So long, farewell!

I’m off to England on Wednesday with my 4 year old daughter. My youngest sister is getting married and we’re looking forward to seeing all the family!

I was a bit worried about the original strict guidelines about exactly what you could take on the plane with you. it’s hard to imagine entertaining a 4 year old for over ten hours with the contents of your wallet, sky magazine and your passport. Luckily things have eased up a little so hopefully we’ll be okay.

My daughter has already picked out 2 ‘geowns’ (her word) that she wants to take-she can’t decide which one goes best with her pink sparkly shoes and purple fairy purse-ah decisions…

I’ve been reading some interesting literary fiction recently in a desperate attempt to awaken my brain. I really enjoy the issues Jodi Picoult brings up in her novels and I’ve totally fallen in love with Ian McEwan. He writes the most perfect, concise beautiful sentences I think I have ever read.

I tried to convey the wonderous nature of Mr. McEwan’s fiction to Mr Kate but he gave me one of those, ‘what the hell are you talking about looks’. He thinks writers are strange especially when they read.

In other news, I sold a short story called “Cowboy Up” to Virgin Black Lace for Sex in Public which I think comes out next Feb. I was concerned this one wouldn’t make it as I wrote the whole thing in male point of view before it dawned on me that VBL usually prefer the female point of view. But thankfully they liked it! It’s very comforting to keep selling things-it gives me hope that this is a career as opposed to a flash in the pan!

I’ll let you know how the big trip went when I get over the jet lag!

Twenty Glorious Years

To celebrate the fact that Mr Kate and me have been married for twenty years-yes twenty-as of yesterday, I thought I’d share some ‘romantic’ erm information/facts about the enigma of ‘Mr Kate’ and exactly why we’ve managed to remain married and still speaking to each other.

1. Mr Kate is not his real name.(gasp) When I told him I was writing a blog I was given strict instructions not to name him because he is a high up lardy-dah business type person.

2. Mr Kate now has several fans who work with him who read my blog and think it is hilarious that a big lardy-dah business man gets called Mr Kate.

3. Mr Kate is very fit. He goes to the gym three times a week and also rides a horse. I swear there is not an inch of flab to pinch on the man.

4. The first time we kissed, I knew I was going to marry him.

5. The first time we kissed, Mr Kate knew that we were going to have a problem avoiding over-bites.

6. On one of our first dates, Mr Kate scratched the immortal words “DD 4 CH” within a heart into the brickwork by my front door with his keys-where it still remains (as far as I know)

7. Mr Kate always writes the above message in every card he gives me.

8 Mr Kate likes AC/DC and loud rock music. He also had a fine collection of black T-shirts bearing band names when I first met him-come to think of it he still does.

9. Mr Kate also has a secret liking for Shania Twain and the occasional Madonna song. I’m sorry but his pathetic excuse of accidentally taking “Ray of Light’ on his business trips didn’t wash with me. I know he knows the words and can even be coaxed into the occasional philisophical discussion about what in the world will Madonna do next?

10. Mr Kate doesn’t drink coffee much as he is totally wired. If he was growing up these days he’d be classified as having ADHD. In our day, he was simply made to stand in the corner and told that he’d never make anything of himself.

11. As a kid his first dream job was ‘bin man’

12. He supports Manchester United football team (loser)

13. His second dream job was ‘astronaut’. He’s still a total space addict. If he gets really rich I expect he’ll book himself a seat on a moon tour. (alone)

14. Mr Kate used to think it was funny to leap out at me and scare me. He doesn’t do it so much anymore because once I nearly expired with fright.

15. After our first ten years of marriage Mr Kate told me that he’d realized that when I shared something with him, it didn’t necessarily mean that I was asking him to fix it for me or tell me what to do. He had discovered empathy-a big moment in a man’s life.

16. After our first fifteen years of marriage he stopped taking my shoes upstairs and let me leave them on the bottom of the stairs. (did I mention he’s a cleaning nazi?)

17. He always tells me I look nice. Sometimes I have to stamp on his toes until he’ll tell me what he really thinks.

18. He thinks I look better without make up (he thinks I don’t wear it snort)

19. He loves me despite the fact that the first time he took me to dinner at his parents I lost a whole fried tomato up my sleeve and got trifle in my hair.

20. When our daughter was born, he got up at four a.m. every morning to feed her so that I could sleep and never missed a night.

Can you see why he’s so lovable? I’m a very lucky lady

More on RWA Atlanta

I’ve been a bit slow posting a new blog, mainly because since the conference I’ve made some serious career decisions (I have a writing career?) about where I want to be in five years time and how I intend to achieve that. Some of those decisions have been hard because one thing I have learned about achieving your dream is that this is also a business. Sometimes that’s difficult for us creative types to understand.

