Thursday, May 31, 2007

BTW - Quick Note

I now officially declare that Getting Even is upgraded from *difficult* to ONE OF THESE....

If you're not sure what I mean by this then you need to visit the behind the story section of O'Reilly's Bride... Been?... NOW you with me??? Yuh-huh.

I BLAME GABE ENTIRELY for the fact I have now opened an 'Edits' file and am cutting and pasting great massive SWATHES... SWATHES FOLKS - did you hear that? - SWATHES - from the main file into it, shuffling scenes round, removing threads... IT'S A MASSACRE IN MY HOUSE...

But needs must and all that - and if I've been having THIS MUCH DIFFICULTY then there's SOMETHING WRONG...

There will be tears before bedtime - mark my words...

Thursday Thirteen (4)

Thirteen forms of Procrastination recommended by Trish

1. Blog Hopping

2. Eharlequin

3. Googling ones own name

4. Myspace friend search

5. Youtube (worse than drug addiction!!!)

6. Statcounter Stats (to see who loves me)

7. Searching for hero pics (another drug!)

8. Updating wordcounter every 200 words

9. Re-reading from the beginning every single damn time

10. Checking other peoples wordcounters to see how behind I am

11. Looking at RWA site to see who I'm sitting beside at signing

12. Amazon (Another addiction AND this one sucks your money away!!!)

13. Thursday flipping Thirteen!!!

(And this list could have gone on and on and on and on and on...)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Come Find Me... You know you wanna...


Meanwhile you can come find me at Tote Bags 'n' Blogs where I'm chatting a little about preparing for Culture Shock... You know - just so you get your daily fix of Trish... Come on - you know you wanna...

I'll do the Book With Trish on Friday - k? Where we'll be covering the topic of Indulging The Reader...

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

And Now An Interview With Ash

Trish: Glass of wine?

Ash: You have to ask?

Trish: Well girl, I tell ya - you can pick em...

Ash: Oh, I know!

Trish: Don't suppose he's behaving any better than the last time I spoke to him?

Ash: Depends what you mean by 'better'. You kinda gotta admit there's something, well, you know - about a guy who misbehaves some...

Trish: Well, yeah, I get that. But it's not like he's easy is it?

Ash: (laughs) No.

Trish: Well wouldn't you be better off with someone who communicates a little better?

Ash: Make for a short story, wouldn't it? Don't you have, like, 50,000 words or something to fill?

Trish: Well, yes, I do. But part of that is - you know - his side of the story - and he's just not co-operating with me on that front!

Ash: Gimme some time, I'm working on that. And if he was a pushover, to be honest, he probably wouldn't do it for me the way he does. There's just something about the strong, silent type - don't you think? And it's not that he can't use words when he has to - I mean when he -

Trish: (thinking there are some things she really can't put on her Blog) Yes - I'm with ya - but I don't mean words then, I mean when he's talking to you about what he thinks or I'm trying to tell my reader what he thinks -

Ash: (looking surprised) He tells you what he thinks?

Trish: Hell no - That's just the problem!

Ash: So what did he say?

Trish: Well it's not that he would say anything really, it was more of a case of reading between the lines...

Ash: He hates it when I do that. He thinks women make things more complicated than they need to be.

Trish: We do though.

Ash: (shrugging) We mightn't if the men in our lives answered the questions we ask.

Trish: Oh well then you're pretty much stuffed before you start with Gabe then aren't you?

Ash: He didn't used to be like that. We were close once - talked about things - argued them out - it's just, well it's complicated, you know? We knew each other so well for so long and now it's like I still know him - but I don't know him at all - you know?

Trish: (thinking she really should worry that that made complete sense to her) Yeah, I know. But how long can you beat your head against a brick wall?

Ash: (smiling) I can be pretty bloody-minded myself. You'd think he'd know that about me, wouldn't you?

Trish: Honestly? I don't think he trusts you...

Ash: (gazing out of the window while she thinks) Hmmm. I think that's cos I hurt him when I left the way I did eight years ago. He has the memory of an elephant.

Trish: Maybe if you told him why you left the way you did?

Ash: (grimacing) Oh that won't help. That'll just make it worse. Trust me.

Trish: Yeah, but secrets don't help any either. How can he trust you if you won't trust him?

Ash: But that one's not about trust - it's about knowing him well enough to know what he'd have done. I wasn't going to let him mess up his life because of me.

Trish: Maybe he needs to understand that?

Ash: It was eight years ago, it doesn't matter now.

Trish: But if he has the memory of an elephant?

Ash: He just needs time to realize I'm not going anywhere this time and that I've grown up.

Trish: And what happens if he finds out what you never told him?

Ash: (scowling at me) Don't you dare tell him!

Trish: (thinking these two need their heads knocked together!!!) I think you should tell him! I *only* have 50k to work with here!

Ash: (sighs) Just give me some time. I'll get through to him. The Gabe I knew is in there somewhere.

Trish: And what if you don't get through to him?

Ash: I will.

Trish: You do know he thinks that if he was run over by a bus in the next scene that you'd just move on cos that's what you do?

Ash: He said that?

Trish: (nodding firmly) That he did.

Ash: (Downing the remainder of her glass) Oo-hhh... why that stubborn great, blind, useless lump!!! Well if he thinks that then he's a prat. And I obviously still have some work to do. You (pointing a finger at me) better go open that word doc of yours where we live cos he's about to learn that he can't think I'm the same dumb teenager I was when he knew me before! If he'd just once open his eyes and see -

Trish: (stepping well back from the danger zone) Erm - Ash?

Ash: (glaring) What?

Trish: (swallowing hard and pointing) He's behind you...

Dear Blog reader.... Heeeeelllllllpppppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Update & The Flanaghan Family

Alright first up - apologies for the disappearance! Spring has sprung here and that means I'm dragged forceably outside a heck of a lot more to tend to things like ponies and fields and fencelines and I could go on and on and on... And then on Friday I ended up deep in the wilds of Donegal to look at a new Miniature Shetland mare to add to the breeding program... so she'll be collected later this week and introduced to the rest of the gang... here's hoping they're all mannerly to her - neice number two has named her Angel...

