Patience is a Virtue…


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Since my last post I’ve made progress.

In July I attended the the Romantic Novelists Association’s 2019 Conference in Lancaster. Upon my return it was back to work on the novel.

With the rewriting my second draft word count doubled, I added the majority of the missing scenes and expanded the sub-plots.

As my deadline for submitting my manuscript to the RNA’S New Writers’ Scheme was midnight on the 31st August, I was putting in long hours at my desk last month.

The last four days alone were taken up by importing the first nine chapters that were written in Word into Scrivener, then checking through the whole document to correct a couple of contradictions that had crept into the later chapters when I’d written the opposite in the earlier chapters.

For example, my heroine claims to have never met her aunt who lives in Oxford, but earlier in the story she says she’s only met her a few times… simple enough to change when I reached that point in reading through.

I hope I didn’t miss removing any query comments- anything I needed to check I put in brackets at that stage in the text.

My manuscript and synopsis were submitted early in the morning of the last day for submissions to the scheme, after another check through.

Now it’s the wait to be notified of the reader’s comments. With the submission having been so close to the deadline, I’m not expecting the notification of the reader’s report being ready, until the end of the year.

I do have my own list of what I know will need doing in the next draft, including sorting those of my hero’s servants with surnames beginning with ‘H’…

There’s more hard work ahead, but I am looking forward to it.

Meanwhile, next on the list is the website revamp…


Image: StockSnap-894430




It Has Been Some Time…

While I’ve been absent the novel has been undergoing a few changes, hence the silence here…

Rewriting is harder than producing that first draft; between the one draft ending and the next beginning more thoughts and layers emerge with every missing scene I include.

I even discovered that a scene I thought was in the first draft wasn’t actually there… obviously one that had escaped the keyboard.

I’ve also made a few changes to the website which I hope will make navigation quicker and you will like.

The new colour scheme may still need adjustment. Having visual issues myself I’m aware that some readers may have difficulties, so do please use the contact form to let me know if the colour scheme creates any clarity issues and where…

Red Rose…

More soon…

Merry Christmas…

Christmas day approaches and the New Year beckons.

In the next couple of months I’ll be making a few changes to my site, though I’m still considering what I’ll be adding/removing or revising.


Christmas Wreath

2018 has not seen the progress I’d hoped for, but that’s not a valid reason not to persevere.

I am intending to do some rewriting over the Christmas holidays (although my family will be here).


However you may (or may not) celebrate this time of year I wish you peace and goodwill…



Time and Tide Does Not Wait…


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Gracious, it’s less than five weeks until Christmas and I’m not as far ahead as I expected by now.

House renovation has been going on around me this year, and then combined with the ill-health of family and a colleague, my work in progress time has been restricted. Sadly I’ll be unlikely to meet my June 2019 deadline, unless I can make swifter progress on my current second draft.

Where has the time gone?

Although I wasn’t writing I was creating the missing scenes in my imagination so they could be ready for building into the second draft. I’m now on chapter eight writing in the first of these additional scenes.

I’m sure every writer has repetitive words or actions that they give their characters without realising it, and unfortunately I’ve noticed my heroine, Sarah, has a tendency to lean against walls to restore her composure after an emotional scene with the hero, Hugh. That will need dealing with in the next draft!

There’s an additional sub-plot evolving that I missed in draft one and it will create additional conflict.

Having time to think about existing scenes and characters and how these new scenes can bring another layer to the story has been beneficial; so that time has not been wasted.

For now, moving forward (even slowly) is essential.

The Frost is Here…

I am…




12 months and Counting Down…

It has been a busy year to date, so now I have time to stop, breathe deeply and begin making plans for the next 12 months.

In July I’ll be attending the Romantic Novelists Association’s Conference. I’m especially looking forward to a couple of the sessions- they’re ideal for a historical romance writer. As well as seeing a couple of my favourite authors.

During the next six months I’ll be working hard to complete my debut novel, with the aim to have it ready for launch by the end of June 2019- that’s my target date.

I’ll be updating on my progress during the next 6 months…


Charity Shop Book Gems…

My latest charity shop book find was a hardback version of the History of Underclothes*

The hardback copy…

Now it’s not the original version from 1951, but a 1981 edition with revisions.

I also have this paperback version of it that’s smaller, but I prefer the hardback for the clearness of the illustrations – it may just be the font size and amount of ink used when the book was printed.

(I bought the paperback version in the gift-shop at The Blandford Fashion Museum many years ago during a family summer holiday.)

I always find the material at the back of this book interesting and helpful.

There’s a comprehensive Source of the Illustrations, chapter by chapter.

The Bibliography gives both the primary and secondary sources.

What the materials

I particularly like the Glossary of Materials.

Muslin had different types – something I didn’t appreciate, and couldn’t describe the differences without a little information.

The book covers underclothes from  the Medieval period up to 1940-1950.

There’s even a Appendix of Clothes Rationing for May 1942, giving the number of coupons needed for various items of underclothes, both male and female.

If you disregard C.W Cunnington’s earlier books with his apparent theories on women, fashion and sexuality, those books written with his wife Phillis are a good starting point for historical fashion.

When I began writing, it was their books on English Women’s Clothing in the 18th Century and the 19th century version that were both the first costume reference books I studied.

Don’t ignore those books that Phillis wrote after her husband’s death (1961); they provide interesting and useful information too on the clothes ordinary people wore…

Phillis Cunnington: born 1887 and died 1974.


* The History of Underclothes by C. Willett & Phillis Cunnington, with revisions by A. D. and Valerie Mansfield. Faber and Faber, 1981.

Sympathising with a Character…

While I’ve been absent and unable to make progress due to work on the wiring and plumbing in my home, I’ve been storing the disruption and emotions to share with the hero of my work in progress, Hugh.

Hugh has a platoon of workmen updating his manor, but trouble-free is not the plan.

He could find alternate lodgings but having been absent for so long it wouldn’t be desirable in the circumstances he faces.

The time away from the manuscript has also allowed me to develop the options for the gaps left in the first draft- that must be resolved in the second.

Also the antagonists have revealed their motives and produced a few surprises.

Progress will be made this year…

Story building blocks…


Merry Christmas…

The months have gone by and I’ve not been able to do as much as I’d wanted. The disruptions will be ongoing for a few months yet while (essential) major work starts on my home in the New Year.

However you celebrate this time of year (or don’t) I wish you a safe and peaceful time…