27 March 2014

My Writing Process - Blog Hop

Last week I was tagged by a lovely writer and blogger, Jodi, in a blog hop. This blog hop is all about writers' writing processes. Me being me and life being life, I missed my window of blogging opportunity prior to my intended post publishing day (Monday this week), so here I am, better late than never.

I can't thank Jodi enough for tagging me in a blog hop about writing, particularly now as all things writing are consuming most of my free time.

To put the "better" into "better late than never", I have decided to combine my love of writing with my interest in genealogy, so before answering the writing questions Jodi has asked, I'd like to do an exercise in tracing the ancestral line of this blog hop. This way, you can have a good look at previous writers' responses and see how wonderfully unique we all are.

This is where the line stops as, although I could find Maggie's website, I wasn't able to find her blog post on this to look further up the chain.

No worries. Phew, actually - that could have gone on for a while. It was fun though, wasn't it?

Okay, now to the writing process part. There are four questions which I will attempt to answer with all the wit and humour my current state of sleep deprivation will allow.

What am I Working On?

Call me crazy, but I've actually just started working on a sequel to Returning.

(See, I told you to call me crazy. You didn't want to, did you? You wanted to be nice, but now you realise that you seriously should have called me that. It's okay. I understand)

I have a chapter plan written out (something I didn't do for the first book, but which I think I need for the second book) and I have written about 200 words of the first chapter. Not much, I know, but it's a start. And it's not something I thought I would start until at least a few years had passed after finishing Returning. Who knows, it might take a few years to write, but it's a start.

 

How Does my Work Differ from Others in its Genre?

My work is an interesting mix of genres - something I realised when I was trying to classify Returning for publication. It has chick lit elements, young adult reach, spiritual influences and bit of romance. It casts a fairly broad net in that sense. So, I suppose you could say it is different because it does not sit completely in a particular genre.

 

Why Do I Write What I Do?

The idea for Returning just popped into my head one day and I felt I just had to write it. You can read all about that here. I think I write what I do because of things that have happened in my own life. My writing isn't biographical. But it is heavily influenced by my own experiences and interests. If you're a regular ready of my blog, you'll probably notice that in reading my book. I make no apologies for that. Writing is an interest of mine. In writing fiction, I therefore write about things which interest me. I like a bit of escapism. Fiction does that for me.

 

How Does My Writing Process Work?

Haha, umm...

It works, or it's possible, because writing is essentially something which can fit in around everything else. I don't have scheduled writing time like professional writers. I have three young children and a professional part-time job. I run my daughters' weekly playgroup. I taxi the MissyMoos to activities. I have an unhealthy obsession with ironing. All of these things take time. Leading by example to the MissyMoos, once I've done my jobs, I can play. Once I've done my tasks, I allow myself to write. That means that I could go weeks without writing. That means it takes years to write a novel. That's fine.

My writing process is always in a state of flux and attempted improvement. Depending on my mood and location, sometimes I will write in a notebook. Sometimes I feel more inspired typing. Sometimes I just type out what's written in the notebook and improve it as I go. Not overly efficient, I know, but it works for me.

With Returning, I let the inspiration take hold and just wrote. It was exhilarating and freeing ... until I got stuck for a while, not knowing the direction I wanted the story to take. I have approached its sequel in a different way - doing a chapter plan first prior to commencing the writing. I think this is only possible because I already know the characters so well. I am also open to the structure changing along the way as I write the story. We'll see what happens.

 

Hopping Along



For next week's blog hop, I am tagging Rita from The Crafty Expat

Rita Azar is a writer, blogger and crafter.  She's a French Canadian woman with a Lebanese background now living in Melbourne.  She speaks French and Arabic and is now learning Italian. She's a Canadian lawyer who also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism at RMIT University.  But now that she has reconnected with her love for writing, she is working on editing her first novel and thinks that this is certainly one of the most challenging things she has ever done. 
Rita blogs at http://thecraftyexpat.com. You can also follow her here:

21 March 2014

Receiving Returning

On Tuesday, a much anticipated delivery arrived. Fifty copies of Returning.

