All posts by Melanie

A photo…

Robertson weddingI’ve never tried adding a photo to a post before so thought I would give it a try. I chose this picture because it’s my grandfather, presumably on his wedding day in 1876 to his first wife.

The first time I saw this photo was on a trip to Scotland. One of my cousins had it and gave it to me. I thought I was seeing my father staring back at me when I first looked into the face of the man pictured. It was like seeing a ghost!

This portrait plays a huge role in my first novel, Sarah’s Gift. It’s a large oil painting of the Laird and Lady of Weetshill–John and Elizabeth Robertson.

Now my character, Sarah, looks exactly like this young woman. Robert Robertson (grandson of the Laird) and David Robb (Sarah’s nurse) both look like the handsome young man.

Not to spoil things for those who haven’t read my first novel, I’ll not say anymore. For those who have read it, or a portion of it, or have seen my people and places in Sarah’s Gift pictures, you know what I’m talking about.

Motivation… or should I say lack of

Motivation, where did you go? Are you under the desk? Snoozing upstairs? Where are you? I’m not sure if it’s because the end of the month is quickly approaching and I have so many things I want to have done for the conference or what, but working on The Anniversary isn’t what I want to be doing.

I need a kick in the butt or something to get me back on track.


The Ottawa Romance Writers’ Conference

Well, it’s not much longer now. So much to do… so little time…

Now that Andy is back in school, I really have to compete for the computer. School work is more important. Good thing I’ve got a laptop and a full sized keyboard I can plug in to it so I can work in another room, although it’s not always as comfortable.

It was my intention to have the first draft of The Anniversary completed in time for the conference–not that I need to take it with me. It’s just my goal to have it done. I think I’m 75% of the way there but with the way I’ve jumped about writing scenes as they come to me, I can’t say for sure.

What can I say? I am so looking forward to this shindig. It’s the first writers’ conference I’ve attended and I want to make a good impression. You know–look the part of a professional. I’ve bought new clothes, still looking for the right “bling” to set them off–although I’ve seen some possibilities.

I want to get more business cards and bookmarks printed, too. Now that I’ve got my new colour laser printer and business card stock for colour lasers, and some heavier card stock to make the bookmarks from, I’ve got that part pretty much covered. I plan on collecting and swapping as many business cards as possible while I’m there so even though I’m printing my own, I want them to look as good as possible.

All I can say at this point is, it’s a good thing that I’m off work the week leading up to the conference.

Receipt Acknowledgement

I had a letter today–on the finest bond paper, no less–from Mills and Boon. They’ve received Sarah’s Gift and will read it carefully and reply in due course.

Now that I know that they actually received it, I can rest easy. Not really, now I’m on pins and needles waiting to find out what the verdict is.

In the meantime, I continue to work on The Anniversary and if a re-write of a portion of Sarah’s Gift is necessary to get her published, I’ve had some ideas rolling about in me wee heid…

The saga continues…

The ghost is still playing silly beggars with my radio dial. Except in my case – it’s digital. The only good thing was, this morning it seemed to get bored much sooner than earlier in the week. Yesterday, you couldn’t get from the radio back to the computer without it changing stations again.

I like your theory MJ, some disgruntled ghost who hates the CBC, has found his/her way into my house when we had all that rain in July and August.

We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

The ghost in my radio…

Yesterday morning and again this morning, my FM radio has been changing channels by itself. I normally listen to CBC Radio on 107.5 while I’m perusing my Press and Journal and the BBC news website. Well, if the radio isn’t automatically switching itself at random intervals to 87.5. Hmm… There’s nothing at that frequency – just a lot of snow and static, although this morning, I thought I did hear something other than that. So, is there someone in the neighbourhood whose remote control is set at the same frequency as my receiver and they’re changing channels? Or, is there someone out there trying to get me to listen to this other radio station?

I just know it’s extremely aggravating! Aggravating to the point of me going BERSERK!!! Speaking of berserk, that’t the theme for the September flash fiction for our writers’ group.

Good Read…

I just finished reading Stephen King’s On Writing. It was entertaining, encouraging and informative. Trouble is, I’ll have to give it back. You see, I borrowed it from one of the girls in my writers’ group. However, it’s a book that should be on any aspiring novel writer’s bookcase. Looks like I’ll be getting my own copy soon.

And you thought Stephen King only wrote fiction.

A Good Reject Letter

I know, I know. It sounds like an oxymoron.  Usually, reject letters are nothing more than “doesn’t fit our needs, good luck.” Or you get the dreaded form letter with the relevant box checked off, with or without a good luck wish.

When I received my reject letter from Red Dress Ink, I was pleasantly surprised. This letter had been given careful consideration before it was written. With the comments, it was evident that my query had been read thoroughly before a decision was made.

“…captures many of the key ingredients for chick-lit…” See what I mean? Good… “plot goes awry and weakens…” not so good. Alhough, that wasn’t really what I wanted to hear, I know exactly why my query was rejected. It gives me something to build on.

Like I said, A Good Reject Letter.

Sarah’s Gift is on her way

Well, she should be there. I e-mailed my query letter, full synopsis and first three chapters off to Mills and Boon Thursday evening. All the formating was changed, the spelling checked to make sure it was UK English and I sent her off.

Yesterday was the August Bank Holiday in the UK – everywhere but Scotland – so between that and the recent clip on BBC News (quite likely the telly as well as the website), they are likely inundated with queries.

So in the meantime, I’ll sit back and wait. Who knows this might be the one.

BBC news video

Yesterday, while perusing the BBC news website (as I always do), on the main UK page, I spotted a video clip on How to Write a Mills and Boon. These folks are the UK version of Harlequin Romance. So, I watched it before I made supper last night and came away with the name of the editor and what they want you to send in when you query – query letter, synopsis and first three chapters. She also went on to say that they read everything they receive and are more than willing to work with aspiring authors to make their work publishable.

This morning, I checked out the Mills and Boon website and can either send my Sarah’s Gift query to them via snail mail or e-mail. The only thing I have to do is change a bit of my formatting – the double quotes need to be changed to singles. Not a big deal with ‘find and replace’ as long as I don’t hit the dreaded replace all. It’s much better, even though it takes longer, to replace them one at a time to ensure that something doesn’t get changed accidentally.

Here’s hoping that before the end of the weekend, Sarah’s Gift will be winging her way to the UK – whatever the method of mail, I decide to use.

After all, Sarah’s Gift takes place in the UK, why not send her to a publisher over there? Sounds logical to me.