Liebster Awards

The fabulous Ms Moem of http://msmoem.com has nominated me for a Liebster award.  Thank you Ms Moem!

 

The Liebster Award is for bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers and uses the following guidelines:

  • thank the person that nominated you and link back to their blog
  • display the award “badge” on your blog
  • answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you
  • list 11 random facts about yourself
  • nominate up to 11 bloggers and let them know you have nominated them
  • set 11 questions for the bloggers you have nominated
  • post a comment on the blog post of the person that nominated you so they can read the post

To find out more about the award and rules: The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award.

 

So without further ado, on to my  to Ms Moem’s questions

  1. What kind of lottery winner would you be? A very happy one.  I’d love to be able to travel and take a few chances with different jobs.
  2. Which 6 famous people would you invite to a fantasy dinner party? Assuming as it’s fantasy the dead can rise again I’d want Jane Austen, Douglas Adams and Spike Milligan.  Stephen Fry and Sue Perkins always look so much fun and I’d like Hugh Jackman simply to gaze at.
  3. Where do you find inspiration for your blogging? I only post when things occur to me.  I’m writing about my writing mainly so it depends when anything interesting happens I think people would want to read about.
  4. What is your favourite season and why? Summer because I love the long, warm evenings sitting in the garden with a glass of wine.
  5. What is your favourite word? I’ve got 8 and 7 year olds, so ‘bedtime’!
  6. Do you have a hobby, and if so, what is it?  Skiing is my main love, but I can only do that once a year.  Up until recently I’d have said writing but I’m getting paid to do that now so I don’t think it counts.  I’ve had a number of them that I never stick to for long.  Bellydancing, fencing, zumba, painting, the list goes on.
  7. If you were an animal, what would you be? A lemur.  I’d love a tail to wrap around myself.
  8. What piece of advice would you give to your younger self? Don’t worry about not fitting in with the crowd.  Why bother trying to impress people you don’t want to spend time with anyway?
  9. Who was your favourite popstar when you were a teenager? I had a bit of a thing for Jon Bon Jovi.
  10. What is your favourite part of the day? The evening, when I can sit down with a cat on my lap (and occasionally on my laptop) and write.
  11. What is the most important thing you’ve ever said? “Please can I borrow your laptop”.  See https://elisabethhobbes.co.uk/2014/02/26/the-day-i-came-out/ for why.

Now here are random facts about me

 

1. I named my son after a Pixies song and my daughter after a character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

2. I’m still trying to invent the perfect sweet pasta dish.

3. If I could only eat one cuisine forever it would be Thai.

4. I have a nose piercing.

5. I’m a huge fan of vintage clothing.

6. I can still remember the song I sang in the school play when I was six.

7. I am incapable of recognising Tom Petty.

8. I can say ‘I love you’ in Danish and Greek.

9. I am a huge fan of graphic novels and getting a retweet by Warren Ellis made my day.

10. My dream job is owning a ski chalet and cooking for the guests.

11. I could happily eat my own bodyweight in strawberry bonbons.

 

  Now I’d like to  the following blogs

 

http://railynstone.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.rachael-thomas.blogspot.co.uk

http://www.avriltremayne.com

http://rainbeaubelle.wordpress.com/

http://weightwars.co.uk

http://thecampervanman.blogspot.co.uk/

http://undomesticaited.wordpress.com/

And here are my  for them.

1. What thing do you always carry with you?

2. How are you with chopsticks?

3. Warner Brothers or Looney Tunes?

4. What is the first line of poetry that comes into your head?

5. What made you start a blog?

6. What was your first car?

7. If you had to get a piercing would you choose nose or eyebrow?

8. Which artist, alive or dead, would you ask to paint your portrait?

9. Fantasy date- who, where, what would you eat?

10. What is your favourite childhood book?

11. Can you roll your tongue?

 

Over to you then, nominees.  Hope you have fun answering the questions if you decide to carry it on.

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Limbo!

I haven’t updated for a while because I’m in a strange period where I’ve done everything I can do and the book is now out of my hands.  It’s unsettling because I’m a control freak, nosy and impatient.  The October release date feels a long time away.

