One of the downfalls of working for yourself, from home, is a distinct lack of colleagues to bounce ideas off. Thankfully I have a lot of writer friends. But it is rather nice that I do take some of my work from Cornerstones, the big literary consultancy group, and last night I got to meet the team at last!
I had a consult with a client who I had worked for via Cornerstones and so I managed to arrange my meeting with him first at the Grange Hotel near Fenchurch Street for some interesting discussion. Then I headed over to Hammersmith and the Brook Green Hotel to meet with some of the other Cornerstones editors and the team I have been emailing for the past three years.
Always nice to put faces to names!
Helen was telling us how the agency started with six of them in a room and now they have sixty editors as part of the team and this year launched Cornerstones USA where they have sixteen editors.
Check them out! http://cornerstones.co.uk/uk/
So I kicked off the Christmas season with drinks with the team and this Saturday we have the launch of the Bridge House Anthology Baubles and The Best of CafeLit 5. And Gill and I have the one payment we ever get from BH that comes in the form of our annual Christmas meal afterwards. Whoop!
People last night were asking me about the private work I do and the way I built my business, because in truth most of my work is private, although I have done a lot more with Cornerstones over the past two years and am currently mentoring two writers and have two novels to work on this side of Christmas for them! I love to tell people how I feel like I created the ideal job and I am so lucky to do what I love every day. I knew when I was first invited to work for Cornerstones that it was a good fit as their in-depth and very detailed analysis was exactly the kind of thing I was already doing; so all I had to do was the same kind of reports but on Cornerstones letter-headed paper and change some of my headings. Now, in fact, I use the same ones in my reports (having now added a useful section on ‘Marketability’ so where work sits in the marketplace) and so I don’t even have to change headings, only the paper, when I work on one of their reports. The nice thing is the work is proofed and checked by them before it goes to the client. You are paying more to work through them; they do have a vetting process and they do scout for leading agents, so they can really help to get you noticed.
There are a lot of people out there doing what I do and if you really want good feedback on your work then do check then out or come to me direct. If you’re serious it pays to have one detailed critique at least once in your life. What thrills me is that people keep coming back to me 🙂 And I see the people who have success; the ones who were prepared to put in the work — time and time again. The message has to be: DON’T GIVE UP.
Have a great day everyone!
I love that I have a lot of work, although my own writing has to wait when that happens. I suddenly have a lot of work this side of Christmas; from both private clients and Cornerstones, but that is all fab! It is, after all,an expensive time of year!
Tomorrow I finally get to meet my Cornerstones colleagues when I am off to London for a little drinks evening; although I have a consult with a client first! As you do. So tomorrow I will not be in the office even though I have a lot of work to get through! Anyone would think it’s Christmas! But when I think about having colleagues who do what I do for a job I can’t help thinking about how I created the ideal job. I think back to when I would sit in the open office at work; all discussing pharmaceutical technical things and wishing we were talking about character motivation and the like! And now, well it is only me in the office, but I do have phone calls and I do spend my afternoons doing just that! I have indeed created the perfect job! And I will forever be grateful because I am quite sure I could never go back now! How could I do anything else or work for anyone but me? I couldn’t!
Tomorrow morning I also have to be at the gym early to be put through my paces by my lovely friend and one of the trainers as she has her final assessment to become a fully qualified personal trainer. So later I get to be trained by the man and then in for another session tomorrow for her and him again Thursday! I will feel it! I will not blog in the morning as I need to be up and editing at 5 so at least I get some work done before my busy day! But I will be back on Thursday to report on meeting my Cornerstones’ colleagues!
Have a fantastic day folks, whatever you’re doing!
Create the life you love…
Yes I know it’s November…
Last week, short notice I know, we were asked at the writing group if Canvey Writers would like to bring and decorate a Christmas Tree as part of the St Nicholas Christmas Tree Festival as we have our meetings in one of the rooms at the church. So I asked fellow scribes, having had the idea that we could call it the literary tree but in my festive wisdom later felt gliterary was more apt! So we made words, punctuation marks, baubles dedicated to deceased famous writers, book covers for favourite books and ones we have had published, quotations we like, bookmarks and put ribbons and bows on books to place like gifts around the tree. We also left fliers for writers who might be inspired and a book for people to tell us their favourite book! I am chuffed as for such short notice and given that apart from some lovely donated red baubles, and some bought red tinsel and beads, the rest is all hand-made!
I rather like this idea and themes can be developed on this for other years if we do it again… trees with only literary villains or heroes, just female or half female, half male, Harry Potter tree or fantasy tree (Tolkien) or chick lit tree, or classics Jane Austin style tree… in fact the list is endless. But for a first attempt I think we did okay!
We did have a lovely snow-covered 3-foot tree lent to us but, in the end, we had too many things so then we had a 4-foot tree instead, small but love it!
The trees are all on display this weekend, and tonight is a special cheese and wine event to celebrate and the lighting on the memory tree so I will add tags for Lee and Mal’s dad and John, people we miss ❤
So (shame there is a ladder on the wall behind but never mind) I present to you The Gliterary Tree in all its finery… spot my book there of course!
Have a great weekend everyone!
Short post this morning as I woke up thinking about all things positive and how much we take for granted; even breath.
Sometimes we need to stop, take stock and fully appreciate what we have, while we have it.
That is all. Enjoy the day whatever you do.
Today sees the 53rd anniversary of the assassination of John F Kennedy. Three years ago I had the official launch of While No One Was Watching, my debut novel. And what a three years it has been.
The same year I won the inaugural Bath Short Story Award, was shortlisted in the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Prize and my story, The Theory of Circles, was also nominated for the highly acclaimed Pushcart Prize! It was hard to top that in a year!
The following year also saw successes, the biggest of which was finding an agent.
Since then I have had something published each year to keep that short story momentum going and had numerous signings and events along the way. I also moved to Essex, joined a gym and met a lovely man. So personally and professionally my life has changed.
Give me a WHOOP!
Novel wise, I have still got the other three novels and been working on at least two new novels but am waiting for something to happen. My agent is so incredibly busy and she has now joined a much larger agency where her focus has changed more towards non-fiction. She still represents… me for the time being, but I am now making plans for 2017. I need to have another novel out there now!
I talked about my novel, and this whole idea of using a real event, such as the Kennedy assassination, woven into the fabric of fiction at the U3A event last Friday. Aptly timed of course for the anniversary. We used examples from film and talked about the historical novelists like Philippa Gregory and Sharon K Penman and where the historical novel sits (although mine is not a historical novel per se) in terms of representation of history. Can fiction change what we believe and is that a good thing? It went down really well and I sold 14 books which isn’t bad for an event like that!
I will share links to the U3A site as they also took photos when that is live.
So on this special day, I am sharing links to my novel again (sorry!) for anyone who has not read it! Give it a go! Christmas presents?
Thanks and thoughts to Kennedy and what the world might have been if he was still here.
Would I even have written this novel?