Sunday, 31 March 2013

March 31st – First quarter completed.

I have now hit the grand total of 283,459 words in the three months since the turn of the year. My target at this point should have been just under 250,000 words (you have to adjust the target to allow for the fact that February is a short month, so this is the shortest quarter of the year). That puts me 36,859 words ahead of target, or in relative terms, where I should be somewhere in the middle of the fourteenth of April.

The story is developing well, and pacing nicely, although I am wondering if this is going to end up stretching into a trilogy. Gulp. I only planned a short novel when I started, and as I said yesterday, it’s growing without slowing down, which is wonderful. Organic writing, anyone?

I’m not sure how much writing I’ll get done tomorrow, it’s officially year end today, so I’ll be busy double-checking stuff, and on top of that, we’ve got family round for a big Easter meal, so won’t get much computer time till the evening.

Write or play with the grandkids, write or play with the grandkids… Such a hard choice…

Saturday, 30 March 2013

March 30th – 280,555 words.

Well, only one more day to the end of March and today, or rather this morning felt good. Since I’d finished one first draft manuscript yesterday, today was the chance to pick up and start something new. I said yesterday I was determined to write the sequel to the book prior to the last one, so I picked up a fresh blank document and just started to write. It felt like returning to some long lost good friends. It felt like I’d never left the story at all.

Where was the plan you say? Well, that was never in doubt, when I wrote the first book I’d intended to finish the tale in about 60k words, but after only a few days I’d found I was writing far more detail into it. Not letting the story get flabby, far from it, but the story just shouted out for the tiny details, the nuances of the conversations between the main characters and the slow development of the main heroine. As a result, when I found the best place to break the story I had written 78k words, and the plot I had was only half way through. All I needed to do this morning was pick up my old planning notes, fire up scrivener and copy the last half of the story into a new project. A few minutes of adjustment to the opening to bring it into line with the new ending for book one, and hey presto, a fully formed consistent, coherent and I believe interesting plot.

That I think has been the key for me, keeping it interesting. I’m interested in writing each of these stories, it hasn’t at any point become a chore, I’ve maintained that level of enthusiasm so as soon as I’m over the initial hurdle of getting back into it, I’m flying, literally. Several times this month my writing speed has peaked at over 1,600 words an hour, and today has been no exception, possibly even closer to 2,000 words an hour for the last 40 minutes as I completed the first chapter.

Word count and speed aren’t everything, in fact they come a poor second and third to quality, but you can’t edit it if you didn’t get it written in the first place, can you?

I may seem anal about the numbers but it’s just my way of target setting and keeping track of my own performance. Hell, this post is over 400 words already, and I’m not counting it.

Friday, 29 March 2013

March 29th – 276,975 words.

Well today, I wrote the words “The End” on another of the books that are going to make up this challenge, which makes five completed first drafts, ranging in word counts from 42k up to 78k. Please bear in mind, four of these stories already had a start made to them, so I picked them up part way through, only this latest one was written from conception to completion within the bounds of the challenge. The next book will be a sequel to the one prior to this one, so that will be a clean start project too.

It’s a story where I get to play too, I love writing wedding scenes where things go wrong, and oh boy is this one going to be a doozy.

Anyway with 2,227 words done on this book, I needed to find something to do to make up the balance of the word count, so I managed to churn out 1,532 words on the company monthly newsletter, so that took me well past the total for the day, and incidentally past the 13 days in front marker for the overall target, as well as comfortably past the 275k mark.

In writing terms, all is well with my world, I just need life to catch up, still I did buy a lottery ticket for tomorrow, and I still play the lottery in hope… slim as it is.


Thursday, 28 March 2013

March 28th – 273,216.

Does having your hair cut and then needing to go shopping for the holiday weekend count as good reasons for not getting a lot of writing done in the morning, or are they just excuses? I did manage about 800 words first thing, but had to wait till after lunch to hit 3,002 words for the day.

This plot is now well into its climactic act, and I think I may well finish off the first draft tomorrow. At 52k it’d be a little shorter than intended, but there’s no doubt in my mind there is enough spare material to make a second book. This book comes to a definite climax at this point and I don’t want to string it out and a second book really will be a separate sequel, so it makes sense to round off this book now.

I’m not entirely sure, maybe there should be a chapter after the climax, or maybe I put that in as the beginning of the second book, but include it as the epilogue to this one. In any case there is one scene, actually the second half of the first chapter that needs expanding so I’ll be doing that once I’ve got the climax down pat.

I’ve loved writing this one, it’s been so different from my normal output, so I’ll be kind of sad to put it down. However the book I finished just before this one is calling me so strongly, I’m thinking the sequel to that will be the next piece I write. Since book one there is 78k the sequel is going to have to be the same kind of length to match it.

