Monday, December 6, 2010

Rebekah the Business Woman!

In a couple of days time I am attending a New Business Seminar run by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in the hope of starting and running a successful publishing company.

Why am I doing this you may ask? Let's just say there have been no six figure advances offered for my book yet! However, I am a determined woman who is not going to let this stop me from publishing my travel memoir.

I know absolutely nothing about running a business, but ask my friends and they will tell you that I have the tenacity to achieve my dreams.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Entering my first ever writing competition - The Fish Short Story Competition

I have officially entered my first Short Story competition and I am hoping to travel to Ireland July next year to receive my prize - dreams are free.

Let's just say it was rather a stressful procedure. Although I was happy with the story I had a sleepless night after submitting it thanks to a misplaced apostrophe and the lack of a semi-colon!

Anyway it is all writing practice, after all it's not always about winning - yeah right!

Wish me luck regardless!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ellen DeGeneres did not pick me!!!!!

I am currently writing my second book which is a collection of short stories (some considerably shorter than others!) about my failed relationship - with a HUGE emphasis on Humour!!!

The great thing about this is that there are still things I have not tried in my attempt to find love - so I am able to try new experiences with the excuse of research for my book!

One of my chapters will tell the story of my attempt to WIN A DATE WITH TONY (Ellen DeGeneres's D.J).

I made this music video in the hope that I would be noticed (and picked...but typical - they picked some cute, skinny 24 year old - go figure!).

Anyway, watch it and have a laugh (at my expense!).

Monday, October 11, 2010

Baring my soul to the nation!

I am sitting here waiting nervously for a TVNZ crew to turn up and film me!

They are coming to do a piece on my encounter with a Nigerian Romance Scammer who I met on an internet dating site. It seemed a good idea at the time, as I wanted to warn women to watch out for these fraudulent criminals who attempt to get money from lonely women searching for love...

But now I am wondering what the heck I have done - do I really want everyone to know my business?

I guess it will add another chapter to my new book that I am writing about my many romantic encounters, which has a big emphasis on the FUNNY. And amazingly, this experience is quite tame in comparison to some!

I have put a flower in my hair just in case there are any potential love interests watching the show when it airs - wish me luck!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

#%@$#@ Possum Fur Nipple Warmers!


I have just been informed by my friend Fiona that Ellen and Portia are Vegans and heavy supporters of Animal Rights Groups and what did I send them - Yes, that's right, POSSUM FUR NIPPLE WARMERS!

Obviously I did not do enough research. I was too busy focusing on the funny! Hopefully they will see the humour in this gift, but since I haven't heard anything yet, I have probably gone and blown my chances of Ellen having my book on her show.

If anyone has any suggestions on how I can dig my self out of this faux pas I would surely appreciate it!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Rejections and nipple warmers!

Each morning I venture out to my letterbox and nervously lift the lid.

In the good old days I would be thrilled to see an internationally stamped envelope.

Nowadays I remove the contents already knowing what they contain - REJECTIONS.

Each standard letter is polite and encouraging with its message to 'keep trying' (in other words, do not give up your day job!).

So what is a determined girl like me to do? Send a gift basket to Ellen DeGeneres of course!

I am hoping that Ellen will like the concept of book enough to give a copy of it to each pregnant guest in her MOTHERS DAY show next year. Surely receiving a book about travelling the world with two young children is more interesting that getting a gift of diapers and strollers!

I placed my manuscript (secured with a big bow) into a box and surrounded it with iconic kiwi gifts hoping that it would be passed on to Ellen.

I managed to find a Christchurch company that made possum fur nipples warmers, so I hope that the two pairs I included for Ellen and Portia would at least get her attention!

Now all I have to do is... WAIT... Again!

Monday, August 16, 2010


I have not written much on my blog since June because I have been waiting...and waiting...and waiting...

Unfortunately I have had to give up waiting, realising that the agent in London that I sent my gift box to (with manuscript) is probably not going to get back to me.

This is hard to accept (after all, it cost me over $200 and tons of energy) but I guess this is the way it goes in the publishing industry. It's tough!

So after finally accepting that I was not going to receive a phone call asking me to jump on a plane to London to sign a contract, I decided I had better contact a few more agents (I apologise to them ahead of time for the fact that I cannot afford to send them all gift boxes - you will just be getting the gift of my book!).

