I wrote about this!

Great news! I had an article published in the Weekly Telegraph online edition. Read it here. My Dad was a lifelong Telegraph reader so he would have been very proud! (Do read the comments too – quite an argument got going!)

I also translated a poem about Creuse Masons for my other website, www.bloginfrance.com. I’m pleased with it. See what you think.

I’m behind with my Build a Better Blog Challenge, but not too disastrously, so hope to catch up soon. But I’ve been very busy writing. I’ve switched from my living in France book to my fishing mystery, Something Fishy, and now have nearly 99,000 words written. It’s going very well. Finding the time is the frustrating thing, but I’m soldiering on!

Insomnia is becoming a problem too. I find that I have so many ideas buzzing round my head after writing in the evening that I just can’t sleep. Poor Chris, he puts up with me wandering in and out of the bedroom at all hours of the night! I should probably adjust my writing schedule but evenings are really the only time I can sit for an uninterrupted hour or two at the computer. Life gets in the way during the daytime.

I hope you’ll enjoy these. I’ve put my favourite three in bold – they sum me and my writing up quite well.

 

1.       There are two kinds of writer: those that make you think, and those that make you wonder. Brian Aldiss

2.       Proofread carefully to see if you any words out. Anon

3.       Writers, like teeth, are divided into incisors and grinders. Walter Bagehot

4.       He was such a bad writer, they revoked his poetic license. Milton Berle

5.       It is perfectly okay to write garbage–as long as you edit brilliantly. C. J. Cherryh

6.       Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way. E. L. Doctorow

7. Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. E.L. Doctorow

8.       Writing is easy:  All you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Gene Fowler

9.       Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it be against his will. Goethe

10.   A synonym is a word you use when you can’t spell the other one. Baltasar Gracián

11.   Easy reading is damn hard writing. Nathaniel Hawthorne

12.   A writer never has a vacation. For a writer life consists of either writing or thinking about writing. Eugene Ionesco

13.   Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing, and it becomes chronic in their sick minds. Juvenal

14.   If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves. Don Marquis

15.   Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning:  I wanted to know what I was going to say. Sharon O’Brien

16.   Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted. Jules Renard

17.   The first chapter sells the book; the last chapter sells the next book. Mickey Spillane

18.   I do not like to write – I like to have written. Gloria Steinem

19.   How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live. Henry David Thoreau

20.   Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you. Mae West

Just a quick apology if you visited this page in the last few days and found nothing here. Chris was transferring our websites to a new server. All done, so back to normal imminently with some new posts.

Right, the preliminary challenge before starting the 31 day challenge to build a better blog was to do a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.So here goes for my very new blog:

Strengths: I’m an editor and also a published author so I know quite a lot about writing and publishing. I have a lot of book reviews to put up. My own books to showcase. Interest in electronic publishing too.

Weaknesses: only just starting. Not well known.

Opportunities: making a bit of pocket money if I affiliate to Amazon or to a writing workshop etc. Build up links to other writers and their sites.

Threats: all the other excellent writing sites out there! My lack of assertiveness which I must overcome.

As for the ‘elevator pitch’ i.e. short promotional sentence, hmm. Join me in my journey to be a published author again? Or what I already have – Relaunching my writing career, and looking at books, publishing, the Kindle … and more! Yes, I’ll stick with that.

 

In my career as an editor, both in-house but mainly freelance, I must have worked with hundreds of authors on hundreds of books.

But I have to say that the nicest author I’ve ever come across is Lucy Hamill. Lucy, a retired teacher and department head, has written some wonderful French textbooks for Edco in Ireland. They are modern, lively and inspiring. Lucy is permanently brimming with brilliant ideas. It’s hard to keep up with her!

Lucy is also incredibly kind. Today she sent my Irish-food-deprived family a box of goodies, pictures above, to say ‘thank you’ for the work I’ve recently been doing with her on her latest book, Panache. Last summer, she came to visit with husband Sam and little dog Todd, and treated all five Daggs to a wonderful meal at La Bonne Auberge in Nouzerines. It’s not often editors get such treats from authors. Thank you Lucy!

 

I’m determined to make this blog as good as it can be, so I’ve signed up for Darren Rowse’s ’31 Days to Build a Better Blog’ challenge. (I signed up for the WordPress Daily Post Challenge with my other blog, Blog in France – I’m a bit of a sucker for challenges!) Here’s the link to the 31 Days challenge if you feel like having a go too.

And before I even start, I have to run a SWOT analysis on my blog – which shouldn’t take long as there aren’t many posts yet!

I’ll keep you updated about how I’m getting on with the challenge. In the meantime, do check out my book reviews.

I’ll be back blogging properly soon.

 

I’ve been spending too much time in hospitals with Caiti lately and so my blogging time is on the short side just at the moment. So a quick post today, but one I’m sure you’ll find useful. Here are three things I found on the Web this last week that I am sure will interest any writer.

1. The first 16 pages of Roz Morris’ book Nail your Novel are available here. This looks a very interesting book. I’m tempted to get the Kindle version. You’ll find Roz’s excellent website at http://nailyournovel.wordpress.com/

2. Here’s a really good review of Christina Katz’s Get Known Before The Book Deal: Use Your Personal Strengths To Grow An Author Platform. Another book I’ll have to add to my shelves – not in Kindle format sadly! Christina Katz has a website, The Empowered Writer, at  http://christinakatz.com/

3. A recent post from Gutsy Writer Sonia Marsh is very thought-provoking. It considers whether blogging helps creative writing. In my case, it definitely does. I’m smoking-hot creativity wise at the moment, and I put it down to my daily blogging ritual!

