Life cycle of a writer: when life gets in the way…

Moondancing_by_CelinaJ_Anderson-500

 

This Life Cycle of a Writer post is a bit of a rush job. My fourth book, Moondancing, is out today and instead of celebrating with cake and champagne, our school has a two day Ofsted inspection. This in itself would be daunting, but we have been waiting for this hammer to fall since last May when they first visited in the middle of SATs week and told us we were as bad as we can be. Now, I don’t have rosy tinted spectacles about my beloved school, but rubbish we most definitely are not. Politics stepped in and we took it on the chin but now we are being reinspected on my launch day! And on top of that, my all-time hero, David Bowie, has shuffled off this mortal coil.

To counteract this frustrating work/life imbalance, I decided on Sunday that the only way to keep any sort of writing momentum going was to separate the day job from my dream. Maximum furniture lugging happened, muscles were pulled, cobwebs were found, drawers were emptied and a new writing space was created. Now, this upstairs corner is just for ‘proper’ writing and the downstairs one is for school work, emails and fun on Facebook. Watch this space – we’ll see how it goes.

For school work and emails/Facebook etc

For school work and emails/Facebook etc

 

And the place to follow the dream...

And the place to follow the dream…

LIfe Cycle of a Writer – Celia J Anderson – Cover Reveal!

Moondancing_by_CelinaJ_Anderson-500

 

Whoop! It’s pre-order time for Moondancing – the prequel to Little Boxes –  and it’s only 99c until publication day on January 12th.

Little Boxes by Celia J Anderson - 200

This is a very proud moment for me, at a time when writing has had to take a definite back seat due to the day job. I love our school and my brilliant work-mates in equal measures, but we’ve been having a very tough time lately, and it’s been getting harder and harder to find  time to be able to settle down to anything but depressing Ofsted follow-ups and policies and action plans.

Anyway, before you fall asleep in your tea, let me just say that Moondancing was the very first book I managed to finish. It began as a sample chapter; an assignment for a pre-teaching English Literacy course, and over the years…a lot of years…was one of those ongoing projects that were just for fun and nobody thought would ever be finished. But, eventually, THE END was written and Moondancing (then veering crazily between being called Something For Molly and Start Again) set off on its first journey – to a mystery reader for the RNA New Writers’ Scheme.

Frankly, the reader was underwhelmed. Moondancing was a hot potch of writing styles, multiple viewpoints and quoted song lyrics – it had travelled with me through being widowed, my children growing up and leaving the nest, a new career, marrying again, meeting my wonderful Romaniac friends and lots of other inspiring writers…it was a patchwork quilt of love, loss, black humour, wine and cake. In other words, it was awful. So I carried on and wrote some more books – but faster.

SWEET PROPOSAL (1)

LivingTheDream3 (1)

Finally, after the publication of Sweet Proposal, Little Boxes and Living the Dream, I dug Moondancing out again and gave it a complete facelift. It was then edited by the fabulous Mandy James and sent off to my publishers, Tirgearr, where it had another spring-clean by the equally talented Christine McPherson.

Moondancing is a very different book now. It’s still full of unexpressed longing, frustration, love and grief, but it has a purpose, and it leads directly into Little Boxes. It’s a case of ‘What Molly Did First’ rather than ‘What Katy Did Next’. Here’s the blurb:

Together since their teens, Molly and Jake have four children, a house in a sleepy village, and jobs that bore them to distraction. Their marriage is an accident waiting to happen. When Nick arrives in Mayfield, young, disturbed and in desperate need of mother-love, Molly doesn’t realise that he will be the catalyst that blows everything apart. Add a headmaster whose wife doesn’t understand him, and Molly’s unpredictable, frustrated best friend to the mix, and the blue touch paper has been well and truly lit.

I hope you enjoy reading Moondancing as much as I enjoyed writing it, but also hope it doesn’t take as long…

Celia x

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondancing-Celia-J-Anderson-ebook/dp/B017XQTUIQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447741183&sr=8-1&keywords=celia+j+anderson+moondancing

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweet-Proposal-Celia-J-Anderson-ebook/dp/B00DRI0N2C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1447741576&sr=8-3&keywords=celia+j+anderson

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondancing-Celia-J-Anderson-ebook/dp/B017XQTUIQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447741183&sr=8-1&keywords=celia+j+anderson+moondancing

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Moondancing-Celia-J-Anderson-ebook/dp/B017XQTUIQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1447741183&sr=8-1&keywords=celia+j+anderson+moondancing

 

 

Life Cycle of a Writer: Stimulation!

