Dear Jeffery Archer, I’m sorry

Now prejudice is a dreadful thing and one that I don’t condone in any form. On that basis the following probably totally serves me right.

For years I have disliked Jeffery Archer. It’s totally unfounded as I have never met the man and have only based by reaction on media coverage, which I am the first to admit is not always either fair or rational. I vowed I would not read books by him as I didn’t wish to line his pockets. Then the problems started.

Firstly, Audible offered me the opening book in the Clifton Chronicles for free. I get through so many books that it seemed like a good idea and of course I still wasn’t giving him any money. Oh woe is me. I discovered that Jeffery Archer is a very good writer. He weaves solid, believable characters with depth and a story line that will have you hooked from the outset. He is also the master of leaving you on a cliff-hanger, which was my downfall. I simply had to buy the next in the series… and the next… and the next…

If I could have stopped there I might have been able to condone my behaviour, but alas the problem ran much deeper. I have recently been learning about how best to use advertising on Amazon to extend the range of people who are finding and enjoying my writing. In order to do this you put in a list of words people might use in searching for a book and who might then like to consider yours. It turns out that readers of Jeffery Archer’s novels are also likely to be the ones most interested in my novel ‘The Appearance of Truth’. I am now shamelessly taking advantage of this fact in the hope that even a small fraction of his readers will go on to buy my books too.

There is nothing else for it but to adjust my views and so, Dear Jeffery Archer, I take it all back (well most of it) and I’m now a fan of your writing and delighted that others of your fans are finding my own writing.

(ps if you have not read The Appearance of Truth then you can find it HERE)

That Sinking Feeling

There are few things worse (I may be exaggerating there!) than working on a book for several years, under a title you have become very attached to, only to realise that in the meantime another book has come out with the same title and you need to change your thinking. This is a point where an argument plays out in your head:

“But it’s my title. I’ve been using it longer.”

“It serves you right for being so slow in finishing the book.”

“I had to get it right.”

“Well, to get it right now you need to change the title.”

“I like the title.”

“You’re not getting this.”

… words to the effect of ‘it’s my ball and I’m not playing anymore’ spring to mind. You pout, flounce out of the office and find somewhere to sulk.

After a while the adult in you comes in to play. “This isn’t helping is it?”

You shake your head.

“It’s better to get it right now and plan the launch with a good strong title.”

You nod as the tears trickle down your cheeks. The adult you passes a tissue. You blow your nose noisily and blub “… what…” sniff “… am I going to call it then?”

Adult you gets a pen and paper and starts to share some ideas. You rubbish most of them and then start to throw in one or two of your own. One word is too female and won’t attract male readers. Another word immediately conjures up a major film with a different theme. Several Amazon searches later you have whittled away almost all of the list, but are left with one that just might grow on you.

Dear readers, my novel ‘The Orphan Train’ will not be called ‘The Orphan Train’ as there is a highly successful novel called simply ‘Orphan Train’ which has come out since I started writing it and I don’t want to either a) cause confusion or b) have anyone think I’m jumping on the bandwagon. I think I know what it will be called, but I need to finish mulling it over and consulting with others before I can confirm.

The lesson learned from this… well there are probably several, but I think the most important two are a) when you start on a project don’t take so many years to finish it and b) don’t be so precious about a title!

Watch this space … the production process is underway and you will be able to read it soon.

5 years and we’re celebrating!

It is five years ago today since I launched www.alfiedog.com the short story download site. Over those years I have built it to being one of the biggest paid short story sites in the world with 325 authors and over 1600 short stories.

We’re having a bit of a celebration with some special offers on stories by those authors who have been with us all five years http://alfiedog.com/fiction/featured/ and a special sale of some of the best stories we carry, with six different stories brought to you each week over the next five weeks http://alfiedog.com/fiction/sale/  Then we’re having with a big online party which you are all welcome to join on June 11th from 7pm to 9pm UK time https://www.facebook.com/events/214250785730563/?active_tab=discussion Finally we are finishing off our celebrations by offering five of our short story collections absolutely free as ebooks and we’ll let you know the dates of those later.

Spread the word and join in the celebrations.

