Friday, August 07, 2009

SORRY...

... that I've been missing in action for the last couple of weeks. It's not that nothing has been happening, it's that I've been too busy to write about it.

Busy? What does a writer do all day?

I love the romantic novelist skit in Little Britain where Matt Lucas, as the terminally "blocked" Dame Sally Markham lies back on a sofa eating chocolates dictating a word at a time to her secretary. It's an image indelibly imprinted on the brain of most journalists. If only it were so.

Instead I sit on chair that has changed the shape of my derriere over the years and pound away at the keyboard. The last time my laptop was in the shop they replaced the keyboard out of kindness -- there wasn't a letter left. (Well, obvioiusly the numbers, but I have no use for them!) It wasn't that long ago, but they're look pretty bare again. If I actually have to look to check where the n and m are, I haven't a clue. If I didn't touch-type I'd be in real trouble!

Anyway... That's what I’ve been doing non-stop for the last two weeks. Keyboard pounding. Finishing the book. I haven’t read a book, seen more than half an hour of television, or had anything that could be described as a life.

My hero and heroine, Josie and Gideon, have had every last moment of it. Their story has consumed my own.

I’ve been getting up at 5 am to write when the world is quiet. No distant murmurings from a radio. No “I’m not going to disturb you but…” No sudden realisation that it’s Tuesday and I haven’t put the rubbish out.

Starting at 5 am, finishing at 5 pm when the brain is too numb to function, then falling asleep in front of the television day after day until the tiny pin prick of light at the end of the tunnel became brilliant sunshine. It happened on Wednesday, just around lunchtime. I wrote the last line – rather a good one I thought – and that it. Hero and heroine waved off into the sunset. Another great Harlequin Romance story told. Or very nearly.

My lovely ed is about to go on holiday so there was no time for a last read through. I just hit the send key and off it went, winging its way to Romance HQ. Then I sat there with a big smile of my face thinking, whew -- or something very much like it – before I emerged blinking into the daylight to discover that after weeks of incessant rain, the sun was shining. I stood there for a moment, not quite knowing what to do with myself. It’s like that when the story is done and you’ve been left behind by your characters. It takes a little while to come round, remember what it was I did before I started the book.

I started by reacquainting myself with the garden. Walking across the squelchy lawn to check what the beans are doing. Whether the hostas survived the slugs. Vowing that next year I'll only put daisies in my pots -- they don't care what the weather does, just sit there, shiny and fresh and gorgeous, whereas those poor petunias are fit for nothing but compost. Decided what I was going to do with the rest of the day. Or rather what I had to do -- all the things I'd left hanging for weeks. Pay the bills, pick up the tablecloth from the laundry, take back the overdue library books that I hadn't even read. Getting better, I love going to the library. Buy a birthday present for a treasured aunt. Maybe even a little chocolate. Yes!

I grabbed my bag and the car keys full of joy – mostly about the chocolate -- I had just reached the door when I remembered the leopard cubs.

Introduced in chapter one and supposed to make an appearance in chapter eleven. I'd forgotten all about them.

Oops, I said. Or something very like it, went back to the computer, opened my book document, typed “leopard cubs” at the top of the page, as a reminder for when I get edits. I nearly escaped before it occurred to me that something that might make more sense if Cryssie (she’s a minor character, but important) thinks that Josie and Gideon are already a couple. I made another note. And did Josie really get closure? Suppose I just…? And Gideon needs to say something else just there...
And… And… And… That’s the thing with a story, it’s never quite finished. Writing the book isn’t the hardest part. It’s letting go…

I finally got to the library yesterday, bought the chocolate, went for a drive in the country with the dh. Snatched a whole day for myself. Tomorrow it will belong to two other people. They don’t have names yet, but they have a story. And I'm the only one who can tell it.

Life. Writers do it vicariously.

Except ... just one thing. The lovely Donna Alward, ably abetted by Myrna Mackenzie has set up a Harlequin Romance Group Author Blog at eharlequin. From now on you'll find us there four or five times a week talking about the things that are important to us. Don't miss Susan Meier's post on branding. You'll find it here

I'm now back to the drawing board looking for a name for my hero. Bearing in mind that I already done this nearly sixty times before, I'm appealin for suggestions! My favourite will get a signed book from the backlist.

23 comments:

Kate Hardy said...

Congrats, Liz, on finishing :o)

As for hero names... Umm. With you on that one.

Chocolate required, methinks.

Liz Fielding said...

And getting the fastest turnover in the history of romance because my ed is off on holiday today. She liked it :)

Caroline said...

Wow Liz. Well done on submitting and getting the thumbs up from your editor! I'm always impressed on how hard you all work. It makes my 1000 words a day target look tame!

It must be really difficult to think of names for your hero's after 60 books. I've got some favourites: Max(well) (my latest hero's name btw) / Trystan / Owain / Connor / Corey / Jake / Matt / Owen . Not sure if these help or not. Take care. Caroline x

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks, Caroline. 1000 words a day is my normal output and I'd be content with that I just ran out of time with this bok and had to really buckle down.

There are some great names there. Quite a few I haven't used (Max, Matt and Jake are already out there!)

Thanks. I'll definitely be adding them to my list of possibles.

Jan Jones said...

(a) well done
(b) fab that she liked it
(c) leopard cubs???
(d) Leo? Toby?
(e) Yeow, Archer just dug his claws into my thigh. He says "Archer"
(f) I now want chocolate too. And an elastoplast.

