Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Distractions


I'm still ploughing away at Moonshine. I've written another chapter. I'm nowhere near meeting the official deadline, my self-imposed deadline, or any other bleeping deadline... There have been distractions.

Lennox (at 17, she's now our senior cat and a very fit, active and healthy old lady) was suddenly taken really ill on Sunday night. Monday was spent at the vet's - Lennox being operated on, me pacing the floor, wringing my hands, my mind on all sorts of awful outcomes (well, after all-too-recent similar scenarios with Carlo and Clyde and the awful results of their investigative surgery, my hopes weren't high) and certainly not on Moonshine.

By Monday evening Lennox was back home, eating her head off, purring, fully restored to rude good health with her own medicine cabinet full of antibiotics, anti-inflammatorys, and pain relief. I was a gibbering wreck with a zero-word count for the day and a further gaping £175 hole in the illegal overdraft...

On Tuesday, the distraction loomed in the shape of The Writers Bureau 20th Anniversary Awards. Ages ago I'd been thrilled to be asked to be a judge for these awards and happily agreed, completely forgetting that this judging had to take place in January. So, yesterday I had to abandon Moonshine and everything else and immerse myself in the shortlist. Fortunately, all the short-listees are anonymous so there's no chance of me being swayed in either direction by anyone whose name I might know and/or recognise. I still haven't reached my decision - they're all brilliant - and as with any piece of writing that isn't mine, I'm totally in awe of the talent, the emotion, the humour, the sheer creativity that other people manage so effortlessly and which always seems to elude me and I've tended to sulk...

Then last night, just as I thought I might manage to write a Moonshine sentence, Em-next-door (as was) turned up (haven't seen her since she moved) and we had a lovely evening catching up and speculating on who might move into her house once the decorators have moved out, and discussing her outfit for The Wedding, and making plans for a girls' night out as soon as Moonshine is finished (sometime in 2010 then).

This morning I was up really early, filled with high hopes for a clear writing day - at least three chapters (well, okay, maybe two) of Moonshine beckoned... Then I got distracted by the wonderful womag (again). I made the mistake(?) of popping over to her blog - http://womagwriter.blogspot.com - again, can't recommend this highly enough for anyone who wants to write short stories, features, articles - for those who don't know, womag is unbelievably generous with the time she spends sourcing markets, and in her generosity in sharing the information on her blog. Her latest post is about writing features, fillers, letters etc for a whole raft of magazines (again some I'd never tried) - sooo, thanks to womag I've now written and sent another short-short story to Best, a health feature to Take A Break, and a true-life story to Real People. Moonshine never got a look in... I NEED to be earning while I'm writing and this seems to be the only way. A note on the Real People sub though - I received an auto-email back saying they'd received my piece and they are always on the look-out for true stories about "love-rats, tragedies and medical miracles". Mmmm - mine wasn't any of those, being more jaunty and feel-good - so I somehow feel that one might not be a hit...

So - now it's late and I'm just going to open the Moonshine file and I'll probably just faff about taking commas out and putting them back in again. Oh, dear....

11 comments:

Mummy said...

Oh no! Poor puddy cat! Glad everyone is well again now! I also have been distracted in a womag kind of way too - and have sent letters to real people and best and a real life story to real people - I received the same email back as you did! Since then, however, I haven't heard a thing from any of them. I hate waiting!

I hope tomorrow allows you to write, write, write......maybe you should have known it would be like this from your title? Maybe you will write most of it by the light of the moon? Less distractions then!

Debs said...

Blimey, what a busy time. I do hope you manage to get the word count moving again soon.

Relieved to hear that Lennox is fine, what a horrible time you must have had.

Best of luck with the subs too.x

Christina Jones said...

Debs - I'm not really busy - I'm in a mess and a muddle and getting nowhere. If I was even slightly organised I'd cope with all this AND write a book. We all know other people manage it!!!! The womag subs were a really great distraction though!

