Tag Archives: Steve Marchand

Diary of a hopeful author: OMG! I’m up for a new writing job…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

As the kids would say: OMG! This week I had a big meeting, and, much like treating verrucas or the amount I spend on hair care, it is something I’ve accidentally deliberately been avoiding. ‘Are you all set?’ asks my hubbie the night before the meeting. I shove a square of chocolate into my mouth. ‘No,’ I mumble, ‘but I will be. Can we talk it through?’ He nods. ‘Yup, right after Police, Camera, Action.’ I grab another square of chocolate, hesitate and grab the packet. I think I am going to need it.

The truth is this meeting is a really big deal to me. It’s one that’s been on the burner for the past month or so, the date having been moved due to busy diaries and, basically a busy year. But I am really nervous, if I’m honest. I can’t say too much about what the job is yet, but, without getting all CIA on you, it’s safe to say it’s a writing one and if I get it I’ll be chuffed to bits. That night, I go through my blog and, with the help of my hubbie, print off all the relevant writing pieces to show at the, shall we call it, interview. ‘Blimey,’ says hubbie, grabbing a handful of paper as it slips from the printer, ‘I didn’t realise it would be so much.’ I tear out one of my columns from the newspaper I write for. ‘I can waffle. You know that.’ He rolls his eyes and tuts. I smile. ’15 years you have known me. 15 years of my funny little waffles! Luck, lucky you!’ He sighs and squints at the column I have in my hand. ‘Don’t take that one,’ he says. I look at it. It’s the column about the libraries. ‘What? Why?’ He reloads the printer. ‘Just not right. Do you want me to go through them for you?’ I crawl over to him and plop the newspaper pile in his lap. ‘Yes, please!’ And with that – and more chocolate – the preparation for the meeting continues.

The next day, my lovely hubbie gets out the sat nav and prepares to describe to me where it is I need to go. ‘Right,’ he says, setting the thing down on the breakfast table, ‘I’ve loaded Jessica up.’ (Sorry – Jessica is our family pet name for the sat nav. She sounds like Jessica Rabbit when she speaks. It keeps us happy for hours.) I look at Jessica, sorry, the sat nav. ‘Okay, thanks, honey,’ I say. ‘And,’ he continues, ‘I’ve drawn you a map of where you can park and how to walk to the building from there.’ He pushes a well-drawn piece of paper to me. ‘You can’t go wrong. There’s only one way to go. Go to the right, by the café. To your right. It’s fool-proof.’ At this point our two girls laugh into their breakfast bowls. ‘Hey!’ I say, ‘have faith in mum. I can find my way around!’  They nod, solemn. ‘Yes, mum,’ says the eldest, grinning, ‘of course you can.’ ‘Thank you,’ I say, turning to give my hubbie a hug. He checks his watch. ‘What time are you leaving?’ I think. ‘9.30?’ He stretches his arms and yawns. ‘That should give you plenty of time.’ Yes, we all agree, plenty of time for mum.

The A38 is closed for road works. Palms sweating, windows open but no air, I find myself down some country lane, Jessica having re-routed me, cars stuck to the side of the road like moths to light. After a nail biting 25 minutes extra on my journey, I eventually find my way to my destination, my back sticky with sweat, my mouth cursing me for not having air con. Stepping out into the heat, my hair springing to an unwanted frizz, I squint at the map and frown. Huh? It makes no sense. I turn the map. I turn myself. Nothing. I call my hubbie on the mobile. He picks up and laughs immediately. ‘You’re lost, aren’t you.’ I frown. ‘The car park is in front, not behind. I don’t get it.’ I can practically hear his eyes rolling. ‘Find the café. Can you see it? Good. Now, remember I said go to the right?’ The penny drops. ‘Aaaah,’ I say. ‘Good luck!’ he says. I tut at myself. ‘Bye. Thank you, honey.’ ‘You’re welcome, you muppet.’