 

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Now, this isn’t going to be one of those rude blog posts with shades of 50 Shades, so if you were hoping for smut, go and put the kettle on while I ramble because you’ll only be disappointed.

The stimulation I’m talking about today is the kick-in-the-pants sort you get when you either have a deadline to meet or some lovely person has shown an interest in your work and wants to see it when it’s completed. The sort that can either be worth its weight in fruit cake to make you get your finger out and get moving, or drag you into the doldrums, making you feel guilty if you so much as pick up your Kindle for a crafty read.

The RNA conference last month was a shot in the arm for a lot of us. Not only did the Romaniacs meet lots of wonderful writers/agents/publishers, many of whom were up for an impromptu Sparkle interview, we also heard their words of wisdom about not giving up. That was the message that came across loud and clear. Lots of authors were willing to recount their own setbacks and depressing moments, and it couldn’t fail to show anyone watching the interviews that even the most glittering of Sparkle interviewees had had their down moments by the shed load.

The other boost for me was the chance for a one-to-one with an agent and a publisher – both really encouraging. Felled by a very bad back soon afterwards, having to miss Sue Moorcroft’s Italian course and with a list of school jobs to do longer than the Nile, I moved back several places in the game, but now I’m almost up and running again, have made my first list of the holidays, been given a fabulous new notebook and used the notes Sue M gave me to reshape the first chapters of my WIP. All I need to do is to finish writing the book  now…

What’s your own kick-in-the-pants tip?

Celia x

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Learning How To Promote

This weekend at the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Conference, we set up a corner for our Romaniac Sparkle Spotlight. It was a chance to put some of the talented writers we know in front of the camera to tell us about their high point, the toughest thing in their career and what they are currently working on. We had a tremendous amount of fun doing it, not just because there were bubbles involved, but because it was like the coffee break chats we might normally have at these events only we get to share them with the world. There was a theme of tremendous achievements despite the difficulties that get in the way and it was really a privilege listening to the answers people provided. It was also rather fortuitous that we were based outside the one-to-one rooms. It meant we managed to persuade an agent and editor to take part, so it gives a real flavour of the RNA conference.

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Currently, the videos are being edited at a pace and we should be able to release them soon and it is with great thanks to those who took part. It was on a voluntary basis and all those who stood in front of the camera were complete naturals, even if they were nervous about doing it. We’re already planning to do the same again at the next conference so please do sign up next year if you want to take part.

We ourselves are all on a learning curve of how to best promote ourselves and we’ve loved doing this, this year. And behind the camera, doing most of the questions was our lovely, Celia J Anderson, who it turns out, is a brilliant interviewer  and she is currently on tour. Celia’s next book, Living The Dream is on a blog tour and if you pre-order either today or tomorrow it is only 99p! Then it comes out with Tirgearr Publishing later this week.

Celia and Lucie ready for ACTION!
Celia and Lucie ready for ACTION!

Have any writers out there been brave enough to stand in front of a camera yet? And do you prefer to read blogs or watch vlogs to find out about your next read?

Catherine x

 

 

Life Cycle Of A Writer: OUT OF THE OFFICE

Pub

Romaniac HQ is an ever fluctuating space, accommodating however many Romaniacs and family members they come with. But sometimes (you won’t have noticed because of the noise) one of us isn’t about as much. The reasons for this happening are many and our lovely Celia is currently very busy in her deputy head role. It’s an OUT OF OFFICE day, although in theory it’s an IN THE OFFICE day taking her away from the writing life. Despite that, she has started writing early in the mornings when no other Romaniacs are awake.

So how do you manage to get any writing done when life gets in the way? On that note, make sure you read Julie Cohen‘s amazing tips over on Novelicious.

PS Thank you so much for doing this for me, Catherine. That’s one of the many great things about being a Romaniac – nobody gets cross if life gets in the way of the big writing picture and someone always steps in with a helping hand and a virtual hug/cake/glass of wine.

