Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Short Day

Today is the shortest day here in the UK. The day when you wonder if it will ever get light, then before you know it the darkness is back. The good thing of course is it can only get better from now on!

The last few months have been hard and writing has taken a back seat. The loss of my father-in-law in October left a big gap in our lives and writing anything was extremely hard. But now, with a new year fast approaching I'm getting myself back on track.

I did manage to enter two contests over the last few months. The first being the High Five with Romance Writers of Australia. The competition was fierce with only points of a percent separating contestants, so I was happy with my 87% awarded by my judges, as well as the helpful comments given in the feedback.

So You Think You Can Write is the other contest I entered and I'm waiting on that one along with many others! Good luck to anyone who has entered.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, 13 October 2011

First Snow

No - don't panic! The first snow I've just seen was on the mountains in Champery, Switzerland, where I met up with friends and aspiring romance writers for a weekend. I arrived in Geneva on Thursday and as the plane descended I saw very clearly Jet d'Eau - Geneva's Fountain, but was totally unprepared and didn't have a camera at the ready. On Friday, once we were all together we journeyed around Lake Geneva towards the chalet in the mountains.
Saturday turned out to be a wet affair, but that didn't dampen our spirits as we headed up the mountain on the hourly train to see Arrive du troupeau de moutons, which is the local farmers bringing their sheep down from the mountains to lower ground for the winter. One thing I really liked was the sound of the cow bells, which could be heard almost everywhere. Even some of the sheep wore them!
After the sheep experience we began back down the mountain heading towards a thermal spa, where we spent the afternoon outside in lovely warm water, as rain fell on us and snow covered the mountain peaks.
On Sunday, the mountains looked totally different as the sun shone, so before the weather closed in again we went for a walk among the chalets. Some of them several hundred years old.
This final photo is of Lake Geneva and the snow covered mountains, which made me feel quite cold.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


I just had to share this. I can finally say I'm published. An article of mine is out now in It's all about our farm here in Wales and should be available online soon - unless you live is Scotland and get the latest edition.
It's strange how you focus on one market and then a chance appears in a totally different one. Next stop Mills and Boon!! Fingers crossed!
On the romance writing front I had planned over the summer to dig deep into my recently completed manuscript and prepare it for submission, but then the summer holidays happened and I spent time out and about with my children. Now that September is here and they are back in school I can get back to what I love - writing romance!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Exciting News

After much nail biting and wondering how my latest submission to Mills and  Boon was received I now know that this time, it is not what they are looking for. Perhaps I should feel disappointed but I don't. To have a long letter full of advice and comments on my three chapters is brilliant. I also have my next submission almost ready to go - once I've finished digging deep!

There is also the New Voices competition organised by Mills and Boon which opens for submissions next month, details can be found here and on facebook. All very exciting!

 Good Luck to all those entering!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Digging after the conference

Last weekend I was enjoying myself at the RNA conference in Caerleon. The whole weekend was full of fun and laughter as well as inspiring talks by published authors, agents and editors. The Gala Dinner on Saturday evening was a chance to dress up.

The highlight of the conference for me was having a one to one with an editor from Harlequin Mills and Boon. Having been able to submit a first chapter and synopsis before the conference the editor gave me feedback on where to improve my writing. On returning home from the conference I received my  New Writers' Scheme feedback which mirrored what the editor had told me. I just need to dig deeper into the characters, dig deeper into the emotion of the story and dig deeper within myself to tell my own unique story.
So digging I will go! Over the course of the summer holidays I plan to dig like crazy into my recently completed manuscript and unearth a story that has the spark and unpredictability that is looked for by Mills and Boon.

Friday, 8 July 2011

More Competition Results

I returned from my holiday in Rhodes last week to competition results from the Valerie Parv Award run by the Romantic Writers of Australia. I am pleased with my score of 79% for the first three chapters on my story, which was entered into the Valerie Parv Award. One of my judges said, 'The characters are wonderful and I really want to see them together. The writing is excellent, with some gorgeous phrases.'

