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The book is in!

I just sent in the full  draft of  THE SECRET DAUGHTER, my latest book, and am wiped.

It’s always a rush to the end for me, as I try to tie in all the loose threads —and since this is the last book in the Brides of Bellaire Gardens series, there’s a need to tie in the series, too, I think.

It’s now with my editor in New York. She will read the manuscript, and give me feedback and make suggestions for revisions. I’m always very glad to receive those because by the time I finish a book, I can’t see the wood for the trees.

Once I have that, I will revise the manuscript again — hoping I can see it more clearly now, having had a break from it.

After that, if she’s happy with it, it will go to a copyeditor, who will correct any typos, and the occasional Australian/UK spelling that has slipped through, and generally make sure there are no mistakes.  Then it will come back to me, to look at those corrections and decide if I agree with them or not. (Spoiler alert — I don’t always.)

After that it will go back to my editor, who will give it a final check, and then send it to be laid out ready to print. That will then come back to me as a pdf, and I will give it one last check.  Surprisingly there is always a handful of small things that have slipped through the process, so I note them and send a report to my editor. The publisher will also appoint a proofreader.

And after all that, there is a long wait while the book is produced, printed and shipped out to bookshops.  Which is why traditionally published books take so much longer to produce than self published (indie) books.

So the draft is finished, but not the book, if that makes sense.
And in the meantime, I’m looking around me and making a list of everything I’ve neglected while the book dominated my life. It’s a long list, and not particularly thrilling. Starting with a little bit of house work, and then . . . TAX. Oh the joy!

I’ll tell you more about the characters and the story later. There’s another book coming out before this one. THE HEIRESS’S DAUGHTER comes out on May 21, 2024. To give you an idea of how long the process can take, I handed in the full draft of that story back in early March, 2023.
But I’ll talk about that story soon.

More about the Perfect Kiss

Just a reminder — from 3rd June to 9th June the e-book of THE PERFECT KISS is on a Bookbub special, costing $1.99 instead of the usual price of $7.99

If you’d like to read an excerpt of THE PERFECT KISS  click here. It’s the hero and heroine’s first meeting.

And if you’d like to see some of the images that helped inspire the story click here. And see the snippet below.

The stairs
I’d written about the stairs with the dips made by generation of feet long before I found this image on the web.

One of the primary schools I attended as a child was quite old — one of the earliest built in Victoria, my state — and I was fascinated to see the dips in the steps made by generations of children climbing them.

It gave me a small thrill each time I fitted my feet into those dips, thinking of children more than a hundred years ago doing the very same thing. So I put them in THE PERFECT KISS and much later was thrilled to see this image of a cathedral with the same sort of worn stone steps.

I have a newsletter coming out in the next day or so. If you want it, make sure you subscribe to it on my website. (it’s at the top)


Writing By Hand

Today’s post is inspired by this article, about the benefits of writing by hand. 

I have never stopped writing by hand, though I don’t do it consistently. I went to an academic high school, where there wasn’t a “secretarial” stream, and nobody learned typing. I do recall one far-seeing teacher who insisted that there would come a time in the not-too-distant future when we would all need to type, and he set up a voluntary typing class. Of course I didn’t want to lose any of my rare spare time at school, so I never attended it. Silly me!

As a result I’m a two or three finger typist — fast but not particularly accurate. And often I do all my writing on the computer. But whenever I’m a little bit stuck, or can’t decide how to approach a scene, or just need to feel out where I’m going in a book or have an idea not related to what I’m actually working on. I pull out a trusty notebook and write by hand.

In fact, I started my career as a writer when I was backpacking, and found my head spinning with stories. So I bought a notebook and started writing them down. I’d filled two whole notebooks by the time I got home. There were snatches of stories, story ideas, whole scenes, dialogue exchanges and a good chunk of a young adult novel.

 None of those ever saw the light of day, but the writing had inspired me. And the notebooks were there to glance through and be reinspired. Later I bought my first computer, and started seriously trying to write. I found though, that putting the first draft of a scene onto a computer was slow and unsatisfactory — my typing contained lots of mistakes and they distracted me and got in the way of “the flow.”

There has been a lot of scientific investigation into what happens in the brain when you’re writing by hand or using a keyboard, and the results seem clear that the best, most creative results come from handwriting. The article I linked to above explains it. Whether or not that’s the case for people who’ve grown up using keyboards, I’m not so sure. But it absolutely works for me.

So I learned to write a scene by hand and then type it up. In the typing up process  I also edited it. When writing a dialogue  exchange, for instance, my pen would fly so quickly I would only scribble down the words that the characters actually said, and nothing about where they were, what they were doing or thinking or even who said what.  So when I would go to type that scene up, I’d put in all that extra necessary stuff in, which is a kind of editing process.

I always have a notebook on the go, and have a new one ready for when I finish one. I use small sticky notes to mark where notes I keep notes for my current wip (work in progress). And I have kept all my notebooks, even the ones from that long ago backpacking trip. Just yesterday I pulled out an old notebook where I remembered I’d jotted down some ideas and scene stubs for a novella I started some years ago. That’s it at the top of the page. I remembered writing some scenes, but they weren’t in the computer file, so I knew they’d be in a notebook. And they were.