Update on office life – it’s SATs week and we heard yesterday we have Ofsted too, today and tomorrow. Double whammy! So, heads down at school and hopefully normal service will return soon…

Celia J Anderson – Inspired by…

2Legs

 

There’s been a bit of a writing doldrums period recently when I’ve felt very sorry for myself because my writing time was so swamped with work commitments. You’ll be glad to hear this is now over so there will be no whinging in this post. No moans and no grumbles, okay? Not one.

The two virtual slaps needed to bring out this new, rather irritating Pollyanna-I-Love-Life-Again version of myself were the Easter Holidays and a brilliant course in the wilds of beautiful North Derbyshire on Outdoor Learning in the Curriculum. I know the second one doesn’t sound inspiring in itself, but stick with it and you’ll see what I mean.

Puffed

First of all, the holidays. Eight days in a caravan in a field. Sounding better? To some, yes… to others, not so much. But the field was on the edge of the Quantock hills in Somerset. Miles of unspoilt walking country with hardly a soul about, hours to write in, with chilled wine and even more chilled husband. Food – lots of it. Near enough the sea to paddle. A visit from the offspring. Now it makes sense?

R&C

 

Then, the course. The keynote speaker stood up. He was long and thin and bony – a real outdoors type. I thought he was going to lecture us about obese children (not to mention their teachers). Instead, he talked for 40 minutes in the most fascinating way imaginable about helping children and adults to get the most out of life.

He told us about positive emotions; developing ‘robust’ relationships and character strengths like hope, zest, gratitude, curiosity and love. If it had been a Barry Manilow concert, I’d have been on my feet and swaying with my lighter by this point.

In the end, the message was to learn how to savour and revisit (in your head, no time travel tips here, sadly) positive experiences – to expect that good things will probably last and bad ones will hopefully be a flash in the pan and soon over. If I can pass this on to the kids I teach, I’ll be a very happy, and inspired writing person.

I hope all this  hasn’t made you all too nauseous. Apologies if so, and best wishes for a positive summer,

Celia

Life Cycle of a Writer: Following the Dream

 

 CeDesk

It’s my turn to add a progress report, and this is a really good time to do it, because I’ve just finished writing my third contemporary romance. Phew. Well, to be honest it’s actually my fourth, but the first one was so bad that to be out there in the world, it would need major internal surgery and a facelift.

SP_teaser01

The first one to actually make it onto the Kindle shelves was Sweet Proposal, and the story of its big chance is recounted on the Piatkus Entice blog today. A competition win with Piatkus, some serious editing and a cover with chocolate on it were all elements that helped Sweet Proposal (formerly The Chocolate Project) to come out of the woodwork in the summer of 2013, and now that its successor is out there too, SP is selling again, which is great news.

LBB

Next came Little Boxes, published by Tirgearr. I enjoyed writing this one even more, because I’d finally started to feel as if I might know what I was aiming for, instead of just trusting to luck and eating a lot of cake. Little Boxes is a quest, and the idea for it had been in my mind since I read Elizabeth Enright’s Spiderweb For Two – a wonderful children’s book from way back when. I love a treasure hunt, and writing it was such fun that a children’s book of my own on the same lines could be on the cards one day soon.

Mary1

RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach, California

The new one has the working title of Living the Dream, and it’s more off the wall than usual for me – mind games, constant travel and frustrated passions mixed with a hefty dollop of surrealism. It’s based on a trip across America by train, from New York to San Francisco; something I did with my family in 2013. The girls made me a storyboard to remind me of the highlights and it’s on the wall next to my desk as a constant memory jogger.

Photos

 

Edge

So now it’s limbo time for me. No, not the wriggling-painfully-under-a-bar-kind. This is the other sort where you’re not quite sure where to go next. Here are the options:

  • A children’s book (see above, quest theme)
  • Another contemporary romance, maybe a sequel to LB
  • Major old-book surgery/facelift (also see above)
  • Join a circus
  • Do some school work
  • Have a large gin and tonic

Gin

So watch this space – who knows what’s going to happen next? Let me know if you find out before I do, okay?