Progress So Far

  • Romance writer - Historical. Contemporary and Intrigue
  • 2 books written for HarperImpulse

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas everyone!

Hope everyone has a peaceful and happy Christmas and New Year.

We've been snowed in since last Friday. But we've had visitors come by to see us in 4x4's so it's not been so bad! Also friends have been able to bring us shopping and I now have a full fridge and freezer -phew! It's nice to have such good friends to help us out as (like most women) I stress if I think I don't have enough food to feed my family!

I'm going to celebrate Christmas Day when the snow finally melts as I had such big plans for tomorrow! Visiting grandson, then onto my mum and dads to cook a big dinner. But it's not too bad. My grandson is going to (hopefully) be pleased to see granny and granddad later on when we can get there, armed with a sackful of presents (that Santa delivered to the wrong house!) My mum and dad are now going to go to my sister-in-laws house (double phew!) So all in all, it's not too bad. And I've been SO touched by how many of our friends have gone the extra mile to help us out! That to me, is what Christmas is really all about! Caring and Sharing. Merry Christmas one and all. Caroline xxxx

Friday, 17 December 2010

Revision Hell...

My current wip - make that Mess In Progress - is causing me to have the proverbial kittens! I need to get it "fixed" by the New Year so I can send it to Michelle Styles. Michelle has kindly picked me as one of her 5 finalists for her annual mentoring contest. But to misquote Winston Churchill, "never in the field of human writing has so few words, caused such severe angst!" Every word is like pulling teeth I kid you not.

But we're snowed in today - so I've no excuse not to get writing. I *will* lick this ms into shape. See you later! Caroline xx

Monday, 6 December 2010

Picture of the new bungalow!

Me again! I promised a picture of the new bungalow - so here it is. Like I said earlier it's not quite finished yet - but hopefully by the middle of January it should be ready! It has lovely views of a Saxon church as well! Caroline x

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Excited! Part 2....

....We've bought a house! Well, not exactly a house, but a brand spanking (not quite ready yet) bungalow! 3 bedrooms, detached with garage. Colour me happy!

It's quite scary to think we'll be mortgage payers until we are 70, but that's what you get when you decide to buy a house at our age! We've been renting the cottage we currently live in for quite a few years, and were given the heads up about a "Homebuy" scheme run by a north Wales Housing Association. We had to fill out all the paperwork - of which there was a lot! - and following a successful application were eligible for the scheme. So in a nutshell it was up to us to go out and find a suitable property up to £122,400. Of this, we have to find 50% of the cost, and the Housing Association gives you an interest free loan for the other 50%.

To be honest we did struggle to find a suitable property. DH has mobility problems so can't climb stairs. So a house with stairs was out of the question, and we had struggled to find a suitable bungalow. Anyone in the UK will tell you that 122,400 does not buy you a bungalow (of any decent standard anyway - and definitely not one that doesn't need a shed load of work doing to it.) We had until the 30th of November to find a suitable property, but we were struggling to find anything suitable! Back track 2 weeks ago. At work I get a phone call from one of the Estate Agents I'd contacted re properties. She asked if we had found anything. I said no. She said that a developer had 2 bungalows for sale and that he would consider selling us one for 122,400. Well you could have picked me up off the floor!! We went to have a look, and it is gorgeous, and as I said earlier, it's 3 bedrooms and brand new, and should be ready to occupy it by mid January. At the moment it is undergoing it's "2nd fix" and the plasterboarding has just been done.

So, to date, we have secured a mortgage for our 50% (61,200) and the Housing Association is processing the necessary paperwork. If I'm honest, it's been a rollercoaster of a past 2 weeks! We still can't quite believe we have a bungalow for such a small amount of money! The scheme is a good one, in that we don't have to pay back the 50% from the housing association until, 1. We die, or 2. We sell the house. With number 1 - that will be however inherits the house and we won't be around to care - LOL.

So I keep pinching myself, and wondering if I'm going to wake up from a dream. I'll post a picture of the bungalow next week so you can all have a nosy! But all being well, we should be moving in the New Year. One of the highlights for me is that I can have the smallest bedroom as my very own Study! I could even consider myself a "proper" author then, rather than type my stuff as I do now on my laptop sitting in the front room.

Keep your fingers crossed for us - in that it all works out OK. I've a horrible feeling something bad's going to happen - like the developer decides to pull out. But that's -ve thoughts so I keep telling myself to be +ve. +ve, +ve, +ve. Take care. Caroline xx

Friday, 26 November 2010


I recently entered Michelle Style's Pitch Competition which was open to all those who subscribe to her on-line newsletter.

Michelle wanted a 150 word pitch, similar to the middle paragraph that would go into a query letter. So in effect, the Hook and the Twist, that would entice Michelle to want to read more.
So I toiled over my entry. (How can so few words, cause so much angst! Pitching is so hard!) Finally I had something cobbled together and I was able to hit the "send" button. Fast forward to a few days ago, when I got a lovely email back from Michelle saying I made her top 5! Yay! Beyond happy!

I now have the opportunity to sub the first three chapters (and synopsis) to Michelle by the early New Year. She will then choose one person to mentor for a year. How exciting to have the chance to work with a published author - and one who writes books I *love* to read! So wish me luck. I need to seriously edit my story as it needs a lot of work doing to it. It can be done - I'm determined to lick this ms into shape. Caroline x

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Back To The Drawing board.....

......again! Why? I recently got my NWS Report back. 10 pages of excellent advice - I'm eternally grateful to the reader for taking the (enormous) amount of time she/he must have taken to provide so much information on my MS.