Saturday the copy edits arrived for Her One And Only Valentine - so I spent the afternoon reading it from start to finish and trying to pick up all those teeny tiny mistakes that would make me INSANE if they made it to print... Am really pleased with how it read and I think Kane is YUMMY (could still see Nathan Fillion as him while reading so that's a good sign I feel). Here's hoping anyone who reads it thinks he's as yummy too... ;)

Then Sunday I spent all day doing Pink Heart Society stuff as we try to get ahead for the rest of the summer while we're all so manically busy! Lots of emails back and forth, lots of chatting and throwing ideas into the ether - I kinda love that about the PHS - and I found a Male On Monday for June that sent my muse into overdrive for a new Romance plot!!! MUST-NOT-THINK-OF-NEW-BOOKS-TIL-CURRENT-BOOK-FINISHED!!!

Especially since I've been so wicked thinking up new ideas of late for the Flanaghan family after an email from a lovely reader who has read both Rory (Breathless!) AND Connor's (The Return Of The Rebel) stories and was wondering if I was thinking of doing the other two brothers stories too...

To that I had to confess that they've never been too far from the back of my mind - especially since Mal briefly appeared in Rebel... and then of course there's Tess too - the one and only sister amongst all those huge, stunningly good-looking men. Kinda gotta think they didn't make anyone thinking of dating her feel that comfortable when they were all young...hmmm... And then what about the youngest brother Callum??? Welll... having been asked the part of my brain where they all live demanded attention... So of course after emailing the reader back I then went and found pics of Tess, Mal and Callum to go with Rory and Connor's pics... B-A-D-T-R-I-S-H...

But then I've always been a sucker for linked stories as a reader, so I guess I was bound at some point to want to try a series myself... All they'd need is the right stories to go with them, right???

But following my own policy of not veering off into the land of another story while still inhabiting the world of the one I'm currently working on I had to force myself to put the pictures into a family tree and then LEAVE IT THE HECK ALONE...

For now anyway...

Meanwhile - just for anyone who might be curious - here are the pics of all the Flanaghan family - From the top we have Rory, Connor, Tess, Mal and Callum... Anyone else see why I feel the need to go visit them again???

But there's still GABE.

So I'll bring you Ash's interview tomorrow and then we'll try and do another Book With Trish blog shall we?? Oh - and for those of you who joined in the chat about Craft Books - Michelle Styles has been blogging about the Robert McKee book that Nindespin recommended to me... THANKS MICHELLE... Just click on her name and you can have a look see what she said - I know I'll certainly be ordering a copy... AFTER GABE IS GONE...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Thursday Thirteen (3)

Thirteen Hero/Heroine Inspirations
for Trish's books

1. Eddie Cahill - Her Real-Life Hero

2. Jewel Staite - His Mistress: His Terms

3. Nathan Fillion - Her One And Only Valentine

4. Melinda Karakanedes - Her Unexpected Baby

5. Jessie Bradford - Rescued: Mother-To-Be

6. Sandra Bullock - Her One And Only Valentine

7. Colin Farrell - Breathless!

8. Ashley Judd - The Wedding Surprise

9. Kyle Chandler - O'Reilly's Bride

10. Mandy Moore - Project: Parenthood

11. Justin Bruening - The Return Of The Rebel

12. Amy Adams - White-Hot!

13. Eric Bana - Bride Of The Emerald Isle

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!
1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Storyboarding While Writing

Okay, having been on my usual daily Blog-hop-between-scenes-of-book-procrastination-tour and following on from the great chat we had about the Craft books last time, I've had a wee bit of a think... and d'ya know there are LOADS of similarities I knew about between film and book-writing that I hadn't realized we authors use in varying forms...

And that backs up my theories so therefore I'm gonna talk about them to make me feel clever - okay???

Take Storyboarding for example...

As part of the film -making process we all know that there will be a storyboard - right? This is where, quite often via little sketches, each scene or sometimes even each frame of the movie is laid out in the order it'll be filmed in... you know you've all seen them in DVD extras, go on, admit it!

Well... even though I'm a *panster* I do to a very small extent use this method, albeit I skip lots of scenes and have a clear mental image of only key scenes and then I let the characters lead me to each in-between scene on a kind of action/reaction basis - and that came out in fluent swahili didn't it?

Okay - for example - right now I'm in hitting the turnaround section of Getting Even (you'll know what I mean by this if you've been following the Book With Trish series on my Writer's Tips page) and I've just done a restaurant scene that I had very clearly planned and rehearsed in my head. Up until I got three quarters of the way through it I had no idea what was coming next (this is where the panster in me kicks in). I like to work that way, and I doubt I'll ever change - because for me part of the creativity is flexibility - the ability to take that unexpected turn when my characters lead me to it - and this is part of the reason why these days nearly all my proposals for my lovely editor end with the words *or something along those lines*. And realistically it's also because the one and only time I tried to plan a whole book from start to finish prior to writing it I never finished it - cos I was bored cos I knew what was coming next and that proved to be a big fat yawn-fest for me... Let's just call that a Trish-ism shall we?

But for some, a more organized game plan works much better and one of those people is the lovely Fiona Harper, winner of the RNA New Writer's award last year and up for not one but TWO RITA's this year for her DEBUT BOOK Blind-Date Marriage!!! So a more planned approach OBVIOUSLY works for Fiona!

I've stolen a pic from Fiona's Blog where she has been talking about how she uses cards on a pin board to help plot out her books. Now although I don't use this method, it makes perfect sense to me and the way she explains it is very clear and concise (I'm also seriously into my colour coding when I'm organized in other things in my life so she *got me* there) Now look at this pic and then look at the sample pic I got of a story board template for a film or TV Ad... look similar? Look like Fiona's cards could fit into those boxes with her colour cards underneath? Yuh-huh - I thought so too...

Then let's look at another friend of mine Ally Blake who, like me, has become a convert of collaging a-la-the -very-lovely Barbara Hannay (who did a talk on the subject at one of RWAus conferences a few years ago I'm told) - And again I've sneakily stolen another pic from Ally's Blog to show you how she did it for her last Romance book...

Now whereas Ally and Barbara and several others use another pin board or even the Blue Peter method with scissors and glue and pics from magazines - I don't have an actual office space - so my entire life is on my laptop. So what I've taken to doing is making my collage for each book as a Word Doc with all the pictures I find online... many of them the kinds of pics you'll see me use here on the Blog when I'm chatting to you lot as I write and then making it to the Behind The Scenes section of each of my Book Excerpt Pages on the Website....

