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Category: News

Killing my darlings

Hi all, I’m flying in to apologize for the lack of recent posts — I’m madly racing (I just typed that as raving, and it’s not far wrong, LOL.) towards the end of the book and planning to send it in to my editor at the end of the week. I’m almost finished — just two scenes to go — a wedding and an epilogue — but that’s not my problem.

The wip (work in progress) is too long — over 115,000 words. My usual books are between 95,000 and 100,000 words long (well, except for The Perfect Rake, which was 126,000 words, but that was my first book with Berkley and I didn’t know any better).  Now, you might say that the length of the book doesn’t matter to you, and I’d agree: as long as a book keeps me turning the pages, I don’t care how long it is.

No, the problem is the printing process — specifically it’s a paperback problem. E-books are fine. But with paperbacks, my publisher tends to make the books pretty much the same number of pages each time — around 320 pages maximum, and that means no matter what the number of words in the manuscript, they will shrink the print to fit the number of pages. Which means in some cases, small print with close together lines, and it’s hard to read for some people.

And so I get emails from people, complaining. Not that I can do anything about it.

So I’m cutting words, and even though I know that cutting always makes a book stronger, it’s hard. I’m cutting bits I really like, but that don’t actually need to be in the book. You know what they (writers) say — “Kill your darlings.” So I’m madly killing darlings.


I’ll share some of them if you’re interested, but later, after my editor has seen the manuscript and I’ve revised it. I’ll be asking her if she can see any more darlings to kill.

In the meantime, keep well and healthy, and try to find joy in small moments.

I’m enjoying the flowering of my tangled garden. This is my lilac, just coming into bloom, and the jasmine is covering my side fence in fragrant gorgeousness. I love flowers with scent. 


Virtual escapes

Like most of us, I’ve been in lockdown for months, but I get a lot of pleasure from some of the blogs I follow.

It’s a kind of virtual escape. 

Here’s one I enjoy  from  a woman who walks and takes photos of the wild  bushland of Tasmania — and if you’re sweltering, you might enjoy these photos of a cool temperate rainforest — wild untamed country, giant tree ferns, big rocks, and a few scatterings of snow.  

Tasmania is the southernmost part of Australia — the “small” island at the bottom of the map, “small” being a relative term — Tasmania is about the same size as Ireland or Switzerland, or the state of West Virginia in the USA. 

It’s also one of the earliest parts of the country that was colonized by Europeans, and yet  while it has some lovely historic buildings and beautiful rolling hills and farmland, it also has some of the most brilliantly wild bushland as well.

Gazing at these photos, I can almost smell the fresh, sharp smell of the native bushland plants and the cool earth. 

If you enjoyed these two photos, click on the link below and visit her blog, where there are plenty more gorgeous photos.

Split Rock Falls – The Most Beautiful Rainforest Walk

Cat entitlement

A friend of mine has a gloriously character-filled cat called Obi.
He’s also gorgeous looking, with the most amazing polished copper eyes. He has the kind of personality that demands the household fit around his needs and desires, not the other way around. (I find him totally charming and yearn for a kitten just like him, even though I’m allergic to cat fur.)

Recently my friend took delivery of a new chair, which was all wrapped in bubble wrap. The chair is to be transported to a new house, so is staying in the bubble-wrap.

My friend made a small hole in the wrapping, just to show the color and texture of the chair to her housemate.

Two hours later, my friend is working and her housemate comes in to say, “I can’t find the cat.”  (Obi is a bit of an escapologist.)

So a search ensues. They look everywhere, all through the house, out in the garden and up and down the road.

No cat. Time passes. Their worry grows.

Then they hear a rustling sound. Near the new, bubble-wrapped chair.

Actually in the bubble-wrapped chair, which he has clearly claimed for his own.

Every time I visit this cat, I come away with a renewed desire for a kitten, even though I know it’s not practical and I’ll sneeze my head off. I’ve had several cats in my life and adored each one, but they always come to me accidentally. 

But I’ll talk more about my various cats in another post.

In the meantime, enjoy this photo of Obi as a kitten, soaking up the sun, cats being natural heat-seeking devices.