The MS was one of my "Roman's" aimed at HM&B. In a nutshell she said she liked the story; that I wrote dialogue well, and write good sex scenes ( ;0 ). However, there were a few major elephants in the corner namely:

1. I have "craft" problems. I need to seriously look at conflict and character. Reading through her comments she's absolutely right of course! Duh on my part. Way too much external conflict and not enough internal conflict. Oh how many times have I read this - and then duh - *I* ignore it. (Sigh....) But having gone through my MS I can see where (hopefully) I can "repair" it. It's going to need a total re-write mind - but the story, I hope, should be all the better for it!

2. Embarrassment alert - Maybe I should keep this one to myself - but hey - I'm in a sharing mood. The other elephant in the corner that the reader picked up on was grammar and punctuation! When I went through my MS, I couldn't believe how many times it was marked for grammar and punctuation mistakes. Ye gads! Why do I have such a problem with the (dreaded) apostrophe? (Hangs head in shame).

So. Enough rambling. It's back to the drawing board. I need to make some serious changes to the MS. Make my hero less of a nasty character - even though he is bitter and twisted and wants revenge - and give both H/h much, much more internal conflict. Wish me luck peeps! Caroline xxx

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Feeling enthused.... last! Why? Well yesterday was our RNA Chapter lunch. I haven't been for a while due to babysitting restrictions, but yesterday I was determined to go as it was the lovely Trisha Ashley's book launch for her new novel the "Twelve Days of Christmas". Started reading it last night and it's great! Pure Vintage Trisha! (Go buy it!)

As well as the book launch it was great to catch up will like minded romance writers - both pubbed and unpubbed. I *always* come away buzzing at the end of the afternoon. What made me so happy this time round was that a lot of them had read my New Voices entry, and all of them were so complementary about it. So with my mojo recharged I've decided to do 2 things. 1. Edit and polish up my NV book and send it off to HM&B, and 2. start a new book. I'm a bit late for NoNaNo etc. but I'll give it a shot, and aim at getting a "dirty" draft done by the end of Christmas. I'm changing track slightly, going for a "Viking" instead of a "Roman". We'll see how it goes! I was so happy when I got home I just went "pah!" when I saw that I had received *another* rejection letter in the post. 5 in 2 weeks. Not bad, even if I say so myself - LOL! Take care. Caroline xxx

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Rejection Letters X4....

....I kid you not peeps. Four- FOUR - rejection letters in 2 days....*sigh*. 3 from Fiction Feast and 1 from Woman's Weekly for my short stories. Ah well onwards and upwards. I've got a few more to send out this week hopefully - so you never know.

PC seems to be behavin' itself (fingers crossed) so I'm back in blog land. But saying that I'm trying to cut down - I've done very little writing recently. My mojo seems to have taken a holiday and I need to kickstart her by concentrating of getting words on paper so to speak. Caroline x

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

M.I.A.... at home has serious Gremlin probs so I've been MIA for a while! Typing this at work where I have limited time. But as Arnie says, "I'll be back"... Caroline x

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Cream crackered - Part II

Just realised that I haven't blogged for ages - sorry! I've been a bit hectic with "life" recently - my poor old gran (92) has been in hospital. It was touch and go but she is now back in her OAP Home and feeling a lot better. She's not quite "right" but she's a lot better than she was.

The one thing about a loved one in hospital is just how time much your life revolves everything medical. As the only one in my family to drive, I was going there every day (which I didn't mind of course), but also I was the only "taxi" available for my family ferrying them to and fro as well. Again I didn't mind, but boy is it tiring!

Other things going on? Well we're looking at moving (those that know me will scream "again" - hee hee) but we have the opportunity to purchase a house with a loan from the Welsh Assembly Government - which helps those (us!) that can't afford a 100% mortgage. It's a good scheme, and they told us that we meet their criteria - so it's all systems go. House hunting as we speak!

So all in all I've been a bit scarce on the blogging and writing front recently - I hope to get back in the saddle soon. And guess what? I haven't even had a chance to vote yet on the NV 2nd Chapter. Shock horror - I'm surprised the site hasn't crashed I was on there so much - LOL. Take care. Caroline xxx

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Am I losing the plot....

....or what?

Now it maybe old age creeping up (I'm nearer to 50 than 40!) but I've been saying some mighty odd things lately. Here are a few:

1. To the husband: "Now no eating between snacks - dinner is nearly ready."

2. "I'm putting my foot down with a firm hand."

3. When referring to my dogs and their daily "habits" : "They are so Pavlova dogs."

4. Referring to *everything* as "Watchyoumacallit" - which annoys the DH something chronic!

Of course there are so many more - but taking into account the above - I can't now remember any more of them!

So... any thoughts? Have I lost the plot? Has my addiction to New Voices seriously addled my brain (yes!)? Or am I just going eccentric, as I approach middle age? Let me know will you. Caroline x

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Cream Crackered...

....don't know about you guys out there in blogland - but I'm exhausted. New Voices has closed (for now) and to be truthful I've been consumed by the whole thing! I've loved it. Reading (and commenting) on way too many entries - over 800 at the final count - can you believe that there are so many of *us* out there? Wow so many of us with dreams of becoming published by M&B it's amazing!

And what's even more amazing is the sheer variety of the entries, considering that the premise is that the H/h get together at the end! There have been some FANTASTIC entries - the writing is amazing and there are some authors out there who have the "Voice" that (I think) M&B are looking for. A lot of the authors I *know* through reading their blogs and following their journeys, and I seriously hope they get through, I really do.