IF I had the space I have to say I would also add those pictures to my Story Board (if I had one). In each of those little boxes or pinned in order to my pin board I'd have a couple of pics that show me how my hero and heroine might look, what they might be wearing - the kinds of pics I already use in my Word Doc collage to suggest a scene to me - and then I could make my notes in underneath or pin my cards beside them, couldn't I???

Let's take the excerpt I've put on my Website for His Mistress: His Terms - it would have pictures like the ones I have here (and genuinely from my collages on my Word Doc for this book as it so happens) as my visual inspiration - the bridge Merrow runs over - the kind of dress I had as basis for what she's wearing - the coffee she has run over the bridge to get - the scarf blowing in the air would represent the scarf she tied in her hair on a whim which reminds Alex of when he first met her - and of course the pic of Alex I used on here so much (and swore I wouldn't post again but stuff it) that shows me exactly what he's wearing in that scene... TOLD YOU I'm a visual kind of girl... And if you read the excerpt you can see how all those visual images make it into the scene in the end and you can tell me whether or not you can *see it* from all these pics...

Now correct me if I'm wrong - but that's storyboarding, isn't it? A -la - film making again - and tying neatly into my Backwards Casting theory again. AH-HA! I really am sold on this you know - don't think even I'd realized how much until this year.... and it still has enough flexibility in it for my creativity to take flight... With those pics for my key scene I can put it together like a movie in my head and then I can concentrate on what they say to each other, what their inner thoughts are, that action and reaction that will lead me automatically into my next scene, whether I've thought about that scene yet or not... And that particular excerpt from Alex and Merrow's story worked for me so well that it became a focal scene for later on in the book when something that the reader doesn't see happen is revealed in the ending... I'm also one for echoes - but that's a whole nother Blog... And the only thing I added that a storyboard mightn't - was my music *soundtrack*

So, if any of my other author buddies have a variation on this that works for them or have a method they use that sounds similar to storyboarding - POP IN AND LET US KNOW - Cos I have to say that this chat on the Blog here of late has really got my mind working and I'M LOVING THAT!!!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Writer's Never Stop Learning


Thanks to a lovely new friend who has de-lurked here on the Blog as of yesterday and a lovely email I received from a young lady recently, I'm blogging on the subject of learning today and how I 'studied' to be a writer... Mind you - you guys might not get the answers you expect here - cos, well, you know - it's me...

My new Blog friend Nindespin (*waves*) asked about any craft books I might have read that set off the light-bulb above my head before I became a writer. And with a rather red face I have to stand up (at great risk of being stoned alive) to say I didn't read a single one before I started... Forgive me??? Because to stand here and confess that and then to also admit that I sold on a first submission kinda makes me top of the hit list doesn't it? Would it help if I said I wasn't the only one to ever sell on a first submission??? Please???

So the question would then be where I got my light-bulb moment from. And this kinda answers the question I got via email from a lovely girl who at eighteen has the same dream I had at eighteen - to write for Harlequin Mills & Boon. She asked what advice I could give her and I'm gonna do it both here and via email to her personally... The very first thing I'm gonna say is live as full a life as you possibly can.... I mean jam packed. Because when I started writing at eighteen I had this romantic notion of closeting myself away and writing the old fashioned way with reams of paper and a good fountain pen - and yes, the book that I first completed back then was the basis for the book I eventually sold - but it took my friends to drag me out into the big bad world for me to learn enough about life and people for me to go back to that book a decade later and make it into something real and, thankfully, sellable...

The way I see it is this - you know how we gals have a tendency to pick everything apart, see it from all angles and then try to put it back together again? - usually on the subject of our friends and our love lives - and normally over several glasses of something that will eventually turn a tale of woes into a giggle-fest? Well - to me - that's writer training. You know how you felt when you had your first crush, your first broken heart, your first relationship that just didn't fit - or if you're luckier than me - found the one that did? That's writer training for romance. And you know how you felt at your first job or struggling to pay the rent or how much you worked for a promotion or the first time you lost a job or how it felt when you worked hard and got your dream? That's writer training for character development. For me, the best thing my friends ever did, was get my ass out of the house and into the game of life. It may not always have been a pleasant experience, and believe me when I tell you there were rough times - but by learning and understanding why people do and say the things they do and say, by chatting problems through with friends and by seeing what other people do you learn about what motivates characters actions and that I think, helps make for believable characters.

So - life was my craft study I'm afraid...

HOWEVER - once you become a writer or if you've been trying to be a writer for a while, you realize (or you do if you're me) that learning about the craft is essential if you want to be here a while and if you want to improve! And THAT means learning. I don't think the learning should ever stop - from my point of view, we all have to earn our place and there are so many incredible writers out there that if we don't keep working at it then we don't deserve to be here - but that's just my philosophy - and I'm as vulnerable to the market trends and changes as the next person!!!

So, this year in particular I've been starting to pay more attention to the varying Craft Books that other writers read - and it's a subject oft blogged about! Even at The Pink Heart Society my good friend Ally Blake gave some samples of Craft Books she found useful (and some she didn't) - and let me tell you there is much debate from one book to the other and from one author to the other!

Now call me a simple soul - no, not simple on it's own! - but I like things to not blind me with science. Yes, I did do things like English Literature and History of Art so I do have a certain amount of knowledge on delving into things a tad deeper - but I like things set in terms that aren't too intricate and that get me thinking and making up my own mind. So certain Craft Books I won't even pick up - cos I know I won't read them and even if I do I'll end up dropping into a pit of despair because I think I should be doing all that stuff and feel like a moron cos I can't.

My mantra is this: Every Writer is a storyteller FIRST. So - for me - that means reading and watching movies to see how stories are told. Simplistic - yes. Naive - quite possibly. But it works for me. And I know I keep banging on about it - but it's whatever works for you! THERE-ARE-NO-RULES!!!