Today I'm attending the RNA's conference in Caerleon, where I have an appointment with an editor from Mills and Boon. I'm looking forward to hearing what she thought of the first chapter of my recently completed story of Lisa and her Russian hero Dimitri.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

New Writers' Scheme

I have been busy in recent weeks finishing my latest story to submit to the New Writers' Scheme orgainised by The Romantic Novelists' Association. It's a brilliant scheme whereby aspiring romance writers can submit a book for critiquing by a published author. This is my fifth submission and I find the comments and advice given by the readers invaluable.
So, what's next? I have a heroine ready and waiting along with her Venetian hero to have their story told.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Writing in Tuscany

This time last week I was enjoying the warm sun of Tuscany at The Watermill, Posara whilst on a romance writing course with Sharon Kendrick. The place is amazingly quiet and secluded and each morning I woke to this view from my room.
I met some wonderful women and we laughed our way through the whole week, sharing gorgeous food, days out and of course talking and learning about writing romance.

On Tuesday morning we all walked to the local market town of Fivizzano, enjoyed a coffee and time at the market before heading back for more writing. This photo shows the view from Fivizzano and the small village of Posara behind me.
The highlight of the week is the fantastic train journey to Lucca. The single track train goes through some stunning scenery before arriving at the walled city of Lucca. Here we all are enjoying lunch.
From the left, Helene, Pippa, Jen, myself, Jo, Sharon and Lesa who took some amazing photographs of our week. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and some serious shopping!

All too soon it was the last day and Lesa took this photo of the group - Amanda, Helene, Jen, Louise, Alison, Jo, myself, Bill who owns the Watermill, Kerstin who looks after your every need whilst there, Pippa, Sue and of course Sharon.

As I flew out of Pisa, I caught one last glimpse of the tower, glad to be on the way home after a big airport delay, but sad to have said goodbye to so many new friends. Thanks girls, it was a wonderful week.

Pisa from the air, the tower just visible at the top centre of the photo.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

In Pisa

I'm in Pisa. I spent yesterday afternoon sat in the sun by the tower. It's a very busy place, full of tourists from all over the world, but I love being there.

This morning I'm off to The Watermill in Posara for a course on writing romance with Sharon Kendrick. Those of you who know me, know I've been before. Attending courses is a brilliant way to relax and focus on my writing.
I'll tell you all about it when I get back.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Summer's Return

The sun is shinning and as the swallows have returned it feels like summer has arrived. These sunny little birds spend all day swooping around the farm yard, chattering all the while and later in the summer my garden fence is used as a flight school for fledgling swallows. The parents line their young up and encourage them to take to the sky. This is a picture I took last year when their lessons distracted me from writing.

Once again I find the promise of a bright sunny day distractaing, but I'm going to be firm and continue to prepare my recently completed manuscript for submission to the New Writers' Scheme which is part of Romantic Novelists' Association. This story is about Dimitri and Lisa and opens on the snowy moors of Exmoor. As the story unfolds they go to St Petersburg where Lisa discovers the truth about the man she has fallen in love with.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Little Gems

Last week I had the results back from a competition I entered with Romance Writers of Australia. It was their Little Gems short story contest. This year the theme was garnet. It was my first ever entry and I was thrilled when my three judges gave me a combined score or 86% for  my story Garnet's Glow. I also had feedback on the score sheets, something well worth having.

If you are a budding romance writer why not have a look at all that RWA can offer.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Summer Sun, Summer Fun

That's the title of a brand new competition which has been launched by Cwrtnewydd Scribblers. I have been a member of the group for nearly ten years. Last year we published our second anthology and are now preparing for our third. This time we thought we'd invite all budding writers to enter our competition. So what are you waiting for!
Here are some sunny summer pictures to inspire you.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Authors for Japan

This a great opportunity to help those in Japan and obtain anything from a signed book to a critique. Details can be found at Authors for Japan. Bidding closes on Sunday at 8pm - so hurry!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Writing Romance in Fishguard

Last weekend I was in Fishguard attending Kate Walker's Advanced course on writing romance. As a group we looked at digging deeper into the emotional heart of the story. It was a weekend full of fun and laughter as well as a lot of hard work. Kate herself worked harder than we did, putting together a brilliant weekend. Now we have to put in the hard work and use all we've learnt, which is exactly what I've been doing every spare minute since I returned.

