I've been advised not to bother about the date here and just use a header. Suits me, since I have to go on a hike to find out what the date is, though in this case I can see from below it's the 31st, the last day of winter. The sun is shining and the daffodils are in full bloom. My rose buds are waiting to open. Tra la. The weather reporters are querying if we are about to have an early spring but it seems to me the decision is a done deal, like this blog, which I will stick to as above.
One day a long time ago, I decided to write a book. I thought I had read everything and I was no longer satisfied with the offerings. At that stage I had never read a romance, or thought I hadn't, because I didn't realise Georgette Heyer wrote romance. I owned everything she had written and read each so many times that even now I can recognise a Georgette Heyer fan among the current historical romance writers. I tried Victoria Holt in all her aliases, but her stories didn't always give me the ending I needed, which was a happy one. Nor did the others of the same ilk. Naturally, this led to me thinking I could write a historical story - but one set in Australia.
The home grown Australian stories were always convict-makes-good stories and I didn't find them inspiring. I couldn't see why every Australian in stories had to be a convict. As it happens, my ancestors on both sides were among the earliest free settlers in South Australia, the only state not tamed by convicts first, and I'm in awe of them. Imagine getting on a wooden ship with all your worldly possessions and going to the other side of the world to settle on a block of land . . . which you have to clear first. Who would do that? I wouldn't even get on the ship in the first place. I've sat at dinner in a replica of one of the first ships to arrive here and trust me, I sat because only a six-year-old could stand. Oh. And also because I was eating. So, I thought, not then because that was even longer ago, but when I thought I could write a happier story about people making good through sheer hard work.
But I have a rather shallower mind than my ideal scenario, leading to me write my first story about a man who tricked the woman he loved into marrying him. He had to wear the consequences because although she also loved him, what woman wants to be tricked? This story rambled on for 120,000 words. So, I wrote the next. At about that time, I found out about Harlequin Historicals. I didn't ever see one, unfortunately, and so I sent the first book to them with a query letter telling them who I was rather than what the story was about, and as it happened I was and am an ex-midwife. They sent back a rejection with a box of about twenty medical romances, asked me to read them and then, if I would, write one.
Could I write one? Sure. Not one like any of those they sent me because those English nurses nodded and said 'yes Doctor' and fell in love with men who were at least twenty years older and clearly not husband material. Let alone it took those nurses twenty pages to test for the sugar levels of diabetics. To me that was 'prick, blot, match.' Twenty pages? Well, even without that, the books were only 50,000 words, I could knock one off in two weeks and get back to what I wanted to write.
I'm not kidding. I did write my first medical in two weeks. And probably not tomorrow because I'm going out to lunch, but maybe on Tuesday I'll give the schedule for writing a realistic medical romance in two weeks. I won't tell you now how quickly it was rejected - whoosh. I'll keep that as a surprise.
I nearly bought a desk calendar this morning. I've tried about a million (approximately) times to get the computer to tell me the date but all it does is tell me it tells the date. I can't guess where because I've totally stuffed the dashboard by putting two things on it simply because the computer asked me if I wanted them there. I couldn't think why not and so I did what I was told and now I have two little squares from two pages that don't do a thing. I wish either of them told me the date but that's probably too much to ask of an appliance/machine/tech aid that can enable me to write to anyone anywhere in the world and expect to be answered instantly if they're awake. 'The date? Gosh, you want the impossible, don't you?'
If anyone who reads this page knows if I should start the new day at the top or bottom of the page, could you go to the new contact form at the bottom of the page and let me know? Starting at the top seems fresher but logically I should go on from where I started which is talking about the Perils of Being a Tech Klutz which I think I was just talking about above. However, I've changed my mind. I don't think I'm a tech klutz. I'm more of tangenter and tangenting takes more of my day than trying to get tech stuff to work for me.
For instance, this morning I wanted my reading glasses because I needed to find a quote from a book on my Kindle. (Would a tech klutz own a Kindle? No.) So, went to the kitchen, and saw a prescription I need made up by the pharmacist on the counter top. The pharmacist isn't on the counter top and I can't be diverted here by that. Hm. I wasn't dressed, so I had a shower, remembered I need to make bread, went back to the kitchen, put the dough in the breadmaker, turned on the coffee machine and settled down to do the sudoku in the morning paper. That done, yes!! I was wearing the glasses and I had a coffee . . . look, I eventually baked the bread, walked down to the pharmacy and sometime before lunch I remembered to look for the quote. I haven't actually had lunch yet because I was wanting the quote for a book review, which I wrote and then I had to answer emails and tweets since I was already at the computer.
I think, instead of writing about Klutz Perils, I'll write about writing and getting published. That will show rather than tell about the Perils of Klutzy things I have done.
(Yes, this is now the right date. Who knew that we'd almost reached the end of the month?)
