Tag Archives: the beast within

Diary of a freelance writer, 2 December 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 “Mardi Gras”

Oh yes, I’m definitely dining out on this one for a while.

In case you didn’t know, I hit my NaNoWriMo target and for the first time ever – EVER – I became a NaNoWriMo WINNER!

But this was a double celebration for me, because it’s also the first full-length story I’ve finished in 20 years …

When I originally wrote that, I put 10 years, and it looked a lot then. But as Night Crawler was written in 1996, and as I haven’t finished anything long since, it is actually 20 years. And that is absolutely disgraceful.

I wrote Night Crawler in 3 months whilst also holding down a full-time job. I’ve been writing Catch the Rainbow for at least 5 years. I’ve been writing The Beast Within for at least 10 years. I wrote Mardi Gras in 30 days. I know which one I’d sooner make a habit of, don’t you? I can feel the Scrivener coming out again.

Wednesday
So, then … on Wednesday I did a lot of pro-bono work and gig list admin, the latter of which took a while as I wanted to embed the guestbook into the gig list but had to come up with an external link instead. It doesn’t matter, it works just as well, and we’re happy with the result.

I also came up with the new publication schedule for next year, starting with the re-release of Night Crawler in January.

And I wrote 1,010 words of one project, and 1,743 words for NaNo.

Thursday
Thursday was another difficult Thursday for me, and the only job I seem to have completed is 1,535 words of NaNo. I woke up with a trapped nerve, though, and was unable to do a lot else.

Friday
On Friday, I wrote 721 words for one project, and 1,705 words for NaNo.

On Friday evening we went on another gig list trip to Doncaster, with the poet taking photographs of a band some of our friends are in. I didn’t do a review because we only stayed for one set. My neck and back were killing me so we left early to come home.

Weekend
Despite some terrible weather on Saturday, we went out on a photo-collecting walk. It was cold, windy, wet, squally and very dangerous underfoot. At one point we had to let the dog off his lead just so he didn’t pull one of us over. Because of the weather, and because of my trapped nerve, we made it a very short walk. It was under a mile but still took us 55 minutes. However, at least we have some new photographs, the first of which will be on here on Friday – I have to schedule a blog post for Friday as we’re having a long weekend, on both sides.

We came home, dried off, went shopping, came home again, then I did NaNo and wrote 1,635 words. Then in the evening, Monkey Dust had another gig over in Doncaster.

Sunday was pretty much a day in Birmingham. We had a late start and the weather was still atrocious, so we only had a short visit this time. When we got back, I wrote another 1,733 words for NaNo.

Monday
Monday was an absolutely fantastic day. Before I did anything else … well, other than post the request for gigs on the gig list FB page … but before I did anything else, I wrote my final 1,674 words for NaNo. As soon as I could I had it verified so that I could get my winner’s badge before posting Monday’s blog. I was very pleased with that, and still am. And I also wrote 879 of another project. So very happy camper on Monday – and very relieved.

Tuesday
Yesterday started with a little more pro-bono work. I’m hoping to hand the FB page over to a couple of other members of the committee now it’s all set up but for now, I’ll still look after the blog and any media relations. We have a meeting this evening, so I’m hoping I can offload some of it there.

I didn’t do any writing, but I did pitch for 5 new editing or proofreading jobs. Then the rest of the day was spent playing with covers for the re-release of Night Crawler. The poet has come up with a great design for it, I’m really happy with it. But we could not get the placement right for the text boxes.

Homework
My homework this week is to get back into the swing of working. I only have 3 working weeks in December, and 2 of those are short ones. So I need to crack on and do some work to get some money in before Christmas.

What are you up to this week?

Diary of a freelance writer, 25 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 “Mardi Gras”

There’s been an uplift in work and activity this past week, definitely a shift in the right direction.

I don’t know if this is because I’m just getting better or because with me being so busy with NaNoWriMo I’m getting withdrawal from everything else and wanting to up my game.

Whichever, it’s certainly a good thing – and I think I’m liking it.

Wednesday
Okay, Much of Wednesday was writing 1,705 words for NaNo and a further 697 words on another writing project. I must have faffed for the rest of the day as there isn’t much else in my diary. I’m sure I probably did a lot more, but I really need to start noting it all down. I do know it was a busy day household chore-wise, but I’m sure I did a lot more.

Note to self: When writing a “diary”, remember to actually write the diary entries.

Thursday
Thursday was better, in that I remembered to write down much of what I did. This was 2 lots of gig list admin, the second taking up quite a lot of time as I tried to get the dot com reactivated and the Blogger site redirected. It was taking so long in the end that I abandoned it until the next day, but it did take a long time.

