Have worked like the proverbial today and have now done my entire first pass through the Gifting edit - hurrah! I even think it might hang together okay, but then I always think that at this stage. It doesn't mean anything. And at the same time, I think it's pants - but that's normal too. It's probably both - simultaneously. That wouldn't surprise me either. It's panned out at 124,215 words long, which is 401 double-spaced pages. Aha!
My head is now packed with ideas for the second and third in the sequel, but I'm not starting them until someone actually wants the first - so, bearing in mind that I usually struggle for about four years to get something published at all, my advice is: don't wait up. I do have an urge for another slimmer gay crime novel though and even some ideas for it, but I'm certainly not starting anything for a couple of days at least!

In the meantime, I'll send The Gifting off to the wonderful Literary Consultancy (http://www.literaryconsultancy.co.uk) people for a second opinion. Once that's back, I'll do the corrections and then send it on to an independent editor for a final trawl through before emailing it to my agent. I like to think I produce a quality product whether it's self-published or otherwise ... And, yes, it does set me back a bundle and I'll never make up the money I spend getting it right in terms of any royalties received, but at least three sets of good people get their hands on it apart from me. I need all the help I can get. And the readers (all 60 of 'em, Gawd bless 'em every one!) - I hope - gets a better end product. Bizarre, but it works for me.

Also today, Lord H & I have visited the local Farmers' Market and Spring Fair in Godalming, and stocked up on interesting cards, fruit pies, treacle tart, turkey sausages and apple juice. Oh, and a nice chocolate crunch for tea tonight. Bliss. Lord H has also been busy with his next theology essay whilst I've been editing - he's going to do a comparison between Reformation times and modern times, focusing on the issues of (a) vestments, (b) the Bible in the vernacular, and (c) the Church as a national establishment. Hmm, some quite meaty topics there.

And we've discovered that a pair of blue tits is nesting in the space left by a missing tile on the kitchen wall - cue kamikaze birds flying full-tilt at the kitchen window and then swerving at the last minute to enter their nest. It's all very exciting to watch. And sweet too. At least we're doing our bit for nature (red of tooth and claw ...). And if we're feeling peckish, we can just eat them, ho ho. After all, you have to remember I am the granddaughter of a woman who could catch birds in flight and break their necks, whilst still making stotty cake and sewing a coverlet for the poor. We didn't have much other entertainment when we were in the country ...

Ooh, and the Surrey Advertiser has produced the first of its summer wedding reports - so the wedding season is now truly upon us. Lord H and I always like to look at the photos and work out which of the couples is going to stay together and which isn't (hint: if they look alike they're more likely to stay together ... or else it's incest, which in the countryside is not as frowned on as it should be, I fear). We were however highly amused by the picture of one wedding which didn't, as far as we could make out, actually have the bridegroom in it. Unless she was really marrying her father ... Hmm, I suspect that if you don't appear in your own wedding photos, then it is definitely time to phone a lawyer and run for the hills. You have been warned, Mr GF of Surrey ...!!

Tonight, Lord H and I are going to slump like sloths in front of our video of "The Last Detective" and completely ignore the desperately dull "Kingdom". Do something else, Mr Fry - this one's a loser!

This week's haiku:

Our shared journey:
rock and air, sand and strange sea.
Finding out the truth.

Today's nice things:

1. Performing an imaginary high-five with Simon at getting to "The End". We did it, m'lad!
2. The Farmers' Market
3. TV.

Anne Brooke

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