Kate Allan

The online diary of Kate Allan, author

Sunday, February 26, 2006

St Albans Festival of Words

There are no literature festivals in or around my home town of St Albans, which is a shame, but on 18th February, a collaberation between Verulam Writers' Circle, Ver Poets and St Albans Arts (STARTS) held a Festival of Words at the Old Town Hall.

I gave a short talk on getting your novel published, and also a short workshop on 'cracking story openings'.

I also gave some one on one appointments with unpublished novelists. It was quite difficult to give advice with the sum total of 15 minutes per person, but I followed most of the appointments up the next day with an email which gave me a proper chance to have a look at the sample chapters people had brought along. My advice for most people was the same though. There is craft to be learned to write a novel, and would-be novelists need help from somewhere. I found a critique partner on the internet but you could also attend a class or join a good writers' circle such as ours in St Albans.

In existance from the day is an amusing video clip. Luckily no one has figured out how to post it on blogger, so I think I'm safe. :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

You want camels...

No, I didn't ride a camel but I did see plenty of them; not only in the desert, also in the market.

Historically, indeed up until the 1970s when Oman's transport infrastructure began to be modernised with interior roads, camel trains were a vital for goods transport. The great trade routes between Europe and North Africa in the West and Indo-China in the East cross the Persian gulf and trade is still an important part of the culture.

Being just across the water from India it was no surprise to see the markets full of Indian silks, pashminas and carpets from Kashmir.* Made goods came from across the Arab world. Oman itself is famous for frankinsense, dates and silver.

*I bought one home. Well, actually DHL shipped it home.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Arabian adventure

Over new year I went on holiday to Oman in the Arabian peninsula. Now I've finally got the photographs on the computer I'll share some of the highlights over this coming week.

Let's start with the desert...

I'd never been to a desert before and I actually camped for two nights in the Omani desert. There were camels and Bedouin and their goats living in the desert and occasional tufts of grass but apart from that dunes of golden sand as far as the eye could see.

It was cold at night and the stars in the clear sky at night were fantastic - if someone had sprinkled too much glitter on black card. I did some "wadi bashing" which involves being driven at high speed up and down sand dunes in a 4x4.

In this picture we'd gone off for some wadi bashing in the 4x4 but stopped to take a break and I'm trying to look as if I'm in a Turkish Delight advert. :)

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Not long til Spring!

I've chosen the title above because today is the first day for several I've felt reasonably ok. This is because I've had flu, and it gets you down. However, I was back at work today and managed to do a few things which was a great novelty after days of doing nothing and sleeping. I'm still a bit tired but Writing magazine had arrived in the post and in this month's issue is RNA friend and fellow Regency Author Fenella Miller and Margaret Kaine who I was thrilled to meet at last year's RNA conference.

Feeling perky and writing magazines were the theme of the day. I perked up further after receiving an email today. It was from the UK's other main writing magazine, Writers' Forum, offering to publish an article I'd written up on my writing workshop about writing with the senses.

New author-blog alert:
Bestselling Mills and Boon author Kate Walker has started a blog.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's here, the cover!

After I'd got over the shock of actually seeing my name on the cover of a novel, I've decided I really like it. The sense of period is right, the hair colours of Ben (the hero) and Sophy (the heroine) are correct. As is the expression on Ben's face.

What do you think?