I'm still checking my entry every day - VERY SAD Caroline - I know, I know - but it's addictive stuff I tell you. Goes without saying that I can't wait for Round 2. I just pity the poor editors having to pick just 10. Caroline xxxx

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Pssst. My New Voices entry has been sent....

....and gulp, I decided to send it under "Caroline Storer", I had planned on chickening out and sending it under another name - but considering how blunt (but I hope fair) I've been to other authors, I thought it only fair to allow them to get their own back!! So be kind people, and go and have a look. I've got broad shoulders, so don't hang back. I would welcome any feedback - after all that's the only way we will "grow" as authors.

So...It's called "The Roman's Revenge" in the Historical category.

I wanted to post one of those link thingies where it takes you direct to a site - but even after a year of blogging I *still* don't know how to do it! So if any of you fellow blogger's have a few minutes to spare to tell me how to do it I will be eternally grateful - be warned tho' -I'm rubbish at anything IT!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New Voices Competition....

.....Don't know about you - but I'm hooked. It's like the X Factor! I haven't read all the entries - it could become addictive I tell you - but I got up at 6am to get some more read (just don't tell the DH!). And talking of the X Factor am I speaking out of turn when I say that some are good and some *ahem* are not so good?

But saying that, all the entries so far - especially those subbed on the 1st day (how brave are they?) deserve a huge round of applause. I've not subbed yet and I'm so stressed about it. It's a 1000 x worse than sending it off to an editor/publisher I tell you! Your baby out there - ready to be read by everyone and anyone! OMG pass me a paper bag I'm hypering.

Anyway what am I going to do? Well I'm going to do a "Jackie". That's a Jackie Ashenden to you and those in blogland who know who I'm talking about. Jackie subbed it under her own name (and it's great BTW - "Talking Dirty With The CEO - check it out) - and that's what I'm going to do. Next week. I'm too uptight to do anything right now - I need to go and Mr Sheen my chapter (polish!) some more. But before that I'm off now to read some more entires before I have to go to work. Bye. Caroline x

Friday, 27 August 2010

Blog Party and a Competition....

.....go over to this site.... for the chance to win a book. I've done so - because as you all know I love anything "Roman".

Other news? Feeling SO relieved now my NWS MS has gone! A huge weight has been lifted. Now all I need to do is get my New Voices 1st Chapter licked into shape! Caroline x p.s have a great BH Weekend.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

AT LAST!.....

.... I've finished my WIP! Edited to beyond death it's finally ready to send off to the NWS YAY!

Wish me well folks - but believe me when I say I'm not going to worry about it until it lands back on my doorstep. Why? Well I've got to get another MS licked into shape to submit to the M&B "New Voices" comp that starts in September. Busy, busy! Caroline xxxxx

Monday, 16 August 2010

A new addition to the family!!!

Before you gasp too loudly - rest assured I'm not preggers!

No the new addition to our family is our "previously loved" Winnebago. "Winnie" as she is now called. The DH and I are beyond happy - and since we picked her up last Thursday we've been out in her every day. As you can see she's nearly as big as our small church cottage! She's an American import and has been built to a high spec. There are 2 double beds, a WC, shower, gas hob and fridge - all modcons. As I said she is "previously loved" being 19 years old. But saying that she's only done 59k miles since new, so, hopefully she still has a lot left in her. But the best bit is that she's automatic - which is a real plus for us as the DH has mobility issues.

Not one to do things by half the DH decided to buy our motorhome from eBay! Nothing new there you might think - but that was the first time we have EVER bought anything from eBay. Talk about going in big time! But it all worked out well and she's great!

Writing wise I'm *still* trying to get my ms ready for the NWS. It's been a bit like pulling teeth to be honest, and I'm going to stick my neck out here and say that I am one author who hates editing! There I've said it!! Anyhow best be off. Caroline x

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Super quick "R"!

Boo! Hiss! I've had another "R" for one of my short stories today.

I sent it on the 19th of July and had a nice rejection letter dated the 30th of July. That's got to be a record turnaround IMHO.

Hey ho! Best get writing and send some more "out there..."

Hope everyone in blogland is OK? I'm blogging about enjoying all the coverage from the RWA conference in Orlando. You never know one day I might get there myself.

Have a good weekend (what's left of it). Caroline x

Sunday, 18 July 2010

What I've learnt about....

....writing short stories over the past couple of months...

1. First off I'd thought I couldn't write "short", but with a bit of planning and just actually knuckling down and writing one, I found out that I could!

2. You type "The End" a heck of a lot sooner than when writing a book! This is obvious really, but it does focus the mind somewhat and gives you a much needed boost to reach the end I can tell you - especially when the current ms is on a "go slow".

3. Less is more. You really have to make sure the story is well constructed from the beginning to the end. There is no going off tangent etc. I tend to write 1000 word stories so you don't have a lot of words to play with.

4. Grammar and punctuation have to be spot on. Editors will just disregard a poorly written story.

5. The opening hook *really* has to hook the reader/editor into your story.

6. Don't introduce too many characters. 4 is usually regarded as the absolute maximum. Too many, and you confuse the readers.

7. Show don't tell. It's normally a 70/30 dialogue/narration split - with the dialogue pushing the story onwards the whole time. (Although I have read some stories that do buck this trend and have been almost 100% narration - but this is the exception rather than the rule.) Writing dialogue for my short stories has really helped my book writing. I'm finding my characters appear more human and not so stilted on the page now (I hope!) Although there is a slight difference, as I write historical so dialogue like "Chillax mum" don't quite fit into my historical MS's!

