yes.’ Rebecca said through gritted teeth. Looking at her sister, she could tell that Maria wasn’t about to let this drop; she was enjoying herself too much. ‘All right, I’ll go and say hi.’

Rebecca had never been more reluctant to do anything before in her life, as she tottered in her high heels over to where Jonathan was standing, looking dapper in a chic evening suit and tapping the stem of his champagne glass. But her reluctance faded a little as she saw his face light up when he saw her, clearly relieved to have someone he knew to talk to.

‘Hi, Jonathan,’ she said in a low voice.

And that’s all you’re getting for now. If you’re reading this and thinking ‘this is something I’d like to get involved with’, then it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of whatever you’re writing at the moment, then add your details here. Don’t forget to check out what the other wonderful WIPpeteers have shared.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel as always for hosting. :D

It’s been a while…

Hi all. Happy New Year! How are you doing? I feel like I’ve been away for quite some time. I guess I have. But I’ve had my reasons – namely work. I started a new job and although it’s going well, it’s meant that I haven’t had a lot of energy for much else.

Anyway I’m gradually getting used to my new routine and today I thought I’d join in WIPpet Wednesday again. My poor blog has barely seen the light of day for ages and now is as good a time as any to update it and also read all your lovely contributions for WIPpet Wednesday again.

I’m getting on quite well with my editing/rewriting of Teaching Mr Leavis. And I’m enjoying it, so that’s a plus! The flip side of the coin is that I haven’t touched the marketing side of my life as an indie author for months! It’s just gone out the window and I’m feeling quite guilty about that! I’ve had a lot on my mind but also I’m not sure of the best, most cost effective way to go about it. I need a plan of action, some simple steps I could take to promote my books without it being too time consuming. Any ideas?

I realise that marketing requires a certain amount of work, time and dedication – which I’m simply not giving at the moment. I also realise that my books aren’t going to sell unless I do something about it and I’m feeling low in terms of morale where my books sales are concerned, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.

However, I feel that with ebooks it’s not a race against time to sell them before they’re pulled off the shelves – there’re gonna be there forever in virtual form unless I choose to take them off Amazon. So I’ve got plenty of time to devise a marketing plan and do something about it.

There is another aspect to all of this which you’ve probably heard about – that ebook sales are plummeting. Which obviously doesn’t help any of us indie authors, especially those of us (like me!) who don’t have any print copies of their books. I want to use Create Space soon to do some print copies of Reunion of the Heart. So watch this space! (no pun intended! ;) )

Having said all that, I am still enjoying writing, which is the main thing. There’s nothing in this world that is going to make me stop writing or persevering to (eventually) have some success with it all. I may never get there – but it won’t be because I haven’t tried. I’m just having, as my grandma would have put it, a blip!

OK, I didn’t really intend to do a long spiel about my current writing situation! So onto the main event – my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday: another excerpt from Teaching Mr Leavis. This is a new part I’ve added; it takes place towards the end of the story. Rebecca is at a party celebrating 25 years of her father’s business. She and Jonathan have been up down in their relationship. Currently they’re apart so she’s surprised and shocked to see him there. I’m sharing three short paragraphs: 1 for the month + 2 from the year.

She stopped dead when she saw the figure of a tall man standing in the group of people with her mother. He appeared to be engaged in conversation with her father. The man had his back to her. It couldn’t be, could it? Her face hot, she swallowed and walked determinedly towards the group.

As she approached, the group turned around as one and looked at her, including the tall man. It was indeed Jonathan Leavis, looking as handsome as ever. She saw that his expression was surprised as he gazed at her, his eyebrows raised. Their eyes meeting for a moment, Rebecca turned away from his stare, willing herself to ignore him.

What the hell was he doing here, she wondered, deep in conversation with her parents no less? This unanswered question goaded her as she walked up to her parents and gave each of them a brief hug.

I will visit and comment on as many of your posts as I can – but I can’t promise to look at all of them, though I’ll do my best!

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of your latest writing work. It should ideally relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteers’ offerings.

Big hugs to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. ;)

Taking a back seat for a while

Hi all. Just  a very quick post to say that I’m still here but not doing as much in the blogging world at the moment. Reason being I recently started a new job and although it’s part time, I’m finding it’s taking me a while to get used to my new routine.