Ah well, no rest as they say, no rest for plotters, anyway.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

March 27th – 270,214 words completed.

Today has been an awfully fractured day with only a couple of small opportunities to write within it. Life, writ large, has interrupted writing with a small w and as a result I am, if anything, astonished to realise I passed my target with about a hundred and fifty words to spare.

You could honestly say, today has all been about dentistry. In the first instance, I had a trip to the dentist this morning for two fillings, only for her to decide to do all four rather than have me back on another occasion to do the other side. As a result I had injections to both left and right, and my nose felt like it had fallen off  for a couple of hours.

After that, it happened to be my mother-in-law’s birthday today, which meant we had to go see her – and going there is often like getting a tooth pulled.

Ah, well, I survived both trips, although I am, as you can tell, feeling sorry for myself, and still in a certain amount of pain. But, and it’s a very important but, I did hit my writing target for the day, 2,890 words done and my plot is bubbling nicely. The book is going to come out a tad shorter than I’d intended but I’m about to write the climactic chapter, and it will then remain to be seen whether or not I need to write a concluding one after that. We’ll see, depending on where this one takes me.

My enthusiasm for this story, though remains unbounded, so already, I have ideas about sequels running around in my head. Damn! Why do I always do that!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

March 26th - 3,041 words today.

Been a much better writing day today, even though I’ve lost a fair proportion of the morning to a piece of retail therapy. What with one thing or another weather wise Marion has been house bound for over a week, so at least the snow had melted off far enough for us to be able to get the wheelchair into the car and get her out. Lunch out was, of course, a bonus too. She’s happy, now she’s got her mother’s birthday present, and her brother’s (which is the day after) and also our granddaughters. As well as, of course, the one thing we buy every time we go to that particular supermarket – their extraordinarily good cream cakes. Forbidden delicacies, but ah well… you can’t keep a sweet tooth down, not for too long, anyway.
So 3,041 words written today, and time to stop and take the author’s hat off and put the accountant’s hat on. That means the total for the year so far is now 267,324 and I’m approaching the climactic scene of this book. I expect it’ll be done, first draft of course, by the end of this week.
Then it’s time to think about the next project, the next stepping stone on my personal giant’s causeway!

Monday, 25 March 2013

March 25th. – 264,283 words done.

Today has been a scrappy day so it was well after lunch before I got started. Indeed even then I had a problem with my vision mid-afternoon where everything suddenly seemed blurry, so at that point I stopped and took a break.

This evening, everything is fine again, and I just managed a stint of about 1,500 words in less than an hour to reach and just pass my target. I think this is the latest I’ve ever finished a stint on this challenge, but, today, it was the only way I’d manage it.

Luckily, or unluckily, depending on how you want to look at it, today was about writing two conversations scenes, one between my hero and his boss and one between my heroine and her two flatmates. For some reason I love writing f-f-f banter scenes, and with my heroine getting ready for her first real date with him, the opportunity for banter was just there for the taking. I guess that’s when my writing speed exceeds expectations – dialogue, especially three young women acting childishly about adult subjects, is something that comes naturally to me. I wonder if that makes me some kind of pervert.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

March 24th – 261,367 words.

Well, it’s not quite twelve noon and I’ve stopped writing for the day, 3,287 words written and time to get lunch and then get on with other things. Today will be a challenging one in non-writing terms as I start to play with the PhoneGap development library, if I can get the dang thing to install properly on my Apple that is. It certainly doesn’t want to install cleanly on my Windows laptop.

Ah well, you think writers have it hard? Try looking at the myriad ways software developers/engineers can invent to f**k themselves up.

It’s a short post today, I’ve got a lot to do.

Saturday, 23 March 2013

March 23rd – 258,080 words.

Another snow day equates to another good writing day. It’s been snowing heavily all night and hasn’t stopped since first light either, although it’s no longer snowing as hard as it was. No visitors and no going anywhere, so perfect solitude for writing. I think Marion’s getting cabin fever though, so I’ll have to take her out somewhere special, maybe some decent retail therapy, next week when it clears.

So, 3,728 words today and it’s only just 3pm. I guess I could keep writing but I do have other things to do, not least among them get some accounting work done, it’s year-end at the end of this month, so there’s a lot to do.

I’m also searching for the spare batteries for my camera – the one in the camera is dead and I can’t find the spares. There again I haven’t needed them for months, I guess they’re in the car, left from when I had them along for the wedding in November. Since the car is under the snow I want to take pictures of before it’s disturbed, I guess I’ll have to wait for the charger to work.