I received a formatted document of Falling for Her Captor a couple of weeks ago which looked like the pages of a ‘proper’ book and gave me no end of excitement.  I had to read through and add any comments or changes and respond to the ones the copy editors had added.  Once I stopped swearing at the Track Changes function I enjoyed that, added a few notes, found some typos and sent it back.

The art department are busy designing my cover which I’ll be very excited to see when I get it emailed through to me.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed they get me a Tom Ellis-alike to model (and crossed even harder they’ll invite me to the photoshoot to meet him).

Book two is at seven chapters now and over 20k words (I didn’t even notice that milestone).  I’m really enjoying writing it and have sent it so far to my editor to see what she thinks as well reasoning that if I’m going to have to make changes, which I am sure is inevitable, I’d rather do them early on than once I’ve finished it completely.  I’m now waiting to hear back so crossing more fingers.

Apart from that I’ve been amusing myself with trying to get to grips with social media.  I’ve bought a domain name Elisabethhobbes.co.uk.  As soon as I work out what else I can cross I’ll try link it to WordPress and hopefully not accidentally lose everything in the process.

 

Not a madrigal in sight

One of the things I found early on when I started writing was that I needed it to be quiet otherwise I couldn’t concentrate.  That’s why practically all of my writing is done when the kids are in bed.  I also do a lot of the pre-getting-everything-down-onto-the-laptop thinking while I drive (while still concentrating on road conditions, traffic, speed limits and other useful disclaimers) and when I drive I always have music on.

Round about chapter eight I was trying to get into the head of my hero.  What had started off as a small project was turning, against my expectations, into something larger and a lot more complicated.  People on websites were leaving comments.  Nice ones.  I had decided not to write any further until I had gone back and sorted out a few of the initial corners I’d written myself into.  I also wasn’t sure exactly who the characters really were or what motivated them other than vaguely stereotypical descriptions of spirited heroine, brooding hero of the Aragorn type who looked foul but felt fair (and looked pretty damned fair too for that matter).

 

Then this song popped onto the iPod and suddenly I had my Hugh*.

*I’m going to look pretty foolish if this doesn’t work.  Half the reason for this post is to check if I can do this.

It’s a great song, full of ominous chords and lyrics that sound medieval – shhhh, you didn’t hear the line about the phone – and for the first time I had a clear picture of my hero striding around, sweeping Aline off her feet and his dilemma of going it alone while his life falls apart. Whenever I’d get stuck on a point in the story I’d stick the song on and try work my way through it.  It turned out pretty well I think.

As an aside, Swords of a Thousand Men by Tenpole Tudor did not help the writing but is a hell of a fun song to imagine a battle to.

Now I’m five and a half chapters into book two.  I have learned a little from my mistakes.  I have a synopsis and even some character notes.  I think I’ve even found one of the songs for my new couple.  It’s very different to the last one, but then again, the story is a lot lighter too (so far).  And let’s face it, who in their right mind wouldn’t love a gravel voiced rock legend from New Jersey serenading them as they dream?

In Just Seven Days…

I’ve never had the opportunity to create a man before.  I birthed a son once, but I had a pretty good idea how he was going to turn out, and anyhow, I didn’t have much say in the result.

Today however I received my AFS, which stands for Art Fact Sheet.  Before today I didn’t know these even existed.  I don’t know how I thought book covers came about.  I think I just assumed someone would magically look into my brain and make it up from there (or, I dunno, read the book).  Instead I get to fill in a very detailed document asking for what the characters look like, wear, any other visual elements and so on.  It’s all rather fun.

I have a very clear picture in my head what the characters look like, especially my hero -who wouldn’t, that’s half the fun of writing.  Of course he isn’t just one person (though Tom Ellis in Merlin comes pretty close).

Like a latter day, and slightly less gruesome, graverobber I’ve stolen bits of various different people.  So he’s got J*’s lovely blue eyes, the dark, floppy curls that belong to K, that way of looking through his eyelashes that L does, the slightly crooked smile belonging to M, and so on.  Which is all rather lovely in my head but probably less than useful for an art department.  I’m half tempted to get a load of photos and make a collage but the resulting image would be more likely to send readers screaming for the hills than swooning with lust.

So I’ll fill in my sheet and attach plenty of links to photos online and wait with antic…pation to see what they come up with.

*why do X, Y and Z always get all the fun!