Frankly, I think it's why I started to get so stuck on the similarities between books and movies. And that started way back early in my life when I would read a book and then watch the movie and I was fascinated by why they changed some things or left certain things out, you know? I can watch a movie and admire the way scenes were put together, or how a character arc was developed, or the different ways they can get us to become attached and CARE about what happens next... And from all that and the editing process similarities in those DVD extras on out-takes, I started to form my own method and that eventually led to things like the theory on Backward Casting I use (which you can find on my Writers Tips Page) and the theories I have on editing and the like...

I guess what that means is I'm one of those people who works better with visual images laid out in front of me rather than a class on theory. I'm a do-er. Which is probably why in the horse world I did my exams through the NVQ system (which is hands on learning) rather than the Degree system (which can be a lot of talking about hands on learning without the actual hands on) - but I digress...

So I guess it made perfect sense that this year when I'm looking to the future and where I want to be that the kind of craft books I'm currently reading are more about the way Screenplays are put together. And with a day spent circling the talks I want to attend at the RWA Conference in Dallas this summer I tripped across one Michael Hauge - who has a book called Selling Your Story In 60 Seconds - and it's for BOTH screenplays AND novels - so SCORE!!! And folks - I'm now a convert. But in fairness, he had me at the page that said if I was reading the book in an aisle at Borders then I should just go buy it already. A sense of humour in the writing will always hold me you know... I'm a cheap date that way...

What this book does basically is make you break down your story into the key elements that will sell it. And already, not even a third of the way through, I've nodded my head so many times that I've gone right back to Amazon and ordered his other book on the Writing process. Yes, I KNOW it still says screenplays - but as I'm already a convert to the similarities I can pretty much put everything he's saying into the context of a novel. He lays the points down clearly - explains them all with examples I UNDERSTAND - and the fact that there are so many things I already do gives me faith that I'm not a moron and don't need to jump into that pit of despair!!! I LOVE HIM FOR THAT ALONE. But once I've read both books I'll come back and chat a bit more about them and once I've attended his talk in Dallas I'll probably come talk about it again.

But it's because I've found something that WORKS FOR ME that I'm so enthused by it... see? There is method on my madness...

Having said that, if you're looking to target Harlequin Mills & Boon then a VERY good place to start with Craft Books is Kate Walker's 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance - and I'm not just saying that because Kate has a new edition of it coming out this year and I was honoured enough to be asked some questions for it!!!! I'm recommending it because every single person I know that has read it has been helped by it! And cos if Kate doesn't know what she's doing when she has her 50TH BOOK on the shelf next month then LORD HELP THE REST OF US!!!

So there you go - the truth, the whole truth and nothing but... And if I find anything else that has given me a lightbulb moment along the way that I'll come back and let you all know - okay??? And thanks for the questions guys!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

An Attempt At Interviewing Gabe...

Trish: So, Gabe, you know the way Alex was so helpful when I was writing his story? I was wondering if there was any chance at all you might help me out a little with yours...? (bats eyelids and pouts)

Gabe: I didn't ask you to tell it.

Trish: Erm, well, no, but -

Gabe: I don't do none of those touchy-feely-emotions stuff the Squirt seems so fine with.

Trish: (mumbling) Yes, well Alex wasn't giving much away either. (he's the squirt you understand dear blog reader) Mind you 'touchy' and 'feely' and a little bit more than that doesn't seem to be something either of you have a problem with, with the right woman...

Gabe: (folds arms)

Trish: (clears throat) It's just that I have this tradition of telling peoples stories from both points of view... and right now you're causing me a few problems with that...

Gabe: So I should just lie down on a sofa while you ask me what the problem is and take notes?

Trish: (thinking about the lying down on a sofa option...mmm...) No, I'm just thinking that maybe if you at least let me know what's going on then I might have an idea why you're behaving the way you are with Ash.

Gabe: She wants to know something, she can ask me.

Trish: And you'd tell her?

Gabe: (shrugs) Depends on what she asks.

Trish: Well, it's just she's tried asking you things and you haven't been that keen to share...

Gabe: And?

Trish: (really understanding why Ash wants to shake him so often) Don't you think you two might get on better if she knew why you were being so... so....

Gabe: So?

Trish: Erm... difficult.

Gabe: (stares)

Trish: It's just that she really doesn't get why you're so different to the way she remembers you. I think it has her a bit confused.

Gabe: (smiles a very small smile)

Trish: (thinks - hang on a minute) Are you trying to confuse her on purpose?

Gabe: Why would I do that?

Trish: (seriously considering writing a scene where the hero is run-over-by-a-bus) Why would you do that Gabe?

Gabe: How many of these things did you say you'd done?

Trish: Fourteen.

Gabe: You'd think you'd know why people do the things they do by now then wouldn't you?

Trish: (thinking about something larger than a bus) Every relationship is different.

Gabe: I'm not in a (unfolds arms to make invisible speech marks) 'relationship' with Ash.

Trish: Now Gabe, that would be a bit of a fib, wouldn't it?

Gabe: That's a good move, 'cos you callin' me a liar is gonna get me to tell you stuff a helluva lot faster, isn't it?

Trish: (closes notepad with a sigh) So if it's not a relationship then what is it?

Gabe: You're the one telling the story, why don't you tell me?

Trish: (really getting a tad irritated by now) Has anyone ever told you, you have problems?

Gabe: (refolding arms) You think? Well I'm not the one chatting to a fictional character, am I?

Trish: You do know I can replace you?

Gabe: You think?

Trish: Ash might be better off with someone who talks to her a bit more.

Gabe: You go right ahead and try to find someone that can play that woman at her own game the way I can. Just keep in mind that I know her better than anyone else.

Trish: (thinking he doesn't maybe know her as well as he might like to think he does) And you'd be okay with her with someone else would you?

Gabe: No, I said you could try to find someone else. I didn't say you would.

Trish: Meaning you would be fine with it if I did?

Gabe: (leaning in a little) I don't think I said that either.

Trish: So let's just say, for the sake of argument, you were run over by a bus in the next scene... She should just, what, pine for you for the next 30,000 odd words?

Gabe: (laughs sarcastically) Ash doesn't pine. She moves on. It's her thing.

Trish: (lightbulb going off over head) So you're saying you don't trust her?

Gabe: (unfolding an arm to waggle a long finger at me) Don't think I don't know what you're doing writer girl.

Trish: What did she do that you don't trust her?

Gabe: We're done here.

Trish: (following him) Yeah, but if you could just tell me what she did...?