Out Now in Audio – Free Code Offer

It’s finally here – The Appearance of Truth is now out as an audio book. The narrator is Reagan Boggs and if you need any recommendation my husband says he could listen to her voice all day! It’s been great working with her to put the project together. Here is what she said about the book: ‘The concept is such a great one. You hit on all the questions that someone would have to have in a situation like that – addressing the uncertainty and upheaval that makes you question everything about who you are. The frustration of hitting wall after wall when trying to figure out what happened feels so realistic. The need to love and have a child that fuels the desperation to make Maureen to do what she did – the way you have written that is so compelling –  I completely empathize with her. You have written the emotion so well, it makes it very easy to narrate. All the characters are so well developed – they all have depth and layers that make them interesting. The overall quality of the story seems to be so much better than what’s usually available on the ACX site.’

You can download the book from Amazon or Audible and, on condition that you are willing to listen and review the book on Audible, I have codes for a free copy to give away to the first five of you who reply to say you’d like to provide a review. If you would like to take part email rosjkind@gmail.com

Morning the loss of kwality fikshun

‘Lies damn lies and statistics.’ Book sales were up last year. You would think that was good news, but should adult dot to dot books really be included? Even when you take those out and look at the rest of the sales it can make for depressing reading.

Whilst there has been much criticism of self-publishing ‘dumbing down’ literature, I fear that the problem runs much deeper. It is a long time since I’ve read a book without a significant number of errors. Even supposed modern classics like The Red Notebook had a record being 33 1/3 inches! (If you don’t immediately know what’s wrong with that then you’re too young to know your vinyl from your cassette.)

I’m not sure whether to be appalled or relieved. As a publisher, I know it is almost inevitable that the odd error will slip through. The reason being that the cost of catching them all is too high compared with the likely return on the publication.

The problem lies with a society that has the attention span of a gnat on caffeine and which expects something for nothing, or at best paid for by hidden means such as advertising.

I’m told that one of the big things for writers is Wattpad where books are posted in instalments and are free to readers. If this is the next big thing, then the thing after that will be the most dreadful standard of written English amongst the following generation as they learn from what they read… and what they are reading is not good!

I’m not against the progression of language and its ongoing simplification; development and change is part of what keeps it alive. However, I do believe that we’re at risk of losing quality fiction because of the lack of interest and respect by the population at large. Is that inevitable in the age of electronics? Does it matter? I think it does.

I set up Alfie Dog Fiction to publish quality short stories for paid download. An author has to earn a living. Giving their work for free does not enable them to do that. By quality I don’t mean literary. Of course we do carry some high class literary fiction, but whatever the genre a reader deserves to be able to read stories which are well written and well crafted. I didn’t set it up because it would make me a millionaire (if you’re counting, it has made me zero so far) I set it up because I believe in it and I believe in the authors whose work we carry.

Five years on from the start of Alfie Dog Fiction I still live in hope that readers will one day come to understand why good quality writing is important in the fast paced, throw away age we inhabit.

Rosemary J Kind

www.alfiedog.com

We carry 1600 short stories written by more than 300 authors around the world

Author / Editor / Publisher

My First Book in Audio

I really am delighted to announce that in a couple of months my first novel, The Appearance of Truth, will come out as an audio book. It is currently in production and being read by a woman whose voice is perfect for it. I can’t give you the exact release date yet, but I should be able to tell you soon. I shall tell you more about the reader then too.

I listen to a lot of audio books as they really can go with me anywhere. Whether I’m driving or walking the dogs, I’ve always got a book on the go. Whilst of course I read paperbacks and ebooks as well, I do think the audio book has come of age and I will be delighted for my writing to join the ranks of good books available to listen to as well as read.

Too many ideas – Too little time

It’s bad enough when I’ve got more book ideas than I will ever write, but other writing ideas then foist themselves on me at regular intervals.

The Book reviews page of this site is now fully up and running (http://rjkind.co.uk/wp/reviews-of-other-books/) and will have books added at regular intervals as and when I read something I can recommend. Now it’s occurred to me that my compulsion to write hotel reviews should be put to good use as well. Whilst I will continue to write reviews from a human point of view and included them on some of the travel sites, ‘Wilma’ will start writing reviews from a dog’s perspective and award a suitable bone rating according to how much they impress her. She is developing a whole section on my Alfie’s Diary blog of dog friendly places to stay. (http://alfiedog.me.uk/travel/)

In the meantime, none of my other projects are being abandoned. The Orphan Train is currently through to stage two of the UK novel writing competition. At that point, the original 3100 novels have been reduced to 250. I am waiting to see if it makes round three in which there would be just 25. It is also out being considered by agents, but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

In the meantime, From Story Idea to Reader has now garnered 15 Amazon reviews, of which 15 are 5 star ratings. Those seem to have come from writers at all stages of their writing careers which is particularly rewarding.