See what you think of these three links.

 

To keep me on my toes, I’m going to do a round up of the week’s writing I’ve done every Friday. Life has got in the way a bit this week with two sick kids and trips to health clinics, but enough of excuses. I’ve done quite a bit of writing none the less. Just need to do a bit more!

So, word counts so far on my works in progress. The titles are all working ones only, so if they make you cringe, don’t panic.

Heads Above the Water: this is my life in France book. Currently at 47,000 words. You’ll find the first 2,000 words here. This project is taking priority at the moment.

Something Fishy: racy fishing mystery. 86,000 words. I have more material written for it, I just need to organise it into chapters. Reading the closest I’ve found to this a modern fishing mystery, and I don’t feel threatened shall we say!

Tricot Treat approx. 20,000 words but very disorganised. This is a knitting/yarn bombing mystery. Plenty of progress in my head but not on paper!

Brownie. Teenage fiction about a girl with a hopeless mum who moves to France. 22,000 words. Coming along nicely, have most of it plotted out in my head. Oh for a few more hours in the day …

Knitting for Frenchaholics: 5 patterns so far. I’ll post more about this during the week. It’s quirky and fun.

I have 3 blogs now – this one, www.bloginfrance.com which I post to every day, and I have a new one on the Angling Line’s website, Steph’s Blog, with a fishing-related theme.

And this week t-weekly, the online Daily Telegraph, has accepted a 1,000 word article. Cool!

Spent a fascinating morning at the archives in Gueret today. I shall be going back regularly from now on. So much to find out about Les Fragnes.

Time to take Rors to judo. I sit and write while he’s getting physical. I enjoy my Friday nights in the car!

I may have to sacrifice a bit of knitting time too ...

This August is going to be a big month for us. On the 9th, Chris and I celebrate our silver wedding anniversary, and on the 13th, it will be five years since we arrived here. We’re having a big party on the 7th to jointly mark these occasions. Actually, I mean huge! And I’ve set myself the challenge of having self-published a book on the Kindle by then too. And why not? It’s something I want to do and it’s achievable with a bit of hard work between now and then.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No wonder he's smiling! Photo from peoplefamous.why.com

I really do want to get my head down and start producing adult fiction. In particular, I want to get my life in France book out. It’s not just that I’m loving writing it, and that I think it will be fun to read too, but I have been spurred on by Peter Mayle’s success. I recently read that he is about to sell up his current home – for nearly 6 million pounds! And I imagine he’ll be going for somewhere bigger. He’s had a phenomenally successful writing career which came on the back of his moving to France. He’s deserved it. His books are very well written and extremely entertaining. For Christmas, my sister gave me the DVD of the TV series based on A Year in Provence. I was horrified to see that it bears next to no resemblance whatsoever to the book. I can’t see why the producers felt the need to make such changes. The book is wonderful.

 

I could handle moving into a mansion in the not-too-distant future with the proceeds of a writing career like his, no problem. So I’d better stop blogging and get another 1000 words written …

P.S. Keep an eye on the ‘My books’ page. I’m steadily adding a few more titles every day so you can see what I’ve been up to in the past.

Books Are Cool, my books and writing website – me being Stephanie Dagg – is back. It started out back in 1996 when I began my authoring career as a children’s writer in Ireland. The site was aimed at kids with online stories they could contribute to, games, colouring pages, and poems and competitions. A lot of people had a lot of fun.

 

And I certainly had fun as an author in Ireland. I visited schools and libraries, handed out awards, toured round Irish bookshops with Don Conroy and enjoyed my writing.

 

 

 

 

 

Then the life of Dagg family changed dramatically in 2006 when we moved to France. As well as leaving Ireland behind, I left my children’s authoring behind. Building our new lives and business here took a lot of energy, on top of looking after our 75 acre farm, taking care of our herd of llamas and alpacas and our three lakes of carp, renovating two very old houses. We run a gite and carp fishery and offer llama and alpaca treks. Books Are Cool, like my writing, took a back seat.

But we’re back! I’m writing for adults now. Children’s writing was fun, and I have a couple of Young Adult ideas swilling around in my head at the moment, but my main focus will be grown up books. Which I am intending to self-publish on Kindle. I bought a Kindle in January and have become hooked. Take a look at these blog entries about it from my living in France blog, Blog in France. (Kindle Thoughts, Curling up with a Good Kindle)

In my post Write Back Where I Belong I talked about getting more books with my name on the spine onto the shelves. That was pre-Kindle. I will definitely be going the electronic route, so I’ll be doing a lot of research on that and sharing my findings with you.

I’m mainly working on three books – Something Fishy, my fishing mystery, a vaguely-knitting-based mystery and my moving to France book. All are coming along well and I’ll be posting up snippets in the very near future.

As part of my preparation for my France book, working title Heads Above the Water, I’ve read a lot of books written by other ex-pats. Some have been brilliant, some have been dull, some have been downright dreadful! Anyway, I shall be including reviews of the good ones. I don’t like doing bad reviews, there doesn’t seem much point.

So join me as I get busy again at my computer!