Hacking A Limb Off – Otherwise Known As Editing.

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*Stands up*

“Hi, my name is KT and I have a real problem deleting my words. Thanks.”

*Sits down*

A few days ago I read a tweet from one of my favourite authors, Melissa Blue, saying that she’d deleted a whole scene while editing a draft. I nearly had a panic attack on her behalf.

I have come to realise that I have a serious problem… deleting big chunks of my words. I will do almost ANYTHING to not have to do it. My thought process goes something like this:

‘I spent bloody ages writing that. Blood, sweat and tears, a ton of chocolate, pounds of nuts and every other thing I nibble on when I’m writing will not have been nibbled in vain, Goddammit! I am NOT deleting it. No way. No.’

The editing process for me is more about adding and tightening things up than getting rid of much. I write quite slowly, editing as I go, so I don’t ever come to edit a draft that is a disaster.

So far I haven’t deleted a whole scene, I have only added them. I’m girding my loins for that day, I tell you.

Obviously, this is not the best approach to editing. I’m working on it. Slowly but surely I’m realising that they’re not wasted words and it wasn’t wasted time. They’re training, practise, experience.

I have thousands of words stored on my computer from unfinished stories, early short stories and flash fiction that will probably never see the light of day. Every single word was practise; every paragraph was me finding my style and learning how to do this thing called writing a novel.

More importantly, every word brought me closer to my first big goal. Finishing!

Hopefully the more I write, the faster I’ll get. So I foresee more mistakes or changes in future editing sessions on this second manuscript. This will mean more deleting I’m sure, so deep breathing may be necessary, but I’ll get through it…

I hope!

Thanks for reading,

Kx

 

Top 10 Romance ‘Oldies But Goodies’

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The beauty of reading Romance is that their are millions and millions of books out there. Sub-genres abound: historical, contemporary, paranormal, LGBTQ, erotic to sweet, dark to funny just to name a few, and some authors are writing five or six books a year. The reading potential is endless, and I’d like to bet that anyone could find something that they like in Romance. If you need any pointers just let me know and I’ll help if I can.

But as brilliant as the books are now, I still love to read books that were written 10 to 20 years ago. Some of them are historical romances, so they age really well. The writing styles these days might not be quite the same, but the historical settings are, so they’re a good bet.

Some contemporary romance can age badly, or if not badly, a bit weirdly! I read an old Nora Roberts recently called ‘Night Shift’ and the heroine smoked like a chimney and called the hero ‘Slick’. I enjoyed the book, but it felt really dated and all the smoking was off-putting.

But there are some books that never age; the stories are perfect, the romances timeless, and they draw me in every time I read them.

Here are my top 10 oldies but goodies (all with a HEA):

  1. Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer (1989) – set during the Second World War this book is beautiful, tender and heartbreakingly good.
  2. The Return of Rafe McKade (The McKade Brothers #1) by Nora Roberts (1995) – the bad boy returns to town. I loved the whole series except for the last one.
  3. Sea Swept (Chesapeake Bay saga #1) by Nora Roberts (1998) – the playboy gives it all up to care for a troubled young boy not unlike he once was… and a social worker brings him to his knees. Brilliant series.
  4. Pretty much anything by Lisa Kleypas who has been writing since 1987 but in the spirit of this list I’ll choose Suddenly You (2001) – set in a world where appearance means everything, passion simmers just below the surface, and a respectable Englishwoman is willing to risk scandal for one night of love.
  5. Slave To Sensation (Psy-Changling #1) by Nalini Singh (2006) – it’s amazing that this wonderful series has been on the go for over 10 years! In a world that denies emotions, where the ruling Psy punish any sign of desire, Sascha Duncan must conceal the feelings that brand her as flawed.
  6. Simply Irrestible (Chinooks Hockey Team #1) by Rachel Gibson (1998) – my first, but by far the last dip into Sports Romance. I loved this whole series.
  7. Hummingbird by LaVyrle Spencer (1983) – The Bandit and the Gentleman and Abigail McKenzie has to choose between them. Brilliant historical novel – funny, tender and wonderful.
  8. Taming Natasha (The Stanislaskis #1) by Nora Roberts (1990) – fiery heroine lowers her guard for music professor and single father.
  9. It Had To Be You (Chicago Stars #1) by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (1994) – a woman who knows nothing about sports inherits a professional football team. The sparks fly between her and the head coach.
  10. Making Chase (Chase Brothers #4) by Lauren Dane (2007) – this one’s not really that old, but I’m just sneaking it in. Well-off guy falls for a woman from the wrong side of the tracks.