When I got home from work, I looked at the boxes. The MissyMoos all wanted their cuddles followed by a myriad of other simultaneous requests, which I attended to, savouring the image of the closed boxes.

Once the tasks and distractions were done with, I approached the boxes slowly, deliberately. I carefully cut through the tape, to reveal this:


My book. My book, with my name on the cover. I could finally, after years of toiling and imagining, hold my work in my hands.

Over the past few days, I have felt like Santa Claus, distributing copies by hand to friends who have requested them. I am so thankful for the support I've received from my family and friends. The euphoria of the fact of this all happening has, I must admit, been tinged by nervousness - I am imagining all of these people reading Returning and wondering what they will think of it. I hope they enjoy it. So far, I have received positive comments from a couple of people who have begun reading, so I am a little relieved!

If you want to get your hands on a copy either physically (paperback) or virtually (ebook), www.francescasuters.weebly.com/books.html has a listing of online booksellers from which the book is available - just click on your preferred vendor and go from there.

Happy reading!

Making Amends

A little while ago, after a particularly trying morning with the MissyMoos, I let them fight it out amongst themselves left them to their own devices and carried on with my housework. The house went quiet, but I thought nothing of it, preferring to think (or rather, hoping) that they had found something amicable to do together.

MissyMoo1 (7) found me and told me that I was not allowed in the living room until she said so. I sighed, wondered what she was up to, but carried on with what I was doing, making sure it didn't lead me to the living room. A couple of minutes later, I was told to close my eyes. With MissyMoo1 leading me by one hand and her 4-year-old sister leading me by the other, I made my way to the living room. When I opened my eyes, this is what I saw:


They were so, so sorry and they just wanted me to lie down on the couch and read a book for a little while.

Bless them.
xx

18 March 2014

Stream-of-Consciousness Blog Post - Train

It's dark, but it's warm in here. And empty. I like it when the train is empty. The seats are purple this time. Last week they were green. I'm not sure about the purple. I usually like purple, but on the train, seats and carpet, it's a bit much, a bit in-your-face. I wonder what colour the interior of the next train will be. Must remember to change trains. Listen out for the name of the station when we stop.

Can't believe I'm back here again. To think a few years ago I was just looking for a little bit of part-time work, nothing special. Now I've gotten up in the dark for the last two Tuesdays and had to kiss Hubby and the MissyMoos goodbye while they're still sleeping. At least it's just training (haha, I'm "train"ing it to training). No more for 12 months.

This purple is really quite gross. Hope MissyMoo3's breathing is okay today. Hope my books arrive today. Hope the seminar room has somewhere I can plug my phone charger in. Battery runs down so quickly. Not sure what phone to get next. Think about it later. Man, I really hope the next train isn't purple.

The lights out the window look nice. Maybe I could pretend I'm travelling, going on an adventure. Nah, I can't trick myself out of the knowledge that I'm sitting on a train for two hours for the privilege of listening to four and a half hours of lawyers talking about ethics only to then spend another two hours on a smelly train home (the trains are always smelly in the afternoon). I hope I get there early enough to have some breakfast.

Two more stops before I get off the purple train.

Ooh, I can see a bit of sunrise on the horizon. That's better. I can actually see out the window now.

Next stop is where I change trains. Putting the notebook away.

...

Changed trains. Thank God it's not purple.

15 March 2014

Forever House: Colour Selections

A couple of weeks ago, I experienced a rite of passage in any home-builder's life: colour selections.

Prior to the appointment, Hubby and I had been for a look around the showroom, viewing the endless array of possibilities, from colours to materials to fittings. It was all rather overwhelming. We walked away from that meeting with a lever arch folder and a promise (or was it a threat?) that a time for the selections appointment would soon be arranged and was estimated to take around five hours.

