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The Exeter Novel Prize – and a fabulous birthday weekend

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Many thanks to Isabella Tartaruga for making this collage. Isabella is one of my beta readers and helped me with the Italian in SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS, which reached the final of the Exeter Novel Prize. I named a character in the novel after her –  hence the plaque in the top left hand corner.

Here’s my report of the Exeter Novel Prize

& fabulous birthday weekend

First up – The Exeter Novel Prize, organised by Creative Writing Matters. Check out their website if you are just starting out on your writing career. Their slogan is: WHAT’S YOUR STORY and you’ll find lots of advice to help you achieve those famous words at the bottom of your manuscript THE END!

Exeter Novel Prize  the award ceremony was held in St Stephen’s Church, Exeter High Street. There were over 300 entries from all over the world and I was thrilled to be one of the six finalists. The  prize is held in high esteem by writers and comes with the added bonus that the short list is commented upon by respected agent Broo Doherty. 

 

Here’s what she said about SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS 

The novel opens with Ishabel Stuart racing across a Scottish causeway to her aunt’s house seeking comfort and solace, having discovered her fiancée has been unfaithful. She has the added burden of her recently deceased father’s ashes in her car; he has requested that his ashes be scattered from a Munro and Ishabel is expected to know how to organise it. 
Her aunt, Esme, a life long protester, runs a B&B on the island, and inevitably the hotel is full when Ishabel arrives.  Not only full, but full of an unwanted American who is going to stay on in the hotel while Esmee heads down south with her ancient hippy dippy friends to protest about fracking in Manchester.
This is a lively and amusing opening to a romantic novel. The setting is authentic, the characters original and the stroppy parrot who has the perfect answer for every situation certainly raised a smile whenever he appeared. 
2016-03-12 17.55.28Pershing – the parrot in the  novel is based on our parrot, Jasper. Here he is with my award. Or should that be, his award ?!

Although I wasn’t overall winner, it was still a great day and a validation of me as a writer. Many thanks to Margaret James, Cathie Hartigan and Sophie Duffy for all their hard work. Now all I’ve got to do is write the next one. Simples.

If you’d like to see a full report and more pictures of the event, go to the website

Here are some snaps of what I DID NEXT

 

  • Opened some birthday cards and had breakfast of croissants and bucks fizz in bed (!)
  • Had lunch at the Oxenham Arms, South Zeal, touched the lucky standing stone – and sat in the VERY place where David Bowie ate lunch.
  • Met up with friends  Sharyn Farnaby and Lin Tredgold
  • Returned to Exeter, had coffee in Patisserie Valerie and went on a birthday shopping spree
  • went home to find a lovely shout out from Amazon for SCOTCH ON THE ROCKS

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my latest blog. If you don’t already subscribe to my newsletter, please sign up here. I’m giving away a free paperback copy of Tall, Dark and Kilted to one lucky subscriber this month.

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Tuesday Book Blog

Many thanks to Luccia Gray for interviewing me on her fabulous blog and for reviewing Scotch on the Rocks. Since then, Scotch on the Rocks has been shortlisted for the Exeter Novel Prize The first novel by an indie author to reach the final six . . .

Exeter Novel Prize

Here is a link to Luccia’post . . .

 

I am really getting stuck in with my new novel – working title, This Highland Magic and love meeting my new characters and writing about them. Here’s the blurb. Doubtless it will change through the course of the novel being finished! Those characters have a way of ‘taking over’. Here’s my up-to-date word count, too . . .

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Dr Henriette Bruar travels to Wester Ross to catalogue the library  of an ancient castle set in the middle of a remote Highland loch. The laird, Sir Malcolm MacKenzie, of that Ilk, is pressed for cash and is selling off the estate’s assets, including the library to subsidise his extravagant life style. This doesn’t please his son, Keir, who fears there will be nothing of the estate left to inherit. To all outward appearances, Henriette seems like any run of the mill academic, unremarkable even. However, in her heart of hearts, she sees herself as a cross between Indiana Jones and the Relic Hunter and dreams of someday finding a precious manuscript, a hidden treasure or unlocking family secrets. At Castle Treamannair, she sets out to do just that. By the end of the novel, Henri learns that treasure comes in many guises and, sometimes, family secrets are best left undisturbed.

My spring newsletter will be coming out in March and I’ll be giving away a paperback copy of Tall, Dark and Kilted and other prizes. If you haven’t already subscribed, sign up here – and join in the fun . . .

Bye for now,

Lizzie x

 

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