The sun shone during the weekend, making it feel like a day in April rather than February. The hotel is nestled in the trees above the ferry port and the views across the bay are stunning. A perfect place to relax, write and have fun.
So if you are interested in writing romantic fiction I suggest attending the next course in 2012. Details here.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Hearts and Flowers

They are everywhere. Red roses, heart shaped boxes of chocolates and many more items we're all persuaded we need to celebrate Valentines Day. It's good and bad for me. My husband can never forget my birthday, but going out for a meal, sending flowers or buying chocolates costs him a fortune. This year I had a birthday card and a Valentine card, usually I get one or the other.

Last year I posted on why I write romance. All those reasons still apply and if anything I'm more determined than ever to succeed with my ambition to become a published romance writer. I looking forward to the weekend when I'll be attending Kate Walker's course on writing romantic fiction.

For all the lovers of romance, here's a seductive red rose.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, 12 February 2011

It's arrived!

I think it's here! Spring that is. Lambs are frolicking in the fields, bleating to their mums when they stray to far. After a while they get brave and form little gangs, hurtling around the fields like mad things. It really is fun to watch.
This is one of last year's lambs as we no longer have sheep on the farm, so I have to get my 'lamb fix' from watching them on other farms!

I also drove to Aberystwyth during the week and saw Daffodils in full bloom. In my garden they are just green leaves, thinking about putting on their vivid yellow display. The farm is so high and much colder than on the coast where I saw them.
Snowdrops are also splashing the hedgerows with white and the birds are singing much more enthusiastically. Right at this moment the sun is shinning and the sky is as blue as a summer's day.

Have you noticed any other signs of spring?

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Australia Day

In Australia today - although the day is almost over there, it is Australia Day. It commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in1788. The First Fleet consisted of eleven ships which had set sail from Britain on 13th May 1787 with about 1487 people on board. I just can't imagine spending that long on board a ship all those years ago.

As it is Australia Day I thought it was an appropriate day to mention the RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal. Even just a few books would help and if you are the author you could sign them or simply send a few good condition books you've read and enjoyed.
Here's the details.
What is wanted.
FICTION BOOKS! Romance books, children's books, young adult books, genre books, whatever – either new or in sparkling condition.

Please send them to:
RWA Flooded Communities Book Appeal
PO Box 1717
Noosaville Post Office
Noosaville BC
Australia 4566

When to send them?
Now! And any time over the next few months. The books will be boxed and delivered to the appropriate libraries/schools/neighbourhood centres/community centres in batches as soon as the communities are ready to receive them. We’ll be liaising with councils, libraries and schools to ensure this is done appropriately. Feel free to pop a note inside, or if you're an author, sign it.

I have a small parcel to post off today.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

St Dwynwen's Day

Here in Wales, today is St Dwynwen's Day, the Welsh equivalent of Valentine's Day.

Dwynwen lived in the 5th century and was the daughter of Brychan Brycheiniog - one of twenty four! Legend has it that she fell in love with Prince Maelon Dafodrill, but as her father already had an arranged marriage planned nothing could ever come of her love for her prince.

Upset she turned to her belief in God and begged him to help her forget Maelon. She then fell asleep and was visited by an angel who had a potion to erase all memory of her lover and turn him to a block of ice. God then gave her three wishes. The first for Maelon to be thawed, the second for God to meet the hopes and dreams of lovers and third that Dwynwen should never marry.

After this Dwynwen never married, but founded a convent off the coast of Anglesey, where a well was named after her. This well was visited by pilgrims after her death in 465AD as it was told that a sacred fish that lived within it could predict future love and luck.

There are cards especially for today and popularity of the day is growing.

So why not say 'Dwi'n dy garu di - I love you in Welsh to someone special today.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

The first day of January 2011 is drawing to a close and I'd like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I hope that it will be a creative and successful one for all my writing friends.

After a dreary day and all the recent snow I thought I'd post a sunny picture to brighten things up!