Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 138 and 139 – Nae Birling

Ready to go

I took this picture in Granton-on-Spey as we were awaiting the start of a Strathspey Ball. Alas the 2020 Ball is yet another victim of the Covid-19 outbreak and this year, there’ll be nae birling.

However, folk are trying their best to have socially distanced fun and celebrations. We’ve been to a couple of distanced 70ths and the celebration online of the Edinburgh International Festival.

In addition, we had a great morning yesterday with family – outdoors. The weather was very much onside. Is it going to be quite as much fun into the Autumn and Winter?

Courting the Countess continues to be free – go here

A Debt for Rosalie is now off the shelves, but still available from the DC Thomson shop:

Anne

Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 137 – Freebie

My publishers Lume Books are offering Courting the Countess FREE for a limited time. Go here

Good news, too, from my editor at DCThomson where the serial proposal has found favour. Heads down now…

DH won the scrabble but lost at croquet. The latter is regarded as good because of handicap issues.

Finished The Black Sheep. Another delightful GH. Picked up The Convenient Marriage next. Baked a cake as we’re having friends to afternoon tea in the garden. Are you listening rain Gods – in the Garden! Had another browse through the local Waterstone’s. It might be years before this ceases to be a treat.

Anne

Lockdown Diary – 2020 – 81 – Noisy out there

The exit plans and strategies for leaving Covid- 19 behind, are struggling to be heard amidst the clamour of other concerns. There’s a feeling among some of the folk I chat to on my walkabouts that they’re going to miss the comparative calm of being in lockdown. Reading this morning’s press, I can see where that feeling might be coming from.

There was a wee flurry of new books and new editions of books among my writing acquaintance yesterday. In that flurry, I managed to miss the new DCI Satterthwaite mystery, Death in Coffin Lane by my fellow Capital Writer, Jo Allen (aka Jennifer Young). It has been available for pre-order of course, but yesterday was the official publication date. You can find your kindle copy here

It was a two bag shop yesterday bringing in some of the items I’d used up. Also, I made a lime meringue pie for supper. Have done better, but it was okay. DH won at croquet and also at scrabble. Have done better…

Good progress on the wip and another lovely family chat. Exciting promise of a visit when the barriers come down.

Connected through Facebook with an Australian author also published by Endeavour Press, now LUME. Prompted me to remember I hadn’t changed that on my FB profile. Honestly, the business of writing often adds up to more than the writing of writing. Now done and the book I have with them is Courting the Countess, a Scottish Regency. Also in a (closed for now) library, possibly near you, courtesy of Ulverscroft.

Anne

March round robin – what draws you into a story?

I haven’t written a post this month because I should have been away from base on an exciting holiday. Like so many other people, I’m not. Flights cancelled and a curious sort of half-life carrying on.

Not writing the post doesn’t mean I have no views on the issue. I have. As a short story judge for many years, people’s openings would drive me to distraction. I DO NOT WANT TO KNOW WHY IT ‘HAD BEEN A BAD DAY’.  As this statement was usually followed by a list of enticing snapshots (not), like the toothpaste sprayed all over his designer suit it slowed everything down and prevented the reader getting an immediate understanding of what this story is about.

My aspiration is to achieve as good an opening as Hugh Scott did in his Whitbread prize winning, Why Weeps the Brogan? I was deeply impressed by his reading of it and that feeling of dramatic excitement comes to mind when I try to get my openings right.

Courting the Countess

Melissa stood as still as her injuries allowed. Soapy water drained down her skin into the tin bath, making her shiver in the night air. A tiny breeze riffled through the steam and made her wonder if the bedroom door had opened?

“Allow me, ma’am. Your maid is unable to come to your assistance.”

The opening of my Scottish regency poses several questions a reader may find intriguing, if not in this book exciting and dramatic. How was Melissa injured? Whose is the voice? Why is her maid unable to come?

Others in the group have posted and you can find their rather more crafted thoughts here:

Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1RR
Fiona McGier http://www.fionamcgier.com/
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/blog/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com

RNA – 60th Anniversary – Scottish Chapter

Romantic Novelists’ Association, Scottish Chapter

Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February, the Scottish Chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association is hosting an event on Facebook to mark our contribution to the year long celebrations of this wonderful organisation.

The event is here

I warmly invite you to pop over and read the book extracts and a few wee personal details of their authors. I think you’ll find many of us began our publishing careers after submitting work through the unique New Writers’ Scheme of the RNA.

My Mariah’s Marriage was the fifth book I wrote in that scheme. Courting the Countess is my most recent e-published novel and there’s also Daisy’s Dilemma..

Mariah’s Marriage, Daisy’s Dilemma and Courting the Countess are also available in Ulverscroft, Linford Romance Library, editions.

Anne

Diary of a Writer – February Writing Prompt – Romance Reading Month

Throughout February as part of the special events planned to mark its 60th Anniversary year, the Romantic Novelists’ Association is celebrating the joy of reading romance.

 Romance Reading Month – The RNA is launching its first Romance Reading Month during February. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Fall in love with a love story:

Love Your Library week (1 – 7 Feb)

Make a date with a book on Valentine’s Day.

As a grand finale of Romance Reading Month Leap Into A Love Story Day on the 29th. Why not get together with other romance lovers and talk about books on the 29th?

The picture above was taken when I was a member of the RNA committee. I’d graduated from their New Writers’ Scheme to being a published writer and was ‘paying back’ a little for all that help. The RNA  is a truly supportive organisation and has been for 60 years.

Next Saturday and Sunday, the Scottish chapter of the RNA will be hosting an online Facebook event featuring some of the great members who live up here and allowing you, our wonderful readers, the chance to read an extract from some of our work. The link is here.