Happy reading!

Kx

 

Musings About Querying Agents…

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Just moo-sing about this waiting game

So I finished my contemporary romance. Now I’m in the process of trying to find a literary agent. Cue entering a world of fear and uncertainty. Okay, well, maybe it’s not that bad, but it’s definitely not pleasant.

I’ve done hours of research on the web. How to write a successful query letter; how to write a synopsis; how to feel, what to do, what to expect… Still, nothing can really prepare you for sending your baby out into the world for the first time, and to some of the most demanding, critical readers too.

What the hell am I doing? I must have a masochistic streak a mile wide!

I triple and quadruple check every email before I send it, terrified that it’ll have the wrong name or date on it. Every agent seems to want something slightly different. So each one has a new set of documents, with everything needing tweaking and re-tweaking. Some want attachments, others want everything pasting into the email, some have online forms to fill in.

Nothing is too much to ask, but everything sets me on edge.

My partner, Alex, says that’s a good thing. I want it badly, so I need to use the nerves and stress to motivate me. I am for the most part, but there’s always that moment of weakness when everything seems insurmountable, when I start to question every word I’ve written, every idea I’ve had, along with every arrogant thought that I’ve had that I could actually do this.

A week after I’d submitted a dozen queries, I get two rejections. One appeared to be a generic response, the other said she just wasn’t excited by what I sent her. I thought I’d prepared myself for the rejections, but nothing really does I think. I didn’t cry or breakdown (although I may have been tempted), but I did start to quietly doubt myself.

Instead of carrying on with the planning for my next book, which had been going so well, I went to my default position and picked up my Kindle. I read when I’m stressed or sad. I read when I don’t want to have to think or make decisions. Over the past four or five days I’ve read – A LOT.

Then Thursday evening, I was in the kitchen clearing away the dinner stuff when my phone pinged. It was an email from an agency in New York requesting my full manuscript, she said she was intrigued and wanted to read more. God, I was so excited I could barely get the words out to Alex. I just held the phone up so he could read it, while he had his hands in the sink doing the pots. I let it course through me for a few minutes, all the possibilities, everything I’ve been working for, before I reigned it in.

I know this is only the 2nd step. I know that it could very easily come to nothing. So I have well and truly wrangled that excitement under control. It is stuffed in a box and even though it keeps banging on the lid, I’m not letting it out.

Absolutely not. No way Jose.

Now I just have to wait 6-8 weeks to find out the next step.

It is the ultimate waiting game…

PS – this whole experience has been made so much easier using QueryTracker it’s a free, brilliant way of keeping track of everything to do with the querying process.

Musings On The Epilogue…

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Just moo-sing about the epilogue…

So I just finished a book by one of my favourite authors. I was in love with the heroine and hero, totally immersed in their story, and so glad that they’d worked things out for themselves and their relationship. During the last 10% I found out she was pregnant – a much wanted baby, awesome! So I reach the end and gleefully turn the page for the epilogue, wanting a little snap shot of them both with the baby…. only to find, no epilogue.

Wait! What?!

The romance epilogue is like finding you’ve still got a piece of your favourite chocolate left. You eat it as slowly as you can, savouring it because you know it’s nearly the end of a beautiful thing. The epilogue gives us a brief glimpse of the heroine and hero in the future, letting us know that they’re still together, living and loving their happily ever after.