I began this blog to talk about the Perils of Being a Tech Klutz and this is a prime example. I wrote the below section yesterday but I can't squeeze the date in the top. I've tried clicking in front of the I of I've, as you would, but that just makes the words shiver. So, take it as a given that when I do the next blog about this, above this, which I think is the correct protocol, I'll put the date in before I start writing. This section would be more convenient as a single page that I could just begin at the top every day and grizzle grizzle I don't want to have put a text square thing here before I start.
Where was I? Yes. I didn't know about Goodreads Author's pages and so I thought I had to do something to qualify. It seemed they wanted me to rate the books I have read. Thank God they didn't have them all to present to me, because I swear, being one of 'those' people, that I would have rated the lot. It took me a couple of days but no one contacted me and said, 'Good girl, you've passed the test, you can read, remember what you read, (which should be 'red' by rights), and since you've had a couple of books published, someone thinks you can write. Here, dear, have a Goodreads page like everyone else.' Nope. Didn't happen.
Then I did something I rarely do and read (cringe) the instructions on some obscure page I found where they asked if I was the author of my books. As it happened some looong time later, I was also the author of some very clever looking books mainly about music. I wrote the first in 1965. I've had a long and interesting life. Hm. Not really. I had to confess to the 'help' people that I didn't really write those books and now I only have three on my page.
I just had a brainwave so forget what I wrote at the top about not being able to put the date on the previous day's words. I had an idea! I didn't start to wriggle in a space before the first word but the second, and got to write the date there and move 'I've.' That's a hint for the next klutz. Before I know it, this will be a tech advice page for other klutzes.
I've just had lunch with a friend who suggested that I write a blog about the Perils of Being a Tech Klutz. I try, truly, but maths and tech skills bypassed me. Since I first decided to be a writer, technology has come a long way. Initially, I would write a full manuscript and send it to my agent. In a month or two he would write back and tell me what he thought I ought to change, or who he had sent it to.
Since he was American and I still am Australian, he wanted me to explain things in my manuscripts that I didn't think needed explaining, frex, Jarrah. How could I explain Jarrah in my heroine's point of view? Here's a try: 'She sat staring at the hard redwood Jarrah floor.' Unh. I could just as well say 'she sat staring at the redwood floor.' Well, in most cases I just said 'floor.' Jarrah didn't get a look in after my first try. We also had problems with kitchen benches, which he thought were chairs and got greatly confused, since people tended to put things on them and sit elsewhere. After a few months I got fluent in Austramerican.
To get back to the subject, communications took forever and we had lots of misunderstandings as to language but we became good penpals. I thought he was wonderful but he couldn't sell my books, not because he wasn't a good agent but because my books weren't good enough. I had a 'voice' and a flow but a story needs more than that. So we parted, and I gave up writing.
However, a writer is a writer so I amused myself with Letters to the Editor, emails to friends, emails to politicians, or anyone else who couldn't get away. Eventually, I realised that I could only be fulfilled if I finished what I started, and had another go at being published. At that stage, I still had fourteen completed romances. However, I had not ever written a synopsis and I had never submitted a story to a publisher. My agent had done all the work. Oh, the traumas of having to tell the stories of my stories. I thought I had to be truthful and put all the events in the right sequence. My synopses were so dull that they even made me snore.
I thought entering writing competitions might be a way of getting feedback for my efforts but the problem was still the same, or was it? A few of the American romance chapters were allowing email entries. I sent a synopsis and three chapters. I did badly in the first comp I entered but the judges gave me lots of help. I reentered that manuscript in another comp, doing everything the judges suggested. I did better the second time. By the third, the main feedback was praise and a few hints, and by the fourth just full scores. One judge said she loved the manuscript but the synopsis was rat-shit and even though the synopsis wasn't judged, she worked on that instead. I love her! I ended up with good synopses and not only that, I realised how I should have been writing them. Now I don't have any problems with synopses, blurbs, or query letters - thanks to all those patient judges. As a competition judge myself, I have paid the help forward, or back, whichever way that goes.
But I've sidetracked myself again, as I am wont (I love 'wont') to do. I'm supposed to be talking about tech stuff.
I can send an email with an attachment. Not a problem, though at times that was fraught with danger. Originally, most comps wanted RTF. I have a Mac. Macs hated RTF. Often the attachments I sent were empty but no one ever told me. I was just told to send again in another format and I didn't know what I was doing wrong. I only found out that I had an RTF problem when I sent a partial to an agent who was waiting for it (I was referred by a friend). I could only send the partial through the friend, in the end. A lot later I twigged that I need to explain about RTF and get special dispensation for Doc. Anyway, that's all past because now Doc is okay, but that dodgy tech stuff does tend to test a shaky submitter's nerve.
This is getting longer than I thought. I talk too much and I sidetrack myself. I'll end and talk about Tech tomorrow, ,