Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Day of editing

Sunday is not supposed to be, in a Christian sense, a day of work, but I've spent most of today on edits. Made some fair progress but the end seems still very far away.

Edits are very dull, especially at this stage - there is very little rewriting to be done, just small line-edits. And my breaks from editing have been filled with housework. Thankfully, listening to The Velvet Underground has got me through the day.

Edits progress:
Up to page 167

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Seven things people say to new authors

Seven things people have said to me since The Lady Soldier was published:

1. 'You mean you've had a novel published? No I don't believe it! You're having me on!'
2. 'Don't worry, that J K Rowling woman was unknown when she started and now she's sold millions. It's just a case of advertising. You know, at train stations.'
3. 'Kate, your book is simply marvellous. Not that I have actually read it of course. Not my thing.'
4. 'You must post a copy to the BBC so they can turn it into TV. Someone we know must know someone at the BBC.'
5. 'You're still working? Gosh. Isn't your novel out yet?'*
6. 'How can have you have possibly got published without an agent? Oh, I guess you went with one of these vanity presses and paid for them to publish your book?'**
7. 'Don't worry about bad reviews. The main thing is that it was published. Not whether or not it's a good book. You can make your next one a good book.'

* Common misunderstanding about the economics of writing novels
** No, I don't have an agent. And no, my publishers are bona fide proper publishers. They pay me, not the other way around.

Edits progress:
Up to page 115

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Travelling, editing and a review

I've just got back this evening from a work trip to the lovely Spanish island of Mallorca. Unfortunately I was only there three days and would have loved to stay the weekend. It was so relaxed and the weather was fabulous. Tomorrow morning very early I'm back on an aeroplane up to Scotland for a family occasion.

I got home to find that Rakehell have published their review of The Lady Soldier. A mixed review but actually quite positive. I think the reviewer really enjoyed the story, but felt obliged to point out that it does not fit into that US 'romance genre' mould. Just because a story did not meet the reviewer's expectations, does that make it a bad story? I don't think so. It's always best to read fiction without expectations, then you are on a better footing to judge a story on its own merits. What do you think blog readers? Am I being unfair?

The one benefit of hanging around on planes and at airports* is the chance to lug around your manuscript and do snatches of editing, hence:

Edits progress:
Up to page 103

* apart from the shopping opportunities. NB I resisted every temptation expect for one fabulous pair of Kurt Geiger shoes. I wonder if fashion brands ever consider author sponsorship...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Negligence (n.)

Messing about with this wonderful tool which allows you to search the text of all of Jane Austen's novels. I may have mentioned it before but it's great resource to check usage of words in Regency times.

I wanted today to check the word negligence. Sounds kind of legal to me, and possibly modern, so I wondered if it was in everyday usage in Dear Jane's time. Answer: Yes.

So seldom that any negligence or blunder appears! - Emma
brought up in the midst of negligence and error - Mansfield Park
by the negligence of a servant - Northanger Abbey
detected the housemaid in negligence - Pride & Prejudice
negligence of my own health - Sense & Sensibility
I hear dreadful complaints of my negligence wherever I go - The Watsons

Edits progress:
Up to page 80

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Heat wave

Try doing edits on a scene where it's cold and pouring with rain when it's actually scorching hot in real life. It's been 31 C (87 F) yesterday and today in St Albans. My freckles have started to come out. I lay on the rug on the lawn today and managed to get through 10 pages freehand, but now I have to type the changes up...

Edits progress:
Up to page 62

Hazy heat in St Albans from one of my windows
(c) K Allan

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Love is a battlefield

Jennifer Lindsay's interview, 'Love is a Battlefield', is up at Great Writing. Great graphics.

As for the editorial... Mike Atherton (probably not the cricketer, nor this guy) suggests that having a couple of websites and blogs for a book/author is 'overkill'.

My reply: Some of us work in the internet business, mate - wake up and smell the coffee! I bet there will be a blog or something blog-like on 'Great Writing' before the year is out. The site is already supplying news in a feed-type way, and community members can comment on your features.

To be honest I've only scratched the surface with some of the online things I'd like to do but are simply too techy or time-consuming for me to pull off.

A author website that's kept up to date, with the essential information, looks clean and is easy to navigate is the bare minimum. If you are writing different things, different websites might be useful for clarity of focus and different potential audiences. Blogs are still new. Most authors don't have them. So if you want to get ahead, get one. But for heavens sake keep it on topic!

I'm doing a author spotlight this week until Thursday for The Lady Soldier at Junkies bookclub. Michelle Styles, co-author, has been covering today so I had better get in there now and cover this evening's Q&A...

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Sold out and ill health

Apart from 30 copies in the central warehouse, and a few copies at amazon.co.uk, The Lady Soldier has sold out the first printing! Within a week of launch. I guess this is better than anyone expected, and yesterday Hale confirmed that a reprint is happening asap.

I'm the kind of person who prefers to be optimistic about things. However, sometimes the facts are too cold and hard to gloss over and I feel upset and numb. An old friend is very ill at the moment. I shall go tomorrow and visit him in hospital.

