Just what a writer wants to hear

I haven’t given my current novel to many people to read. In fact, no-one other than my agent and the editors he has sent it to, has read the current version. This is in marked contrast to my first novel ‘Exile of Darien’, literally dozens of people have read that. So when a couple of weeks ago, a student at work, having read ‘Exile’, asked to read the new one I was very happy to send it to her. She had, after all, given me a very realistic assessment of ‘Exile’ (I know it has flaws, I’ve had them pointed out multiple times). I received an e-mail about it from her this week; she completely loved it, her main complaint was that it ended! This is exactly what a writer wants to hear.  After you’ve written a book and revised it multiple times, you lose your perspective over it, whether it is actually any good. I presumed ‘Shadows’ was good because my agent had put his name behind it. It is lovely to be told that someone really really enjoyed it.  It restores your confidence in your writing. Thanks Kate, you can read any of my writing anytime.

I shall be at World Fantasy Convention next week. My longtime crit partner is coming over from Texas for it, looking forward to seeing her again. She and her husband want to see some castles, so we’re and taking them to North Wales. I hope they bring waterproofs.    


Catching Up

So yesterday I made it to the 50th birthday party that we thought we were going to last Saturday. My wife was working so I was on my own. This was both good and bad: bad that she didn’t get to see the old friends who were there that we haven’t seen for too long, good that she didn’t see my karoake performance. Yes, I did karoake. Among friends who know my history it is difficult to avoid doing it. Lots of other people did it too, in fact the highlight of the evening was a friend’s daughter, age 11, singing her first karoake – she was very good. Clearly doesn’t get her talent from her father. That was one of the nicest parts of catching up; getting to talk to friend’s children who last time I saw them were too small to be noticed, but have now grown and developed their own personalities. I told everyone that we must not leave it so long before we see them again, and I mean it. Several of them were interested in my writing, a couple asked to read the novel so they’ve been sent copies. I await their verdicts with interest.

So Southampton had a great result at Old Trafford. I am now in danger of believing that this is real and I’m not dreaming.

Some more words got added to the sequel, and no, I haven’t heard from my agent.  


Bit of a f##k up!

Have you ever been invited to a fancy dress party at a public venue and turned up in costume on the wrong night?  Thought that only ever happened in bad comedies? 

Not so! Happened to us last night.

An old friend I haven’t seen for a while e-mailed me an invite to her 50th birthday party at a pub I know in Southampton. A fancy dress party, the theme ‘heroes & villains’. This is why my wife and I arrived at the pub at about 8pm dressed as Bonnie & Clyde (minus the firearms fortunately). There was no-one else in costume there, there was no party.

 It could have been worse, we could have been Spiderman and Catwoman.

Its not a bad as you think it would be, after a couple of minutes people stop looking at you.


In other news, my team won the pub quiz again but didn’t pull out the jackpot envelope this time. England beat Montenegro convincingly, though the first half was tense. I got re-elected as chairman of my local writers’ circle. I wrote a bit more of the sequel to the novel on circulation. Conspicuous by its absence – any news from my agent about said novel.

Oh and I have a  party to go to next Saturday. The theme is ‘heroes & villains’. Any suggestions what I should go as?


Workshop weekend

This weekend I went up to London to participate in the monthly writing workshop with my writing group, the T-Party. I hadn’t been to a meeting for a couple of months due to holidays (though I did e-mail in my critiques) so it was good to actually make it to a meeting. There were several new faces among the 16 people attending, and we had 2 stories to workshop. The first story was from someone who has been a member for a couple of years and has been steadily improving. His story, while in need of some rewriting, seemed to me to be something of a breakthrough. I think it will sell to a good market when he has done the rewrite; the first of his stories that I can say that about. This strikes me as proof that our process works; if you take notice of the critiques and put in the work, you will get there.  The second story was from a newly-joined writer and was excellent; there wasn’t much to say about it except to suggest markets for it. I expect to hear of it being sold inside a few months. Its great that talented writers want to join us.

This morning brought the sad news of the death of literary agent Dorothy Lumley. I had met Dot a few times; she read my first novel and, though she ultimately chose not to represent it, she was very encouraging. The world is a poorer place for her passing.