Friday, October 29, 2010

Writing Retreat, 'The Bone Garden' and Regency Romance

Springtime at last
I've been away from my blog for more than a month. I seem to get fixated on a particular piece of work (or some other thing) and focus so intently that my brain needs some quiet time and I kind of opt out. I had vowed to blog weekly and was doing okay till I hit that wall, which seems to happen now and then.

The route to my writing retreat
During the time I haven't been blogging one of the experiences I've enjoyed is a  three-day writing retreat with two wonderful writing friends. Getting away from familiar surrounds is inspirational and re-energising. I've gone off at a tangent from the contemporary category romances I've been working on and started writing short Regencies. I've finished and submitted one to the Harlequin Historical Undone line and am part way through another. I'm about 2,000 words into a fictional account of my Danish ancestors. This is challenging and will be a long-term project but I'm very much enjoying the research and writing.

What else have I been doing in October?
I've read voraciously over the last few weeks, from books referencing the Regency period to catelogue romances, biographies, art books, magazines of all types and murder mysteries. I read The Bone Garden by Tess Gerritsen who's one of my favoured authors. I wondered why a particular character couldn't have been allowed to live. I really wanted to know the rationale behind it so I emailed Tess and asked her. She emailed me back with her reasoning - isn't that fantastic? So  I learned something more about writing technique even after I'd finished the novel.

Rotorua Artist, Janet Keen
At two opposite ends of the fantasy spectrum, I've been to a fairy picnic and a zombie walk - both lots of fun and the zombie walk raised more than $2,500 for people with brain injuries. I told my grandchildren I'd go to the fairy picnic on my broomstick: sadly, they didn't seem surprised. I participated in an art course facilitated by my friend, Rotorua artist, Janet Keen (check out her blog, it's beautiful). I've eaten fish and chips on the beach at Maketu.
Fresh eggs for Breakfast
I've loved seeing spring make itself felt at last, with bluebells in the garden, birds singing in the trees, sunlight on the water and fresh eggs for breakfast. And of course, there are all the usual things: housework, cooking, shopping, the 'day job', family stuff etc. So although I haven't been blogging, October's been a busy and productive month. But it's good to be back.


  1. Hello Leigh,
    I envy you going on a writing retreat. Where did you stay?

  2. Hi Cherie
    I stayed at a cottage on the property of a lovely friend who has a farm near Taumarunui, right in the heart of the King Country. There were three of us. No TV, no radios, no interruptions. It was marvellous. We're hoping to have another two or three days before the end of the year.