I also managed 1,699 words for NaNo. They were a real wrench, though, taking most of the working day to happen, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Thursdays are not very good days for me, either creatively or technologically. This will be reflected in future diary work scheduling as I try to work around it, as I remember it happening when I worked for a living too.

Friday
Friday was even better again, with 1,176 words written for one project and 1,733 words written for NaNo. And I managed to sort out the dot com for the gig list, so that took up additional admin time making sure everyone knew.

Weekend
Our weekend started Friday evening with a press trip out to Homfirth to see Walter Trout at the Picturedrome. I had a press pass, the poet had a photo pass – his first proper assignment. (I gave him another this morning before he left for work …) On Saturday his band had their own gig over in Doncaster, and I managed 1,758 words for NaNo on Saturday, and 1,725 words on Sunday.

We ran out of time to do any photo/research trips of our own.

Monday
Monday was a good day, writing-wise. I wrote up the review from Friday (only 203 words, but hey, every little counts), plus 547 words on another project, and 1,836 words for NaNo – a personal best so far. I also sifted through all of the photographs from Friday night, put them all into a separate file for the poet to play with, and selected 26-ish for the Facebook page and 1 each for the gig list and for the blog. I cropped a handful but pretty much left them as they were.

On Monday I started to get the freelancing itch, the urge to be doing more than what I’m currently doing and getting back into the swing of the writing. On Monday I also started to read a book about finance for the self-employed. It may be this that has given me a bit of a kick up the bum.

Tuesday
I started the day with some pro-bono work and a bit more admin. Then it was another day of chores before I finally got around to my NaNo. But I hit another personal best with 2,008 words, I cleared the 40,000-word mark, and I finally caught up with the last couple of hundred words I was short on last Thursday. By the end of yesterday, I was feeling pretty smug.

Publication schedule
Work starts today on the long-awaited re-publication schedule.

In January I’m hoping to have a new hardback of Night Crawler available, but this one will be called Night Crawler: a Marcie Craig mystery and it will be by Diane Wordsworth. The schedule is to include a paperback 3 months later, the ebook 3 months after that, and possibly an audio book 3 months after that. Then, 3 months after that, the large print.

In February, it will be the turn of Baggins Bottom Best Bits, but I won’t be bothering with a hardback for that. The ebook, audio book and large print will follow. Then in March it will be Twee Tales. Twee Tales won’t appear in hardback until I have an omnibus edition, but it will still have the paperback, ebook, audio book and large print until then.

And then it will be Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two.

As each book is re-published, the old one will be retired. And there will be a clear message on all of them that they were previously published under a different name/title.

Twee Tales Too is already published by Diane Wordsworth, but it needs to be converted to ebook and then audio book. And Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Three is currently awaiting editing, but that will also be by Diane Wordsworth.

Since I’ve been working with Scrivener, I’ve realised I can copy all of these into there and Scrivener will export it to whatever format I need for publishing. That means less formatting work for me, and more time to write, edit and polish.

I’m hoping that by the time we get to a month without a new book to start, I’ll either have another one myself or maybe one with a publisher. I’m working on Mardi Gras (for NaNo), Catch the Rainbow, The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery), and Diary of a Scaredy Cat.

The poet’s job in all of this is jacket design and author photography. I’m already very happy with the jackets I currently have, but we want to re-brand everything so it all looks as though it comes from the same place.

Homework
So, aside from just under one week left on NaNoWriMo, this publication schedule (and any editing) is my own homework this week. What’s on your to-do list?

Lovely cuckoo “watch”

ATT_1427703943756_20150330_092031Well, it was only a couple of weeks in the end. But here I am, back again. Did you miss me?

I’ve been very busy getting used to the new work schedule. Adding a slot in the morning and again in the late afternoon for “housework” has been a huge help. Now I do things like put washing through, unload the dishwasher, put clothes or crocks away, etc, only during those slots and ignore the chores for the rest of the day. And it means I’ve been doing a lot more work in between.

I’m not convinced about the slow cooker we’ve just started to use, as I thought they were initially designed to save time. However, looking through the instruction manual, it does say the crock pot needs switching on for 20 minutes before adding any food, which suggests you have to do all the food prep before going to (or starting) work. This would be no use to us whatsoever as the mornings are already very full getting the poet up and off to work, feeding us all, and doing the chores already scheduled.