Nor have I forgotten I’m supposed to be writing another book. That is now at the 14,000 words mark and growing slowly. I’m also doing some work to refresh some of my older publications and hope to have news of some offers of free downloads soon.

Now all I need is more time… Of course, if fantasy were the genre I wrote in then I could just write that into the story. I can feel another idea coming on!

What’s worth reading?

Well, it’s only my opinion, but I’ve been building up a page on my website of books I recommend. They are not all ones I’ve given five star reviews to, but ones that I think are worth taking the time to read. I’ve included a review, without giving away any of the plots, so you can read them safely.

I have been going through everything I’ve logged on Goodreads over the last few years and bringing them together in one place. I’ve left out the ones that I did not think were worth reading and there are a few of those! I shall be adding to the page over the next couple of weeks until I bring it completely up to date. After that I shall only add to it as I read a new book and think you might enjoy it.

It’s an eclectic mix. I hope you find something there you enjoy too.

You can find the page HERE

Revelling in Success

What a delight it is to write this post. Since its launch on 30th November ‘From Story Idea to Reader’ has been selling well in both paperback and ebook formats. However, what is giving me a wonderful glowing feeling is not the actual sales figures, but the reviews we are getting for the book. It is always gratifying to hear that something you have written has made a difference.

This book has, up to this morning, already picked up nine reviews on Amazon’s UK site, eight of which have been five stars. The comments which accompany the ratings have been great and spur me on in my other current writing projects, which I will tell you more about shortly.

You can find From Story Idea to Reader, along with the accompanying reviews, on Amazon HERE. If you are outside the UK, you will need to go onto the Amazon UK site to read the current reviews. I am not aware yet of having received any in other countries, but hopefully it’s only a matter of time.

Win a Free Copy of ‘From Story Idea to Reader’

If you are in the UK, for 7 days you have the opportunity to enter a Goodreads giveaway to win a free copy of ‘From Story Idea to Reader’. The details are here.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

From Story Idea to Reader by Patsy Collins

From Story Idea to Reader

by Patsy Collins

Giveaway ends December 15, 2016.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Publication Day

final-cover-small-front-251016It’s here. It’s available in time for Christmas and, though I say so myself, it’s well worth reading if you want to learn more about writing.

From Story Idea to Reader

From Story Idea to Reader is an easily accessible guide to writing fiction. Whether you are brushing up on your writing skills or starting out, this book will take you through the whole process from inspiration to conclusion. No matter if you are looking to submit your work for publication, enter a competition, or want to self-publish, this practical guide will help you every step of the way.

Between them, Patsy Collins and Rosemary Kind have sold hundreds of short stories, written sixteen published books and produced numerous articles for Writing Magazine and similar publications. They’ve both judged writing competitions and run workshops, and Rosemary has read and edited thousands of short stories and published dozens of books for other writers.

With the information, help and encouragement in this book, you too could see your work in print.

Available from:

Alfie Dog Fiction – HERE

Amazon UK – HERE

Amazon.com HERE

Also available from other online retailers.

From Story Idea to Reader

final-cover-small-front-251016Don’t let the grass grow under your feet! Whilst I’ve been waiting for responses from agents on my novel, I have not been sitting idly staring at a blank screen.

Earlier this summer, prolific short story writer, Patsy Collins and I began to discuss writing a book with advice for writers. Patsy has a number of novels to her credit and has written hundreds of short stories, which have been published in all the leading women’s magazines both at home and abroad. I, as you may have realised by now, have not only written several books, but as editor at www.alfiedog.com have edited several thousand short stories in the last few years.

What all that means is that Patsy’s and my combined experience could prove very useful to other writers. We’ve also both run workshops and judged in writing competitions as well as having written articles for the writing magazines.