8. The short story market is ferocious. There are very few publications taking short stories and the competition is fierce.

9. You still get "R's". I've had one so far. But somehow a short story "R" doesn't seem as bad (well for me anyway!) as getting a form "R" for a book that's taken me a whole year to write. At least with a short story you can lick your wounds for a couple of hours, the maybe the next day just forget about it as you've written another short story that (IYHO) is better than the last one. Also you can always re-sub the rejected SS to another publication in a matter of hours as well.

10. Idea's for short stories are all around you. I often find that "real life " stories and news items can often be used/adapted for a short story. My latest short story was inspired by an article in a magazine about how school cooks "disguise" vegetables in order to get children to eat their "5 a day".

Well there you go. Caroline's insight into short story writing. On the other side of the coin - the latest WIP is nearly finished/edited and will be winging its way to the NWS at the RNA. Caroline x

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Am I green.......

.......with envy? Yup! Why? 'Cos I wish I was going to the RNA Conference In Greenwich that's why!!! (Pause for MEGA *sigh*)

There has been furore in blogland recently regarding the RNA's upcoming conference at Greenwich which starts tomorrow. It sounds fab, and I *so* wish I was going. But a wedding this year (mine if you didn't know) has wiped out the funds somewhat. Never mind, maybe next year!

But in the spirit of goodness I just want to say to all of you who are going/are there I hope you have a GREAT time! Enjoy the workshops (especially Kate Walkers and Kate Hardy's - I bet they will be fun); enjoy the socialising and general smooziness of the event, but most of all I hope you all come back enthused with the writing bug!

To those of you who can't get there, here's hoping blogland will be full of lots of lovely photo's (especially of the shoes/outfits) when everyone gets back at their respective desks so we can have a right old nosey!

Enjoy! Caroline xxxx

Thursday, 24 June 2010

10 Things You Didn't Know About Me...

Someone, somewhere in blogland nominated me for this a while ago. For the life of I can't remember who they were! But in the spirit of the "award" here are 10 things about me..

1. Most of my formative years were spent abroad. My dad was in the RAF, so I've lived in places such as Germany, Quatar, Saudia Arabia and the Persian Gulf amongst others.

2. I used to swim competitively. 200m butterfly was my best event. Now? 2m would probably kill me!

3. The day job prior to the one I have now, involved working with asbestos. When I die my epitaph will read, "it wasn't the cough that carried her off, it was the coffin they carried her off in."

4. I always wanted to be a marine scientist. Even now after 30 years I can still remember the scientific names of seaweeds. Fucus vesiculosus anyone?

5. I love the film Zulu, and one day I will go to Rorkes Drift.

6. I love motorhoming. In an ideal world the DH and I would travel the world in our motorhome. I would write (and get paid) for my books and short stories and this would fund our adventures. (Well you have to dream don't you!)

7. My dad was an electronics engineer and to this day says that he fitted circuit boards on ICBM's! I still don't know whether I believe him or not. (OK, not exactly related to me - but it is a good one!)

8. I love heavy metal music. I was well into the rock scene in my youth. It sill surprises my step son (now 25) when I recall all the songs from bands such as AC/DC, Metallica, Motorhead etc. which he is now into!

9. I go to church. Our congregations averages 14 on any one week! Small, but friendly at the same time.

10. I love tills or anything that money goes into! I should really work in a shop or a bank!

Well that's it! As most of my fellow bloggers have already done this list - I nominate anyone who hasn't already done their "Top 10". Caroline xxxx

Monday, 7 June 2010

Just popping out of the Bat Cave to say....


1. Got a "R" from Take a Break - Fiction Feast for one of my short stories. 3 still out there tho' so fingers crossed.

2. Is it me - but is there general apathy out "there" at the moment? A lot of my blog pals seem to be finding it very "hard" at the moment. My creative well has dried up at the moment - so I'm plodding on with edits - it's about all I can manage!

Back into the cave now. Bye! Caroline x

Saturday, 22 May 2010

It's time to go into the Bat Cave......

.....and not come out until:

1. My NWS MIP (Mess In Progress) is done and dusted! I *need* to get this ready by 1st July at the latest on the premise that the NWS (and poor Melanie Hilton) is snowed under come the August deadline. So head down and "GO!"

2. I need to finish my latest WIP (not to be confused with the MIP above!) This is book 3 that needs a final edit - and as Jane Holland pointed out on her recent blog - "why does the edits and rewrites take more time than the actual 1st draft...." *sigh*

3. I'm also enjoying, at the moment, writing lots of short stories which I am subbing to the WOMAGS (Women's Magazines). I never thought I could do "short" but I have surprised myself by actually having some "out there". I've also joined an (invitation only) blog group (there are 12 of us) who sub (anonymously) a short story every 2 weeks. We then critique each others stories and this gives valuable feedback on plot, character, and (more importantly) whether there is a chance it could be good enough to be sent to various editors at the WOMAGS we all target.

SO WHAT DOES ALL THE ABOVE MEAN? Well my amigos it means I'm going to go AWOL for a while. Less blogging, less commenting until numbers 1 and 2 above are done and dusted.

I can feel the withdrawal symptoms fast approaching - this bunny *loves* blogging. But wish me well and god speed (etc) and I'll "see" you all soon....(sob).......Caroline xxxx p.s. well.....maybe a couple of my "favourite" blogs will still get read and....well you get the picture.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Has it been THAT long?.....