Once I apply my lippy and find the building, the meeting itself goes really well. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I really enjoy it. We talk through lots of ideas, and once I get going, being a fully paid-up member of the blarney-stone-kissing-club, I am off, chatting, shooting out thoughts, thinking on the spot.  Which is all just as well because while outwardly I am calm, much like a swan, take one peek beneath the water and my legs are kicking like crazy. ‘I think we can get you on board,’ says my jolly nice interviewer (as I shall call him for now!). I try not to grin like the Grinch – not a good look – so instead I opt to squeak, ‘Thank you!’ and with that, I have the job.

Chuffed to bits, when I get outside, after I’ve breathed into a bag (only joking!..It was a cup), I call my hubbie and tell him the good news.  Next, I get on to twitter because there are some lovely folk on there I have to thank, without whom, before the meeting started, I would have got far too panicky. (They the very wise: Beth Williams, PR guru, @bw58; Steve Marchand, writing wonder, @CitiOfVilleJoie; and Sue Ryan, marketing master, @SueKelsoRyan). That night at home, with the kids in bed, me and the hubbie have a cold glass of bubbly to celebrate. Just as we take a sip, my best buddy phones up and I regale to her the events of the day. ‘Oh sweet Jesus!’ is her reaction, followed by, ‘Jesus! JESUS!’ I think she is chuffed for me.  Once we’ve had a good old natter peppered by more expletives, I cuddle up to my hubbie and think about what I have to do the next day. ‘I’ve got to put a couple of short story entries in and edit another one,’ I say, inspecting the bubbles in my glass. ‘I’m on the radio on Wednesday,’ he says. ‘Great! Things are coming together,’ I say. We sit and watch the evening sun, quiet, happy. Then, my husband starts sniffing the air. ‘Is something burning?’ he says. ‘Flip!’ I say, ripping over to the cooker. ‘The dinner!’ OMG! O.M.G.

I’ll be taking a little break shortly (hurrah!), so the next Wednesday Wafflings post will be out the following, you know, Wednesday. Take care.

**Out on Thursday “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee…**

Diary of a hopeful author: A teenage sulk makes me realise what I’ve got…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

What a difference a week makes. If I’m honest, and I don’t know whether you picked up on this, but, like a helium balloon in the hot sunshine, last week I was feeling a tad deflated. ‘What’s the matter?’ my husband asks as he simultaneously carries an iPad, coffee, rucksack and his dinner to the sofa. I shake my head and, reaching for the coffee pot, shrug. ‘Dunno,’ I say, hearing my voice. I tense my shoulders and prepare my self for the inevitable retort, which, like ageing or my family’s bad flatulence, say, I am powerless to fight . ‘You sound like a teenager!’ he laughs. I relax my muscles, grateful it wasn’t too bad. ‘I know, I’m sorry,’ I say, grabbing a mug, ‘I don’t know what’s to do, to be honest.’ He spears a piece of soggy broccoli with his fork whilst checking the football scores on his iPad and scratching his thigh – who said men can’t multi task! ‘Why don’t you take some time out for a bit?’ he says. ‘Read maybe? Have a nice bath?’ I sip my coffee. ‘Hmmm,’ I say, ‘maybe you’re right.’ I know he has a load of work to do that evening, so kissing him on the forehead, I wish him luck and leave him to it while I go upstairs and run a bath.

Waiting for my bath to run, I flop on to the bed, and opening my iPad, log on to my WordPress account to check for any messages. Since I began this blog, like an old friend or good supportive underwear, it has become very important to me. Sometimes I sit here and type and I almost forget that whatever I publish will actually be read (which explains a lot, really, for which I sincerely apologise…). Thing is, of course, the reason I began the blog was because I have published a book, The Boy Who Played Guitar. ‘Start a blog!’ read all the advice. ‘Comment like crazy!’ said the forums. ‘Eat a truck load of chocolate!’ said the…actually, I said that. Anyway, being someone who, when they don’t have a clue themselves, takes advice and follows it until they find their feet, I set up this blog.