Yesterday, however, we gave it a go but prepared the ingredients and left them in the pot overnight. I’m worried this will amount to a marinade and might take some of the other taste away. It’s switched on now, though, with an extra half an hour to compensate for no pre-heating and we’ll find out at teatime if it’s workable that way or not. If not, it’s going on ebay …

Hints and tips gratefully received. 🙂

The other thing I’ve been doing is preparing 2 new books for publication. One is TALES FROM BAGGINS BOTTOM BEST BITS BOOK TWO, which is due out on Wednesday … and still needs work for the Smashwords version to be accepted; the other is TWEE TALES TOO. Yes, I’ve finally collated enough material for a second volume of short stories. This one is due out on 1 May while we’ll actually, ahem, be otherwise engaged. I still have work to do on both, but the Kindle version of BBBBB2 is okay. The paperback may follow a week or so later.

20150330_092044

As you can see I’ve started to put book titles in capital letters. This is mostly because if I copy and paste any of the blog into another Baggins Bottom book it should save me a lot of time reformatting for Smashwords. It really doesn’t like too many bold or italic fonts.

I’ve also been working on my own fiction. There are a few short stories out there now, doing the rounds, earning their keep, and I’ve settled down to more work on CATCH THE RAINBOW and THE BEAST WITHIN, and made notes for THE SONG REMAINS THE SAME – a new Marcie Craig. Today I’m starting my GARDENING FROM SCRATCH diary too. At the weekend we bought 3 lovely new exercise books as I like to start work in those.

While I’ve been missing, I’ve registered on 2 new job boards too, and revived one I let go a few years ago. That means I now surf 4 job boards at least twice a week, but also have quite a few invitations to respond to in between.

I’ve cleared 2 jobs for lovely already client and sent those back to him, and I’m about to finish a 3rd before starting a 4th. So I’ve not really been idle. What have you been up to?

20150330_095959The poet spent his last few days over in Germany last week, we hope, and when he came home, via Switzerland, he was clutching this rather splendid cuckoo clock – or, as his German friends call it, a cuckoo “watch”.

Here he is saying hello. Do you like him? 🙂

And the winner is …

nightcrawler largeprintSusie Kearley! 🙂

Susie, I’ll send you a message via Twitter or FB so you can send me your snail mail address. Thanks to those of you who entered the book giveaway.

The blog will be back to normal very soon, I’m just taking a bit of a breather while I decide what people actually want to see.

The large print edition of Night Crawler (the current giveaway) has probably run out now, so I’m going to check the details and then re-publish on Lulu another large print version of my own. I’m changing my name in May, though, and re-branding myself at the same time, so all of the books may be re-released, with new covers. “Previously published as …” will appear very clearly on the cover and in the blurb. I’d hate people to think they’ve had to pay for something they’ve already paid for.

I’m working on Catch the Rainbow still, and hope this will be ready soon. This is a prequel to Night Crawler, and then I’ll finish The Beast Within, which is a sequel. Then Marcie (and predecessors) will have a little rest while I write the prequel to Catch the Rainbow, which is going to be called Hattie’s Hotshots. I’m a great believer in paying attention to “signs”, and as one appeared on the telly last night that’s perfect for Hattie, I’ve decided that’s next on the list. The third Marcie-specific story will be Snowblind, so I’ll also have that one percolating in the background.

I’m also working on Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book Two, and collating Diary of a Scaredy Cat into a-year-in-the-life-of-a-writer-type thing. And as I work through various short stories and get them in circulation, I’ll also be collating the rest of Twee Tales Too.

So please don’t think I’m being idle. I’m just taking a breather, taking stock.

If you get chance, do let me know what you’d like to see on the blog. I know some of you have said to keep it as it is, but I’d love to hear from those who haven’t said anything too. And if that means more competitions and giveaways and less pictures and personal news, that’s fine. Thanks in anticipation for your time. 🙂

Crazy weekend

windowsill

This is one of my favourite pictures of Tinker and Holly. I often wonder where Tinker went that day she walked away and never come back. But I have my suspicions. I stumbled across this picture this morning and decided to share it for those who remember when she disappeared. She was a lovely cat.

We had a terrific weekend, crazy but lovely.

On Friday we had a fantastic gig in Doncaster. The band played really well and there was a great atmosphere. It was a very late night, though, as they didn’t finish packing down until 2am. But it was a goodun.

On Saturday I made it to the Leeds write-in to join in with this November’s NaNoWriMo. I met a few new people and it was nice to see some old faces. And I got a few words written too. While I was NaNo-ing, the poet and Rufus were having a wonderful time walking and watching telly and chomping chews … the latter being the dog rather than the man … Saturday evening we were visiting and shopping, and finally arrived home at 9pm.

I went to Leeds on the train from a different railway station. The ticket is cheaper, by about £2, and the journey is slightly slower, with just one train an hour, but the station is closer to the house and I was able to cadge a lift. When we got there we were surprised to see the once-vacant and derelict railway buildings back in use. I did a bit of research and discovered that a café has been allowed to lease the buildings and I thought that was a great idea. All unmanned stations should consider doing that.