Ah well, nothing like a little patience is there?

Friday, 22 March 2013

March 22nd – 254,352 words completed.

Well I’ve hit the target again today but stopped at a natural break in the plot after 2,829 words. Somewhere in the first few sentences I write tomorrow my hero is going to find himself in deep doo-doo. He hasn’t been concentrating on the task in hand, thinking about the heroine and if he’s blown his chance, and it’s about to go south on him big time.

Yesterday was euphoric because I passed the 250,000 word mark but today it’s been a little harder to keep the motivation going. I guess the near constant snow fall is only making me more depressed than I realised. Still it’s all grist to the mill, and I hit the target. After two long posts in a row to this blog, I think I’ll keep it shorter today.

Tomorrow is, as they say, just another day.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

March 21st – Sound The Trumpets!

The first real intermediate mark was passed today. I hit the quarter million words point, in fact finishing with two hundred and fifty one thousand, five hundred and twenty three words written. It’s so satisfying to write it out long hand like that, so forgive the self-indulgence. I managed 3,103 words today and safely negotiated the first grey moment for my leading characters when he is summoned away from their first date by his boss to deal with something that can’t wait.

So now I have him obsessing about missing his chance with her while performing a complex job when he’s tired and not giving it the attention it deserves. Classic male issue territory, and ripe for a disaster. Meanwhile she’s at home on her own, her flatmates having gone out without her and wondering what she did wrong to make him leave like that, even though she overheard his end of the cell phone conversation with his boss. The plot is boiling along nicely, just add another spoonful of angst and we’re well away!

Today was been a busy technical day too, getting two book block interiors ready, completing one e-book cover and starting work on a print cover.

I’ve also been reading with great interest about toy camera effects. You can now buy properly mounted cheap deformable plastic lens for both mid-range and top of the range DSLR cameras. The idea is to be able to mimic the effects the cheap film cameras of the eighties produced by accident. Why spend several hundred pounds on a camera, and then spend twenty quid on a cheap lens which gives you distorted vignette images with poor colour- balance and fixed aperture focussing? I’m sorry I just don’t get it. Why would you? Apparently the answer is the specific effects cannot easily be reproduced in post-processing in Photoshop. That means I spy a business opportunity, someone, very soon, is going to produce a plug-in filter for Photoshop that will do all this and more – it’s only a matter of time. The problem for them is going to be pricing. If the actual physical lenses are so cheap, who’s going to pay a lot for the software equivalent?

As Apple say, "there’s an App for that".

Or as I prefer: “there’s an App for that, and then you…”

It’s a bit too morbid to continue that line of thought. Ah well, back to writing tomorrow.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

20th March – word count is now 248,420.

Well today I’m not doing my normal blog entry, as I’ve been asked to participate in a blog hop. Of course I will be mentioning my word count, 2,374 words on my main work in progress, but for today only, as this blog entry will be rather longer I’ll be adding in today’s words here. For a final total see the bottom of this post.

Thanks to Deborah Riley-Magnus for inviting me, and you can find her at

Here goes nothing, then, LOL. I told Deborah I’d have issues answering these blog hop questions – because they talk about A book. Well, as you know if you’ve followed me here, I keep a lot of projects open, and sometimes work on two or more of them in a day, so the first problem I had to overcome was deciding which project to answer the questions about.

1: What is the working title of your book(s)?

 This one has a working title that can’t work for the final manuscript. It’s called “War Plan Red”. Since the story is a wartime romance, the title is too masculine. Secondly, someone has already published a book with this title, and it has nothing to do with my story line – their book is set in the wrong war, let alone the wrong time period.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

 I tend to dig around in libraries a lot and also watch some of the more obscure documentary series. This book came from the latter, a Discovery Channel documentary about historical events that might have happened.

This one is based on the series of colour coded plans developed by the US General staff during the 1920s and 30s to deal with any possible threat. War Plan Red has been described as the oddest document to be found in the US National archive. Each of the coloured plans dealt with a different scenario. Orange covered war with Japan (and was the basic of WWII strategy in the Pacific), Black covered war in continental Europe with Britain as an ally (and formed the basic US strategy for the European theatre in WWII), but Red was the oddball. Red, nonsensical in our modern eyes covered what was then considered to be the real possibility of war between the US and the British Empire. By 1930 a number of leading politician’s thought this war was not only possible, but even inevitable. Even Hitler saw it as such, and the America First organisation assumed Hitler would come in on the American side. (In fact Hitler wrote that in such a war he wanted the British to win in order for America to retreat into isolationism and allow him the time to complete the conquest of Europe first).