.....since I last posted? Nearly 2 weeks. Time just seems to be flying (unlike the planes recently lol).

Writing wise I've been hit by the short story bug. I was lucky enough to get onto a private blogsite that consists of 12 writers who target the womag short story market. The remit of the group is to submit a story once a fortnight which is then critiqued by the others. Honest, and frank advice is given about it's chances "out there". The group consists of some published short story writers, and some (like me) unpubbed. I feel quite excited about being in this group, and this has fueled my creative juices to such an extent that my brain has been working overtime. I think I'm up to 28 short story plots that have either been fleshed out, written, or in a folder marked "TO DO".

Other news? My dear M-I-L who has been in hospital since September may be able to come out next week. Fingers crossed she can as it is her 70th birthday on the 8th of May and it would be fantastic if she could have a party with friends and family. I'm doing the "Race for Life" next weekend in aid of Cancer Research which I enlisted for as MIL had bowel cancer so wish me luck. Caroline x

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Blame it on the sunshine....

....but not as the song goes "on the boogie". Blame what? My very poor attendance at the PC this week that's what! The sunshine has been 'acallin' and I've been very naughty sitting outside in the garden and soaking up the rays. My only excuse - it was a loooong winter this year and I'm making the most of it. Also doom and gloom in the Sunday newspapers today saying that the ash cloud from Iceland is going to mean a bad summer apparently. *Growl* What worse than last year? Surely not! So all in all I've not had much enthusiasm to do any writing this week on the wip.

I have done a few bit'n'pieces - namely getting my first ever short story out into the post and landing on some poor editors huge intray. I've also finished another short story and I'm fine tuning a 3rd. So at least that's something to report.

Sorry Judy - your critique is about 1/2 done. Promise to get it done this week.

Like I say - Blame it on the sunshine....

Best go. At least I wrote this blog today....that's something I suppose. Caroline x

Thursday, 8 April 2010

5 - 5 - 5 Blog Award - sort of!

Thanks to going onto Masey Yates Blog I got this Award by default!

Question 1: Where were you five years ago?
1. I was living in Gwynedd, just over the "border" in North Wales.
2. I hadn't even thought of writing then. I was a "reader" only.
3. I was working for Anglesey County Council - but full time. Now I only work part-time - BIG result!

4. We only had one dog. Now we have 2 - another rescue dog.

5. I was engaged, but now I'm married.

Question 2: What is (was) on your to do list today?

1. Take the grandson out for the day. We did and had a great day.
2. Re-read my story and edit. Done it.
3. Take dogs out for a long walk. Done.
4. Hoover. Failed. Too busy taking grandson out and having fun! Yay!
5. Write blog. Done.

Question 3: What five snacks do you enjoy?

1. Chips. (French fries!)
2. Digestive biscuits
3. Crisps .
4. Toast and jam
5. Tea (especially if answer 2 accompanies it!)

Question 4: What five places have you lived in?

1. Germany
2. Quatar
3. Saudia Arabia.
4. England.
5. In my head - creating stories - a great place to be IMHO.

Question 5: What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. Buy a villa somewhere hot for breaks.
2. Buy a house in the UK with a study that overlooks the sea.
3. Sort out all my friends and relatives so they don't have to worry about money again.
4. Put my MIL in a private hospital so she could be sorted out asap. She's been in hospital since Sept 2009 - I kid you not!
5. Give a whack of money to my favourite charaties including the setting up of my own dog and cat rescue centre!

Thanks Maisey for nominating me - sort of!

And now for something a bit different...

Now the wedding and honeymoon is over it's back to the writing. But something a bit different for me. I've just written a short story! First one ever, and to be honest it was quite fun, and quite easy to do! I've always had a bit of a mental block when it came to short stories because I had always convinced myself that no way could I put together a story in so few words! I like to read short stories but I write books. 75k the norm. Not 1500 words.

But never say never. I decided to have a go and worked. I finished one. The story is about a wedding (no really!) but it has a twist at the end. From my limited research into the short story market editors like stories with a twist in the tale - a lot.

My lovely CP Suzanne (Jones) had a read of it for me - because as we all know - she has been uber successful recently on the short story front - and well...she liked it! Yay!

So I'm going to fine tune it today and send it off to Take a Break Fiction Feast and see where it goes. Probably back in the SAE - but hey - nothing ventured nothing gained.

On a serious note I did enjoy writing it, mainly because "The End" came a whole lot sooner than writing a book. And it was good to craft a story from beginning to end in a matter of days rather than months. I'm currently taking 7 months to write a book and that's a long time before I see the light at the end of the tunnel. The short story also focussed my mind on the nitty gritty details of writing as I had to think a whole faster as to where the story was going and how it would end. With a book you can just write it and edit later, layering / deleting etc. With the SS it has to be "right" more or less from the outset, otherwise you don't have a story. And as I said it was nice to see a final resolution in a matter of days with the short story.

Anyway enough wittering. Fingers crossed. and happy writing. This weekend it's back to the wip - book. Take care. Caroline x

Monday, 29 March 2010

Wedding photo's!

Doing this very quickly - as I am at work! So no chat - just pictures! Caroline xxx

Saturday, 27 March 2010

And another one!

