Welcome to my revamped website and to my first blog post.
Who am I?
My name is Barbara Lennox and I live in Scotland on the shores of the River Tay. The mountains aren’t far away and nor is the sea. Indeed, most of Scotland is only a day’s drive away and I know it well. So it won’t come as any surprise to learn that my fiction is based in and around Scotland.
What am I writing?
I have a lot of writing projects on the go, each one a distraction from the next, but this year, 2020, assuming Coronavirus doesn’t get me first, I’ll be publishing the first part of the work that’s nearest to my heart – The Trystan Trilogy.This is a set of three (the clue is in the title) novels set in the dark ages, which reclaim the Tristan and Isolde legend for Scotland. The first part of the trilogy, The Wolf in Winter, is in the advanced stages of editing. The second parts of the Trilogy, Swan in Summer and Serpent in Spring, have already been written. I didn’t think I could publish The Wolf in Winter until I’d written the whole story and found out exactly what happened in the end. I still have to edit Swan in Summer, which has a bit of a flabby middle (much like its author), and Serpent in Spring is too complicated and this will have to be fixed. So why amn’t I getting on with all this editing? Apart from the obvious answer that I hate editing, some other projects have been taking up my time.
- Firstly, I decided to put together an Anthology of my short stories. Many of them have already been published in literary magazines, or won prizes in writing competitions, so I thought I’d put them together and self-publish them. It will be an opportunity to try out publishing in paperback format before I attempt to do this for the Trilogy. Also, if I can get my act together, I’ll be able to give all my friends and family a copy for Christmas – a definite two birds with one stone scenario.
- Secondly, I’ve dragged myself kicking and screaming to social media and am trying to get my head around it. I now have an Instagram account and, to my amazement, I already have over 170 followers! I can see that most folks have numbers in the thousands but I’m pretty pleased with 170. I’ve also just posted my first Tweet! Facebook next? We’ll see.
- Thirdly, I decided to revamp my creaky old website which I first set up about five years ago. I’m a real non-techy with regards to computery things in general so it’s been an uphill battle and I still have bits to fix. (I’m not sure if subscriptions work but I won’t know until someone subscribes!) However, I’ve taken the plunge and started blogging. I’m planning on posting an article on a monthly basis, if not more often.
What am I going to be writing about in my blog?
I’ve been writing for a LONG time and I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’ve even had some successes. I’ve won writing competitions and had pieces published. I’ve sent out sample material from my novel to agents and publishers and had some ‘interesting’ responses. Once, I almost got myself an agent! I even had a publishing offer which in the end I declined, but more of that in a future post.
So now I’ve decided to self-publish because, why not? It’s so much easier to do it nowadays and, since I’m a bit of a control freak, I like the idea of having the final decision about everything. Cover art? I can do that. Map for my novel? I can do that. Publish on Amazon? I can do that. It’s been a huge learning curve because it turns out there are lots of skills unrelated to writing that you need to have – photography, Photoshop, web design, social media. I’m still floundering but I’m getting there.
So I’m going to talk about what worked for me and what didn’t, what hurdles I came up against (lots) and what triumphs I had (not so many) and how I dealt with them. You might be ahead of me in your writing journey so you’ll be able to laugh about the things that stump me at the moment. (What is a Tweet, exactly? What is a widget and why won’t mine work?) Or you might be behind me and have got stuck at the same places. I don’t claim to be an expert – there are lots of people out there already who do – but I’ve been at this game for a while. If you’re not feeling confident about your writing, you might like to know that I’m not confident either, even after all this time. If you’re puzzled about something, you can bet I’ve been puzzled too (and maybe still am.)
For readers with an interest in historical fantasy/historical novels/Arthurian re-tellings or Scotland in general, I’ll be delving into the dark-age world of The Trystan Trilogy. I’ll talk about the research I’ve carried out, the places I’ve visited, and the characters I’ve come up with. I’ll be publishing extracts from my novel, short stories and the occasional poem on my website. They might as well be out there in the world of the internet as languishing on the hard-drive of an out-of-date computer.
Anyone who sits down at their laptop and types the words ‘Once upon a time …’ has taken the first step on a journey. I’m a few steps along the way but the journey isn’t over, so I’d love for you to join me on as I travel into the unknown. If you sign up to my blog you’ll receive the next post about my writing life by email (fingers crossed!)
(Image credit Pixabay)