We began to look at the whole process and between us have written a guide taking you from how to generate ideas, through to how to get your work published. It runs to nearly 300 pages and hopefully has something for every writer. The project is now complete and ready to be launched into the world. It comes out on 30th November in paperback, but is already available to pre-order as an ebook. Don’t worry, I’ll remind you when it comes to launch date. If you don’t need it for yourself, it really would make a great Christmas Present for the writer  or wannabe writer in your family.

Paperback ISBN 978-1-909894-32-7 £9.99 in the UK

Ebook from all leading outlets £3.99 Amazon UK is HERE

Sending work to agents

The Orphan Train is now ready to be sent out into the world. Because the subject is so topical and needs to find an international market I am now trying to pitch the book to a select few top agents, who I hope might be interested.

Every submission takes hours to prepare. You might think as it’s the same book I’m sending that I could just print several copies of the same material and send them out easily, but it really isn’t like that.

Firstly, I need to research who are the agents most likely to be interested in the book. There’s no point my sending it to an agent who is looking for children’s picture books. I use that as an extreme example, but it would be equally pointless to send it to someone looking for crime or science fiction. I want to find an agent that can get as excited about the subject matter of this book as I am. When I meet them, I want to be able to enthuse about the research and the story and find a receptive audience. That is only going to happen if I find an agent who is interested in historical fiction.

Secondly, I need to prepare the work in exactly the format they ask for, no more, no less. If they wanted it with pink ribbons and a neat bow I’d do it. In reality their requirements are all sensible requests for the material they have found works for them. As an editor, I can completely understand that. It has meant preparing CVs in different formats, a one page synopsis, a half page synopsis, the first 50 pages, the first three chapters and so on.

Now I have to wait… and hope… and get on with the next piece of work!

What are writers like?

As a writer I spend most of my time sitting in an office with no one to talk to but the dogs (and my characters). It has always been said that there is a fine line between creativity and insanity and I walk that tightrope daily. When you find yourself surrounded by people it is easy to reach the conclusion ‘I don’t fit’. Instead, you sit in the corner with your notebook and observe, listen and jot down notes. People watching is an important part of the job and you let your imagination take the conversations you hear on into territories which might horrify the person you were listening to… if they knew!

Normally, in a crowd of people I feel drained and want to escape. It’s nothing personal. I love some of those people dearly, but I need to be able to think and be creative and I can’t do that in the midst of the bustle.

Then you come away for a week on a Writers’ Summer School. Wow. I’m surrounded by a couple of hundred people walking the same tightrope. Some of them have more poise and almost seem sane. Others have fallen over the wrong side of the line and are the most marvellous eccentrics I’ve ever met. I feel totally at home and am loving every minute of it. When I talk about the conversations with my characters, no one here thinks I’m mad. Of course, they’re wrong, but the beauty is that we’re all mad together.

Hopefully, at the end of the week they will let us all out to go home. We will be the richer for coming together and the poorer for being parted… until next year.

Before I came, I confess I was anxious and was not looking forward to it. How wrong I was. If you are creative and have never had chance to get together with like-minded people then find a way to do it. It’s marvellous. I’m coming away with more ideas of things I want to work on than there is time to do in the next twelve months. I’ve got a plan. I’ve got direction. More than that, I’ve got new friends and deepened existing friendships.

Watch out world, I’m fired up and ready to roll.

http://www.swanwickwritersschool.org.uk/

Not a Moment’s Peace

I planned today to simply bring you the good news that having written ‘The End’ after 82,000 words and completed a fairly thorough edit, The Orphan Train is finally out with beta readers for feedback. However, that was before I went for a walk! I’ll come back to that in a moment.

The Orphan Train will still have a further round of editing when I get comments back from the wonderful people who have volunteered to read it at this stage. It has already been through the writing critique group I’m part of, and has been refined in the process, but their final feedback, together with what I receive from the current readers, may lead to other changes. First I need to let the dust settle so I can come back to it with the eyes of a reader myself. When you are the author you can be all too close to your characters and reluctant to ask certain things of them. In a few weeks, the final round of edits will begin and hopefully the final product will be all the better for it.

Does that mean I am now idle? Oh how well you know me, of course it doesn’t. I’m already part way through co-authoring a non-fiction book with a fellow writer, but more of that shortly. In addition to that, while I was walking one of the dogs this morning characters starting vying for recognition for my next novel. One by one the three lead characters introduced themselves and started to tell me about their oddball ways. One even discussed the book’s opening and how she sees it developing and, as essentially it is her story, it would have been rude not to listen.