On Sunday, the poet went fishing – and came third, well done, sweetheart 🙂  – and I had a really lazy day catching up on sleep (I did quite a lot of overtime last week) and recorded television. Then on Sunday evening we went out to see a new band for both of us, but made it home again by 9pm.

Today I’ve started the week afresh and tried to do everything scheduled in the diary. On Friday I started to surf the job boards again, rewrote my blurb and pitched for 14 jobs. Today I pitched for a further 6 jobs, and I’ve already written the walks report, which was lagging behind due to me being without computer or internet.

I have 2 books to edit, both non-fictions, and I’m in correspondence with the author of the historical fiction I filed last week.

I have a full working week this week so intend to get a lot shifted. I’d best get on …

Things can only get better

calke park aug 10 008

Deer at Calke Abbey park, August 2008. (Picture: Diane Parkin)

After the week I had last week, things really could only get better. And, so far, they do seem to have done just that.

I did think it would be quite simple once I’d restored factory settings to the pc and then uploaded my critical data again. But I’ve also had to install all of my programs again plus printer drivers (and other so-called plug-in-and-play hardware), and, as it happened, both internet browsers. And then my webmail wouldn’t let me in on the pc, though it would let me in on the mobile phone, so I had to sort that as well.

BUT … it’s all done now and everything seems to be running properly and quickly again – touch wood.

I’m still incredibly busy. I’ve had to catch up on all the online and electronic work I couldn’t do, and some of it I had to do again as the latest versions had simply got lost. But I have good support now, i.e. someone to cook tea and see to the animals if I’m working, so I’m getting there.

This week, then, so far, I’ve delivered 2 books, either in their entirety or bits I still had to do. The fiction is with the author, to answer questions and check copy; the non-fiction has been picked up by the client for the last few little bits, but I will see the final pdf for signing off.

I have another non-fiction I need to submit once I’ve done the author amendments and two more that I’ve already started.

I’ve also updated the gig list this week, but I’ve not been on the job boards and I’ve only managed a couple of days on NaNoWriMo. This will change today, though, as I really, really am itching to do some writing, and I’m definitely off to the NaNo write-in in Leeds on Saturday. We also have a gig on Friday night and possible visiting and walking to do over the weekend if we can fit it in.

I don’t think I’ll be on here again before the weekend, so have a good one, and hopefully all will be back on track by next Monday.

Today’s picture was taken a few years ago when I visited Calke Abbey. I think we need to go again and take the dog this time. 🙂

Now taking bookings for November …

The lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

The lodge at Nostell Priory. (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

I’ve had a busy few weeks but everything now seems to be sorting itself out. I’ve been full for the rest of October for some time but I wanted to make sure that everything was running smoothly. As it is, I’m now taking editing and proofreading bookings for November.

We had another great weekend of doing just weekend stuff, but it included a really good gig Saturday night at a venue that bodes well for a fantastic New Year’s Eve …

See, now, in the past 7 or 8 years I’ve hardly ever done anything for New Year’s Eve, and not really for a lot of years before that. But now I’m already booked, and have been for several weeks. And I’m looking forward to it. I’m usually sat there watching the telly waiting for someone to fetch me a lump of coal.

I’m even contemplating the festive baking schedule starting in November. This is something else I’ve not done in a long time. A very long time. Or I’ve thought about it and that’s all. This year I intend to do something about it.

Anyway, I digress.

The work is coming in thick and fast and this week I have 3 jobs to finish and invoice  (hurrah!). There’s one non-fiction to do the electronic edits on and send back to the author and off to the typesetter. There’s a new fiction to edit from scratch, send the edits back to the author and upload the book to the server. And then there’s another non-fiction to start and finish editing.

In between I also have the walks report to write (today), the blog (3 times this week), the gig list (on Wednesday), the job board to surf (daily), the diary to update (on Thursday), and invoices to raise (hurrah! – on Friday).

Thankfully I have a 5-day week and I may work on Saturday. It’s a Do Diddle Day, but that means I can do what I please and if working (and earning money) pleases me, I’ll do it. I may also do my NaNoWriMo planning, or I may do just that instead. I worked Saturday just gone and it really made a difference.

So that’s me sorted for the week. What are you doing?

I worked out part of what was causing the neck ache  working at the laptop … I’ve been sat on a cushion that’s raised me quite a lot higher than the laptop (on its riser). I’ve taken the cushion away, but as I may use it again I’ve raised the riser itself up on a pile of 3 books. Let’s see if that works.

Today’s picture is an arty shot taken at Nostell Priory near Wakefield.

Oh, and while I think about it, here’s my LinkedIn link – I finally found it.

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