View this email in your browser
Hello! Welcome to my newsletter for July/August 2019. In this issue:
Oh my, do you see this? The ring is off. 
With great relief, I have Ever Rest ready for critiquing. Dave is always my first critic. More on that below.
But the ring. At the start of 2018, I put it on and promised I'd wear it until the manuscript was presentable. As each month passed, I refined, wrote and rewrote.
I saw progress, but felt no closer to the end. Each time I reported to you, finishing seemed theoretical rather than possible. It seemed I was renewing a prayer - that this book was within my capabilities if I simply persisted.
Through winter, spring, summer, autumn, winter, spring, summer, I wore the ring, on duty and off. Actually, there isn't an off duty if you're a writer. (Here it is at a family reunion - and that's a picture of my grandparents.)

This is how some novels are. A long haul of obstinate faith in a system that's worked before. And finally...
Feeling quite ceremonial, I could remove the ring.

It wouldn't budge.

Remember I fell off Val in May? I wrenched my finger in the reins. It's been sore ever since, and now, at ring-removing time, I discovered why. The joint is swollen, has been for several months and won't go down. It's visibly bigger on that hand than on the other. I hadn't noticed because of the presence of, well, a large ring.
Reader, this picture is the triumphal completion of a marathon of writing, followed by an encore of wiggling, wetting, soaping, twisting and teeth gritting. And a very sore, squashed proximal interphalangeal joint.  
Ever Rest ... in a list
Media lawyers.
As I finished my manuscript, I wrote a celebratory blogpost (see later). For so long, I've kept the book a tight secret while I figured it out. I've revealed it only in tiny details, to the experts who've helped with research (some of whom you've met in this newsletter). I'm not yet ready to introduce the book formally, especially as my critiquers might spot a glaring omission or an angle I hadn't thought to emphasise. But I realise my experts make an intriguing list, like ingredients for a recipe, so here they are.

I can also tell you roughly what it is. Contemporary fiction with literary sensibilities, a touch of weird but realistic. No fantasy or SF. More like My Memories of a Future Life than Lifeform Three. Again, I'll have more to say once my critiquers have reported.
Work in progress
Noveling... So Ever Rest is at the first critique stage. I am reading the entire book out loud to Dave. You might think this sounds like a free pass. It is not. There is nothing we take more seriously than doing our work properly and well. Reading out loud also sharpens my editorial sensibility. Awkward sections give double pain when you present them, face to face, to a critic whose bar is high (and you also hope to impress). Because of his feedback, I've already slimmed a couple of sections that were slowing the pace - and the book feels better for it. Unless you're like us, don't try this at home.
Editing and mentoring... Last month I began edits on a biography of a pioneering journalist. Those are going well. I'm also about to write developmental notes on a cosy mystery. At first, I wasn't sure I was suitable for it, but when I talked to the author, I thought: 'I know exactly what you need!' So we're working together. 
Bonus question. Now this ring has done its job, do I need a new pic for this section? I have plenty more rings. (I hope they'll still fit. Hmmm.)
Out and about - October in Surrey
You can't keep a bookseller down. This, so far, is the retirement of Peter Snell (Barton's Bookshop, Leatherhead, Surrey). 
February - retires.
April - pop-up signing.
July - 'Roz, let's do a bookish event in October. Or two.'
There will be panels, talks on how to get published and publishing options, advice on writing life and all you might want to know about the scribbling profession. And people who will sign their lovely books for you!
There are two events, in Leatherhead, and I'm at both.
Saturday 5th October and Saturday 12th October.
More anon.
I'm becoming a fan of...
Ann Napolitano. I'm currently reading her newest release, Dear Edward. Edward is 12 years old when he is involved in a plane crash, and is the only person to survive. He struggles to find a way to live, after having lost everything, including his brother, mother and father. The narrative of his present life is intercut with the hours of the flight, the people whose last hours he shared, who will stay with him for ever.
It's a bold concept, full of the strangeness of life, loss and death, an ingenious way to examine this eternally puzzling frontier and how we behave when faced with it. There are unexpected consequences that are so emotionally true - for instance, when Edward goes to a new school, his classmates are curious about him, and also suspicious that he is getting lenient treatment. Napolitano makes it believable, down to earth, yet also poetic - I'm enjoying it greatly. Dear Edward publishes in January, but you can order it and find out more about Ann here.
I've long been a fan of...
Jodrell Bank radio telescope in Cheshire. This month it was in the news when UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site. If you've read Not Quite Lost, you'll know how this spellbinding structure was an inspiring, reassuring influence for a child who was very uncertain of life, the universe and everything (especially everything). More breathtaking pictures of Jodrell Bank here.
On the blog
On the blog this month I've had a post for Ingram Spark (9 tips to nail dialogue) and the post I mentioned earlier about my great phew moment (The secret is out - 10 thoughts on nearly finishing a long-haul novel).
A little horse
'Val's going so nicely,' people are saying. 'When are you going to compete him?'
I'm not. So far, I've got my hands full. I'm learning his controls and refining how I use them. And there's a lot to do. We can't yet canter a complete circle.
At some point I might feel like scrubbing up for the show ring. My instructor is hinting that we wouldn't be disappointed. 'He'd do well,' she said at our last lesson, which made me fantastically proud. I wasn't aiming to have a competition horse, merely a horse I liked to ride.
But there's another reason I'm happy not to compete. Author life already feels like a competition, 24/7. We never stop receiving judgements - from rankings, reviews, the performance of advertising campaigns. We wonder if we're doing enough - and much of it isn't even connected to how well we execute our art. You might have heard the term 'comparisonitis'.
This feedback can also be a spur, but it's a relief to have an endeavour where I'm not checking scores. For now, I don't care how Val and I compare with other horses and riders. We are growing in harmony, athleticism and trust. Tweaked fingers notwithstanding.
Til next time
R xxx
Thanks for reading. If you enjoy this newsletter and want to support it, you can forward it to a friend, buy a book or send me an email. If you're seeing this for the first time and would like to subscribe, step this way.
Copyright © 2019 Roz Morris, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp