We’re half way through 2021 and I thought I’d celebrate by finishing book four, having a near-death experience, buying a broken mobility scooter and destroying the garden with a ninja farmer. If you want to know more about this, plus meeting the SAS, seven foot blue aliens with ridged penises, and the latest on Highland Games, then read on!
July started with finishing Musical Games, book four in the Kinloch series. The first draft came in at 85,487 words and only took me eight weeks to write. During these two months, I had 47 writing days, averaging 1,818 words per day. I had an average word count per week of 10,685, with my lowest word count week being 6,524 and my highest being 17,005. My lowest word count day had just 170 words written and my highest had 4,506. I was completely blown away that I managed to do this, particularly as the summer is the busiest time of year for me.
Musical Games has scorching hot sex, a reverse virgin trope, Shakespeare, rabid cats, skinny dipping, kilts, and a musician who goes by the name of Th. I cannot wait to share it with you!
If you want a sneaky peek then make sure you sign up to my newsletter as I have been letting subscribers read excerpts…
I finished writing on a Saturday, and to celebrate I drank a lot (one glass) of Prosecco and binge-watched Bridgerton.
The next day we went on a family walk. A walk that turned into a (literal) shit show, with a hysterical child, two even more hysterical puppies and the near death of my entire family…
Things had started off well. It was hot and sunny so we dressed in shorts and t-shirts. The (soon to be ex) husband took us on a running route of his we’d only been on once before. It was so bad, girl child and me vetoed going on it ever again.
So ex-husband (to be) goes a different route, which accidentally-on-purpose ends up being the same bastard route we went on before. I was wearing walking boots that I hadn’t worn for decades and was getting blisters. So he said to take them off. I did. It was lovely. But then the public footpath took us through a field full of mutant cows and a bog.
By now it’s raining. Hard.
We try to bypass the cows by going through a muddier/shittier part of the bog. It doesn’t work. We have to go back through the bog. We’re now stuck in mud up to our knees and girl child is getting hysterical.
‘It’s all fine, they’re harmless’, (soon to be ex) husband says, going to tie the puppies to a tree so he can come back and help us back though the bloody bog so we can retrace our steps. By now the cows are very very very interested in us. We’re trapped between the tree line and EIGHT fucking mutant cows and he’s fiddling trying to untie the dog leads. ‘Break the fucking branch’ I say through gritted teeth. He doesn’t. The cows are now less than a metre away. ‘BREAK. THE. FUCKING. BRANCH.’
‘Oh, give it a rest,’ he replies.
‘BREAK! THE! FUCKING! BRANCH!’
Girl child is now shaking and crying, the puppies are whining and I’m shitting myself. All I can think about is how to save girl child, knowing full well it will involve losing my life. The cows are starting to huff and snort. ‘Oh no you don’t!’ I say sternly. My words and tone make no difference. Suddenly a bull in another part of the field starts RUNNING (thankfully away from us) and the others follow, leaving the field free for us to go on.
He didn’t break the fucking branch.
By the time we walk home through a very normal housing estate, I’m still shoeless, covered in mud and cow shit and bleeding from scratches across my legs.
The ex-husband (for sure) had to use the mud daddy dog cleaner to get me clean enough to get in the house. I went straight up to have a bath with a bottle of wine. Half an hour later I’m so pissed, I inform the (maybe I’ll let him live) husband that we need to have sex to reaffirm our commitment to life.
He laughs and calls me crazy.
Half an hour after that romantic non-interlude, I fall asleep on the sofa.
When girl child wakes me up I give up on the sex idea and get a tub of ice cream out of the freezer. We are never, ever, ever doing that ‘walk’ again.
A few days after our near
divorce death experience, I had the pleasure of ‘dealing with’ six SAS commanders. These gentlemen were everything you could ever dream of. If, that is, you’re interested in extremely buff, tattooed, slightly scruffy men in their thirties, who listen to you intently, then do exactly what you’ve asked them to do. Which of course in no way describes my ideal man. No. Not at all… Unfortunately I was not allowed to take any photos of them, or lick touch them, or hump them on the spot get their contact details, so you’ll just have to take my word THAT IT REALLY HAPPENED! Sigh…
This month I was prepping Highland Games (book one in the Kinloch series) for publication, and thought I was finally there. Wanting to make sure that the manuscript was as bomb-proof as it could possibly be, I sent it to a non-romance-reading, six foot six, skinhead, crime novelist for his thoughts. He wrote me a forty page report highlighting what he thought were critical issues… UGH. I am a perfectionist, and even though I know the book is more than fine as is, I couldn’t put it out there if I knew there were things that could be made better.
So, everything else went on hold, and I spent a week freaking out trying to fix what I thought was unfixable. Over twelve hours of calls to my dear author friend Margaret Amatt, and we had a solution, that then necessitated another week of re-edits before it went back to my long-suffering editor, Aimee.
After three weeks of hell, I am now over the moon I’ve made the changes and cannot wait to finally get Highland Games out into the world this autumn!
Speaking of the perks of being a newsletter subscriber, on the 14th of August I’m treating everyone to a very special and very sexy deleted scene featuring our hero, Rory… Sign up now to read it…
If you missed out on my blogs this month then you can catch up here! I wrote What does a book editor do (and do I need one), How to practise self care as a writer, and also wrote a review blog for another three awesome books; Mister McHottie, By a Thread and The Simple Life
July also saw the start of ‘Project She Shed’, also known as my ‘Shoffice’. After our attempts to move into a bigger house failed on multiple occasions due to lack of funds, we decided to put a shed on the veg patch so I could finally have enough room to work properly.
We applied for planning permission, but as soon as it was granted, our builder told us that the budget of 20k had now shot up to 79k. Yes, seventy-nine THOUSAND pounds sterling.
For a shed. Hmmmmmmmmm…….
Unfortunately I am not yet JK Rowling, so we looked elsewhere and were told we had a seven month lead time for a smaller alternative. Luckily, just a mile down the road from us, on the way to my daughter’s school, is a farm that had a shed-like hut under a tarpaulin. I stopped, knocked on the door of the farmhouse and asked if I could buy it. He said YES! So, in the middle of a bonafide heatwave, the husband and I had to remove the raised veg beds, move/destroy three (normal) sheds, take down three fences, and lay waste to half the garden.
The farmer is assisting with various enormous diggers, and managed to get one digger into the back garden, through a locked gate, without either me or the husband realising – hence why he is called the ninja farmer. Hopefully by the end of August I will have a new office!
And in other news, I’ve been approached by two lovely gentlemen who want to let me know that I am a ‘pretty beautiful queen’. These men(?) obviously don’t actually pay very close attention to my instagram feed, or they’d know that I’m a middle-aged lunatic whose husband bought her a broken mobility scooter at an auction because it was only £18…
If my new admirers are living in fantasy land, then I have been too, courtesy of some fabulous romance books. Highlights this month have included Ice Planet Barbarians, Wilde in Love, Our Little Secret, The Experiment, and Flight of Fancy by Margaret Amatt which is due out next year!
And in terms of this month’s PUpdate, here’s three pics of them looking cute. The rest of the time they’re bonkers. I’m still not a dog person btw…
So there we have it, a month with more highs than a roller coaster in the Alps fuelled by amphetamines. Let me know what’s going on in your world, and if you have any fabulous reading recommendations for me!