Blogiversary giveaway. And the winner is…

 Last week I celebrated my first blogiversary with a giveaway. Up for grabs were copies of these beauties:

The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine and illustrated by Julia Sarda book covers photoThe Mystery of the Jewelled Moth and The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine and illustrated by Julia Sarda book covers photo

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow and The Mystery of the Jewelled Moth by Katherine Woodfine (click for my reviews).

I’m delighted to say that lots of people entered – thank you for taking part.

And the lucky winner is… Lindsay from Book boodle. If you don’t already follow Lindsay’s blog, you really should. Lots of lovely books and baking 🙂

On a blogging note, this was my first giveaway and first time using Rafflecopter. After initially being puzzled by a few things, in the end it was all quite straightforward. I’m now more confident I know what I’m doing and hope to host another giveaway sooner rather than later 🙂

Thank you to everyone who entered and all my lovely readers!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

1st blogiversary + 500 followers = giveaway time!

Who thought this day would come?

excited baby with birthday present gif

When I started this blog a year ago, it was mainly to give myself something to do while submitting my first novel to literary agents. There’s been some progress on that front, and while I still haven’t got an agent or publishing deal, I believe my book is better now than it was a year ago. In fact, I have a few more edits to make after receiving encouraging feedback from my reader in the Romantic Novelists’ Association (thank you, whoever you are) and then it’ll be back to submissions.

I told myself that I’d host a giveaway when I’d been blogging a year (this seemed unlikely last April) or had 500 followers (which seemed unthinkable). However, the stars have aligned and I’ve hit both milestones at the same time!

Thank you so much to all of you lovely people for following my ramblings and baking adventures. I put a lot of thought into what the greatest number of you might like to win for yourself or to pass on to someone else, and this is what I came up with… *insert drumroll*

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7-7-7 Writing Challenge

777 Writing challenge featured image

The 7-7-7 challenge encourages writers to go to the seventh line on page seven of their work in progress (WIP) and share the next seven lines.

The lovely KJ Chapman and Mollie both nominated me for this challenge and I’ve been typically rubbish at getting round to it. I’m sorry 😦 They are both wonderful writers and people, so please check out their blogs!

In very exciting news, KJ is publishing the second book in her EVO Nation series – EVO Shift – on March 1st. More about that here.

I’ve cheated and taken what were nine lines (they come out at more than that in the format they’re in below) from page seven of my current WIP which is my second, as yet untitled, novel. More contemporary women’s fiction. Some context: our heroine, Fran, is reluctantly helping a young man find a book in the university library.

777 challenge snippet from Plan for the Worst by Claire Huston

 

As is always the way, I’m not convinced by my use of commas here. Hey ho, it’ll probably all get cut before the book’s finished 😉

I’ve got round to this so so late, I won’t tag anyone because I’m sure everyone’s already been tagged. However, if you’re reading this and would like to do the 777 Challenge, please go ahead and let me know so I can check out your post!


Claire Huston / Art and Soul

 

 

Exciting writing times and why I may be absent for a while…

Exciting developments, my friends!

Excited gif

 

But first, the story so far. Skip this if you’re up to date on my writing-related wafflings…

I’ve written a book (see Art and Soul for more about that). I’ve been sending the first three chapters to literary agents, but haven’t been getting anywhere. I recently sent it to an editor and he suggested deleting chapters 1 and 2 and starting with chapter 3. As a result, I’m currently staring at a huge pile of edits.

And now back to the exciting news!

Having thought I hadn’t made the cut (and been rather disappointed), last week I was beyond delighted to receive an invitation to join the Romantic Novelist Association‘s New Writer’s Scheme. The Scheme allows unpublished novelists writing in the romance genre to submit their manuscript to an existing RNA member for critique. You also get to take part in all RNA activities and events.

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Editing your novel. My experience of getting professional feedback

To date, I’ve submitted the first 3 chapters of my first novel, Art and Soul, to 23 literary agents to no avail.

So, before continuing with submissions, I decided it was time to ask a professional editor to look at those first three chapters and give me critical feedback.

I researched my options, selected my editor, sent off my first 3 chapters and synopsis, and waited for their report with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Editor writing cartoon

The good

I paid for critical and I got it. However, for the sake of my own self-esteem I must keep repeating an opening comment: “on the whole” I write well. That’s a relief. I shouldn’t chuck it all in just yet then. 🙂

The improveable

There were bits and bobs I won’t bore you with, because the headline, Dear Reader, was tremendous: cut chapters 1 and 2 and start with chapter 3.
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Writing progress 22 June 2015 (JuNoWriMo Challenge)

calvin-cartoon-on-procrastinating-and-rationalizing

Sorry, but I have nothing new to report on getting a literary agent to represent my first novel, Art and Soul. I’m still waiting for further responses to my first round of submissions.

Wait! There’s more. Click for my JuNoWriMo 2015 writing challenge update!