3

Building Castles

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I really like this quote from Shannon Hale. I used to feel differently about first drafts. I loved the process of writing a story for the first time freely and used to wish that I could make a first draft perfect so that I wouldn’t have to do any editing.

I have just finished the latest edit on my novel, the first working with my editor at my publishers and I realised as I finished reading the novel through, and tearing up a little at the final paragraph, that I’ve really enjoyed the process. The story is essentially the same as it was in the first draft but it has developed into something much more. Into what it was meant to be. An editor is there to help you turn your novel into the best novel it can be. To help you to turn your sand into a castle. I can already see a vast improvement in the story from this first edit. Although there will be many more steps to work through before this story will be a printed book on the shelves, I’m really excited about what it is developing into.

It feels like the biggest journey I’ve gone on as a writer so far is to go from hating to edit to enjoying the process. Because I now know how important it is and what a difference it make to your novel.

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I spotted this quote about the process too and it really rings true for me. Writing a first draft is a solitary process, your telling yourself the story, and then you open the door to feedback so you develop the story for others to read. I think perhaps some of my dislike of editing came from fear. I hated putting my work out there for someone to judge. But an editor isn’t there to judge. Hopefully they love your story as much as you do but because they are not as close to it as you are, they are able to advise you on areas to develop so the reader has a better experience.

It will always be your story but hopefully a better one.

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So for now, I am sat in front of my novel having worked through my editor’s notes feeling hopeful that I’ve laid the foundations of something that may one day become a castle.

How do you feel about the editing process?

Victoria

xoxo

2

One week of Dancing in the Fire

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Dancing in the Fire is a week old! I have been so excited to see people discussing the story and so grateful for the lovely messages and reviews it’s had. Thank you to everyone who has read it and said such lovely things about it.

Here are my favourite quotes from the reviews:

“Equal parts funny, cute, mushy and sexy!”

“Looking forward to more from this author”

“A really enjoyable read”

“Romantic and sweet”

“Can’t wait to read more from this author!”

The short story was ranked 7,000th on Amazon UK on release day. For a debut short story, I’m really pleased with that and to see it sell in other countries too was really exciting.

Dancing in the Fire is the first step on my publishing journey so will always have a special place in my heart so I’m wishing it a very happy one week birthday!

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Victoria

xoxo

7

Books read in February 2015

Here are the books I read in February and my favourite read of the month! (Synopses from Amazon)

Mrs Hemingway – Naomi Wood

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In the dazzling summer of 1926, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley travel from their home in Paris to a villa in the south of France. They swim, play bridge and drink gin. But wherever they go they are accompanied by the glamorous and irrepressible Fife. Fife is Hadley’s best friend. She is also Ernest’s lover.

Hadley is the first Mrs. Hemingway, but neither she nor Fife will be the last. Over the ensuing decades, Ernest’s literary career will blaze a trail, but his marriages will be ignited by passion and deceit. Four extraordinary women will learn what it means to love the most famous writer of his generation, and each will be forced to ask herself how far she will go to remain his wife…

The Winner’s Curse

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Winning what you want may cost you everything you love
They were never meant to be together. As a general’s daughter, seventeen-year-old Kestrel enjoys an extravagant and privileged life. Arin has nothing but the clothes on his back. Then Kestrel makes an impulsive decision that binds Arin to her. Though they try to fight it, they can’t help but fall in love. In order to be together, they must betray their people . . . but to be loyal to their country, they must betray each other.
Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of rebellion, duels, ballroom dances, wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

The Honeymoon Hotel

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The Bonneville Hotel is the best-kept secret in London: its elegant rooms and discreet wood-paneled cocktail lounge were the home-away-from-home for royalty and movie stars alike during the golden age of glamour. Recent years haven’t been kind, but thanks to events manager Rosie, it’s reclaiming some of its old cachet as a wish list wedding venue. While Rosie’s weddings are the ultimate in romance, Rosie herself isn’t; her focus is fixed firmly on the details, not on the dramas. She lives with a professionally furious food critic and works tirelessly toward that coveted promotion. But when the hotel owner appoints his eccentric son Joe to help run Rosie’s department, she’s suddenly butting heads with the free spirit whose predilection for the unconventional threatens to unravel her picture-perfect plans for the most elaborate—not to mention high-profile—wedding the hotel has ever seen, a wedding that could make or break not only the hotel’s reputation, but also Rosie’s career.

 

Book of the month:

The Opposite Of Loneliness

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Marina Keegan’s star was on the rise when she graduated from Yale in May 2012. She had a play that was to be produced at the New York International Fringe Festival and a job waiting for her at the New Yorker. Tragically, five days after graduation, Marina died in a car crash. As her family, friends and classmates, deep in grief, joined to create a memorial service for Marina, her unforgettable last essay for the Yale Daily News, ‘The Opposite of Loneliness’, went viral, receiving more than 1.4 million hits. She had struck a chord. Even though she was just 22 when she died, Marina left behind a rich, expansive trove of prose that, like her title essay, captures the hope, uncertainty and possibility of her generation. The Opposite of Loneliness is an assemblage of Marina’s essays and stories that articulates the universal struggle we all face as we work out what we aspire to be and how we can harness our talents to make an impact on the world.

This collection of essays and stories are wrapped up in the tragic death of the author who had just graduated from Yale and was just twenty-two and as such, the collection is sad – some of the work even more poignant because you know what happened to the writer, but it is also inspirational. Even though she died far too early, she was extremely talented and left behind a brilliant collection of works. I feel like each time I read them a different one will stand out depending on what I’m feeling at the time. The best works for me were the fiction featuring characters of a similar age to Keegan, set at college but she could create characters of all ages and in all kinds of situations. The best of the non-fiction essays is the opener to the book and shares the same name. You can read it online here.

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What was your favourite read this month?

Victoria

xoxo

 

13

Dancing in the Fire release day!

Can’t quite believe that today I have become a published author!

YAY! *runs around* *trips and falls over*

Dancing in the Fire can be downloaded and read right NOW. (All the links you need are at the end of this post!)

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This is how I’m feeling in gifs:

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But I am at the party hurrah! And I’m very excited to have something published and I hope anyone who has downloaded the story enjoys it.

It’s had a five star rating already *FLAILS*

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Mostly I’m just grateful to everyone who has downloaded the story and everyone who has sent me a lovely message about it today!

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*GROUP HUG*

Victoria

xoxo

Download Dancing in the Fire NOW! Available for 99p through Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo; and for $1.48 on Amazon.com. You can also get it in Australia on Amazon and iBooks

1

Sunday Songs

Leighton Messter – Heartstrings

I’m loving Leighton Meester’s debut album – full of lush, dreamy songs that are perfect to chill out to. It’s also proving to be a great writing soundtrack!

Alpines – Saviour 

I just discovered UK duo Alpines and this is my favourite of theirs so far – just a beautiful song:

Jessie Ware – Say You Love Me

I hadn’t really listened to Jessie’s music before but this song was recommended on YouTube and I’ve fallen in love with it.

Tove Lo – Thousand Miles

I can’t wait for Tove’s album release in May. Loving this latest song from her!

What have you been listening to this week?

Victoria

xoxo