The US War Plan Red was complex and involved both land and amphibious assault son Canada, including an assault landing at Halifax which would be accompanied by a bombardment of civilian targets by poison gas. This particular plan was signed off by none other than Douglas MacArthur himself, a man who became a hero ten- fifteen years later, but at that point could easily have gone into the annals as a war criminal for such a heinous act.

The Canadians were well aware of this and had their own off the wall plan for a raid south in strength followed by a scorched earth withdrawal to prevent or delay the American attack, enabling the British Empire to ship troops across both oceans for their defence.

This is the backdrop for my romance, between a Canadian cavalry officer (yes, they still sued horses then) and a French-Canadian Naval secretary who embark on a dangerous mission who are then torn apart by the war.

3: What genre does your book come under?

 It’s a romance story, but set in 1930 so I guess you’d call it a Historical Romance. Having said that it’s set in a history that didn’t happen, the war did not occur in our time line, so I guess you’d call it an Alternative History Romance.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

 Oo… this is a toughie. I don’t usually think in terms of film versions of my books. Don’t get me wrong I’d love it to happen, but I don’t write for the silver screen. I guess my lead would have to be Brad Pitt, which is not exactly original. I think I’d pick Natalie Portman or Anne Hathaway, either of which could carry the outer fragility but inner strength of the female lead. The Admiral in charge of the base at Halifax I would picture as a gruff Scotsman, so Sean Connery in his pomp would be just about perfect. Gregory Peck played Douglas MacArthur to perfection, so if I could resurrect him, I’d use him for sure there.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

"Brought together by international crisis, and torn apart by the war nobody wanted - Can their love survive?"

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

 it will be published by Bluewood Publishing, but not sure when yet, possibly Fall 2014.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

 Still writing it, so I don’t have an answer for that. Research has been my problem – I needed to know a lot about the locations as they would have been in 1930, rather than as they are now. That has been difficult, especially for the more rural areas of upstate New York and the area around Halifax. Halifax itself was badly damaged by the explosion of 1917, told in a friend’s excellent book shattered by Jennie Marsland – available here:

So getting the geographic locations right has been important. I’ve finally managed to find the maps so am about to start on the full draft of the book, rather than the scenes I’ve already written to set the voice for the book.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

 I’m not sure I would, or should. Maybe a mix between "Cassablanca" and "Carve Her Name With Pride".

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

 As I said earlier, the complex politics of the inter-war years fascinate me. I studied 20th century Political history so this is food and drink to me.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

What’s not to like? Political intrigue, historical depth, larger than life characters yet still ordinary people caught up and torn apart yet still find time to fall in love.

The next blog in this sequence will be Anne Brooke, whose second book in The Gathandrian Trilogy came out today. Hallsfoot’s Battle is available in e-book and paperback form. See it here:

Her blog will be hopped to on 3rd April here:

The second blog I’ll be hopping you too is my good friend, and romance author Paulette Rae. Paulette, based in New Zealand, writes riveting contemporary romance novels, her latest being The Silver Lining also available in e-book and print form:

Her blog will be hopping on 17th April here:

Hope you enjoyed this and follow the hop. Please comment.

By the way, this post is 1202 words so that makes me 3576 for the day and 248,420 for the year.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

March 19th – 244,844 words completed.

It’s a grey old day out there again today, feels far more like winter than spring. There again it’s not officially spring for another three days so why should I be surprised? Still Marion's headache has gone overnight, so the mood in here is lighter than the weather, which is all to the good.

This paranormal piece is moving along nicely, but I’ve come to another of those transition points I discussed yesterday. This time back from her voice into his and I’ve decided this is a good point to stop now. They have actually met for the first time, face to face rather than across a crowded bar, but she can’t remember where she saw him and we’re about to find out his reaction to their meeting having become obsessed with her at the bar.

Pot boiling plot, so cracking on with it. I need to find a way to get the intensity even wilder tomorrow as they’ve now going to meet for drinks. Hee hee. Rubs hands together gleefully and backs away into his plot boiling cave.

Still, managed 3,489 words today and it’s only just coming up on half-two. Going to be busy the rest of the day as well as it’s release day for two excellent novels tomorrow, so I’ve got all the web set up to accomplish. Ah well, no rest for the virtuous.

Monday, 18 March 2013

March 18th – 241,355 words.

Marion woke up in the middle of the night with a bad headache, and twelve hours later, she’s still got it. As a result, I’ve had to keep quiet around the house, in an attempt to alleviate her symptoms. Some things I end up feeling helpless about, there’s nothing I can do other than make sure she takes the painkillers every four hours, and of course, stay quiet.