No, you didn't mis-read that.

5 HOURS

In an attempt to pre-empt many of the decisions, Hubby and I did our research with colour combinations, going through the folder and noting our preferences, looking at samples and driving around looking at a lot of new houses in the area to decide what worked (and what didn't).

We thought we had it all figured out. Two days before the selections appointment, after weeks of deliberation, we went to look at the brick supplier's "showroom" to see the bricks built as a wall, you know, to confirm our decision.

Except that it didn't confirm our decision. For various reasons, we changed our minds about the brick colour. Not so bad except that this then translated to changing the entire exterior colour scheme because the colours for window frames etc didn't really go with the new brick we had chosen.

Sigh.

Unsure of ourselves at having made such major change-of-mind decisions so close to selections day, after having sat with a previous choice for many weeks, we took our bewildered selves off to our next engagement - lunch with friends.

This was the best thing we could have done. Our friends live in a house they recently built, which incidentally had a colour scheme very similar to our new choices. We were able compare samples, chat about selections and generally soak up the colours and surroundings. It was a perfect way to make us feel comfortable about the task ahead. I'm not a "vision" person. If I see a vacant block of land, I can't picture a new house on it - I just see a vacant block of land. Similarly, I can't look at a display home and superimpose different colours on it according to our selections. So seeing the colours working together there before me in my friends' home was exactly what I needed, to get as close to envisaging our own home as possible.

When we got home, I wrote everything down in the hope of reducing the five hour scheduled time down to something less-frightening. Thankfully, the appointment was set for a non-work day for me and no juggling or rescheduling of appointments was necessary. I've written about sacrifice before, and we did have to sacrifice the little MissyMoos' swimming lessons that day. But with the appointment venue being half an hour's drive away, my main concern was to have it all done and dusted within school hours, so I could be back in time to pick MissyMoo1 (7) up from school.

My friend and fellow blogger, Gina, looked after MissyMoo2 (4) and MissyMoo3 (2) for me for the day. I felt a bit bad asking, but the enthusiasm with which she accepted my request put me at ease. In fact, I was under strict instructions NOT to rush things and NOT to come back early. Bless her.

You'll be happy to know that it did not take 5 hours. With very few decisions to make on the spot, I breezed through it.


In a small way, I'm starting to be able to picture the house now. Step by step, we're getting closer.

13 March 2014

Francesca's Festa of Favourites: March 2014

Welcome to the March 2014 edition of...
 
Francesca Writes Here

 
Now, first up, I will offer you an apology. Due to being distracted by the many exciting distractions going on in real life at the moment (or, in online speak, "IRL ATM"), I somewhat neglected the best blogging alliteration event of the year: Francesca's Festa of Favourites for February. Despite my inattention, some great posts were added to the link-up and I encourage you have a look at them if you're after something new to read.
 
But first, a short blurb for the newcomers to explain what this linky is all about:
 
Background 

For anyone who's new to the link-up, here's some background: "Festa" in Italian means a celebration, a party. This link-up is a place where you can place links to your favourite posts in a given month, but here's the difference: they don't have to be posts you've written (although they can be). You can link to any post for the month that, for you, has been a must-read, that you're proud of, or that you think is entertaining, written by you or anybody else.

I add some of the posts, from blogs I read regularly, so you might see the same bloggers cropping up over the months. I make no apology for that - I love being able to use this space to bookmark my favourite blog posts for the month.

But, more importantly, I love seeing what everyone else likes reading and it makes me smile til I get dimples when other people add their favourites to this festa. So feel free to link up as many of your favourite posts as you like during the course of the month.

(Let me know in the comments if you have trouble with the link and I'll try to fix it.)

If you've linked a post or had one of your blog posts linked by someone else, why not add the button to your blog and help spread the word :-)

Pick of the February bunch (in my humble opinion)

Each month I like to choose a post from the previous month's linky party to showcase. I think it's a great way of showing off other bloggers in my own little corner of blogland.