Lacey Devlin said...

Wow congrats on removing all the letters from your keyboard I don't think I've ever managed to remove one! I must need to work harder?

I almost feel sorry for my numbers. Sometimes I think of removing them and replacing them with little squares of chocolate or M&Ms.

I just wish I could have seen that romantic novelist skit! It sounds hilarious!

I should probably get onto creating a chair that gives us all buns of steel at the end of the day ;) If we can fly to the moon why not?

Congrats on the submission and acceptance!!

Liz Fielding said...

LOL, Jan! And yes, my heroine thought "leopard cubs" in italics, too :)

Please tell Archer that I've already used his name. Not for a hero, but for a hero's grandad. And that he needs to be kinder to the lady with the tin opener!

Liz Fielding said...

Lacey -- my poor numbers are neglected, too. Pristine. My "e" is totally blank, as is "n" and "m"; "a", "s", "r" and "d" are practically wiped out, too. Three books a year, plus the stuff you write and delete and a blog really does make it's mark. The main keys are also now shiny, rather than with that matt finish.

I looked at netbooks this week. I'm not sure how much longer I can resist the temptation :)

Jan Jones said...

Archer says that's fine, then. He also says that just between you and him, he's discovered that one heart-rending wail and one piteous look from his melting-caramel eyes and the Soft Touch immediately forgets all pin-cushion discussions of the previous day.

ninaharrington said...

Many congrats on finishing AND having great feedback - brilliant!

As for character names?- I have used this site in the past which generates a random baby name-

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/babyname

It sparked a few ideas for me!
Hope it helps- and enjoy the weekend
Nina

Michele L. said...

Hi Liz,

Wow! Missing letters on your keyboard! I just can't imagine. I wonder if you try a protective clear surface like a one-sided laminted sheet that would stick over your keys. You would have to cut it out yourself and stick it to the top of the key. It comes in a matte surface.

Or you could try a wet cover. I wonder if they make them for keyboards? Hmmm...I work for an office/art supply store and they make a plastic cover for cash registers to go over the keys. They call it a wet cover.

Another thing you could do is buy stick on vinyl letters to put on the key. My boss sells small size font letters where each letter is individual and you can stick it on a surface to spell out your word. They are pretty thin. It is another option for when your letters wear off. You can get them at hobby/craft stores also in the stickers section of scrapbooking supplies.

As for hero names how about,

Carson
Grant
Joaquin
Marc
Simon
Reed
Dominic
Zane
Samuel
William
Trey
Martin
Bruce
Drake
Brian
Carlos
Thomas
Lance
Kurt
Cameron
Kent
Warren
Jack
Randall
Dale
Ian

Whew! I used my big thinking cap for this one! I hope my list helps!

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for thinking about my poor keyboard, Michele! Since I touch type (I write shorthand, too -- you never forget :) -- it isn't a real problem. Only when I actually look at it!

Fabulous list of hero names -- lots I haven't used; I'll put them in my little black book.

Liz Fielding said...

Thanks for the baby name site, Nina. Excellent.

Kate Hardy said...

Fab news that your ed liked it!

Me too on the shiny rather than matte keys. No N or H left. This means husband and children are going to start moaning soon... :)

Snookie said...

My L is rubbed off on my keyboard, but there are many letters that are partially rubbed off and I'm not even a writer! Well... I guess not a fiction writer. I do have to write technical reports I type by touch too, so it doesn't matter if they rub off.

How about Joshua? Isaac? Aaron? Zachary? Samuel, Jackson? James? Joe? Justin?, hmmm guess I like "J"s... Joaquin is my grandfather, brother and dad's name! Where is the story set? you could go for another language... want some Hawaiian names? :)

robynl said...

Justin
Jarred
Michael
Colby
Daniel
Kevin
Robert
Kenneth
Garret
Erick
Nick
Constance
Horatio
Verner

Liz Fielding said...

Hi Robyn, thanks for the great list. Not sure I'd be brave enough to call a modern day hero Horatio. Or if I did -- mother naval historian? -- he would keep it a dark secret! Lightbulb moment?

Liz Fielding said...

PS New book will be Wedding at Leopard's Tree Lodge.

Ally Blake said...

Congrats on the sale Liz! And what a fab title. Very evocative.

As to hero's names...I can harldy give my stash away now can I ;)?

Well, considering my next will likely be a Max you can tell I haven't exhuasted some of the classics as yet myself.

Happy chocolating and starting your next book.

Ally

robynl said...

Liz, true on Horatio but I love Horation Cain on CSI:Miami.

Kenton
Kyle
Chandler
Josiah
Ryland
Rydon
Pete
McKenzie

Liz Fielding said...

I'm home!

Just a quickie to thanks everyone for the fabulous names and let you know that I've chosen two winners for a book this time -- Michele L for the sheer quantity and quality of names in her list, and Robyn1 for Horatio which sent my little grey cells whizzing around.

Let me know which books from my backlist you'd like and I'll get them off to you asap.

Michele L. said...

Hi Liz!

Thank you so much! Congrats to RobynL also for winning a book!

I sent off an e-mail to you with a list of books.

So glad your back! I sure hope you had a really nice, fun time!

robynl said...

thanks Liz and congrats Michelle.

Hope Horatio doesn't confuse you too long, lol.