I came home and wrote up the notes and have asked the characters if they could show a little patience. It is as different as you can imagine from The Orphan Train. It’s set back here in England. It’s set in the present. It’s a humorous tale and quite firmly would find itself in the women’s fiction market. In fact, other than there being strong female characters and me being the author, you would not find much else it had in common with the book I’ve just finished. To be honest, I think that’s a good thing. I think, unless you are writing a series, there is a danger in finding yourself in the same plane as your last work. I do want to come back to historical fiction and I’ve got a couple of ideas developing, but in the meantime, following a reader email, my short story A Test of Friendship is going to grow into a full length novel.

If you want to read the story that the novel will be based on, you can download it for free HERE

In deep mourning for the European Dream

Whilst I know this blog is principally about my writing and writing in general, some things are just too important to ignore. I am in deep mourning. I don’t mean I am a little disappointed, I mean I have literally gone into a state of mourning. I think of the implications and find myself feeling devastated. I get angry, but have no one to beat my fists against. I try to look for the positives but all I end up doing is looking back over the last fifty years of my life and feeling sad.

Now I know it is only 42 years since we joined the European Union, but the European Dream pre-exists that date and what we have done is hammer the first nail in its coffin.

I grew up watching Jeux Sans Frontières – (that would be It’s a Knockout to those who don’t remember), where we settled our differences with inflatable mallets over pools of water. I’ve laughed at Eurovision and been amazed when we scored more than ‘nul points’ (for the record we may as well get used to nul points now!). I’ve criss-crossed Europe by train, in the days when the only journey long enough to get a night’s sleep was to go the length of Germany, because otherwise you were woken by border control.

I’ve been moved to tears when the Berlin Wall came down and at last a country could be reunited. I’ve celebrated when other Eastern European neighbours have finally achieved democracy after years of struggle.

I have had the privilege to own an apartment in France for seven years and to live in Belgium for two. I’ve run a car club for an Italian car and a dog breed club for a Swiss breed of dog. I have learnt to speak French, German and a little Flemish (all badly) and I can count amongst my friends people in just about every European country you can name.

Why am I telling you all this? Like all those in mourning talking about it is often the only way, but it’s more than that. I cannot sit back and watch this European Dream being stolen not just from me, but from millions of young people who will come after me and who will, if we do nothing, face a very different landscape.

You might try telling me I will still be able to do much of that. In reality a club you have never belonged to might tolerate your presence on the periphery, but a club you’ve stuck two-fingers up to and told you want nothing to do with, is not going to be as indulgent and tolerant in the future.

We have been being told that the UK pays £18bn a year to the EU – that’s £350million a week. However, we don’t pay £18bn we get an immediate £5bn discount on that figure that brings it down to £13bn or £250m a week. That is the most that any new arrangement would have to distribute. However, we get quite a lot of that back in money spent by the EU in the UK. For a start there is £4.5bn in Public Sector Receipts that goes to support areas such as farming and poorer areas of the country. Are those who are suggesting that it should all be spent on the NHS willing to take away that essential support? If they aren’t, then we’re already down to £163m a week available. But then there are research grants and other areas that come in as well, so it’s starting to look a little less enticing.

By the time you take into account the amount of business that economists on both sides of the debate have agreed is at risk, it’s all looking pretty sick and as lost business means lost tax revenue there is little likelihood of any public services in the UK actually benefitting.

Then if course there is the question of workers’ rights. Equal pay for work of equal value between men and women, the right to a written contract of terms and conditions, the working time directive covering the maximum number of hours you can work, maternity leave, parental leave and the equal treatment of part-time and agency staff are all things which have been introduced or improved by the EU – and some of them are not otherwise in UK law, so unless they are introduced as part of the two year leave process you will lost those rights.

And those are just the beginning… There isn’t time to go through all the benefits of co-operating and staying close to our neighbours, let alone all the other good aspects that no one has talked about, or been prepared to listen to when politicians tried.

Faced with that, how can I sit back and accept such a marginal vote which paid no heed to the voices of our young people whose future we’ve gambled away? Can anything be done? I don’t know, but our hope must really rest on a benign response from other European leaders helping us to find some sort of third way, before it’s too late.