She feels sorry for me having to be quiet, and ignores me when I tell her I don’t mind – from my point-of-view it’s great writing time, so I’ve been busy. This work in progress requires a shift in style when I change point of view, and halfway through today’s stint I did so. My hero and heroine are still antagonist and protagonist at this stage and very real opposites. He is taciturn, controlled, controlling and seldom speaks, even in conversation he tends to the monosyllabic answers, rarely asks questions, and gathers information by observation. She is a vivacious young woman, bright, intelligent and by no means an air-head (I don’t write air-head main characters). So when I’m writing in his point of view, the manuscript is narrative and introspection heavy, he doesn’t do small talk. Whereas when I started the new chapter, in her point of view, it’s just about all dialogue.
The contrast is deliberate, the extremes planned, so those first few hundred words of the new chapter are difficult, changing voice from one end of the personality spectrum to the other is a challenge. As my son is fond of saying – challenge accepted!
All in all, it took longer than it has been doing, but today I stopped after 3,380 words, less than 9,000 words short of the quarter million word mark.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

March 17th - 237,975 words.

Wow, this is only the fifth day I’ve been working on this piece, and I’m at 16k on it already. I’ve stopped writing now because there are other things I have to do today. Not least among them is tidy up a couple of submissions issues.

I’m still coming down from a bit of a high from the show yesterday, but at the same time I’m completely shattered. Despite being dog tired when I got in from the show at 6pm last night, by the time I went to bed, I was wide awake, and I just couldn’t force myself to relax enough to drop to sleep until the early hours. Then I was awake far too early this morning, so ended up getting us both up early too. Not good. We tend to need the routine we normally adhere to, so not doing so, is not good.

Still, 2,917 words today is no mean feat, and since it’s not yet noon, so that’s something worth shouting about. I reckon another 4 days and I’ll be at the quarter-million mark, that’s 25% of the way toward my target and a good week and a half ahead of schedule.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

March 16th – 235,058 words completed.

Well, today had been all about writing and publishing and I am completely shattered. We travelled down to Leicester today for the States Of Independence Book show where I was giving a talk and Angela and Sunita (of our editing and submissions staff respectively) manned a book stall. Starting off at not long after eight and getting home after six, meant it was a very long day, but hey, it was fun, even if the bad weather made for a poor turnout, and we didn’t sell a heap of books.

So, once I’d had something to eat, I decided I ought to at least try and write something, even though I felt too tired to do much, certainly not expecting to hit the daily target. However, a couple of hours later I’ve stopped - having done so! 2,831 words today, which is nothing short of miraculous given how I feel.

Now I’m going to reward myself with a beer and settle down in front of the TV for a couple of hours as a way of reminding Marion that I do still exist.

Friday, 15 March 2013

March 15th – 232,227 words.


Since I’m carless this morning as the navy blue beastie is having its brakes checked, I’ve had the time between taking the car in, and going to the dentist, at lunchtime, as writing time. I was also up a half-an-hour early this morning meaning I’d managed some quality writing time before breakfast too. All in all it’s only just gone eleven and I’ve hit my target for the day. This story is definitely developing nicely, even if I do say so myself. 3,247 words today.

Well, it’s now well gone 1pm and we’re home again. Marion got away without needing another appointment or fillings, but I got hit with needing two fillings, so I’ve got to go back in a fortnight or so. Not unexpected, I’d found the cavities with my tongue as well as seeing them in the mirror when I brush, but I hate those damn drills!

The car though is even better news. The problem with the brakes was nothing more than a stuck calliper and they fixed it and seeing as he’s a good guy, he didn’t charge me. Which was wonderful, no more squealing brakes and no more sluggish acceleration, the car feels hugely better.

Now I’ve managed to get the life chores out of the way, except for preparing and cooking dinner, I’ve got the writing squared away too, so I’ve got the afternoon to get everything ready for the show tomorrow.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

March 14th – 228,980 words written.

Ah well, this morning was a washout writing wise – had way too much life stuff to do. At least though, we had a decent lunch out, and as a result I’ve been able to concentrate this afternoon on writing, rather than having to break off and deal with the chores of the kitchen.

This paranormal is gathering momentum, that’s for sure. I didn’t want to stop, but had to, too much other stuff to do. Nevertheless I’ve hit 3,888 words today, my highest daily total for some time and one worth celebrating as I’m now into chapter 3 and things are starting to get interesting. My hero and heroine have yet to meet, although I’ve just played their almost meeting in a bar through her eyes, and I’m about to replay the scene through his. They won’t meet yet, so that’s breached one of the hallowed rules – hasn’t it? The hero and heroine must meet in the first three chapters. Well, maybe I’ve broken it, and maybe I’ve not – they are at least in the same room, and their eyes have met across a crowded bar, but she will leave alone, and he will leave with the woman he picks up in front of her. Tension is building nicely, I really want to write more but mustn’t.