This morning! Drove over new manhole cover and blow me down it's snapped in half again. I've lost count of the "broke" things now. It's getting to the stage where I just laughed this morning! Caroline x

Friday, 26 March 2010


This quote was on Kate Hardy's blog this morning - "However, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction – which means I’ve also been hit by three baddies this week."....and it got me wondering about the week I/we have had!! Why? Well as all you kind people know I got married last week and this week is supposed to be our honeymoon. We had planned to stay at home and do days out etc. But there have been lots of "broken" things that have happened this week. Let me fill you in - and for any of you with "special powers" who read tea leaves etc. all I can ask is "What does it mean!!!!????"

1. Sunday morning - early 'phone call from someone close to us telling us that their relationship is over (Broke 1) - serious talking to and lots of advice given - finger crossed etc.
2. Monday morning (8am!) - 2nd phone call saying their relationship is SO over that nothing can save it now - *sigh* (Broke 2).
3. Tuesday. New mattress delivered by Argos (no sniggering now - we've needed a new one for ages now honest!). Delivery vehicle drives over manhole and smashes it to pieces. (Broke 3). Lots of phone calls to Argos re reimbursement etc.
4. Wednesday. Visit to dentist to fix broken tooth. (Broke 4).
5. Thursday. Not too bad - had a nice morning with grandson. But then in the evening washing machine broke down along with back window screen wiper on DH's car. (Broke 5 & 6)
6. Friday. Took dogs out in DH's car. Switched radio on. Nothing. (Broke 7). I'm suspecting that the electrical gremlins have got in DH's car.

So like I said - lots of "Broke" things this week.

Some good news though - apart from all the above - we have had a few nice days out and I'm picking up the wedding CD ROM this afternoon. Yay! Caroline xxx

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Sorry Guys!

Sorry Guys! The links to some of the wedding photo's are via my niece's Facebook site. So *I* can see them but you can't. Technology and me are always the tenuous of friends at the best of times - and this is one of them. But as soon as I get back to work on the 29th I promise to post some. Caroline x

Friday, 19 March 2010


Duhh - got it wrong - but if you jiggle with it you might be able to view my niece's pictures! If not - sorry!

More picci's

Another picture of me and Colin and my mum and dad. I've pinched them from my niece's facebook!


Try this? It may work or it may not. If it does I'll post some more!

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Birthday and Wedding Day.

We had a GREAT DAY yesterday - thanks to ALL of you who have posted comments. My wedding day was fabulous. The sun shone (unlike today - it's raining and cold!!!) everyone turned up, there where no glitches, and we had a lovely sit down meal. Our reception finished at around 6pm and when we got home we were totally exhausted. No way could I have coped with an evening disco. Way too old for that one. I am now Mrs Caroline Hartin. Yay - not before time some said yesterday.

As well as yesterday's BIG DAY on Monday it was my birthday and my two friends from London came up early to take me out. We had a great afternoon having high tea at a local posh hotel. It was the first time I've ever had "proper" afternoon tea. Sad I know but true. Then after tea we all ended up back out my house and cracked open the bubbly. We then staggered back to the hotel where I was staying the night (as tradition dictates before the wedding) and had a right laugh drinking more champagne. So it was great to see my oldest, bestest friends in the whole wide world just before my big day. Kath, Paula and I have known each other for 28 years now.

Hope this post gets to everyone - as my phone line is actually down at the moment; and I can't post piccis until I go back to work on the 29th as I don't have the facilities here on my pc - sorry! Caroline x

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Forgot To Mention...

...this great site for fab information on Publishing Houses and Agents - Passionate Pen. Check it out and keep it as a favourite - I know I have. (

Making everyone cry - me included!

I sent an email request off last week to Radio 2's "Sunday Love Songs" hosted by DJ Steve Wright (0900 - 1100am). I asked for a dedication on his "Getting Hitched" spot for today. And guess what? He played it! Woohoo. Dead chuffed. On national radio - a first for me at least. I send the dedication in for our forthcoming wedding, along with a dedication for Colin's mum (since it's Mothering Sunday today) as she can't be with us on our wedding day as she's still in hospital (since September - bless). So if you want to be as sad as me and have a listen it's on the Radio 2 website - iplayer - around 44 minutes into the show.

So that's why I made everyone cry. Weddings don't half up the emotional tempo - I'm feeling very teary at the moment - but nice teary - if you get my drift. I'm just an old softie really.

Birthday tomorrow - my best mates in the world (Kath and Paula) are coming up from London tomorrow and taking Colin and I out for afternoon tea. Then it's getting ready for Tuesday and the big day! Finger's crossed - everything is done and dusted. All it needs is for everyone to turn up and have a good time. Caroline xx

Sunday, 7 March 2010

10,9 more.....

.....days to go before "the day" - i.e. my wedding day. Everything is done and dusted. People booked and paid for - all that remains is for me and the DH2B to turn up. Considering the distractions in organising said do I've been quite good and gotten some writing done (well editing wip no 3 at least.). And I've been (quite) good and not been blogging too much - only my fave sites of course. Next week is a bit hectic though. Busy week at work then its my RNA Lunch on Thursday. Trisha Ashley is promoting her new book and the girls are giving me a "shower". Then on Friday it's my hen night with the girls from work. Then next Monday (15th) is my birthday, then the 16th the wedding. Yay. Caroline x

Friday, 26 February 2010

Fishguard Writing Course

As I said earlier this week, I had a blast in Fishguard last weekend. Kate Walker's writing weekend is a must for those of you serious about learning the craft of romance writing.

I learnt SO much. Yes I've read a lot of "How To" books - Kate's included - but there is no substitute for the real thing. Kate was so giving of her time - even though on Saturday evening (when she didn't have to btw) she gave us an additional workshop when she clearly wasn't feeling the best.

