Writer’s Digest – 24 January 2022

Obviously not me – hello, straight hair and young…

So anyways I spent last week in Sydney. 

I was supposed to be down there for the day job (an office relocation I’d been coordinating) which just so happened to coincide with Mum’s 80th birthday. We were going to have a party for her yesterday, but covid got in the way (not Mum or Dad, thankfully, but elsewhere in the family) and it was cancelled, and I flew home a few days early. At least I got to spend last weekend with them though – it had been way too long since I’d seen them.

It was the first time I’ve flown since the Omicron outbreak took hold and it amazed me just how quiet the airport was on Saturday when I flew in – and how easy it was to distance on the trains. 

The best part of travel – reading

While the trains were still relatively quiet on Friday when I was coming home, the airport seemed back to pre-covid levels with people heading away – creating a bridge (le pont, as the French call it) between the weekend and the Australia Day public holiday on Wednesday. Many, it seemed, were on their way to Melbourne for the tennis.

Speaking of Australia Day, while I won’t get into the politics of the day (although trust me, I do have an opinion), I do love this tongue-in-cheek article from two years back – Richard Glover’s 42 ways to tell if you’re Australian.

The structural read-through came back from my editor for my first Philly Barker Chipwell Antiques mystery on Wednesday. Her comments were, as always, valuable. The best part is though, the manuscript – despite having been written in just 6 weeks – is in pretty good shape. I’ve already completed the rewrite – such as it is – and think I’ll send it straight through for copy editing rather than doing another structural pass. I need to write up a couple of the recipes from the book (yes, there’ll be recipes) and write the acknowledgements and it can be sent off for copy editing.

I’m yet to decide on a title and need to find a new cover designer, so we’re a long way away from a release date just yet.

In the meantime, It’s In The Stars is with my editor for a structural read-through. I won’t have it back until towards the end of February and already know it will need a full structural edit!

With two novels at different stages of the editing process, it must be time to start something new.

I have three books at different stages in my head that are screaming to be written this year, and the first of those will be Coming Home For Christmas, a new contemporary romance/chick-lit, set in the fictional Australian town of Mannus Ridge and starring one of my most unlikeable characters, Ainsley St James.

This will be shorter than my usual novels – say 60,000 words or so – and I’m giving myself a deadline of the end of March to have the first draft written. I will, of course, keep you updated here.

I’m also starting something else new this month – a collaboration with Deb from Debbish. It’s a new cosy crime series set in the fictional Queensland town of Whale Bay – sort of if Hervey Bay met the Sunshine Coast hinterland and Agnes Water – and starring lawyer turned astrologer Clementine Carter. We spent a day plotting (yes, a completely new concept for me) the first (and second) book last winter and my aim is to get two chapters written and across to Deb in the next 2 weeks. Hopefully, they’ll bear some resemblance to how we envisaged it.

We probably won’t self-publish this series and will most likely look for a traditional publisher – but that’s still a long way off as I’ll be writing in between my personal projects.

Coming Up

I’m still trying to sort my blogging routine for the year with an aim of 1- 2 posts per week here and 1 over on BKD. I appreciate you bearing with me as I ramble around with this.

On BKD I’ll alternate between a recipe and a kitchen diary post, but will link to that here as well. In this week’s post (available here), I tell you about this fabulous caramelised orange cheesecake.

On this site there’ll be a weekly Writer’s Digest (writing, reading, and anything else I’m either up to or finding curious) plus the following linkups:

  • What’s On Your Plate with Deb and Donna (WOTP) – first Wednesday of the month
  • What’s on your Bookshelf (WOYB) with my stunning book club ladies– third Friday of the month
  • Also with my stunning book club, Word of the Year (WOTY) – last Friday on the month. Heads up – the first of these is this Friday so if you want somewhere to post updates to your word of the year or new year goals and intentions, you can do it here.

Okay, I think that’s enough to be going on with for now…until next time…


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

15 thoughts

  1. You are so prolific in your writing Jo – and you sound so professional in all your editing terminology. I do hope Oprah discovers you soon and you can quit the day job to become famous and then I can say “I know her!” It’ll be fun to see what you and Deb manage to produce between you – I imagine there will be some droll humour in there!

  2. Well done on your writing Jo, so many good things happening for you! I love the name Mannus Ridge 🙂 I’m really keen to see what you and Deb cook up and am ready for a new book to read so The Shelly Bay Swimming Cirlce sounds great!
    I’m glad you got to see your mum and dad for the first time in ages but feel for you that the parry for your mum had to be cancelled.

  3. Wow! That is TONS going on. I truly do not know how you do it all.
    I am incredibly grateful that you keep us in such wonderful books!
    I am also really looking forward to reading the collaboration between you and Deb! Lots to look forward to.

  4. I’m so happy Jo that you are getting closer to making writing your fulltime job. I’m excited as I read the books you have in the pipeline and again am amazed at your creative talent. The collab with Deb sounds like fun and another interesting character. I love a cozy crime so your new characters Philly and Clementine (love those names) are sure to please. Bring on 2022 and despite the sad hiccup last week with cancelling your Mum’s 80th celebrations it looks like you are starting the year with direction and exciting things on the writing front. Lots to look forward to as Donna said. Enjoy your week!

  5. Wow, Jo, I’m thrilled when an idea for a short story pops in my head… you have several whole novels in the works and in your head waiting to be set free. I’m sorry the birthday plans had to be cancelled but happy that you were able to see your parents. Have a great week!

  6. Such an impressive array of stuff on the go. And I can’t even get one thing finished. Or write any book reviews it seems (at the moment!).

    1. You will. You’re still coming to grips with your new work life & the blurred boundaries. I was like that when we first moved up here.

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