The day I came out

Everyone has secrets.  Mine was that while my husband was working away I’d wait till the kids were in bed, get comfortable on the sofa (usually with the aforementioned cat) open the laptop and… write.

I can’t remember exactly when I decided I’d try write a novel but one night I did.  It must have been a slow night on TV.  Thank goodness I’d never heard of Breaking Bad back then.  I’d write a chapter or so over a few evenings, upload it to Wattpad and hope a passing publisher would spot it and snap it up.

I finished the novel.  My husband stopped working away.  Every so often I’d wonder what to do with it, open the file, footle around and change bits here, add a scene there and so on.  Then a Wattpad buddy (to whom I shall be eternally grateful) told me about Harlequin’s ‘So You Think You Can Write’ contest.  I entered the first chapter and other than daydreaming about what I’d do if I won, didn’t expect to get anywhere.  I certainly wasn’t going to tell anyone.  They’d only laugh.

October half term holiday came round and I went down to Cornwall with the family, parents in-law, sister-in-law and brother in-law-in-law for a week in a cottage.   I wasn’t going to do any work at all.  No marking, no planning, no books, no laptop.  No internet connection.  Only more cream teas that were healthy and plenty of trips to the beach.

Cornwall isn’t great for phone reception but driving back from meeting a friend on Sunday afternoon the phone rang.  Like the responsible driver I am I ignored it until I could find a safe spot to pull in and check the message (for a given value of safe- have you ever seen those country lanes?)  There was no real rush, it would only be my husband wondering where I’d got to.

It wasn’t.

It was an editor from Harlequin asking me to check my email because I was through to the final 50 of the contest and could they please have my full manuscript?

Tomorrow.

The manuscript that was on my laptop.

In Cheshire.

Riiiiight.

What to do???  I couldn’t miss out on this chance but driving back home wasn’t really an option (though I did consider it).  By the time I made it back to the cottage I had a plan.   Now all I had to do was ask.  And confess.

“HelloeveryoneIhadalovelytimeinLooepleasecanIborrowyourlaptopI’vesecretlywrittenabookandI’mgoingtothepubtodownloaditfromtheinternetpleasesavemesomedinnerbye.”

It went down quite well really.

What’s in a name?

Choose a pen name.  Easy right?  My original pseudonym – DeeDee Elle- came about as an in joke based on an online mum’s group when I needed something to hide behind on Wattpad (my day job is teaching so it was a definite necessity).  It was a good name, it did the job, the women who knew the connection thought it was fun, and occasionally people would ask where it came from.  A male friend finally admitted he had wondered if it was my bra size.  I became quite fond of DeeDee.

However, when I got The Call from Sarah at Harlequin, she asked was I going to use that, my real name or something else entirely.  It was time to change.

Now, I’ve named two children and neither has objected to what they’ve been saddled with so this should have been a doddle.

Think again.

Alliteration?  Nope, too comic book heroine.

The old ‘name of first pet and name of street’?  Baggins Barfield.  Try again.

Where was I when I got The Call?  On a ferry approaching Dover.  Something White?  Something Cliff.  Chanelle Ferry? Nope.

How about combining the name of a family member and someone famous?  Youngest daughter’s middle name is nice.  I’ve just been skiing and Chemmy Alcott is a pretty good female role model  Yep.  Louisa Alcott.  That’ll do nicely.  Oh…

Friends and family were exceedingly helpful and I’ll be forever grateful for the suggestions of Hooty McBoob, Lavinia Lustworth, Monica De Plume and others far too indecent for public viewing!

At this point my husband got out the map and we started on the bad puns.  Say almost hello to Heather Alderley, Olivia Yorke and Louisa Canterbury.  Historical maybe, but not very romantic.

The children decide to join in the game and draw on their extensive knowledge of CBeebies characters, but I don’t think Katie Morag Tumble is quite the image I’m going for.

I’m tearing my hair out and wondering if I’ll ever be able to reply to Sarah or if I really will be going with Anne Onymous after all.

And then the cat wanders in.  Old, arthritic, getting bonier by the day and the only one the children didn’t land with something utterly ridiculous.  Most of my writing takes place with him slumped across my legs or lying across my arm with his head on the laptop (I blame him for the typos).  So in tribute to him I’ve stolen his name.  The other half is one of mine.

I’ll leave it to you to decide which is which.

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