Mummy - good luck with your subs too and god bless womag - she should have a knighthood!!! Did you do a love-rat/tragedy/miracle story??? Lennox is bouncing around like a spring chicken. The bank has already been on the phone... Moonshine? Yep, looks like I'll be writing all night at this rate.

ChrisH said...

Hi Chris, well, I'm glad it's not just me! But, heck, I thought your books sold buy the truckload - I've bought them all (okay, only one copy at a time!) - so everyone new to this blog who doesn't own a copy of Chris's books, what are you doing? Go and get your copies now. In the meantime I'll will visit womag's blog - since I'm trying to keep body and soul together, too.

Christina Jones said...

ChrisH - hi and thank you for letting me know I'm not alone in the muddle - and I know you'll be inspired by all the new markets womag's uncovered for us needing-to-earn-something/anything freelancers. Brilliant stuff. And THANK YOU for buying the books and for the promo - really, really appreciated. Sadly, my book sales have been, as my Dad would have said, very whore's drawers...

katiebird said...

I'm with ChrisH in my shock that you have this trouble, Chris. I've bought all your books. And it leads me to a question. How do they decide which British authors to publish here in the US and which not.

I read Tricia Ashley too and she seems much less likely to be published here than you but, her books ARE published here (some of them at least.)

As a US reader is there anything I could do to promote you here? I'd do anything to help.

Gonna be a writer said...

I'm so glad that Lennox is ok. We had a terrible experience with our dog last April so I can totally sympathise with the pacing and nail biting. I know that it's probably £175 you could have done without forking out but I know when it happend to us I'd have paid anything if only my dog could have been saved.
I read womags post on fillers the other day and i was also inspired to try them. Sadly the day job has sort of got in the way so far.
Good luck with Moonshine.

Margaret McDonagh said...

The only reason the book sales have been disappointing is because the powers that be have not got copies into the shops for readers to buy - it is nothing whatsoever to do with anything you have or have not done. You write superbly brilliant books and everyone I know loves them and waits impatiently for the next one. You can do no more than write a fabulous book, as you do every time. It's for others to get their fingers out so the book is available.

So glad that Lennox is doing well and I know what a grim time you had on Monday. There may be some who can work on despite the things life throws at them but I'm not one of them and I know you aren't either. So I hope you now have a settled spell of calm so you can focus on getting Moonshine finished.

I'm now going to join you in staring at the ms and faffing about with a few commas!!!

Much love,
Mags xxxx

Christina Jones said...

Mags - stop playing with commas! I'm ALLOWED to do that - you're not. And thanks again for the wonderful support - I just hope that Moonshine (when it appears, of course - and note the WHEN not IF) bucks the trend and that it's the first thing to hit you when you walk into a bookshop...

Gonna be a writer - you have all my love, sympathy and understanding about how you felt last April (and probably still feel?) - I've been through it too often and it never gets any easier to bear - and yes, you're right - the money is unimportant when an animal is suffering - I'd have sold the house to save Carlo and Clyde last year. Good luck with womag's tips when/if you get any spare time (hah!)

katiebird - not being published in the States is something I've always wondered about too. I know I have American readers because they email me - as you did(thanks so much!). My previous agent (my agents handle my foreign rights, not the publishers) said I wasn't worth trying as I was too English and no-one in the US would "get me". My new agent doesn't agree with this (hooray!) and has just sent some of my books to a US agent to see if there is any interest. I'll let you know what happens. If there's anything at all you can do - thanks so much for offering - I'll let you know. Word of mouth always seems a good place to start though... and I know you're doing that already!!!

katiebird said...

Chris, I don't know why I didn't think of it. I'm going to start requesting your books through Interlibrary Loan (our library can get books from all over the world) and encourage my friends to do the same.

I always give friends and family copies of your books when they're down so I'm already doing what I can. :)

Christina Jones said...

katiebird - thank you! That sounds a brilliant idea! I know how generous you are in buying my books and "selling" me to all and sundry and I really, really appreciate it. I'll let my agent know about your sorties into the Interlibrary Loan scheme - all Stateside info more than welcome! Thanks again for being so lovely!