Gabe: (still walking away) Why don't you just try reading what you've written?

Trish: Because I've read it like a gazillion times and the most that happens is you give me a line here or there. One line. You're not helping! Don't you want to live happily ever after with Ash?

Gabe: Maybe you should ask her that question. (slams door on way out)

Trish:(shouting through closed door) Fine then! I will!

Dear Blog Reader - is it just me or is this guy... well... isn't he??? I'm just gonna go open a bottle of wine and see if I can get Ash to talk to me...

Friday, May 18, 2007

His Mistress: His Terms

Okay - it's all wrapped up and scheduled and all...

So, Letting Loose, my 14th book and fourth Modern Extra, is now officially called His Mistress: His Terms and will be released in the UK and Ireland in January 2008

I've put up a longer excerpt on the Website, with a tonne of pics that we saw here on the blog while I was writing it and some that you might not have seen... This one being one of them... So who is the dashing chap on the rock?? Well... you'll just have to go to the His Mistress: His Terms excerpt page to find out, won't you? Ha!

Might also have sourced where some of the fairy dust came from too... Merrow's name... But to find out why guess where you'll have to go? Yuh-huh...

Not long to go in my Writer's Contest now either gang, so if you're planning on entering then you need to think about polishing it up and sending it in. I have a shortlist and will announce the winner end of the month... And next month we have a book contest again... Right, I'm off to WRITE now that I'm feeling a bit brighter! I'll blog about how I'm getting on over the weekend. AND I had an idea for my next Romance... but more about that when I get it past my lovely Editor...

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Thursday Thirteen (2)

Thirteen Things Trish hopes to see this Summer
1. Statue Of Liberty

2. Empire State Building

3. The Grassy Knoll

4. A guy in a Cowboy Hat!!!

5. Houston Space Centre

6. Chinese Theatre

7. Universal Studios

8. Sydney Opera House

9. Ally & Nic in their natural habitat

10. That Hotel shaped like a sail

11. The Acropolis

12. Tower Of London

13. Leg room on ALL MY FLIGHTS

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. Jenna Bayley-Burke

2. The Pink Heart Society

3. Elle Fredrix

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Letting Loose Excerpt...

Wellllll....looks like Letting Loose is good to go - revisions didn't suck as badly as expected - so the 'one with the fairy dust' aka 'Trish's fastest book ever' just needs an official title and a release date and it can take it's ikkle place of honour as book fourteen over on my website... In the meantime, just to give you all a little taster - I'm posting Alex and Merrow's pics for the last time on the Blog (until release date time of course) and a bit of an excerpt from Chapter One for you to have a read of...

Once I have all the official details I'll let you know and in the meantime, thanks to some very tempting bribes from my pals, I'm off to work on the follow up - Getting Even - Gabe and Ash's story... which is due in - ooohhh - I dunno...two and a half odd weeks...

Mind you I'm sooooooooo sick today that I don't know I'll get much done. I gave a small tiny little virus to my neice a while back and she took it, handed it round her entire family who then mutated it into something worse and now I have it back!!! NOT HAPPY. And its one of those headache that wont go away even when you're asleep ones... sigh... man I HATE those ones!!! So this blog is about all I've managed before I go back to sleep... shall do emails later...

“So what happened to your last interior designer?”
“Which one?”
He watched as a finely arched eyebrow rose, as her mouth formed a perfect ‘o’ to blow over the rim of the lid before she blinked her long lashes at him and asked, “How many have there been?”
“Four,” Which was still four less than the number of times he done the architectural designs but even so, “Mickey D is quite particular.”
“So I’m a last resort am I?”
“Actually you’re the first one that he’s been determined he has to have.”
She took a sip of tea and laughed softly as she walked past him, “Mmm. I doubt I’m really the first.”
Somehow the thought of some guy like Mickey D wanting more than Merrow’s design skills didn’t sit well with Alex. And the fact that it didn’t sit well bugged him. It was none of his bloody business. Didn’t stop his terse answer though,
“That kind of recruiting he can do on his own. I’m his architect, not his pimp.”
Merrow’s eyebrows both rose, “Seriously, there’s more tea in the flask.”
Damn it! It could have been any other woman on the planet and Alex would have been much happier.
He unfolded his arms and put his hands back into his pockets, fully aware of the fact he was fidgeting. And Alex didn’t fidget. That was another thing he’d been taught not to do, “Why don’t you just look at the place and see what you think?”
He tacked on something extra for good measure, “Please.”
“Well please certainly helps, though if you’d waited 24hrs I’d have gone to see it anyway. It’s what I’d planned on doing…”
“You could have said that on the phone.”
“Thought I had,” She shrugged, “But in fairness, when you rang I was having a goldfish crisis. I did tell you to call me back tomorrow.”
Alex stared at her for a long, long time.
Until eventually Merrow couldn’t take the silence anymore, “What?”
He shook his head.
And Merrow felt another bubble of almost hysterical laughter working its way up from her chest. This was just too, too surreal. Mister-Best-Sex-Of-Her-Life was Alexander Fitzgerald? Who knew? Not that knowing would probably have stopped her from going for it that night. He was the sexiest guy she’d ever laid eyes on - had been able to turn her on with a glance - had brought her body to that humming all over afterwards point that few women got to experience. And how many times in a sensible girl’s life did she have an opportunity for one night of abandon? Men might have no problem with the whole one night stand thing, but women, well Irish women at least, still had a little catching up to do.
Merrow felt that one fantasy night was her doing her part for feminism… and a hell of a lot for her own sense of sexual empowerment. Her Mother would have been so proud…

She sipped her tea and waited for him to say something. Anything. He could have read out the football scores and she’d have listened. He had a great voice; a deep, rumbling voice. No wonder she’d felt a tingle run up her spine when he’d spoken to her on the phone. She just hadn’t put the two voices together into the same person in her mind - after all - it had been nearly seven months ago.
Her mysterious Galway guy had been relaxed, casually dressed, totally at ease, funny as hell and sexy as sin. Alexander Fitzgerald from Fitzgerald & Son the Architects had been brusque and impatient on the phone, and in the flesh was dressed all city business guy uptight. Though the sexy as sin was still there…

Kinda made her think about loosening him up some.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

In Need Of Bribery...

