Filling in the gaps

Greetings!

I haven’t blogged since May and it’s now September, and where, exactly, did the summer disappear to? Mind you, if you do follow my blog you already know my output is sporadic at best!

Contrary to my lack of activity on my blog, it has been a busy time for me, so here is a whiz through my summer.

I’m delighted to say I signed another two book contract with Harlequin Mills & Boon at the end of April, plus a contract for a Regency novella which will be released for Christmas 2017. The deadlines for the 2 books were 31st August 2016 and 31st January 2017 – which seemed doable as I had already prepared outlines (unusual for me) – until I realised the deadline for the novella was 14th February 2017, just 2 weeks after the deadline for book #7!

So I have had my head down since then, writing book #6 (provisionally titled Duke in Disguise). It was hard going for a while and more than once I feared I would never make the deadline, which happened to be just two days before my husband and I set off on holiday, leaving me no room to manoeuvre. But I made it. Phew. Now my nerves are being soundly wracked as I await my editor’s verdict.

In the spring I was interviewed on our local BBC radio station as part of their community takeover event. I met Maggie, the interviewer, through a talk I gave to a writing group at my local library, and she asked if I would be willing to be interviewed by her on the radio. It took place at her house rather than at the radio station, which would have been more intimidating, and after our initial bout of ‘um’s and ‘er’s we managed just fine.

You can listen to me bumbling away here, if you so wish.

13450233_1069924789764564_7041841818167580376_nIn June I took part in a Love at the Library event at Harbury Library, with Ellie Darkins, who writes for the Mills & Boon Cherish line. We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves despite our nerves beforehand. We spoke about the history of Mills & Boon and how we came to be writing for them (I’ve blogged about my journey before – you can read about it here) and then we held a Q&A session. The audience were lovely!

Then in July I sat on a panel at the inaugural Evesham Festival of Words with fellow local authors Alison May and Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn.

j-a-me-cropped1-250x1521Our event was ‘Inside the minds of three authors’ and, after each reading an excerpt from our work, we discussed why we write what we write and our different approaches to writing. Again, the audience were fabulous which helped to settle my nerves.

I found with all three events that my nerves vanished as soon as I got going, and I realised the same thing happens with many of life’s challenges – perhaps it is the surge of adrenalin as I swing into action ;-).

Does that ever happen to you?

Until next time,

Janice x

 

 

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Gagged by the elephant in my room!

I approach this particular post with mixed feelings. There is shame that I haven’t blogged since last August, and that shame is mixed with a sense of failure, plus a whole heap of embarrassment when I see that my last post was entitled ‘Very Inspiring Blog Award’!
You what???
But it’s true that, even then, I was struggling to blog simply because I couldn’t mention the thing that dominated my life. The elephant in the room.
Let me explain.
This last year – 2014 – should have been fantastic. I became a published author! Shouldn’t I have been shouting it out from the rooftops? Doing happy jigs? My cup should have been brimming with joy. And, at first, it was… despite the fear of now having to write book 2; of proving that Mary and the Marquis was no fluke; and the absolute terror of having my work out there, for real people to read and comment on.
But my problems weren’t about the writing.
Real life… sometimes, it just gets in the way.
Just before my book was due in the shops, my husband was made redundant. For the second time in two years. And even that wasn’t the main issue. Yes, it was horrible. It was worrying. No matter what you are doing, it’s there, chewing away in the corners of your mind. At least this time, though, I continued to write, working on book 2 and, more recently, on book 3. Last time, I barely wrote a word for 6 months.
But I discovered something about myself in the latter part of this year. And it is this. I could continue to tell stories, and lose myself in them, but what I could not force myself to do was to blog, and to pretend that everything was hunky dory when it wasn’t.
I found it impossible to ignore that elephant in the room, but my OH (quite understandably) didn’t want everyone knowing his business. He didn’t even tell his family for a few months. So I couldn’t mention it. Even in passing. And it was like being gagged. The feelings were there, bursting to come out, but somehow the damming of those emotions stopped me from writing authentically about anything else going on in my life. And the longer it’s gone on between posts, the harder it’s been to start up again! (or that might just be my normal procrastination at work!)

So, here we are, almost at the end of 2014. I am determined to look forward, in the expectation (not just hope!) of a brighter new year. And so I have decided to acknowledge this particular elephant because I can’t allow it to hold me back any longer. My OH has a new challenge in store* and I’m afraid that, if I don’t post this, that bloody elephant will continue to haunt me.
Book 2 – From Wallflower to Countess – has been written, edited, accepted by my publisher, edited some more, and proofread. It will be out in April 2015, and Mills and Boon have offered me another two book contract. I haven’t blogged my way through those processes, as I had intended, because I simply couldn’t.
And now you know why.

*If you’re interested, and are still reading, my OH still doesn’t have a job. He’s reached the last 2 or 3 a few times, but lost out at the end. Ageism? We suspect it has something to do with it (he’s 57) although, of course, no one would ever admit that! He was a sales manager. He was good at his job. He was made redundant this second time because he had increased business by so much his firm would have to invest in more laboratory space in order to handle it. They chose to make him redundant instead, and employ an administrator to handle the business my OH had brought in.
Redundancy is something we never imagined could happen to us and now it’s happened twice. We have both come to the conclusion we wouldn’t ever feel secure again ‘working for the man’, even if he did get another job. So he is now working for himself, having invested in a franchise. It’s a huge leap of faith, but at least his future is now in his own hands, not at the whim of some numpty know-naught!