Saturday, 29 August 2015

Moving in several new directions,. I have downloaded Scrivener to put together the second novel in the Grey Nomads series and also to take a second look at some of my earlier novels to see whether they are worth resurrecting.
I can see some immediate advantages in having all the files in one place where it is easy to change from one to another but I am not sure about some of the other features. I guess tome and practice with it will tell.
At this stage I am developing the various threads of the Nomads story - the main investigation of the murder - sub-plots for each of the main characters. At the same time I am writing character sketches. Trying to stick to the KISS principle - I don't want to bog down on this preparation, just use it as a framework to start writing around.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

After some fiddling to get the technology sorted out I have finally been able to access my old floppy disks on which most of my earlier writing is stored, It has been a fascinating experience.
I found a story called Dear Girl, written in 1992, which turns out to be the earliest version of what eventually became A New Era For Manny Youngman, It contains none of the male/female relationship theorising I later included and started with Manny, a plumber, not an architect, arriving home to find the pink car parked outside his flat, A lot of the events survived but I later used them in different ways. I guess if I kept a writer's journal I would have a record of how the final novel evolved from those beginnings.
I also found "Capricorn" - 12,000 words of a proposed novel about a man who wakes up from unconsciousness to find he has been dumped in a desert by the husband of a woman he has been having an affair with. Attempting to walk to safety he comes across the woman, who has also been dumped out in the middle of nowhere, and the two of them find a way to survive together, plotting to get back and take their revenge on her husband, I remember the genesis of that story. We were driving north along the coast on our way to Exmouth and there is a stretch where there are huge areas of craggy limestone desert. I imagined being stranded in it and the story grew from there, Not sure why I stopped writing it. It still sounds like a good plot.
I also found the beginnings of a novel that was originally titled "Rebecca" and was about a young woman who had been sacked from her job but was reinstated when the ownership of the company changed hands. I'm not sure now where it was headed because I obviously launched into it without a plan. Again, the premise sounds good, She could rise through the ranks, take revenge on whoever sacked her, etc etc. It could become a romance or a story about the difficulties of being a modern woman in a world that still largely male dominated, Maybe I should take another look at it.
The trouble is there have been so many ideas over the years. Perhaps I should leave them as that - old ideas - and concentrate my efforts in new directions.

Friday, 21 August 2015

Past 3,000 words on the first draft of the second Grey Nomad novel, The second chapter starts with Joan's feelings about herself and about the caravan park. Working from her pov is fascinating as I have to imagine myself as an elderly, gossipy woman without having someone else physical describe her. How to show my reader that she is short, has frizzy white hair and her shirt always falling out of her jeans without having someone else saying it. I think I have found a way by having her thinking about herself and about how other people see her. It's been an interesting exercise but I need to move on with the story now, introduce some of the other characters and some tension to hold the reader's interest.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

It's funny how things combine to give you a new idea, In the first Grey Nomads book I had a character named Sissy Wildflower who was meant to be a willowy hippy type who drove a chartreuse mini-bus with flowers painted on the side, She dropped out of the story mainly because I had too many other characters who were more important to the plot. Now I'm on the second book I was thinking of bring her back, Then I watched a video on Stevie Nicks and saw her gypsy/fairy like images floating around, and I was watching a Black List DVD which mentioned gypsies and the idea started to take shape. I make Sissy one of a band of gypsies or gypsy-like people. It would be natural for the Grey Nomads to meet them. travelling on the road. The way it would fit into the story is that the gypsies could have been travelling this route for years and some of them could have been around at the time the murder was committed, They would't have spoken to the police or may have been suspected at the time, but they could supply the Grey Nomads with information that helps solve the murder, It makes a good thread to try out in the outline I am working on.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Have started on the self-publishing process for A New Era For Manny Youngman. It isn't simple, not for someone who hasn't a lot of computer skills outside straight word processing and desktop publishing, There is a lot of software and online sites around but knowing which is the right one is not easy, Started off in something called Canva but discovered when it said design a book cover it meant a kindle cover, not a full back and sides with spine book cover. However, they did have a good picture I was able to purchase for only $1. Finally found Adobe Cloud In-design which allows for the full cover design and the internal text design. Being helped by my daughter who is more tech savvy and by Karen McDermott of Serenity Press who has been down this road many times for herself and others and has given valuable advice like the fact that I need an ISBN number. Seems we have to decide the inside first before we can see how many pages there will be, which will decide the width of the spine.
This afternoon I wrote the dedication and the blurb about myself and the book to go on the inside and back cover. Also re-edited the final draft to single spacing and deleted the title page I sued for submissions. Somehow I always thought someone else would be doing all this but if this is they way I have to go to see myself in print, then so be it.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The first 1800 words of Why Kill A Grandmother are down on paper. The two main characters for this book are Joan and Tom Burton, very different to Debby and Athol and able to give a new slant on what it means being a Grey Nomad Detective, on their friends, and on life in general.
I've set it in Rockingham, which I know well, but I may shift it later because Rockingham is rather a large town and it will be hard to create the "tight community effected by murder" which was one of the basic concepts I had for the series, I didn't have it in the first book so perhaps it won't prove so basic after all.
I've started with Joan in the caravan park laundry where she meets a tall woman with long silver hair and a pale lilac kaftan, This is actually a character I created and then dropped from the first book. She'll be a mysterious hippy type with something going on in her life which will intrigue Joan and become one of the sub-plots,
Tom is in the the woodwork shed at the local autumn centre helping with one of their projects and finding out what he can about the murder of Sylvia Marchant, a very ordinary, much loved grandmother who was found bludgeoned to death for no obvious reason.
I know the reason - but not much else about is going to happen in the next 80,000 words,

Monday, 3 August 2015

Back on track
For a short period there, after receiving no feedback from a submission to Allen & Unwin with Murder For A Grandmother, I almost gave up writing. I told me dear friend and critiquer Paula Boer and she told me I was being silly.
She's right, of course. This morning I started preparing a submission to Fremantle Press and I have re-visited a cover design I had previously started for A New Era For Manny Youngman which I now intend to self-publish, Alisa Krasnostein of Twelfth Planet Press has offered to help me with that,
I have an idea it's necessary to set up your own publishing company so I'm toying with possible names for one, Deep End Publishing, New Era Publishing and Never Too Old Publishing are some of the ideas I've had,
I have also, obviously come back to this Blog page and I will be doing more work on my webpage at The theory is the web-page will be a fairly static promotion of what I have done and what I am doing while this page will be where I run my thoughts and theories,
Time will tell if it is going to work,
Of course, I'm not getting much response from either page, but I am going to work on that too. I'll try to attract people to them and, hopefully, get into some conversations,
All part of the way forward, which is the only way I can go.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

After many years of saying I would never self-publish I am about to succumb. My latest novel has received its first rejection and while I have been down this path many times before I know at my age the chances of eventually finding a publisher are diminishing exponentially.
I am going to self publish "A New Era For Manny Youngman" because, of all my novels, it is the one which contains something I want to say and is not just a story for the sake of telling a story.
I am also going to put my short stories into a book and self-publish that.
Meanwhile, however. I am going to perservere with Murder For A Grandmother and will submit it to Fremantle Press to see if it can find a home there,
If it it doesn't I will probably give up trying to continue the Grey Nomads series, Instead I will try a one-off novel so that I am not locking myself into an on-going commitment, My idea of a man returning to find and anonymously review the family he left behind is a possibility.
Another meanwhile is that I still have the next in the Grey Nomad series.