How is this a writing prompt? Well, it’s some time since I wrote a full length romance and seeing the picture above reminds me of the thrill of having work out there. Sleeves rolled up and fingers poised above the keyboard…

MARIAH’S MARRIAGE, DAISY’S DILEMMA and COURTING THE COUNTESS are all available in the library.

COURTING THE COUNTESS can also be bought here for your kindle.

Kelly Lacey is hosting a month long celebration of the RNA on her blog, Love Books Group. Kelly will feature a different romance author on all 29 days of February and kicks off with former RNA Chair, Christina Courtney. You can find Kelly’s blog here .

It’s going to be an exciting year. I’ll keep you updated.

Anne

Diary of a Writer – November prompt – Pocket Novels

Writing is really about re-writing. Perseverance will pay off as the headings from three other authors show. I thought I’d include Melissa’s story to remind self I have done it before – written and then re-written a novel. So my prompt this month is a very personal one.

The very best of good wishes to all those setting off this month on the annual NaNoWriMo challenge https://www.nanowrimo.org/

I have done it once and made the target with 50,000 words of Bella’s Betrothal. So, I know of what I speak. It ain’t easy.

Courting the Countess

 

Anne

Diary of a Writer – those between the BIG ideas days

So, having started the most recent novel idea something like four times, I may just have to concede it’s flawed and work on another. Not everything in one’s brain is going to win a trophy.

In the meantime, I’m clearing stacks of paper, research material and ephemera in quantities, rather large quantities, from the study. My tidy-minded husband may feel moved to award a trophy for these efforts. On the other hand, he may just appear with a further roll of bin bags.

In the, other meantime, I’m writing short stories. Wonderfully satisfying to craft a complete something.

Courting the Countess has possibly come to a library near you. If not, it’s available on amazon here.

Having bought it some time ago, I’m just starting to read Helen Forbes’ second Joe Galbraith novel, Madness Lies.

Why have I waited so long? (Research for City of Discoveries, ed.)

Okay, folks. Hope your own ideas are flourishing and not languishing.

ANNE

Diary of a Writer – A Second Life – Courting the Countess

Atmospheric Cover

Ta Ra! Delighted to reveal Linford Romance Library’s atmospheric cover for their large print edition of Courting the Countess, published today. Complete and unabriged, it makes a comfortable handful – they sent me some some author’s copies.

You can get it from your library and discover how Melissa fares in Regency Edinburgh.

 

 

 

 

From the cover:

When Melissa Neville, widowed Countess of Pateley, suffers life-threatening injuries in a fire, no one expects her to survive long. However, despite her disfigurement, would-be suitors have been a constant intrusion, all of them hoping to get their hands on her fortune before she expires. Then one night, in the privacy of her bath, she is abducted without explanation by Colonel Harry Gunn and his steward Zed, who specialise in medicine and seem to want to help her. What is their real motive – and can Melissa hope to love again?

It is of course still available from Endeavour media for your kindle here.

The range of books available in large print is testimony to the ageing population and the market responding to their needs. My late mum loved to read and enjoyed many books across a wide spectrum of interests. We were always appreciative of the library editions.

I’m really busy at the moment reading the entries for the Scottish Association of Writers’ women’s short story competition. I won the competition last year – I may just have mentioned that in passing previously – and it’s such a privilege to have been handed this task.

If I had a pic of me in a green eye-shade, I’d post it. I haven’t. How about this one created by my friend, Miranda?

Anne

Round Robin – Tension in a work

Tension or conflict are the major requirements after engaging characters: so we need a HOOK. An opening hook, followed by a chapter ending hook, followed by another…

Sometimes it helps build tension to allow the reader an insight which the heroine isn’t aware of. Why was a character missing-in-action for 5 years? Was it, as he’s told the heroine, because he was doing good works in the Third World, or was it because he was languishing at Her Majesty’s Pleasure?

Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is an excellent example of how the heroine can allow herself to be manipulated by a conman. Conmen need to be personable otherwise they’d starve. Austen, however, does ramp up the tension by showing our heroine having to come to another conclusion. The housekeeper believes Mr Darcy is the best of employers. Lydia lets slip he was around in London when her marriage was arranged. Slowly, Lizzie has to admit to having been wrong and take the reader with her.

Foreshadowing – might be described as a technical term, but it’s quite simply the old ABC rule. If the neighbour’s dog is going to catch the burglar in the final paragraph, then it needs to have been seen earlier in the story, and probably twice. Sometimes as a writer, I write something and on re-reading yesterday’s work, think – What is that? Why is that? But, I leave it in. Very often, so often it’s scary, the answer seeps out of the text a hundred pages on. This subliminal clue is one of the things that builds the tension for the reader and keeps them involved with your characters.

Interesting and helpful sub-plots also keep the reader onboard. Does your sub-plot bolster the main theme without over-taking it? Is it peopled by sound, enjoyable characters? Will the reader hate the villains and love the heroines in the sub-plot as much as in the main one?

Forces of nature – I’m not talking here about those insufferable celebs one would truly hate to spend a lift journey with, never mind a long week-end. But is there a storm coming? Will the sea claim the house on the hill? Are the fleas going to jump from the rats and land on the heroine giving her bubonic plague? Does the hero have appendicitis and not a gyppy tummy?

These are a few of the ploys I like. What do you like to read?

To discover what my fellow robins think, go here:

Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea

Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1ly

A.J. Maguire  http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/

Helena Fairfax http://www.helenafairfax.com/blog

Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobinleecourtright.com

Beverley Bateman

Judith Kopek

Diane Bator