The upshot is I’m very tired at the moment and I’ve got zero energy so I’m just going to take it easy for a while and blog as and when I can. I hope you can understand that I need to do this for my own well being and that as soon as I’m able I’ll be participating more in the blogging world.

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and a very happy New Year. :D

A very quick WIPpet

Hi everyone. How’s your week been? My apologies for missing last week’s WIPpet Wednesday. I was working. The new job’s going well but it’s quite tiring.

Anyway I’m working again tomorrow and I’m busy the rest of today, so most likely I won’t be able to comment on anyone else’s post until Friday. So this is just a quick WIPpet.

I’ve chosen 5 short paragraphs to share from Teaching Mr Leavis and my maths goes like this (it’s simple as always!): 3 (for the day) + 2 (for 2014) = 5

Just to get you up to speed – this excerpt that I’m sharing with you takes place near the beginning of the story and it’s one of the new bits I’m adding in my editing process. This scene takes place outside the school where my MC Rebecca teaches. Jonathan Leavis is giving her a hard time (as usual). He’s angry at her for keeping his son Daniel behind at school for a detention and so causing him to miss an appointment:

‘Mr Leavis, I cannot be held responsible for any missed appointments your son has had,’ she said, barely keeping her anger at bay. ‘But perhaps if Daniel had told me that he had an appointment I might have…’

‘Oh that’s a pathetic excuse if I ever heard one,’ Mr Leavis interrupted, his expression incandescent with rage. ‘Daniel’s a kid; he’s never going to remember these things. If he’d come out on time though, we would have made it and I…’

Disgusted with the way the conversation was headed, Rebecca decided she’d had enough of it. ‘Mr Leavis, I have said all I am going to say. Goodbye.’ And she turned and began to walk away.

‘I’m not finished yet,’ he said in a loud voice. She heard footsteps behind her and then felt a hand on her arm. Amazed at his audacity she turned around, aware that Daniel and some other bystanders were watching.

‘What do you…’ The words died on her lips as she looked at him. In spite of the anger she felt, there was a not-unpleasant tingling in her stomach. His eyes were blazing at her, his face was red and yet as their eyes met, for a moment Rebecca felt an affinity with him. She couldn’t think why.

Like to join in WIPpet Wednesday? It’s easy. Simply post an excerpt of your recent writing work on your blog, then add your name to this little linky thingy. Just make sure it relates in some way to the date. Don’t forget to check out the other WIPpeteers’ contributions too.

Thanks goes as always to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :D

My writing’s been sidelined

I thought I’d write a blog post about not writing. Yes, you heard me. OK, so I haven’t given up writing, far from it. Despite abysmal book sales and feeling low about it, that’s not what I’m doing.

But a couple of weeks ago I started a new job and although it’s only part time, it’s making me quite tired so that I just don’t have the energy to devote to writing as much as before. I’m barely keeping up with the housework/looking after the dog etc. And most evenings now I just want to veg on the sofa in front of the TV (shock, horror).

One of the main reasons I have in my life for taking a step back from things sometimes, not just from writing, is because of a health condition, which I’ve written about before on this blog. I’m not going to go into great detail about it now – maybe in another post – but suffice it to say I have to put my health first before anything else, and I mean anything!

So yes, my writing is suffering a bit. I have managed to do a few sessions on it this week but not as much as I would have liked. I would like to say a BIG thank you to everyone who commented on my previous post with their thoughts on book promotion and generally making my books more visible. You’re stars, you really are and that was some great advice, which I promise you I’ll put into practice when I’m not feeling quite so knackered!

I’m sure what I’m going through as far as tiredness goes is completely normal when it comes to starting a new job. And my health condition does make it worse – I generally tire easily. Hence not doing things like NaNo – I simply wouldn’t be able to keep up. But I’m hoping that after a while I’ll get used to the routine of this new job and be able to incorporate working on my writing into that routine.

I feel a bit frustrated about it as I’d really like to be doing more with my writing as well as promoting my two novels which are already published. But I know I need to give myself time to adjust. (It doesn’t help that at the moment I’m fighting off a virus too! :( )

So what do you do when you’re busy and you’re feeling too tired to write? Do you soldier on anyway or do you cut back the hours you spend on it?