Meanwhile today I am trying to concentrate on making some progress with edits. I'm not making as much progress as I would like...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The Lady Soldier party photos

Please enjoy! (Go down to the bottom and scroll up to see the photos in sequential order).

THANK YOU to everyone who came along and supported the event, which took place on Monday at the University Womens Club in London, and Max Kalis who took the photographs below.

Things start to get a bit blurry lol (Actually I didn't take this photo)
(c) K Allan

Sue Moorcroft (in black) whose first novel, Uphill All The Way, is just out. PPC Andrew Porrer.
(c) K Allan

Me chatting to writer Mark Gizejewski, novelist and actress Amanda Lees and her agent
(c) K Allan

My work colleagues show their faces for five minutes before heading off to the pub
(c) K Allan

People seem to be enjoying themselves
(c) K Allan

I sign quite a few copies of The Lady Soldier before Edwina Currie tells me I'm doing it wrong!
(c) K Allan

Guests queue up for the book signing.
(c) K Allan

Redcoats on duty (Also available for films, weddings and bar mitzvahs. E-mail me for contact details)
(c) K Allan

Listening to Vivien Morgan. (L-R) Re-enactor Jim Harlow (in 95th Rifles green), Me, Ronald Bridghouse (71st Highland)
(c) K Allan

Vivien Morgan gives a fascinating snapshot talk about historical female cross-dressers
(c) K Allan

Friend Susie Currie opens the official proceedings
(c) K Allan

Writer Kate Johnson who sold her first novella yesterday!
(c) K Allan

(L-R) Screenwriter 'Jez the Fez' (with glasses) The infamous Biddy (in black), novelist Sarah Duncan (white shirt)
(c) K Allan

(L-R) film producer Justin Wheeler (red tie), PR guru Xav Adam, ad girl Anna Falkenberg
(c) K Allan

(L-R) poet Mary Woodward, journo Ian Cundell, legend Ally Miller (with wine), writer Toby Frost
(c) K Allan

The Lady Soldier party: Arriving
(c) K Allan

The internet is a funny place

I was googling and technorating* myself yesterday, checking to see if any more of the online reviews I'm expecting on The Lady Soldier have appeared (answer: no), and found this.

So virtual shares in my blog are being traded in this kind of stock exchange game. Currently the value of my blog is B$17,318.22 and the largest shareholder is a player called 'Gina'. And all other kinds of information...

In fact, if you have a blog I should think it's being traded on BlogShares too.

* made up word, in the same spirit as the concept of 'googling'

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Knackered and new column

My launch party for The Lady Soldier on Monday was lovely. Full report and photos will be here on Thursday, promise.

It was a late night and then yesterday evening I had a work event and tonight I'm going to a party I really don't want to miss! Boat on the Thames, should be great, especially with the air in London today being so warm and dripping with sunshine. (Fingers crossed we go down to Greenwich and have the beautiful sights of the Cutty Sark and the Old Royal Naval College.)

I opened my post this morning which included the latest edition of Solander magazine, my first as Features Editor - I'm so pleased how all the articles I worked on look. It's also my first column, which was, to my surprise, on page 2. Thinking that columns are supposed to be opinionated and make people think, I've asked for a UK historical romance revival. Maybe some editor somewhere in some high place will think, yes... why not. Come on, you know you want to! How big is the new Pride & Prejudice movie going to be this autumn? Answer: very, very big!

Monday, June 06, 2005

Nerves, great ain't they?

A rather quiet weekend, writing wise, although I was pleased today to get finished a manuscript report for the RNA New Writers Scheme. Tomorrow evening is the launch party for The Lady Soldier in London. Should be fun but I'm rather terrified to be honest... and I still haven't decided what to wear. Should I go for smart and simple, or something a little more bohemian?

At the moment my brown and orange patchwork skirt is calling me... It's funny because I bought it a couple of years ago from a boutique in France, and have worn it to a couple of weddings where it probably raised an eyebrow or two, but now this type of thing seems to be mainstream fashion. I was just noticing on the tube last week how many women were wearing these long, ruffly type skirts (or boho skirts as I think they are properly called). I think I'll probably wear my best 1970s vintage cream silk shirt with it.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

All's right with the world

As I walking to the station this morning a small blackbird hopped along the edge of the pavement, happy for me to walk past her without flapping her wings in a panic and flying away. I was reminded of the lines from a Browning poem - 'God is in his heaven. All's right with the world.'

The online book launch party was lovely. Thank you to everyone who came along and joined in. The real book launch party is in London next Monday, so there is just that to panic about now, yet I am hit by this curious sense of serenity*. The waiting, the anticipating is kind of over. Now I can relax**. :)

*Maybe because yesterday I heard from Hale about pre-orders to date, and worked out that we've earned out our advance!
** Until I remember how behind I am with the edits for THE RAKE.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The party goes on!

The online party is still going on today for The Lady Soldier so do drop by and join in! There's some interesting discussions on whether you can use IM for co-authoring, and about historical fiction.