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HIDDEN FIRE progress report

I’m still planning to publish my book Hidden Fire this summer. I’ve made some progress. A couple of weeks ago I printed the whole book out and have been slowly editing. It took me the best part of two weeks to go through the first 11 chapters, but this weekend I’ve really put my back into it (because I haven’t the energy for anything else) and completed the read through. I’ve made some changes to the printed version and I now have to go back to my computer and make the changes in the document.

Yesterday a friend from university shared a video about formatting a book for publishing on Kindle, so I watched that and had a go at it. I have saved the original document too, so it’s not a big deal if I mess up. I currently have a file with the book formatted for Kindle, and another for the print book. I’m sure there’s front matter I’m missing and I need to find out about ISBNs and bar codes, but I’m getting there.

I’m waiting to hear back from my cover designer, but Michelle is busy working on her second novella, The Deceived, the follow up to her recently published The Bound. It’s understandable that she wants to concentrate on her own writing right now so I’m not going to be pushy. There’s eight weeks yet until publication date.

I’ve set up an author page on Facebook – Rosemarie Cawkwell – Indie Author. You’re welcome to follow and share if you’re on Facebook.

That’s about it. I’m going for a walk and then it’s back to work.

18th April Prompt: Dull and overcast

Last one for today. The next five prompts are location based, so that should spark something at least on a couple of days. I’ll have to see how it goes. I’m happy this evening. I will have money in the bank tomorrow and my shopping turns up at lunch time. Right now I’m hungry though so I’m going to write this little story up, have a cream cracker or two and a load of water and go to bed. There will be food in my cupboards and freezer tomorrow. I can manage another 12 hours or so.

Bus Stop on Winter Street, Sheffield (C) Terry Robinson :: Geograph ...

The weather suited Derek’s mood as he left yet another interview. The sixth in seven days with no job in sight, it was beginning to get him down. It looked like rain too. He slouched past the cafe where he’d applied to serve coffee to pensioners but couldn’t himself afford to go in for a cuppa, and the music shop that had wanted someone to sell records to spotty teenagers and their parents reliving their youth. Across the road was the office block where he’d gone for two interviews, with different companies, for call centre jobs. He’d heard nothing from any of them and used all his JSA paying for bus fares to get to the interviews.

The bus left as he reached the stop.

Derek sighed. “I give up.” He settled against the bus shelter to wait for the next bus. It was only an hour. His stomach rumbled. Ignoring his hunger, he closed his eyes, nodding slightly.

“‘Ere mate, you got a light?”

A Man in torn jeans and a leather jacket, zipped up to his chin, stood in front of Derek.

“Sorry, I don’t smoke any more.”

“You look like you could do with one.”

“Dicky ticker, Doctor says it’d kill me if I didn’t give up the fags.”

“That’s rough.”

“Yeah.”

The man settled on the protrusion the council called a bench inside the bus shelter. He looked Derek up and down, “You been to court?”

“Interview.” Derek turned away from the road to face his companion.

“Yeah, the coppers like it when you dress up to visit them.” He indicated Derek’s suit with his still unlit cigarette.

“A job interview.”

“Nice. Sorry about presuming, don’t see many people in suits unless they’re going to court. Where’s the job?”

“Butler’s Carpets. I won’t get it though.”

“Have you tried the Co-Op?”

“Yes, and the record shop, and Molly’s Cafe. I’ve even tried the call centres. I’ve never worked in an office in my life, but I’m getting desperate.”

“That’s shit, man. It took me five years to find a job, but I finally got one. Something will come up eventually.”

“Where do you work?”

“Smyth and Waller, the solicitors on the high street.”

“I know it, they did my Will last year. What are you, the go-fer?”

“Nah, solicitor. Took me years to get a decent job.”

“Huh.” Derek was surprised, but pushed on to cover his mistake, “Day off?”

“Yep.  Going to a concert tonight. We really could do with a train station in this town.”

“I’d settle for a bus that ran slightly more regularly than hourly.”

“That too.”

They stood in silence for a few minutes, watching the road for a bus.

Derek’s phone rang, jolting him out of the trance he’d managed to fall into.

“Derek, this is John, at Butler’s. How are you?”

“Waiting for my bus home.”

“Do you have time to come back? We’d like to discuss your pay package and start date.”

The bus was in sight, it had just turned from the high street on to the road. Derek quickly weighed up his choices.

“I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

There was another bus later. He rang off and put his phone away. The bus pulled up. Derek let the man behind him go in front and turned back the way he’d come.

“See, told you something would come up.”

Daily Prompts

I am getting so far behind.

I just haven’t had any inspiration since Saturday. I’ve been working on my last university assignment for the year, and reading books that I need to get reviewed this week. I have finally read the two most pressing books; their reviews are written and scheduled for Friday and Sunday. I have three other books yet, from Pen&Sword, to read and review, and I need to read through and mess about with Hidden Fire one last time. My plan is to have it ready for release, on Amazon, on my birthday, 17th June. I need to get my cover ordered and work out how to format everything. I need more beta readers who will give me  constructive criticism, that sort of thing.

Anyway, all this is distracting me and I can’t settle to write from prompts. I plan to keep going, writing when I’m able to, though posts might be irregular.

And now I’m tired so I’m going to get a glass of squash and go to bed early.

Rosie

xXx

Uni Update: The last one for this year

That’s it, the term has finished. I should be relieved, it has been tiring and stressful at times, but I’m not. I’m anxious that I won’t see anything of the people I’ve met on the course now that it’s over. I’ve got half an assignment to finish writing and hand in on 26th, when I’ll see everyone again – we’re going for lunch. After that, who knows?