When you don’t get an epilogue, it’s like someone nicked your chocolate *eye twitch*. There aren’t many books that don’t have one these days. I was starting to think they were pretty much a prerequisite. I’ve got one in mine.

I’m stating right now – it should be illegal not to have an epilogue!

Dear romance authors – please don’t steal my chocolate.

 

*Cough* It’s Been A While…

So… the whole blogging thing fell into a black hole!

I thought I’d be like this…

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But the truth is, I’m more like this…

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Part of the problem was I had a technical issues with this site and got really frustrated with it. Then I’ve been trying to concentrate on writing and finishing my first manuscript. I think I saw blogging as a distraction, more effort that I had to put into something other than writing my story. I’ve had to come to the conclusion that I’m a poor multi-tasker and admit the stark truth that I’d rather be writing or reading than blogging. Actually, I’d rather be reading than most things, but such is life 😉

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I’ll be honest, it also felt like I was sending the blogs out into a big void. I got demoralised and too easily put off. So, shoulders back, chin up… and here’s to having another go!

Kx

 

Why Romance?

I have loved to read for as long as I can remember. I have vivid memories as a kid of the books that I read and how they made me feel. That was back in the days before Kindles and Amazon, ebooks and self-publishing. I read all my Mum’s Catherine Cookson books, then began to look further afield.

I had a library card and I wasn’t afraid to use it!

It was a rare day when I didn’t have my 10 book allocation piled up on the desk by my bed. Danielle Steel, Jilly Cooper, Jude Deveraux, Judith Krantz, LaVyrle Spencer, Barbara Delinsky, Susan Lewis to name just a few of the authors that I used to look out for. God, that list takes me back! The only author who I read anymore from that list is LaVyrle Spencer because Morning Glory is one of the best books I’ve ever read. But that’s not to take anything away from the pleasure I got from those books at the time.

I was transported from my little bedroom in suburban England, to London, New York, San Fransisco, rural America, China and beyond.

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I watched love stories unfold and heartbreak strike and I lived through it all because I knew I was going to get a happy ending. Some people hate that; they laugh and smirk and patronise the romance genre because of it but that is exactly what I love. I want to know that the characters and their lives that I’m currently immersed in are going to be together when I close the book. There is enough crap in life, I don’t want to read about it all the time as well!

Reading for me is about escaping to another world, another set of people and familiar tropes and story lines. There’s comfort in familiarity and knowing that I’m going to get a HEA or a HFN – either one is ok to be honest.

Romance is about all the ways you can fall in love and all the ways that love can become difficult. I like strong, gutsy main characters and a rowdy, funny supporting cast. I want to care about the characters and route for their success and their happy ending. I like my romance sexy and hot. What’s all that flirting and sexual tension about if there’s no pay off?! Right?

When I find an author that I love, I’m loyal and read pretty much everything that they’ve written. If I pick up a book and it doesn’t grab me within the first ten pages, you’ve lost a reader for life. There are too many good books out there to waste time on rubbish books (of which there are unfortunately many).

My reading tastes have changed over the years but not the genre. I may dip my toe in a thriller every once in awhile, but I always go back to my first reading love. I’m fairly sure romance books are a borderline addiction for me and I’m ok with that. 

How about you?

Happy reading!

Kx

 

What’s This All About Then?

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I love to read romance and I love to talk about books with people who share my addiction.

One of my favourite things is recommending a book that I love to somebody and that person going away and falling in love with it too, so there will eventually be some book recommendations on here, plus the odd review or post about my favourite authors.

I also love to write and I’m currently in the process of trying to write my first contemporary romance, so there will also be posts about writing (the inevitable highs and lows) and interesting – hopefully – posts about sub-genres, popular tropes and themes etc. I’m also thinking about posting some romantic flash fiction.

All my best laid plans for writing romance and regular blogging will no doubt be put to the test by my young family – but keep the faith, I’m determined to keep writing.

Please feel free to comment if you feel like it 😉 You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Happy reading!

Kx