On the health front, things are improving too – having had one eye infection diagnosed as Seborrhoeic Blepharitis and the other eye infection as Conjunctivitis, at least the drops for treating both are the same. I’m happy to report both eyes are responding to the treatment, so by the time I give my talk on Saturday I will look more human than werewolf. Reminder to self, shave the backs of your arms before appearing in public! LOL.

Of course since I’ll be at the States of Independence book show on Saturday, I doubt I’ll get any writing done that day.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

March 13th – 225,092 words written.

Had a bad day today so didn’t manage to start writing till almost three o’clock, and then had several interruptions. Still, I have managed to get 3,065 words written on a brand new w.i.p. this one is quote a departure from the previous ones I’ve done for this challenge, it’s well outside my comfort zone as it’s a paranormal novel. Although I’ve written paranormal short stories before, I’ve not done a novel in this genre before.

So far, so good, but we’ll see.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

12th March – Fallen a little short today.

In many respects, today was a good day in writing terms – I finished the first draft of my current w.i.p. but as a result fell the tinniest fraction below the word target, managing only 2,517 words, 223 words short. Given how close I was to the target I really didn’t want to pick up something else and do only a little work on it, that just didn’t seem right. This piece has topped out at almost exactly 80k words, and is probably the longest single book I’ve written. I have written episodic style novella series that come to more than this, but for one book, this is a great length.

The story isn’t finished though, I have far more material than I’ve used, and I haven’t completed the heroine’s story yet. Despite that, this is a great place to leave her, basking in her triumph over all kinds of adversity, and then in a little while write the sequel as I take her back down into the depths of despair. The question that leaves is, can I actually write another 80k words about her and her story? The answer has to be yes, but that starts another question – when? Do I pick up book 2 tomorrow and start writing it, or do I let this one sit for a while and let the concept mature like a good wine – or do I wait until it’s been edited. That’s a difficult one, but I’m not going to start it tomorrow, that is the nonstarter of the options in front of me.

I’m a bit late working on it today, anyway – I’ve been busy on life issues. Well, if you can call acquiring a new toy, a life issue. Yep, I have finally retired my old Blackberry – that is to say I’ll be retiring it tomorrow when the number has been switched across. I spent the morning wandering from shop to shop down the high street, looking at which deal was the best for me, and finally going with my pre-selected phone, although on a slightly different tariff. Look out, peeps, I’ve now got a modern phone so I’m going to be even less out of contact than ever!

Please note, this blog post is exactly 400 words long, and if I had counted it toward my target then I’d have made it with ease.

Monday, 11 March 2013

March 11th – 3,197 words today, 219,510 in total.

Wouldn’t you know it, it snowed again today. Grrr… Off and on throughout the day, and in between some very heavy snow flurries the sun was showing. I had to go to the quack today to get my sore eye checked, and I left the surgery into the teeth of a very heavy snow shower. By the time I’d crossed the car park to my car, I looked like a snowman. Half a mile up the road, driving in near blizzard conditions, I crossed the ring road at a roundabout, and it was as if a switch had been flicked – I was in bright sunshine.

Damned messed up weather.

As a result of all the toing and froing, I ended up not getting anything done before lunchtime, mainly due to the messing around trying to squirt the ointment he prescribed, into my eye. Not onto the sore area around it, but into it. If you’ve never done anything like that before, let me tell you – it’s difficult to keep your hand steady and not end up poking the thin metal tube into your eyeball and making things a hundred times worse.

Anyway, a couple of hours of solid writing after lunch and I’ve hit my target for the day. I suspect tomorrow is going to be a seriously messed up day as well, but we’ll see how that plays out.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

March 10th – reached 216,313 words.

These is no doubt in my mind that this book, once I finish it will be the longest single book I’ve written. I have written series that are well over twice this length, indeed my trilogy is twice this length, but this is the first one of this length for publication as a single story.

It’s building nicely to a satisfactory conclusion. However, I have far more material for this book than I will fit into it, and I have a lot of ground for this heroine to cover. She has yet to find her feet in this world and grow to be the woman she can be, so I guess I’m already thinking these will be a sequel. Damn – why can’t I write a standalone book, just for once!

