Thursday, 30 April 2015

N is for...Notebooks by Annie Burrows

On the first Friday of every month, Novelista Annie Burrows has been sharing a very personal view of what it is like to be a writer.  And is dealing with themes in alphabetical order.  This month, she's reached N

If you're serious about being a writer, you need to have a notebook (and pen) handy at all times, because you never know when inspiration is going to strike.  I learned this the hard way, when I had a brilliant idea to deepen my hero's conflict, but by the time I got round to sitting down at my laptop, and applying it to the story I was writing, I couldn't for the life of me remember what it was.  I still can't remember what it was.  But I can remember how cross I felt that I'd forgotten it.

I carry this one in my pocket to jot down things that occur to me when I'm on the move.  I love the design that makes the pen a clasp to keep it closed.  What I don't love is the fact that the pen has run out of ink already.  Which means I need to carry a little pencil as well.

I have another notebook in my handbag, in case I'm out without a coat.  Or I've hung my coat up in a cloakroom.  It's so battered that I'm ashamed to take a picture of it and post it.  People who have been to lunch with me will have seen it however and can vouch for how disreputable it looks!

I have another one on my bedside table in case inspiration strikes me at night.  My husband has got used to me suddenly sitting bolt upright and grabbing my pen.  "Got an idea?" he murmurs sleepily.  Not even expecting an answer because I just grunt at him, and keep on writing.  Inspiration is so elusive, sometimes, that even pausing to explain what it is will make it shimmer into a sort of mist that you just can't get a hold of any longer.

And then, there's my collection of big notebooks.  These are rough drafts of all the stories that have come to me over the years, when I've been away from a computer so that I couldn't type them straight into my "ideas" file.  A big notebook will always go in my suitcase if I'm going on holiday, because when sitting on a beach, I'd as soon be writing a story, as reading one.

And a confession about these notebooks.  Some of them have gone to work with me, when I was working in call centres, or as a temporary receptionist.  While other temps might sit about filing their nails, I was scribbling down my ideas, under the desk.  And sometimes resenting the phone ringing and interrupting me while I was in full flow!

Annie's latest release is "A Mistress for Major Bartlett", the 2nd in the "Brides of Waterloo" trilogy from Harlequin Mills & Boon.  In bookshops from June 1st, or available for pre-order from Amazon now.

You can find Annie on facebook at Annie Burrows 

You can also follow her on twitter @NovelistaAnnie

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New Book, New Name by Johanna Grassick

Good things come to those who wait...

As the Novelistas know, I've been working towards getting published for many years now, submitting my work for critique, attending writing courses to hone my craft, and entering competitions. I won't lie - it wasn't always easy to pick myself up after a publisher's rejection, even those (especially those?!) which told me I was very close but hadn't quite hit the mark of what they were looking for. However, last year, I got lucky when my short story, Rum Truffle, was short-listed for The Sophie King Prize.

Even better, the publisher, Corazon, who ran the competition, decided to publish an anthology of the top 10 stories and I saw my name in print for the first time.

Then I went to the Romantic Novelists' Association conference where I had the opportunity to pitch my work to Accent Press (you can read more about this here), and I was thrilled when they offered to publish my novel, Her Forget-Me-Not Ex, a heartwarming contemporary romance set in Provence.

Now I've been through the process of revising and editing my novel for the first time, and I'm so excited to be able to reveal my new cover:

Natasha has consigned her wealthy French ex-husband Luc to the past, so she’s horrified when he turns up at her village florist’s shop out of the blue, pleading for help. He never dared to tell his family about the divorce, and when he asks her to come to France and pretend they’re still married for a couple of weeks to please his dying father, she’s not sure she can say no. She certainly isn’t prepared for the warmth of his family’s welcome, or the attraction that’s still simmering between her and Luc.

But it’s just two weeks in a vineyard, no strings attached, right?

You may notice I have a new pseudonym. Attached as I am to the name I was born with, I have spent most of my life spelling it out to people, and when my publisher suggested that I think about taking on a new identity, I was more than happy.

So what do you think? Isn't it a lovely cover?

Her Forget-Me-Not Ex will be published 22nd May 2015, but it's already available for pre-order from Amazon UK and Amazon USA.

Meanwhile, Sophie Claire has a brand new Facebook page and Twitter account and she'd love to meet you there!