I know now that I have to write to deadlines, promote myself, keep an eye on the market, edit on time, keep my website up to date and generally try and bring up my four kids without becoming a stranger. It’s an interesting time and I’m enjoying the challenge. Oh and I forgot, keep writing quality fiction.

I read a fascinating interview with Nora Roberts in this month’s RWR and I have to say she is my new hero. Her kick-ass attitude is absolutely what I need to cultivate. She doesn’t make excuses, she just gets her butt in her chair and writes the damn book. (or books in her case)

Anyway, back to Atlanta. I got to go to the top secret PAN workshops (Professional Author Network) so secret that they don’t even print the agenda in the conference handbook but pass it out on a separate sheet. And yes, the workshops were a real eye opener. Not so much of the ra ra you can do it! more of the ‘how to get out of this publishing house, how to make more money, how to run a business etc. Very helpful and again ramming home the message that the life of a published romance writer isn’t all sweetness and roses.

I also got to meet my editor from Virgin Books, Adam Neville who came over for the conference. I think he was amazed at the sight of 2000 plus romance writers all in one place and being as he was one of the very few men there, he drew a lot of attention. It’s great to have the opportunity to chat face to face. You’d be amazed at the number of people who never actually meet their editor!

If you ever read Claire Delacroix’s blog she mentions the value of publisher enthusiasm for you and your book. So it was extra nice for me to hear Adam pitch my book with enthusiasm. And he did it much better than I could! The other good thing is that Virgin have big plans for both the Black Lace and the Cheek lines in the U.S. Here’s hoping that all works out.

What else to say about the conference? It was helpful and it was different being published and I mean that in a good way. It was great to see all my friends again and make some new ones. (especially my very own stalker, Louisa)
I’m writing consistently and back to my old machine-like self
Next year should be even better.

I’m Back

Did you miss me?
No?
According to Mr Kate the web site hit rate dropped dramatically when I was in Atlanta at the RWA conference, which he said indicates that most people who read my blog etc are just my buddies rather than real readers. I think he’s wrong-why would anyone visit if they know I’m not here? (duh) Of course, next time I’ll invite Mr K to be my guest blogger and then the stats would probably go up.

Atlanta was…interesting. I’m going to have to write a few blogs to explain that comment but I’ll start by saying that it was great to reconnect with some of the people I met last year and all my RWAOnline buddies who I ‘cyber know’ very well.

It’s weird how you build up a mental picture of how people will look from their posts and their choice of avatars. Some people are exactly how you pictured them, others are a complete shock. Some people’s posts and writing don’t reflect their personalities at all and other’s, the moment they open their mouth, you feel comfortable with them.

For example-and I hope Pamela Hodges won’t mind me saying this-I had the pleasure of doing a little critting on Pamela’s excellent story, The Timestone Key, and we got to meet at the RWAOnline party. Now in my head, I kind of pictured Pamela as a little grey haired lady (sorry Pamela) instead she was this glamorous, charming, brunette with a great sense of humor (that bit I already knew)I couldn’t believe she was already a granny-granny’s didn’t look like that in my day!

At RWAOnline I got to meet up with Mel, Maria, Pamela H, Jenna, Jamie, Kristen, Louisa, Aurora, Terri, Gina, Nicole, Michelle, Adrian et al and a whole collection of Aussies who kindly brought an Australian delicacy called TimTams all the way from Oz and packets of Cadbury’s Koala bears which were yummy.

I still managed to miss talking to a whole portion of the room-not sure how. The trouble is is that you assume you’ll bump into them again and of course you don’t. I bumped into Adrian and Louisa constantly but the others? Not a single siting.

It’s also strange how you spend a lot of your time with your gaze fixed at bosom level as you try and make out the other person’s name badge and status. The other guests at the hotel always look terrified when a whole elevator of romance writers greets them-sometimes, especially the men, refuse to get in. Not sure what they think we’ll do to them-the elevator’s are glass.

I still have that hero-worship element when I see Nora Roberts, Jenny Crusie, Susan Elizabeth Philips etc. I gawp and pray that they won’t actually talk to me just in case I make a fool of myself in front of them. And here’s another strange thing- as a published author I had to deal with a bit of that myself. Some people, when I chatted to them, got all weird on me and almost always ended up pitching their book as if I could do something about it. I still don’t have the magic key. I wish I did, I’m still a newbie.

With Mr Kate’s coaching I made a decision to go and be more outgoing and ‘sell’ myself. It proved to be easier than I thought. Editors and agents were more approachable and so were the other published authors-strange what a change of badge can do.

I have to go and get back to work now. I’ll post more soon. The conference definitely inspired me to get writing!