Yes if I'm posting cartoons then it's a bad sign... cos if I'm posting them then it means I've taken the time to go looking for them... and if I've taken the time to go looking for them then it means I'm wasting time... aka??? Yes - I'm procrastinating!!!!


Now in fairness I have managed to arrange both a cat-sitter and a horse exerciser for whilst I'm-a-travellin... so that wasn't time entirely wasted. I've read all my comp entries now and am forming a shortlist, so that's good. Oh, and I've read two Blazes and a Nicholas Sparks book so I've still been, erm, researching the genre... not buying that one are you? Oh well - I tried.

So what is my problem? I could lie and give you any one of a dozen reasons. But they'd be lies. I'm just feeling, I dunno, unmotivated. Is that even a word? So... I need you to bribe me to make it interesting... If you were gonna bribe me, what would you bribe me with? Keep it as clean as possible please... Well.... okay - no, best keep it clean... So if I write like, I dunno, 10k maybe this week what would you gift wrap and send me? Pretty please??? I need some motivation here...

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Week Ahead Again

So... if you know who this chap is then you might need to pop over to my Male On Monday slot at The Pink Heart Society today...Never let it be said I don't seek out potential hero's for you...

Meanwhile, back here in the Trish cave we're working on Gabe's story again and trying to get some more plans made for this summer... And I've been thinking some about the kind of waffling I do on here...

Tis a big debate as it happens. I've made a lot of very good friends through this blog and am chuffed when you guys find any of my rambling or surfing the net discoveries interesting... but I'm debating about what you'd like to see when you pop over here...

Now, when I'm away (all catastrophies holding off that is), I'm gonna do a bit of a travelogue. Thought it might be interesting for you to see the *next step* kinda thing. Because despite how I may feel my friends are informing me that I'm not really a *newbie* at this anymore. So what comes after those first few sales? When you've started writing full time? When you're working for two lines? When you have to think career??? Do you guys want to hear those thoughts as I go along or are you happy enough with what we already do here??? Up to you...

I don't mind either way. Or if you have questions you're interested in or things you've always wanted to know about then maybe you could email me them throught the website and I'll have a think? I'm reluctant to go too personal and I hope you'll understand that - been bitten a few times as a single gal - with weird internet *occurrances* and pictures of headless naked men (side on...I'll give you a mental moment with that one...) so I'd prefer not to have my karma dealt too many blows from the dark side if thats alright thanks anyhoo...

But while I'm finishing this book up and reading the last of the contest entries I currently have I'm open to trying a few new topics... or just waffling along like I do... whatever... Just a thought...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Book With Trish - Pt 10 - A Book Of Three Parts

So wanted to call this part of the workshop a Book Of Three Halves… Just to make you all think… But no, I’ll behave…

Alright, this is my personal theory on the way I’ll structure a book. You’ll hear me talking a lot when I’m working on my current story about reaching the *turnaround* which is a sign I’m on the homeward stretch and about to pick up speed as I race towards the end… But there are two sections before that in my mind…

So, so many people obsess about Chapter length (me included sometimes though I like to think I’m in recovery a little…) and having hooks at the end of every chapter to get the reader to turn the page. But the simple fact is it’s the characters and their story that will dictate the chapter length (to some extent), create natural hooks and therefore inevitably turn the page. If we as readers learn to care about them, if they become real to us - then we’ll turn the page because we want to know what happens to them next, right? We’ll have become emotionally invested… we’ll NEED TO KNOW…

So how do we create so real a story that our reader Needs To Know the ending of???

Well, for me, this means dividing the story up into three distinct sections –

1/ Set-Up
2/ Build and
3/ Turnaround (to the HEA…)

Set Up – This is the first third of the book, where I’m introducing the characters to the reader and to each other. I’m describing them, I’m letting you know how they think, I’m, ‘opening a window’ into their lives. This is where, if there is an external plot to bring them together, I’ll use it – but the chances are it’ll become secondary to the characters emotional development as I continue into the ‘Build’ section and by the time I hit the Turnaround, I’ll have either resolved or will be about to resolve that external element so that the focus is on the characters again.

The Set Up lets us see how the characters interact, it may hint at an emotional conflict that’ll become clearer to us by the time we hit the Build section or we may have the conflict clearly defined during Set Up so that the rest of the book becomes how it's solved… You with me? This is the meet – the first impressions – misunderstandings – pre-conceptions section of the story and for me, it’s the part of the story that can be reworked the most at the editing stage – because by the time I get to the end of the book I’ll know these people much, much better – so I’ll more than likely have to go back and layer in the things I’ve discovered along the way…

The Build section – this is where we should see the relationship growing between the characters – where we can see the falling in love process happening and we can understand why they feel that way. For me, this is often the section where we will have moments of fun or laughter, where the sexual tension will build, or where pre-conceptions are shattered as they get to know each other. If the conflicts weren’t clear in the Set Up then by now they’ll be more apparent – and may even be used at the end of the Build Section to increase the black moment in the Turnaround section. If the conflicts were clear already, then this is the section of the book where the characters will be torn between their growing emotion and the thing that is holding them apart – so that by the time they have hit the Turnaround they’ll either have been pushed apart by the conflict or they’ll feel the emotions so strongly that the conflict has to be solved somehow – usually by either sacrifice, a leap of faith, or by reaching a compromise.

So this middle section - often referred to as the ‘sagging middle’ - can be a bog filled with writing angst. If the conflict wasn’t strong enough at the beginning then we may run into trouble as we hit the part where these two are falling in love. And it may mean adding a few more twists and turns to this middle section…(for example – if you hit this point and scene after scene is two *nice* people chatting then you know there’s something up!) Alternatively if the conflicts were too much in the beginning then this may be the point where we struggle to see how these two can possibly get past it – which makes them falling in love implausible to the reader – right? (for example – if you hit this point and they do nothing but yell and argue and weep and wail then you know there’s something up!)