One of the things that was clear to most of us was that we all felt we would benefit from an advanced course on romance writing; and I believe this is going to happen. So armed with my £10.00 deposit I've booked myself on next year's course (God willing) and I can't wait to meet Kate again for "Part 2".

What did I learn? Loads and loads. Too much to blog about. The main thing? I need to get my bum on the seat and write. So saying that I have been good this past week and as of 8pm this evening I've typed an extra 8k on the current wip. This is good, as I have serious issues with the word count on this wip. I still need to find another 9k or so. But this is dooable. I need to layer in description/character/background etc. so I'm hopeful of making up the shortfall.

Take care. Caroline x

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

New Year's Resolution - Part 2!

I've just come back from Kate Walker's writing weekend in Fishguard. In a word it was "fantastic" - and anyone wanting to write romance really should go on one of her courses. I've read so many "How To" books - but there is no substitute for the real thing. You just get so much more when a published author like Kate shares her wise words and wisdom!

Can't ramble on for too much as I've got to go to work - but all I will say is that Kate's workshop weekend has fired me up so much that I want to write so much that I will now - finally - keep to one of my New Year's Resolutions. The one that said "less blogging and more writing". I am severely going to limit myself (promise!) to no more than 1/2 an hour a day from now on! Yay! Thank's Kate. It was great! Caroline x

Monday, 15 February 2010

A sneak preview.....

At long last I've got myself an outfit for my wedding! This had been causing me major stress I can tell you. The photo on the left is the fascinator that goes with the outfit....

Will be back next week to post about how wonderful a time I had at Kate Walker's writing weekend in Fishguard! Take care - Caroline x

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Do you have a favourite author quote?

I love reading books on "How To Write a Romance Novel". I also love to read quotes attributed to authors. I find they inspire me - and if I'm honest I *wish* I could think of something so witty to say! So without further ado here are some of my favourites. Oh and do you have a favourite author quote you would like to share....?

1. "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and open a vein." Red Smith.
2. "So you want to be a writer? I offer one simple piece of advice - "Don't give up your day job!"" - Dallas Schulze
3. "It's a damn good story. If you have any comments, write them on the back of a check." Erle Stanley Gardner
4. "Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling
5. "I hate writing, but I love having written." Dorothy Parker
6. "It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature." Henry James
7. "There are three rules to writing fiction. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." Somerset Maughan
8. "My main advice is to get a cat. They're the best possible company while you're writing, and provide an excellent object lesson in how to cope when things aren't going well. Lie by the radiator, and go to sleep." Michael Marshall Smith.
9. "The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." Tom Clancy. And finally (for now at least.....)
10. "I think, in a way you should find writing difficult - each new book should present a fresh challenge. I'd be very worried if I found it easy." Linda Newbery.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

No really. I'm not panicking but....... wedding is fast approaching. This is what's on my "Done", "To Do" and "Failed" List.

Done List
1. Wedding ring bought
2. Photographer booked
3. Reception booked
4. DH2b outfit bought
5. Invitations sent out (there's only 20 - so that wasn't too hard)
6. Registry Office booked
7. Girls at work are organising my hen night - lovely!

To Do List.
1. My outfit needs to be bought. Have booked a day off work next week and I'm dragging my poor mum around the shop until a) I get and outfit or b) I run screaming into the hills never to be seen again. Unfortunately b) is odds on favourite at the moment!!!
2. Need to get myself some flowers.
3. Need to arrange transport for my family (I am the *only* one in my family who drives!). So I need to organise a small mini bus to pick them all up etc. etc.
4. Need to get a cake.

Failed List
1. No surprises here (for those who know me anyway) - but I have failed to lose any weight! (So sorry Kate (Hardy)). I'm one of those women who when stressed just eats. I've always envied friends and family who say "I'm so stressed I've lost 20 pounds." Grrrrrrrrrr.
2. Promised myself that as this is only a small informal wedding (which it is) I won't stress about it. FAILED Miserably. Can I blame the girls at work? *They* have been more concerned about the plans for the wedding than I have. "You haven't got an outfit yet? Aren't you worried?" "You haven't ordered flowers yet? Oh!" Ewwwww. Up until then I wasn't too bad - but I am now!!!!!!!! Got to have a break to cry into my tea.

Only consolation - DH2b loves me as I am! Thank goodness - but still - I do need to wear *something* nice!

As for writing? Well actually I have been doing edits on Book 3 funnily enough. It takes my mind off the above. That and blogging on my favourite sites. That helps enormously - and I've won 2 books in the last week - so a bonus.

Take care. Caroline x

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Where Does The Time Go?

First off. Feeling chuffed that I got into the top 11 of Donna Alwards Perfect Pitch Competition. It was the first time I tried something like this and I learnt a lot. Donna very kindly gave me some excellent feedback and she liked my story. Yay!

Had a nice weekend. Makes up for the last 2 - still apologising for my mega whinge last week - sorry! It was my (step) grandsons 2nd Birthday - and as I've intimated in the title line - blimey where *does* the time go? It only seems like yesterday when he was born. As you can see I've posted some photo's of his lovely (but noisy) birthday party! Take care. Caroline x

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Hi all. Got to apologise for the mega whinge earlier! Have been positive this afternoon and been a good girl by sitting at my desk and putting together my Pitch for Donna Alwards "Perfect Pitch" competition. (It's on her blog site but hurry if you are thinking of entering as it ends this Friday.)

Fingers crossed that she likes it and that I haven't sent too much i.e. more of a synopsis than a pitch.