Now, I have to admit that in the early days – and this, if you’ve read any of my very first entries, will have you nodding and going , ‘Ah, yep, thought as much’ – I didn’t have the foggiest what I was doing with this blogging thingymajig. I didn’t know what WordPress was; I didn’t know how technically a blog functioned (still don’t to a certain degree, but I digress…); and most crucially, I didn’t know what on earth I was going to write, never mind if anyone would read it. But no matter what doubts I had, like a voter at a polling station, I went into it anyway, and the rest, as they say, is history, or at the very least, today. Bath over, I flip open my iPad and catch up with my diary. Every morning for as long as I can now remember, I have been rising at 5a.m to bash out novel number two, and, to my surprise, when I go through my outline, I realise that I have only 3 and a half chapters of the novel left to write. Three and a half chapters! Whoohoo! Quickly logging onto the manuscript I clock the word count and slap my hand to my mouth – I have written just over 80,000 words. I knew I could waffle, but 80k words? Where did the time go? Probably into my coffee cup.

Smiling, I skip to my WordPress account and notice that there are some comments flashing. At this point I have to say that I love getting comments on my blog, not necessarily because it means people are reading what I write – although that is nice – but because you get to chat to really jolly lovely people. Oh, and I LOVE a chat. Peering at the screen, I see that the comment in question is from a nice chap from Canada called Steve Marchand whose writing blog goes under the name Citizen of Ville Joie. From what I can tell, the comment is in response to last week’s Wednesday Waffle diary post in which I, basically, worry. ‘I think of you as someone who has already made it,’ says Steve’s comment. I sit back, and, feeling a bit floored by it, think. Viewing myself in that way – as someone who has made it – has never actually occurred to me, and, a bit like driving along a scenic coastal road with a blindfold on, I never really see what’s actually around me. Have I made it? Hmmm, if I think back to what I’ve done writing wise even since this January, I guess I haven”t done so bad.

Needing a second opinion, I nip downstairs to find my lovely husband pretty much knee-deep in paper work. Making him a drink, I ask him how things are going and plonk myself down beside him. ‘Can I ask you a question, honey?’ I say. He glances up. ‘You’ll have to be quick, I’ve got a lot on.’  I go to open my mouth then change my mind. ‘It’s okay,’ I say, standing. ‘It’ll wait.’ And, as I leave the room, he returns to his work and I am not 100% sure if he really clocked I was there.

That night before bed, I go through my messages, catch up with tweets and do some quick research ready to write my column. As the week unfolds, whether its down to comments on my blog or my busy husband – or simply the sunshine – I begin to see things in a way I don’t think I always have. I notice how happy our girls are when we are all together; I notice how hard my husband works and how little he complains about it; I notice how much I write now and how many different styles I am getting used to trying; I notice my lovely friends, where we live, even the trees on my run I notice, trees that I normally miss because I have my iPod earplugs rammed into my ears in my constant attempt to DO EVERYTHING FASTER. 

One evening, having tucked up the kids and given my hubbie a big hug just because, I click on to my Kindle and decide to read a little of the Tina Fey autobiography, Bossypants, before I do any writing. Sat in the longe, my hubbie sits by my side with his feet on my lap. ‘I read your Monday Media blog post,’ he says, streching. I chuckle. ‘Why are you laughing?’ he frowns. I chuckle again, my eyes on my iPad. Then, I burst out laughing. My husband rolls his eyes. ‘Oh God,’ he groans, ‘you’ve started that Tina Fey book, haven’t you?’ I glance up. ‘How did you know I’d got it?’ I say. He shrugs and pulls a little pout, ‘Dunno.’ I narrow my eyes and return to my reading. He flips open his iPad and taps on to the football news. I smile; at least it’s nice to know I’m not the only teenager in the house.

**Out on Thursday “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about saving water…**