So, 3,403 words done today, which is not bad seeing as we were baking this morning, and it’s mothering Sunday in the UK, so we had to pay the obligatory visits to our respective mothers and have the obligatory long phone conversations with our children. They, of course, got away lightly this year as neither of them could visit. We’ll see about next year though, can’t let their excuses become habit forming after all.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

March 9th – 212,910 words completed.

It’s been another dreary start to the day today, weather wise. It’s grey, miserable and a light drizzle has been falling for several hours. I just hope next week the weather will be much better as I’ll be talking at the States Of Independence book festival in Leicester. I really don’t want to be talking to an empty room, just because nobody turned up due to the weather. I might well be talking to an empty room because nobody wants to hear me, but you never know.

I managed to hit my writing target for the day, hitting 3,255 words and incidentally taking this work in progress to almost 71k words. I still think it’ll get chopped back at the edit stage, but we’ll see. I’m not deliberately trying to be wordy or long-winded, it may just be what’s happening naturally. Or, of course, it’s not wordy or long-winded at all, it’s correctly paced and I’m worrying over nothing, which is what every author does.

Friday, 8 March 2013

March 8th – 209,655 words.

I’ve been a bit slower today, but I do have my reasons. I manage dot creep past 3,000 words and put the keyboard down on the current w.i.p. but only just.

I had a bad night last night, waking at about three o’clock and not able to get back to sleep again. Consequently I was dog tired and didn’t want to get up this morning, not a good way to start a writing day, and made worse by the dreadful dreariness of the thick fog.

Of course, I had to go out into it, and went my way down for physiotherapy this morning as well. She put me through the wringer and I came away sore, but rather elated as she’s now discharged me. In all honesty I’m not surprised, pleased, but not surprised – I’ve had far fewer attacks of pins and needles in the last week, a grand total of two, whereas I was averaging 8 – 10 a day when I started with her. No pain in the arm either, so I’m to start weaning myself off the painkillers, taking it gradually, but cut them back over the next few weeks, which will also be good for me. I’m also allowed to start back at the gym, but again taking it easy and building back up. That’ll be very good for the weight control – I feel I’ve undone all the good work from last year due to this shoulder injury.

I still don’t know what caused it.

I’m going to take the rest of the day off now, too tired to do much of anything, just glad I managed to get my word count done.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

March 7th – 206,626 words completed.

I just checked back on my spreadsheet, I’ve been working on this piece for nearly three weeks now, and come rain or shine, apart from some interruptions for a newsletter and a couple of small bits for critique groups, I’ve managed to average better than 3,000 words a day, without missing a day. In fact I’ve hit 3,305 words today and stopped to do other things.

I’m getting used to being this productive, but it will soon be time to turn my attention back to editing the first couple of piece’s I worked on. That will add a fourth writing task to the day and I wonder how I will cope, given I can’t put down the publishing work, the studying or rather obviously the new writing as that’s all that counts toward the target. I can’t count the editing, because how do you count the words positively. I expect most of these pieces to shrink under the hand of an editor, especially my own, so in that case, the count would be negative. If I counted the whole word count again, that would duplicate the work. Indeed if I simply edited everything I’ve already written this year, four times, under that system I’d reach my target without doing anything else new.

I guess I’ll just have to add task number four to the daily grind, after all.

Ah well.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

March 6th – 203,321 words.

It was a very foggy morning in unsunny Hucknall, so I didn’t feel like going anywhere – and I didn’t. In fact, it’s now after 1pm and it’s still bl**dy foggy. You could almost call it perfect writing weather, especially after I’ve managed 3,024 words today, taking me to the total above.

This has now put me just over 2,000 words ahead of schedule, and closing in on getting 10 days ahead. As I’ve said before I’ll need the slack later in the year, so it’s all good. This w.i.p. flipped past the 60k point too, and I’ve just completed the “black moment” scene, so it’s building nicely toward the climax and resolution.

Critique group was good last night, I took my steampunk piece to it, and the comments were very interesting, although one was a little frustrating – she wanted “more” Victorian High Camp” in the early part of the piece – something I’d stripped out of it following the comments from my other critique group. Just goes to show that you need to treat critique points with respect, but always remember they are opinions rather than anything else.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

5th March – Reached the two hundred thousand word milestone.

Today I actually made it – hit 200,297 words in total, so I am now officially 20% of the way toward my million word target. It feels good. It’s not eleven thirty yet, but I’ve got to stop – I’ve got a critique group later today and need to prepare for it. On top of that we need to get some baking prep done as we’ve expecting our daughter and granddaughters to visit tomorrow, so we’ll need biscuits for the occasion. Not sure of the flavours yet, but we’ll see – I have got some nice cherries I can chop up, and they’ll provide some colour too. Along with the white chocolate chip for sweetness and taste I think they’ll work.