But as the old saying goes "you have to be in it to win it". Take care. Caroline x

Writing....but not the "write" sort....

You know we all get one of those (ugghhh) weeks...well this week and last week were mine....So apologies for the mega whinge that is about to be dumped on you poor people.

1. Monday 11th - take DH2b to A&E. He's been laid up for a week prior to this with swelling in his foot. (Being a man he kept saying "I'll be all right".) 7 frigg*ing hours later go home. Foot not broken - just badly sprained. Spend next 4 days wearing metaphorical nurses uniform tending to "patient". (Did feel sorry for DH2B though as this is an underlying problem. DH2b has cream crackered feet that just "go" on average 6 times a year - which means he is laid up. )
2. Tuesday 12th. Given a piece of work to do in the day job that has me typing furiously and stressing mega big time all of last week, all of the weekend (except Saturday - see later) and all of this week so far. In short I've become a barrister providing legal advice on stuff that is WAY out of my comfort zone. This is all well and good but I am NOT a barrister! So I've been writing stuff that I don't want to write and totally not doing the writing I want to (romance) as I'm just soooooo tired! I know all you hardened cynics will say that you write no matter how tired you are - but not me - I just can't concentrate not to mention being brain dead.
3. Saturday 16th - Have a break to visit my gran in her OAP home. Turn up with mum to find call out doctor there who advises she has a possible thrombosis and has to go to hospital asap! Take mum to A&E. Get there at 3pm. Leave at 10pm. No word of a lie one of the doctors who was there on Monday the 11th nodded at me as if to say "oh hello you again...."
Today - Thursday 21. Back to hospital with DH2b for a check up on his shoulder - which was operated on last summer.

Like I said one of those (2) weeks. Now POSITIVE thoughts!
1. I will do MY writing this weekend.
2. Grandson is 2 on Saturday and we are going to have a fun party.
3. Going to enter Donna Alwards "pitch" competition. MUST do this today as it ends tomorrow.

Sorry for the whinge and thanks for listening. Caroline xxx

Thursday, 14 January 2010

There really is a Romance "formula"....

After reading many a "how to write" a Romance book I have had it drummed into me that there is no magical "formula" for writing a romance, whether a category romance, historical, or chic lit.

But I'm going to rebel (courtesy of Deborah Hale - romance author) and suggest that there is a "formula". And here it is....... (H + h x A) ÷ C + HEA = R

Now many of you hardy romance writers will spot what the formula is right away. For those who don't here's the breakdown:

H = Hero. h = heroine. Put them together and there has to be A = attraction. Without the A there can't be a romance. Fine, but to sustain any romance novel then C must kick in somewhere - usually at the beginning of the book - preferably on the first page. C = conflict which will do it's utmost to break up (divide) the H/h. "C"'s are those internal (and sometimes external) issues/conflicts that torment, tease and down right confound our H/h right up until the end of the book - which is obviously the HEA - the Happy Ever After. So all those variables will finally result in the R - the Romance (book) that we aspiring authors all aim to produce, and hopefully one day, God willing, will get published.

Easy ehh? No not really! Downright hard work in reality getting the "formula" right. (This probably explains why I was so rubbish at maths at school!) Again
thanks to Deborah Hale for this post. I hope she didn't mind me pinching her formula. Take care. Caroline x

Friday, 8 January 2010

The WIP is finished but.........

but.....I'm 13k words short!!!

OMG I kid you not. As I write HM&B Historicals (or try to!) the word count needs to be 70 - 75k. I've just typed "The End" at 54,879.

I know, I know. SERIOUS problem. There are some bit'n'pieces where I can fill in - such as an epilogue - but seriously I still need to find at least another 12k. (I'm breaking off here to have a major panic attack. Pass me a paper bag someone please.)

Right. Calm. Deep breaths. I need to solve this problem. So... here's what I'm going to do:

1. Read ms again. Fill in major gaps. Layer like it's never been layered before.
2. Add extra scenes where I can. Perhaps another love scene - although I don't want to just do a "filler" exercise! This is dangerous and potentially not good.
3. Read Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide to Romance Writing - again - for some much needed tips!
4. Ask you lovely, lovely, lovely people in blog land what to do. Has this ever happened to you? Any wise words of wisdom to share? Pleeeeese share any tips you may have. I will be extremely grateful trust me.

Going now to have another panic attack........

Caroline x

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Aw Mum - but it's cold outside!

Could two dogs get any closer to the fire if they tried?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Baby it's cold outside!

Hello all! Hope you all having a good New Year - yes I know it's only 5 days in -but I'm aiming for optimism this year!

Managed to keep to my N Y R so far! Blogging *after* I've done my daily word count has proved the hardest. Is it only me or do others out there love blogging as much as I do?!

Like most of the UK it's blinkin' cold out there at the moment! But (fingers crossed) where I live has so far escaped any major blanketing of snow! This is because we are an island, and as such the salt air does help in keeping away the white stuff. Ten miles up the road is a different story of course as the Snowdonia mountain range is awash with the stuff. Lovely to look at but treacherous none the less! The mountain rescue team have been busy over the holiday period. Apparently they had to rescue 2 men who decided to climb Snowdonia in jeans, thin anorak and trainers! I tell you! How stupid can you get. Unsurprisingly they fell foul of the cold weather and had to be rescued. Both are suffering from hypothermia and are still in hospital!

Ah well. Enough whinging! Back to the wip - which I am managing to plod on with, albeit at a tortoise pace! Take care. Caroline x