Thursday, 25 March 2010

Life is stranger than fiction!

It's true that life resembles fiction more than fiction resembles life. If I wrote about certain co-incidences or experiences, an agent may comment that it was a little unbelievable.

Take for example one day when I took our two spaniels for a walk on the paddock. Our Springer, Brook, as usual only had one thought in mind - retrieving the ball which I was throwing for her. Harlyn our Brittany spaniel, was busy tree-watching for any slight movement. A bird would be good, a squirrel would make her day! To her delight she locked eyes with a squirrel and so started a long stand off. No amount of bribery from me with a pocket full of treats would budge her. Eventually, I think the squirrel got bored and decided to make a leap for it. As it leap from the canopy of one tree to the next, it fell - onto the upturned face of Harlyn! She fell to the floor, the squirrel scampered off and Harlyn stood up and looked at me as if to say 'did that really happen?' The thing is, only me and a slightly over-weight red and white dog were witnesses to the drama. And although she swore me to secrecy over her embarressment, I thought it would be a good story to demonstrate just how crazy reality can be.

Great news! I received an email yesterday from a literary agent asking to read my full manuscript. Fantastic! I've worked on Blake, my antagonist, and hopefully he'll show a nicer side to his character.
I've also entered another competition. Describe a winter storm in 200 words. It's not a story, but a moment in time.

Winter Storm

Mauve clouds bruised the bi-polar skies, now grumbling miserably having been bright and sunny an hour earlier. Skeletal canopies lurched to and fro to the wind's egotistical demands, hushing bird song. Slowly at first, raindrops dimpled puddles like a rash. Tip tap on the dustbin lids.
A grey curtain of rain closed over the village, muting colours and beating a faster rhythm. Pewter skies unleashed a deluge , staining fences a shade darker and painting a glistening patina on pavements. Rain lashed against windows and over-flowed from gutters, splashing onto the tarmac below. Down pipes frothed and gurgled. Bulimic drains spewed leaves and debris into the road, unashamed and unrepentant. As the wind whisked up shrivelled leaves and prised roof tiles from their fixings, icy marbles played a deafening drum beat on car bonnets. Clattering. Rattling.
White-forked tongues licked the sky as the winter storm hit a crescendo. The clouds grumbled in reply as weak limbs were torn from scarred trees and scattered across the village green. As if shocked by its destruction, the wind sighed. The rain slowed to a gentle drizzle as a pale shaft of sunlight hinted at a smile from behind the clouds.

Friday, 19 March 2010

I Need Help!

No, not psychological help - although if you have any suggestions.......
I need help with my blog. I've just been browsing the net (and picking up the lingo!) and there are so many interesting blogs with photos, links etc. Just when I'm proud that I've actually worked out how to add a new post, I find out that I'm still at the starting block. A bit like my writing actually! Still, even the greatest writers had to start by learning how to spell their names!
I've tried following some written advice on my laptop and to be honest it looks like a foreign language. I'm not slow - honest. I passed my eleven plus and everything! But my head gets a faint buzzing sensation as I'm trying to process a list of, to me anyhow, technical mumbo jumbo. I suppose the buzzing could be from the sugar rush from the bag of Tutti Fruttis I've just eaten.
Anyway, my belated new year's resolution is to make my blog a little more 'all singing and all dancing' and to get a few followers! My lovely sister has signed up to follow me so already I don't feel like I'm talking to myself!

Watch this space!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Gossamer Wings

Gossamer Wings

If my resting place be this crescent of golden sand,
Will it cradle my bouquet of life's memories?
Will my shadow fly on resplendent waves
with each skyward-tossed champagne spray?

If my ashes were laid upon soft grains,
Will gentle zephyrs carry my soul?
Will I remember when I wed barefoot on these sands
in flowing gown, 'neath bare blue skies?

If my essence drifts through murmuring boughs,
Will you hear me whisper through autumn leaves?
Will my spirit walk each winding path,
re-tracing steps I took in life?

If my soul floats with fragrant blossoms
Drifting on a summer's breeze,
Will I dance, as night falls and stars a-light,
with golden angels on gossamer wings?

By Angela Barton


I'm back! Has it really been so many months since I last gave an update?
As well as moving house and setting up a new business with my husband, I've also found time to write. I've started my second novel called Sugar and Spite, but at the moment I'm tweaking Lies and Linguine. That's the new working title of my first book.
I've had some wonderfully helpful feedback from two literary agents and two publishers. Before you congratulate me - wonderfully helpful doesn't always mean good. Yes I've had some confidence-boosting praise, which acts like the sugar that makes the tweaking easier to swallow! I've been told my novel is better than chic-lit, very competent, pacy and engaging with some good imagery. Not only am I delighted to hear this, but I'm grateful that these busy professionals took the time to let me know what they liked about Lies and Linguine. Not as lovely - but equally as valuable, is the tweaking which is also suggested! My antagonist is apparently too antagonistic. Having re-read my book, the agents are absolutely right. If I was Tess, the protagonist in my novel, I wouldn't have stuck around for half as long! So I've spent the last two months tweaking Blake! This encompassed giving him a conscience and some redeeming features. Just enough to make Tess stay with him until the last straw!
I've also joined Nottingham Writers' Group since I last blogged. We meet twice a month, alternatively listening to a speaker or sharing our work with the other writers. I'd recommend this to any new writer as it helps to receive positive critisism by people who understand that your work is precious to you, but that it also might need improving with the help of tactful suggestions. At last night's meeting we held the 'Verse of the Year' evening. I will hunt out my entry and post it shortly.
I've sent out two further submissions to literary agencies and I'm crossing everything!