Too Many Books – Too Little Time

The danger of standing back a little and letting the creative juices flow is that they are more of a torrent than a gently controlled stream. I’ve been trying to clear my desk of many other things to free more writing time. First and foremost, I want to focus on getting the current novel finished and published. Then I already had ideas for two further novels. However, in the two short weeks since I last wrote I’ve had idea for another novel, a humorous book and it’s been suggested I put together a collection of my own short stories. The latter is an odd one, as despite publishing collections for other authors it had not occurred to me to publish my own in that way.

On top of that, I want to write more short stories and bring The Appearance of Truth out as an audio book. Now I just need to keep control of the ideas and work on them in an orderly fashion so that at least something gets done.

From tomorrow my working pattern will change. Many of the loose ends are as tied up as they are going to be without a stronger ball of twine and the discipline needs to set in. I need to find a minimum of four hours for my own writing! So far I have edited 7900 words, I want to finish the first round of edits by early June – although that is probably ambitious. I’ll let you know how it goes!

The First Draft is Finished

Well I gave you a brief update on my novel on 12th April saying I had passed 70,000 words and would aim for 75,000 words by the end of the month. I’ve done better than that. Yesterday I wrote the immortal words ‘The End’ and put down my pen.

In the end the first draft came out at just over 77,000 words but I know in the edit there will be around another 5,000 to go in as there are a few loose ends to be tied up and storylines to be finished off, so all in all I’m pretty happy with where things have ended up.

I’ve already started on the first edit and hope to have a draft that I can send to beta readers by the end of May. That will also mean I have isolated any research issues I want to check in time for a happy day in New York Library. How else would a writer want to spend their holiday?

A Brief Update

Well, my cast of characters have been busy. They have forged new directions where they saw fit and demanded a story line be rewritten. The good news is that by giving them licence to tell their story we’ve already passed 70,000 words and there’s a good chance that we’ll be at 75,000 by the end of the month. Given that I’m expecting the whole to be around 80,000 that means that the first draft is, at long last, getting close to completion.

Of course that’s not the end of the work, but if it isn’t written down in the first place, then there is nothing that can be edited.

Watch this space!

Virtual Book Club Interview

TheAppearanceofTruthFINAL smallI was delighted to be interviewed by the website Virtual Book Club about some of my writing and in particular The Appearance of Truth. Better still was an email from a lady who went and bought the book as a result of the interview and read it cover to cover, unable to put it down. It’s things like that that make this the best job in the world.

If you’d like to read the interview you can find it HERE

We Did It!

This going public makes a big difference to the old self-discipline. I’ve ended the month on 64,000 words so all in all not a bad month. If I’m being honest, there was a bit of a flat patch and that chapter is going to need more editing than the others, but there is at least something to edit.

It has set me thinking about the whole question of ‘point of view’ in novels. Now if you are a reader and not a writer it is something you may not really think about. However, if the writer has worked closely with one particular character’s point of view and not others, you will feel closer to that character and feel you know them better. It is one of the things that novice writers can get badly wrong, hopping from head to head and leaving the reader feeling a) confused and b) not sure who they should be rooting for. If you are writing in the first person then it is obvious whose point of view you are working with, but if you are writing third person narrative then you need to decide how many characters’ points of view it is reasonable to give the reader.

Using more points of view does enable you to convey thoughts and feelings of characters other than the lead, but if you aren’t careful it gives them all equal weight and whose story is it? I’m reading a Robert Galbraith novel at the moment and it is interesting that the book does use multiple points of view as an effective way to keep the reader abreast of what is going on that they might not otherwise know. It is only really noticeable when the point of view characters are in a scene together.

So far, except for one very minor section where in writing it I could find no other way to convey what was needed, I have stuck to the points of view only of my three lead characters. However, another character has been arguing with me that her point of view is equally valid and would be beneficial to the story. Now I need to decide whether when I come to edit the book I should be stubborn and ignore her pleas or whether she has a point. I may also edit out the point of view that is the minor deliberate lapse that I referred to a moment ago.

Meanwhile back in America in what is now the 1860s Daniel is still in custody and things are not looking good!

What can I commit to for April? It’s a busy month with other work, but I don’t want to lose momentum. I shall set a daily target of 200 words, that should be easy enough. By the end of April I will aim to be at 70,000 words. You heard it here first. I’ll let you know mid-month how it’s going.

