Wednesday, 15 August 2012

All good things come to an end …

I spent last night drinking pink fizz with fellow York writers Jessica Thompson and Donna Douglas, and what a great evening we had.  I can’t remember the last time I had to be kicked out of a bar!

I don’t know if it’s the cava talking, or words of wisdom from Jessica and Donna, both of whom are much more clued up on the social media front, but I think it’s time to face some realities.  I am scrabbling to keep up with two blogs and two Facebook pages and not doing any of them properly. 

So it’s time for a new social media strategy (sounds impressive, doesn’t it?)  I think this blog has run its course, so I’m calling it a day here.  I’ll be keeping my Jessica Hart hat on for Facebook, where I have a lovely time posting photos and wittering on about my day, and I do hope you’ll come and find me there.  
And of course, news about new releases will be on my website,

I’ll be putting on a less frivolous hat for my Pamela Hartshorne blognewly moved from Wordpress to Blogger (don't get me started on what a business that was!)  My plan is to focus future blogs on my historical research rather than on my gold medals in procrastination and if you’re interested in history, I’d love to see you there too.  Come on over in September, when I’ll be back from my holiday and find snippets of background research, excerpts from Time’s Echo and a chance to win a signed copy. 

Until then, many thanks to those of you who have read and commented on this blog in the past.  It’s been wonderful to feel connected to you all and please keep in touch. 

Jessica Hart on Facebook: 
Jessica Hart website:
Pamela Hartshorne blog: 
Pamela Hartshorne website:
And finally, I’m on Twitter @PamHartshorne

Confused?  I know I am!

Oh, and finally, don't forget to look out for the RIVA relaunch in October, including a re-release of We'll Always Have Paris with a new cover. There'll be more about this on Facebook!  


Thursday, 9 August 2012

To update or not to update? That is the question.

Always one to wait until a bandwagon has trundled past and I’m left coughing and spluttering in the dust before I start to run after it, I am about to venture into self-publishing. 

Copyright ©1992 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd

Rather to my own surprise, I have recovered the rights to five of my earliest books, including my very first, A Sweeter Prejudice and one that remains a favourite after all these years, Woman at Willagong Creek.  As you have no doubt gathered, this was before I discovered that books sold better with Wedding or Baby or Billionaire in the title.

The technological challenge of the whole business has me daunted, but fortunately that’s being taken care of for me, so all I really need to do now is to decide how much editing I need to do before we publish these books again.  Opinion seems to be divided about whether you should update the stories so that the characters use cell phones and the internet, or whether you leave them as ‘vintage’ pieces. 

I’m inclining towards the latter, mainly because I’m afraid that if I start playing around with books written so long ago, I’ll end up feeling that I have to rewrite the entire book, which would defeat the whole object.

There’s no way stories twenty years old aren’t going to seem dated.  You can tell that even reading re-releases of early books by successful authors like Mary Balogh, Tess Gerritsen or Harlan Coben.  It seems to me that it’s not so much the details as the writing itself that is dated.

What do you think?  Do you like your contemporary romances bristling with up-to-date references, or are you prepared to make allowances for a vintage story?

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Success vs failure: It's all in the mind

I’m a great one for goals.  In the middle of June, I set myself a target of a 100,000 word draft of The Memory of Midnight to be completed by today, and on one level, I have to admit failure.  I don’t know if you’ll be able to see in the photo, but as of last night I had only done 93,620 words – although I have notes for the final two scenes which should take me to 96-97,000 tonight, I reckon.  

As so often with success and failure, it’s all in the interpretation, though, and I am choosing to see this as success in spite of those missing words.  The hard part for me is squaring up to the blank screen, and I have been slowly but steadily accumulating words until I have ended up with 326 pages with the story blocked out. That’s plenty for me to work with.

And work there is still to do. At the moment I have plot and not much else.  I’ve been banging out the words without stopping too long to research, and now I need to layer in texture and emotion and pace and character and tone and historical detail and new dialogue ….  Re-write the entire book in fact.  It’ll mean going back to the beginning and starting all over again, but for me the hardest slog has been done.

Next Tuesday I’ll be sitting down to read through the draft I’m so smug about right now. I predict much tearing of hair and wringing of hands and omigod-this-is-a-disaster because that’s what I do when I read through.  It’s all part of the process, not that it’s much comfort at the time.  But then I’ll start the real business of writing as rewriting and that’s the point – I hope! – when it will all start to come together. 

In the meantime, I’m thinking of my draft as complete (what’s 4-5000 words and a bit of missing punctuation in the last two scenes between friends, after all?) and rewarding myself with a weekend away, walking along the south coast, before knuckling down again next week.  

Enjoy your weekend too, wherever you are and whatever you're doing!