This is where the bricks in the walls that may surround your characters hearts should start to crumble. So there should be redeemable qualities to each of them. We should understand why they do and say the things they do, even if it’s still not plainly obvious to THEM… then we have to bring the whole *dish* to a boiling point – and serve it up…

In the Turnaroundwhich is where I normally pick up speed – things come to a head. There may or may not be a brief parting of the ways and then everything is resolved. Chances are, even if the characters may not have admitted it to themselves, we the reader will already be aware that they're in love and meant to be together, or at the very least well on the path to being in love. By now we will know the conflicts – what has held them apart – and we will (hopefully) care about them getting to that happily ever after point. Think of this part of the book being the crescendo in a symphony. Typically the turnaround will begin with the black moment – or at the very least one that’s a darker shade of grey – in other words, the conflicts will come to a head, or the very act of battling what they feel will lead to some kind of a breaking point. Here is where we know something’s gotta give, so that we can turn around and end with a satisfying sense of everything working out beyond the last page of the book.

This will involve one of three things I find – sacrifice (one or the other of the characters backing down and admitting the conflict they had needs set aside no matter what the cost in order to hold onto something so important) – a leap of faith (this is where one or the other or both chance a heart they may have had broken before, just this one more time, in the belief that they may indeed have found the right one this time) – or compromise (which may mean a combination of sacrifice/leap of faith and the resolution of an external conflict for the more important gain to be made) – at least that’s how I think of it anyway.

By the time we hit the Turnaround – no matter whether we’re plotters or pant-sters – the chances are we will have learnt something about our characters that we didn’t know before. This is always a good sign I feel, because it means they have become ‘real’ people and taken on a life of their own. It means that whatever new thing we’ve learned has happened naturally, as a result of the character development, so new info like that should never be ignored – in fact it should be welcomed! – and then layered back in when we go through the layering/editing/polishing stage…

So, Part Ten of the Workshop would be to think about where these natural changes occur in your story. Remember you’re only dealing with 50k in a Romance or a Modern Extra – so you don’t have a lot of room to dawdle! The most simplistic way of doing it would be to allocate a certain number of words/chapters to each section and then try and make sure you’re starting to move into the change as you get close to that figure. I have to say, that’s the way I do it – by the time I hit 35k I know I need to be thinking about the Turnaround, because I want to leave myself room for layering and editing on top of that last scene where I indulge both myself and the reader with a very happy ending and a sense of hope for the future!

But you may have a different method that works for you, a scene that will lead you naturally into the change over, or a plot point that once you’ve hit it you know there’s a change-a-coming … Like any writing tips they are just that – tips – and it’s up to you as the individual to find what works for you! By dividing the story mentally this way, I find it easier to keep my characters story arc flowing the way I feel it should AND it keeps me on track so I haven’t spent half the story setting something up or dealing with secondary characters to the extent that my word count is a runaway train!

As usual – any questions ask away – and next time in The Book With Trish series I’ll cover the topic of ‘Indulging The Reader’

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things you might find Trish Wylie doing during the day...

1. Talking aloud in an empty room (aka having conversations with my characters or *as* them)

2. Dancing just for the hell of it

3. Taking the mickey outta my neices and nephews (cos that's kinda what they're there for...)

4. Using candles instead of switching on lights

5. Stealing the family dog so I have a *reason* to go walking

6. Pretending I can't *see* my exercise ball

7. Going to an Art Exhibition before sight-seeing

8. Getting in the car to go *somewhere* on a sunny day

9. Turning up the volume to max when favourite songs play

10. Watching horses in the field or stable for ages... just because...

11. Laughing until tears roll down my face over the *stupidest* things

(I think everyone should laugh every day myself...)

12. Cleaning frantically/obsessively having ignored everything while I write (I run on the theory that if I do that it'll all last through the next book - *not true* btw)

13. Bouncing up and down like a 4 yr old during a thunder & lightning storm

(cos I love love love love love them!!!)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

1. The Pink Heart Society

2. Jenna Bayley-Burke

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

When Writing Becomes Work

I'd so like to be this little guy about now...

Cos I'm soooooo tired! The revisions for Letting Loose are away (I worked all night to get them done and managed my last read through by ten a.m.) so have slept like a sloth all day and now have to try and motivate myself to get caught up and back to wrestle with Gabe...

Have to say that going back to do the revisions on Merrow and Alex's story wasn't as clear cut as I'd thought it would be. Which at the time worried me - cos the book was such a dream to write. And it wasn't that the revisions were all that hard or involved... But after a quick chat with Natasha, I discovered that she was right - I'd already mentally *moved on*. It's one of the reasons I've never been able to work on more than one book at a time - once my head shifts, it shifts - and I almost become emotionally detached from the one before. Even while working on the revisions I was catching little insights into Gabe and Ash' s story that I hadn't thought about and the temptation to go work them in was HUGE. So I guess, for me, once a story is told it's told, the creative process is the most fun for me, and revisions and tweaks and reading copy edits all become more like *work*...

But then at that point I become a hyper critical reader too I spose - and no matter what - every time I get the story in book form; it reads differently - there are (thankfully) little portions where I think 'hey - you know - thats actually not bad...certainly nowhere as sucky as I remember'...

Chatting with my sil she said it would be like her reading a book and then reading it over and over and over. And you know, she's right! I have to read a manuscript anywhere from 6 to 8 times before it goes to print. So imagine that - imagine a book you've read, even one you've REALLY enjoyed - and tell me that after reading it eight times in a row that it doesn't start to lose *something* - I dunno - a sparkle maybe? Some of the excitement? I know I have keepers that I can read again and again - but I sure as heck wouldn't sit down and read one eight times in a row...

So there is a point when writing becomes work. But there's just such a buzz at the creative stage that you kinda don't mind so much. And the great advantage of completing the *work* stage on one is that you get to move on to that buzzy *creative* stage again with a new one... So back to Gabe and Ash we go...

I've also started the serious planning of my big trip this summer (hence all the mad amounts of writing at the mo to get ahead)... I'll tell you more as I confirm it - but suffice to say that having been in the cave for this long, I'm a mixture of excited, petrified and downright 'rabbit in the headlights' about it all...

Right - I've had a nice CSI and erm... more CSI night... so am gonna sleep some more and then read some more contest entries and then se what I can add to Getting Even until my lovely Editor comes back to tell me my revisions sucked...

Monday, May 7, 2007

Are You One Of 55?