The Orphan Train – an update

That’s what making a public commitment does to you. On the 3rd of March I promised to get moving on my novel and get to 60,000 words by the end of the month. Well I’m not quite there yet, but I am up to 59353. However, there are still another nine days to go so I’m updating my target to 62,000. That would leave only around 18,000 more to write to complete the first draft.

I’ve got an incentive. I have a trip to New York planned soon and I want to be in a position to go and check up on any final queries in the library there. I’m as excited about going to the library as my husband is that he is going up the Statue of Liberty – that’s my library day. These days most things can be found on line somewhere, but there is nothing like taking a real book in your hands. I recently bought a wonderful book ‘Images of Dowagiac’ with pictures of the old town that give me a first hand view of what the streets were like then. My writing has now moved on to Iowa City and I need to see if I can find a similar book covering that place too.

I’ll be back in just over a week to tell you where the month ended up.

Why haven’t you kicked me?

There is progress since the last time I wrote, but not as much as there should be. Unfortunately, with a number of things life is getting in the way and I need to get my head down and keep writing.

The good news is that if I’m giving you an update it means I can see light at the end of the tunnel. The book does now stand at 50,685 words, an increase of about 2500 since I last told you but there is still a long way to go. There is only one thing for it. I’m going to have to make a promise. By the end of March I will be up to 60,000 words. Now, there, I’ve said it.

That means I need to write at least 333 words per day and more if I plan to have any days off. That shouldn’t be difficult. Alfie writes at least 300 words each day for his diary and if he can do it then surely I can. Don’t forget you can follow my progress on the MyBookProgress bar at the side of the website… and if I’m quiet towards the end of the month it may be that I’m writing twenty-four hours a day to catch up!

Woohoo – 47900 words

I have kept my word and it’s not even the end of January yet. I’ve written over 10,000 words in the last ten days and the novel now stands at 47,900 words. It has still got a long way to go, but the story is coming together and I’m reasonably pleased with what I’ve written. It will obviously need a lot of editing, but you can’t edit if you haven’t written it in the first place.

The characters have surprised me every once in a while, but that’s the beauty of bringing them to life. They develop their own thoughts and feelings and you can’t always predict how they will interact. How could I have guessed that Miss Ellie would decide to accompany Molly on her journey? I thought Molly was going to have to face it alone. I’m very grateful to Ellie as it’s so much easier to show what is going on and keep it lively and with emotion when you have at least two characters playing off each other.

I’ve been grateful that so much of the research material I need is now on line. The Library of Congress has some great maps of the American railroads at the time I need them and I’ve been able to see clearly how their journey would go. As I left them tonight, they were two days away from Dowagiac and Molly having the opportunity to be reunited with her brother after ten years. You might think the biggest problem would be the fact he has received his draft papers to join the American Civil War, but as it turns out, that’s the least of the problems!

Oh teasing you is such fun. You’re just going to have to wait until it’s finished. However, you might not have to wait until it’s published. I’d like to put together a small team of beta-readers to give me their thoughts before it gets that far. If you would like to join the team then please drop me an email at rosemaryjkind@rjkind.co.uk

Happy New Year

There must come a point when it is too late to wish you a ‘Happy New Year’ and with more than half of January gone I’ve probably already passed that point, however Happy New Year to you all.

It has been a busy start to the year, although sadly with only a limited amount of novel writing being done so far. I have had a lot of activity on Alfie’s Diary, with product reviews, giveaways and awards announcing us in the top five dog blogs in the UK, but of course it’s the dogs who write that rather than me!

I’ve been clearing the decks so that I can concentrate on my novel. For a start I found myself losing a number of days to big computer changes, but now that they are done I’m losing less time to problems so it’s proving worthwhile.

Despite a somewhat unhealthy start to the year, I’m getting on top of things and am on target to have half of every day to concentrate on writing from 20th January to the end of the month. There are some things which then get in the way for a few days, but I should have at least 2 -3 hours a day on most days through February too.

You will notice a new panel on the side of the website called ‘My Book Progress’. Each day I will update my progress and you will be able to see that bar moving along. If it doesn’t then you have permission to email me and ask exactly what I’m doing with my time!

I will update you on progress more fully at the end of January, by which time I hope to be able to tell you I am 10,000 words further forward. They may of course not be the right words, but it will give me something to edit, which is a start.