The February Festa Favourite is:
 The Dance by Kate Says Stuff

Kate Says Stuff

 Kate's family dynamic has experienced change in the last few months, with her gorgeous Little Mate starting school. Kate rises to the challenges in her life with courage and kindness. The love she has for her children is apparent in everything she writes and being her Little Mate's advocate is such an integral part of her family life.
 
Now, better late than never, it's all systems go for Francesca's Festa of Favourites in March 2014. Happy linking!




09 March 2014

Land Ahoy!

One topic which I saw as blog fodder for 2014 has barely rated a mention and it is already March.

To recap, late last year, we sold our house of seven years, moved into a rental and chose a block of land to buy. And there the blog posts stopped.

We were due to settle on the land a few days before Christmas, but some delays with development meant that this did not go ahead as scheduled.

It was very stressful.

Particularly for people like Hubby and myself, who analyse everything to the nth degree. Having taken years to make this decision, the process stalling the way it did just gave us more time to second guess the decisions we had made thus far.

I would drive past the new block wondering if it would ever be ours. I would drive past the old house and look at it through rose-coloured glasses.

Yes, this is my dodgy attempt at designing rose-coloured glasses...

It felt like limbo. It was very unsettling. It was infuriating. But that's all in the past now.

On Valentine's Day, our land settled.

 
 
So now, we own the land. Our little patch of Australia. One essential step of many in this house-building journey has been completed.

 
 
Stay tuned! 

08 March 2014

I'm a Published Author!

Introducing you to Francesca, the author:


Yes, people, I can now legitimately call myself a published author! It turns out, there wasn't time for a countdown blog post as I had hoped to do (bad blogger!) - Returning is already published!

Words can't describe how excited I am feeling right now - and that's saying a lot from someone who just wrote a book! I'm currently waiting for a shipment of copies to keep for myself and for local distribution. The idea that I might finally be able to hold this work in my hands, that it is a tangible achievement, is something I think will only really sink in when I open the box and grab a copy, experiencing first hand the sensation of physically holding my book.

I'd like to thank all the people who have already reserved their copies or bought online - your support means so much and I hope the book lives up to your wishes, hopes and expectations. I acknowledge that it has not received a publisher's "tick of approval", but at the same time I am proud of myself, that I have taken charge of this myself, that I've done it my way, turning my work into a real book without waiting around for a big publisher's acceptance.

I also thank Publicious, a brilliant self-publishing facilitator. This is not sponsored in anyway. I think they did a very professional job of assisting me in publishing this book. Their service and communication was excellent, taking the difficulty out of quite a daunting task. I would highly recommend them to anyone who is considering self-publishing as an option.



So, what's this book about anyway? Here's the back cover blurb.


Rita is 29, married to her soul mate and a mother to two adorable young daughters. She has always thought of a new year as a clean slate, but one New Year’s Day is a clean slate like no other, when Rita wakes up as her 16-year-old self, living her 16-year-old life. 

Piero is a loner. The only recent exception to his solitude had been his close friendship with Rita’s sister until her sudden death. Now he finds himself instrumental in helping Rita make sense of the new direction her life has taken.

A thought-provoking story, Returning seamlessly invites the reader into both adult and teenage mindsets and tackles the what-ifs. What if you were able to live your teenage years with the wisdom of your adult mind? What if you met your partner at a different time? What if your regrets could be re-written?
Is this something you might be interested in reading? Would you like to get your hands on a copy? Here's how.

Returning is available from a number of online booksellers in paperback and ebook form. Click on the link of your preferred bookseller below to check it out:

Paperback
Ebook
Also, if you are a member of Goodreads, you will find Returning listed there too, ready to add to your "To Read" shelf.

I update my author website regularly as new information becomes available, so I'd love for you to check it out: www.francescasuters.weebly.com

Thanks so much for all your kind words and encouraging comments over the last few months. I hope those of you who decide to read it get as much enjoyment out of it as I have.


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