So the revisions for Letting Loose are due tomorrow and I'm being a good girl today and working my way through them until they read like they fit into the story... There's always a moment when I feel like the additions can jar me a little - but then that's cos I've lived with the original. And in fairness, one big scene change is one I felt was wrong when I had it in there in the first place, so at least my gut was right. Now I've just gotta make it work...
Happily any that felt like this in the previous 13 all read fine by the time they made it to print - so fingers crossed...

Being obsessed with watching Grey's Anatomy over the weekend hasn't helped. Damn those great writers and the believable acting! I tell ya - I've been emotionally tender for 48hrs because of it! But hey, I think I've nailed down my next Romance Line hero because of it - so time not entirely wasted - right??? But like Forrest Gump, that's all I'm gonna say about that... just watch out for my PHS Male On Monday slot at the end of the month is all I'm saying...

Meanwhile - here's a little bit of fun for you that I found on Jame's Gunn's Myspace Blog... I read it all the way through before I *got it* and then was stunned I hadn't noticed anything wrong!!! SO that makes me one of the 55 out of 100 I guess... Let's see how you lot do...

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid too
Cna yuo raed tihs? Olny 55 plepoe out of 100 can.
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

A Thing Of Beauty

I know I've been boring you all senseless with horse stuff of late... and after this I promise to stop - for a while anyhoo - But this was sent to me by a friend and I really haven't been able to stop watching it!!! I LOVE THIS HORSE!!!

So if you never believed a horse could DANCE before then have a look-see... Tis a thing of beauty - and watch at the end as she manages to tap out the beat of the music BANG ON TIME!


Friday, May 4, 2007


Alright - is it just me or are the Modern Extra covers just getting better and better as they go along??? HUH? HUH?? Cos look what my postman brought me today....

It's my first every black and white cover pic and I SINCERELY HOPE tis not the last! The back blurb had this to say about the book that was - cough - *a tough one to write* - cough:

"The bad-boy billionaire is back!

Connor Flanaghan had always been out of her league. He was strong, gorgeous, and his charm was legendary! As a naive teenager Shannon could only gaze from the sidelines... as the love of her life stared straight past her.

Now Shannon is all grown up, in control of her life, and she's left the past and her crush behind... or so she thinks.

Connor has just walked in through her door, but the lazy smile is gone, replaced by a ruthless glint in his eye - the bad-boy billionaire is back, and he's better than ever!"

This was the book I started when we first launched the Book With Trish series (links for it are on the Writer's Tips page of my website) - the book that made me abandon you all mid-way cos it was proving so...erm... testing... And it's the follow up to Breathless! as Connor is Rory's younger brother... Beware tho - the Connor in Breathless! has changed by the time we get to The Return Of The Rebel - why? - well... you'll see...

You can read an excerpt of The Return Of The Rebel on it's book page at the website along with some of the background story... and, yes, I'm now off to read it from cover to cover, sad banana that I am, to see if the *tough one to write* element comes through in the reading... See - the angst never ends folks!!!
But man - LOVE THAT COVER...

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Guess Who's Back Again?

Look who's back in my house... Aw c'mon! It hasn't been all that long!!! Actually, it really, really hasn't...

So having spent a couple of days outside in the RIDICULOUSLY SUNNY WEATHER and having gained a tad of colour for my pasty-cave-dweller-skin... I'm now back indoors with a few, small, doable revisions for Letting Loose...

Apparently - the magic DID translate in the reading!!! YAAYYY!

Now all I gotta do is shake out the fairy dust for these revisions so we can get it done and dusted and all you lovely people can know the real title and I can then POST AN EXCERPT....

Are you as excited as moi yet??? And then all I've gotta do is kick Gabe into shape... But that's a whole nother Blog...

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

What A Difference A Year Makes

I'm feeling somewhat reflective today just so you can't say you haven't been warned...

Remember this little chap? He was the very first home bred foal we had at the family homestead and we were all chuffed to bits with him when he arrived. A little by surprise we had to say - cos until his Mum actually had him we had a bit of a pool going as to whether she was or she wasn't... Yep. Nothing like an actual foal in the stable to know she was.

Well today Dougal is one year old. And my-oh-my what a difference a year has made!!! And for any of you that don't keep horses or ponies - lemme tell you - this little chap would disprove all those people who think they don't have individual personalities!!! He's what we in Ireland term a good wee soul. But he's also a bit of a mischief. And not entirely convinced he's not a dog. That'll be a touch of that 'spoiling the first foal syndrome'. But evey day spent watching his antics just kinda makes you want to go spoil him an ikkle bit more.

He's gone from the itty bitty teeny weenie foal who - when he first had his feet trimmed - lay across my lap while I sat on a bucket; his ikkle feet dangling off the ground so the farrier could file his hooves (and it was a first for the farrier too! Who had to do it kneeling down and who then took pics with his phone cos it was the first time he'd ever worked on feet that could fit in the palm of his hand!) To a bit of a brat whose favourite game is seeing how far he can drag you along a laneway before you get fed up and call him names...

He's learnt that the family dog is very easily chased out of a field - that magpies play 'you're it' very well - and that rabbits - well, he hasn't quite figured out WHAT a rabbit is yet. But he knows to run away when the rabbits guinea pig friend squeaks at him...

Yes, he's quite the big boy now. And isn't he handsome??? Even if he is finally shedding his foal coat and looking a little bit like an old rug during the process...

And looking at these pics from last year til now has me reflecting on the marking of time. I do get pensive every now and again I guess. It can be measured by the seasons, it can be measured by each christmas or birthday that passes - it sure as hell is being marked by the size of my neices and nephews - and it's also marked by ikkle Dougal growing up.

This time last year I had just sold my first Modern Extra White-Hot! and I was getting dug into writing Rescued: Mother-To-be.... I had been writing full time for seven months and was still wondering if I'd made the right decision... The PHS hadn't been started and I had yet to *meet* so many of the great friends I now have a year on. And all in all, despite the low points, or the times when a book caused me more mental anguish than I would have thought possible and I considered quitting, or when the crows of doubt were flying high and I wondered if I'd still be here a year later, I think it's been a pretty good year. I have no regrets. And I don't think I can ask for too much more than that, can I really?

Told you I was feeling reflective!!! I DID warn you...

So I leave you with a pic that just sums up one ikkle personality. The minature shetland that took my mind off the loss of my lovely horse Katie the month before he was born; reminding me of the cycle of life...