Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Voting time again!

I am a funny combination of excited, relieved and very very scared at the moment - because my New Voices Pivotal Moment is up!

Please have a read, and if (as always) you liked it, I would love your vote!

As with Chapter Two, this scene didn't come easily. I had started writing my pivotal moment (about 1500 words), and when I made the top 4, my lovely mentors asked what I planned to write for the PM. So I told them.

The didn't think this was a good idea. Basically (they didn't say this!) I'd chickened out - I'd chosen a significant moment, but not THE pivotal moment in the book. The scene they suggested I wrote happens much later in the novel, and was much scarier to write.

So, I threw out what I had (ie filed away carefully for use later) and started afresh. I had less than 48 hours to get this new scene to my mentors for feedback, so it was a slightly frantic time. Once again, having to go to work was Very Annoying :)

After some excellent feedback from my mentors, I made more changes over the weekend, and subbed on Monday.

This scene was by far the most emotional one I've written, and I seriously hope that I've done the moment justice.

But regardless of what happens next, I am beyond thrilled to have made it this far, and I know I've done the absolutely best I could. Which, I guess, is all I could do!

Thank you all for your support throughout the competition - you are all totally and completely awesome :)

PS And a special thank you to Lacey Devlin - button maker extraordinaire! -->

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Top Four!


Uh. Yeah. Am most definitely still in shock :)

Thank you SO much everyone who voted for me, and has supported me so far in this competition. It means the world to me.

And big commiserations to the other six. I thought all the other nine entries were of an incredibly high standard, and had no idea who would make the Top 4. It must have been so so close. 

A special thank you to Rachael Johns, who called me with the fabulous news. I was at a family dinner so was forced to suspend my obsessive email/New Voices web site checking frenzy. Was a lovely way to find out!

Now, off to get this pivotal moment sorted!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

My RWA Interview (or, I'm famous!)

I'm not sure how I managed it, but I forgot to mention that I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Sandie Hudson from Romance Writers of Australia (an incredible organisation!) earlier this week. About my New Voices experience, of course :)

You can read the interview here: Author Spotlight: Leah Ashton.

By the way - if you haven't read the Top 10's second chapters yet, you don't have much time - the Top 4 are announced on Monday! Of course, if you like my chapter: Secrets & Speed Dating - I would LOVE you to vote for me :)

(Hey, how subtle was that!)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Second chapter voting has begun!!!

This is terrifying. My second chapter is right here: Secrets & Speed Dating, for anyone to read and comment about. It was scary enough posting chapter one, but this - this is something else.

I'd like to tell you how I was quietly determined to do my best this last week, and methodically worked my way through the chapter. Very calm, very controlled.

Of course, that would be a massive lie. I want this so badly and I got SO frustrated with myself that I couldn't get the chapter right first time.

On the plus side, I learnt I can write a lot when I set my mind to it. Here was my week:
  • Monday - submit Chapter Two draft to Team Jessica
  • Tuesday - get feedback
  • Wednesday - totally misinterpreting feedback, come up with an idea to address the areas of weakness.
  • Wednesday night - Team Jessica politely tells me that my idea sucks
  • Wednesday-Friday - Write almost totally new chapter, convinced that draft was awful
  • Friday - CPs tell me (very nicely) that there are some problems with my new chapter, and ask what happened to that good stuff from the draft?
  • Saturday - Take all the good bits of the draft and the new chapter, and create new chapter. Get some excellent feedback from Team Jessica and my amazing CPs.
  • Sunday - Make final tweaks and polish polish polish! 
Throughout all of this my incredible CPs kept me going with phone calls and emails (and one very timely calming cup of tea :) ), and my lovely partner even brought me cups of coffee without being asked :) I also managed to squeeze my full time job in somewhere, too.

I would love it if you could read my chapter, and if you like it, it would be super awesome if you voted for me :) To vote you need to register and log in, and you can only vote once.

Ohh - and did you see the very lovely button Lacey Devlin made for me (on the right)? How nice is she?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New Voices - 1 week on

I thought some of you may be interested in my New Voices journey so far.

I'm on Team Jessica - so my mentors are Jessica Hart and Meg Lewis. I feel so incredibly lucky to have these women helping me. Even if I go no further, making it to the Top 10 has been worth it for the experience of working with Jessica and Meg.

After the initial euphoria of receiving my Top 10 email, I received my feedback on my chapter about a day later. As all I had written was the first chapter (the perils of entering something brand new), I then asked lots of questions as I wanted to make sure my h/h conflicts were strong enough, and that my plan for the external plot was on the right track. As it turned out (not surprisingly) both my conflicts and plot needed some tweaking, and I've got no doubt that my story is stronger thanks to Team Jessica brainstorming!

I've finished Chapter Two, but it will need some further revisions following Meg and Jessica's feedback.

So far I've found this past week pretty overwhelming. This opportunity it SO incredibly huge that it is scary to think what I'm throwing away if I screw this chapter up :(

But - I wouldn't swap it for anything in the world :) All I can do is my best, I suppose!