This w.i.p., just to return to writing for a moment, is going well, my length estimate keeps growing, I had intended for it to be a 50-60k work but I’m now past 57k and nowhere near the climax of the novel. Ah well, all in a day’s work, I guess. I wonder how much will get cut at the edit stage? If it does, does that count as cheating, even though it’s not deliberate?

Monday, 4 March 2013

March 4th – 197,545 words.

Well another day down, another 3,000 and odd words (3,227 to be precise) written and it’s still daylight, so I’m well within my comfort zone, writing wise. I need to spend a lot more time doing other things today, so I’ve had to stop, although I didn’t want to. The scene is building tension nicely and I want to finish it. The problem is, this scene is the crux of the entire book, not the climax, the crux of the story and it’s actually going to take a long time to unfold it. In a sense the last 54,000 words have been building up to the moment I’ll be writing tomorrow, and from there although in plot terms it will build to a climax about 15,000 words later, in character terms, this is the heroine’s defining moment.

In other news, I did not, as originally planned, by dried pineapple today. I could not believe the price they wanted for it. I need to find another source, and I can think of a couple, but neither are in our town so that’ll have to wait for another day. On the other hand, the biscuits seem to have gone down a storm with the family, so since we’re expecting to see the grandkiddies on Wednesday, and it is a grandparent’s solemn duty to spoil them rotten, we’ll have to make another batch fresh, just for them. No nuts though, of course, definitely no nuts.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

March 3rd. 194,318 words.

Well, today we started the day baking again. Once more, our favourite cheese bread recipe came out, and we made four meal sized loaves. (That’s one standard sized loaf dough, cut into four and shaped into balls. Each of these when baked is just enough for two people to share, and you never leave a cut edge in the bread bin to dry out and go stale.)
At the same time we baked another batch of biscuits, fruit and white chocolate chip this time. If anything these are even better than the previous batch – but I think we chopped the brazil nuts too fine with that first batch, so we’ll try those again on another occasion. Do need to look out for some dried pineapple pieces in the supermarket tomorrow – the recipe in the book was for coconut and dried pineapple, which, as we didn’t have any, is why we substituted the chopped brazils. Note, we’re canny shoppers, you know – we brought broken brazils rather than whole ones – knowing they would be chopped – about half the price.
Anyway on the writing front, I passed 3,000 words today, so by Tuesday I should be north of 200k and more than 20% of the way toward my target, almost 9 days ahead of schedule, all good.
My arm is also playing up a lot less today, all that physio and all those pain killers have paid off, as I write I haven’t had any pins and needles for over 48 hours, and no real pain to speak of either. Still too soon to leave off either the physio or the meds, but definitely an improvement. Yeay for me.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

March 2nd – 191,159 words so far.

Well, I breached the 190k mark and kept going until I passed the daily target. It wasn’t a bad writing day, just split by the need to go and do some shopping. Next weekend is Mothering Sunday, so that means two presents to buy with Marion for our respective mothers – at least I can get away with sneaking out in the week to buy a present for her – after all she is the mother of my children.

Mission accomplished we got home in time for lunch, yet more delicious home baked cheese bread, and then time to write again.

In fact, in a three quarter hour period before we went out, I managed to get a complete 1,000 word conversation written, which was good going, and in a way I resented breaking off and leaving it for a few hours, but when I picked it up again, everything was fine.

So it’s just gone 3 o’clock and it’s time to take the writing hat off and put the studying hat on. Ah well, no rest as they say, for wither the virtuous or the wicked. I’ll leave you to decide which category I fit in, whether my wings will be white lace or black leather. Don’t let the horns on my forehead fool you, they’re just for show.

Friday, 1 March 2013

March 1st – One hundred and eighty eight thousand, two hundred and nine words.

Wow. What a total for just two months work. All I have to do is keep this rate up and I'll hit the target sometime in late November. I’m slightly slower today than yesterday but I do have an excuse – we spend an hour trying out a new recipe today for some coconut and Brazil nut cookies. We made the dough last night and chilled it in  the fridge overnight. All I can say is they are delicious, and I’m glad I’m upstairs because it means they’re out of reach. In fact I’m going to stop talking about them because then I’ll stop thinking about, and wanting, them.

Today was newsletter day, time to get that monthly epistle written, so the first part of the morning encompassed writing about Amazon and the dangers of over-focussing on one retail market, and then it was back to the work in progress. This piece is now north of 45k and building nicely toward a climax. I suspect though this will be a minor climax (the black moment) rather than the real climax to the book. I think I’m about 40k from the actual climax, so this book may be a monster! We’ll see.