I’ll be back at uni in September to re-enrol, and then I have to wait until next January to start my final module before I do my dissertation. In the months between now and then I will be researching background information for my dissertation novel, and having a trial run at producing a booklet, which is the final assignment I’ll need to hand in, in a year from now before starting my dissertation.

Talking of assignments, I got 70% for my life-writing assignment. If I can get that or more for my ghost story, I’ll be very happy. I’m trying to get my assignment average results above 70%.

I’ve learnt some useful things this year. I’m better at prose than poetry, for a start. I have learnt to write reflexive essays, which were a complete mystery to me at the start. I have a vague understanding of how to write a script now. I got my highest mark in drama, although my 5000 word short story wasn’t far behind. Now it’s in third place after life-writing. I’ve had some useful feedback on my writing and I feel slightly more confident about it.

The next few months will be busy, as well as research for my dissertation, I will be finishing work on Hidden Fire, Fire Betrayed and Fire Awakened, and making progress on Fire Storm. I want to try to self-publish them. I made the decision based on a couple of things:

  • It’s hard to sell a series to an agent or publisher, and if I do sell the first book they might interfere with the rest of them
  • It can take years to get published the traditional way and I want these books out of my head and out of the way so I can get on with the other ones currently living in my head and demanding my attention. It’s very hard to focus on Fire Storm  when Thane of Lindsey, The Three Ladies, Wool Thief, Killer Granny and When the Fat Ladies Sing are demanding I write them, this instant. These are all provisional titles/nicknames, by the way. The first three are historical fiction and the final two are contemporary crime novels.
  • I want to share the stories with people

Probably not the best reasons but they are good enough for me. Right, there will be a book review, and three short stories later today, but first, it’s dinner time.

 

Advance warning

I am going to be brave and post an extract from my novel Hidden Fire. I am fairly certain it has reached the point where I really need to do something with it, but I don’t know what to do. I’m conflicted. Should I try the traditional publishing route of find and agent and then hope a publisher buys it, or do I self-publish?

 

East Midlands Writer’s Conference: Rosie’s review

Bleugh, I’,m dying of a cold. Not a ‘take a couple of paracetamol and get on with it cold’ either. I hate having a screwed up immune system, and would like a new one. Anyway, I’ll get on with the post.

Last Saturday I dragged my diseased self out of bed at a disgustingly early hour to catch a train to Lincoln and then from their to Nottingham. After navigating the Nottingham tram system – it’s really easy if you aren’t having a panic attack, you don’t have to interact with other people to buy tickets or anything – I managed, just in time to get to the conference. I got my goody bag, which included the usual confrency type things – schedules and advertising from the sponsor – and a free book. Yes, someone gave me a free book. This happens quite regularly but I still get excited every time. It’s a children’s book set in the First World War, I might give it to my nephew or niece.

I managed to make it to three out of the four talks I’d planned to go to. The first was about creative writing PhDs. I wasn’t too impressed with a couple of the speakers. One was up himself and the other didn’t answer questions properly. The third was quite interesting though. I came away certain that a PhD was beyond me, because of the critical element. Not having a background in formal literary criticism – I only studied English Literature up to AS Level – I felt like I’d be unable to complete the critical essay portion of the PhD.

I’ve been thinking about it though. I have thought about what I’d like to do for my PhD more seriously since then. I’m thinking about writing a novel intertwining the experiences of Queen Edith, Gytha of Wessex and Edith Swanneck in the weeks around the Battle of Hastings and in the months and years that followed. The critical component would be comparing how these women specifically, and Anglo-Saxon women in general were represented in contemporary literature (from the sixth century to the eleventh) with how they are represented in modern historical fiction focusing on the era.

My initial hypothesis is that women had greater representation in the contemporary literature – in the form of hagiography and ecclesiastical works, for example – than they do in modern historical fiction. To be blunt, you’re more likely to find books about St Dunstan than St Hilda, or Alfred rather than Aethelflaed.

What do people think? Is this a viable area of research?

The second talk I attended was about what happens after a book deal has been signed. There were three published authors on the panel. One wrote YA, another literary fiction. I can’t remember what the women running the panel wrote. It was basically ‘things I wish I’d known before getting a publishing deal’, including that you have to organise your own book launch and it’s a good idea to have it in a book shop because the sales will bump your place on the charts. And provide alcohol, because alcohol makes people friendly and spend money. There were other useful bits of information, about getting cover quotes and balancing doing the post-publication stuff with writing the next book and your day job. It was interesting.

The lunch wasn’t too bad, could have done with more chocolate and cold water. I didn’t manage to network, because I’m no good at that sort of thing. What the hell would I have to say to someone who clearly has more experience in writing and the writing world than me? There was one bloke that I noticed couldn’t stop talking about himself, to anyone and everyone, in a loud and clear voice. He was a stand up who’d just got back from a trip to India. I managed to avoid any long conversations with him by the simple expedient of being me and barely responding to his comments, and of course, looking half dead. Really put me off interacting with other people though, even if I’d wanted to.

The third session was a workshop on narrative drive with Rod Duncan, who writes steampunk novels. It was a large group so he talked and we listened. There was a tree drawing and some graphs. It makes sense in context. No, really it does. It’s a tie between this and the second talk for my favourite/most useful of the day.

By 3 p.m. I felt so awful I thought I would faint, vomit, or both. I left at half three and got an early train home. By half six I was tucked up in bed with my Lemsip Blackcurrant cold and flu, and an ice lolly.

I get dehydrated when I have a serious cold, and ice lollies help with that. It works for me, stop laughing. Taking of, it’s time to retire to my pit with an ice lolly. I’m supposed to be at sewing and craft club tonight but I’m not up to it.