So last Friday after printing over 3000 pages I sent 50 manuscripts off to New York and London agents - now all I have to do is WAIT (again!).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I wanted to cry

I forgot to mention that after receiving my lovely gift basket from sweet Wendy I went for a bike ride with Jack.

When I got home Marco had arrived back from school and met me at the door all smiles. He then said, "Great news mum. They loved your book."

I realised that he had seen the gift and card and thought that they had been sent by the London agent I had sent MY gift basket to. I almost cried seeing his excited face, knowing I would have to tell him that sadly this was not the case.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A gift box to me

I arrived home yesterday to find a large gift box on my door step full of delicious food and wine. It was sent by a friend Wendy, a fellow mum at Jack's school who had asked to read the first half of my manuscript.

The box included a card saying, "Thank you so much for allowing me the pleasure of reading your manuscript. Truly inspirational! You felt the fear and did it anyway. Well done."

When I rang Wendy to say thank you, she said that it was she that needed to thank me, because she had not read a book for seven years and on the occasional time that she did pick up a book she would fall asleep in the first five minutes."

In the case of my book, Wendy told me that she asked her husband Mike to take one of her three year old twin boys to the park so she could have some one on one time with her other young son. But as soon as they left the house, she put on a DVD for her child and started my book which she could not put down."

I am so touched by Wendy's words. Her enthusiam gives me hope, because I know that the chance of getting published is incredibly slim.

Monday, May 31, 2010

My Baby has Finally Departed

Thursday: I was all set to do my final proof read so I could send off my manuscript, but I could not find my glasses anywhere - I searched everywhere but finally gave up and resorted to buying a new pair.

Then on my way home from the optometrist, I bought supplies at the supermarket to keep my brain motivated during the big editing session, but my card got declined at the check out so that was the end of that.

I came to the conclusion that this was not the day to be sending out my book.

Friday: Well FINALLY I sent off my first draft. It should now be in London along with a gift basket full of Kiwi goodies - this is not a form of bribery, but simply a way of gaining the attention of a very successful agent (pray it works please!).

Now all I have to do is WAIT and WAIT!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Almost Finished

I know I have been out of touch lately, but this is ACTUALLY a good thing because I have been busy writing THE BOOK!

In fact, I am hopefully a week away from sending off my manuscript to agents - YIPPEE!

I have just booked a 2 day course at the University of Auckland called 'The Nuts & Bolts of Writing'. Probably should have done this BEFORE I wrote the book!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yippee - Jack starts school!

Today is the first day of the rest of my life - Jack started school!

People keep asking me if I am sad - are you crazy? - I can now have some time to myself... pedicures, coffees, walks... oh, and that's right, WRITING!

As you will notice from my lack of blog entries, I have been too busy to write of late...and it's all because of CHILDREN (whom I love dearly of course!)

But now I have no excuses as Jack had his first day of school today; I have to get on with my book.

In some respects I am glad it has taken me so long to write my book, because what I love most about the writing process is the way a book evolves - when I look back to my original draft a year ago, I cannot believe it is the same book.

I keep having to add little bits here and there - partly because I am influenced by many of my friends who have such wonderful words of wisdom, such as the following:

Bill (a grandfather) in reference to my naivety concerning the male species: "Rebekah, you have to realise that when a man's big head gets soft his small head gets hard!"

Caroline (a friend) in reference to my ex-husband's camera being bigger than mine: "Rebekah, just because it's big doesn't mean he knows how to use it!"


Thursday, March 25, 2010


A couple of posts ago I mentioned that I had to rewrite the first page of my book because it was basically BORING.

After reading Stephan King's 'On Writing' which advises the writer to show rather than tell, I realised the first nine pages had to go as well. I was telling the reader far too much. It was time to just get on with the story.

Far too busy

Yes, I know I have not written a new post for a long time. I have been so busy with kids' stuff: basketball, parent teacher interviews, soccer, gymnastics, swimming, kindy fundraisers, Jack's kindergarten birthday, robotics... Just to name a few!

Finally I get to sit down today in front of my computer for nearly four hours and hopefully be inspired to write.

One month ago I felt I was about six weeks off finishing my book - the rate I am going it will be six years!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Money, money, money

Yesterday I spent nearly $100 getting my almost-finished manuscript printed so I can give copies to friends to review. I am hoping that I actually get a book deal one of these days, otherwise I will have to get into the pinata business (using my hundreds of old drafts)!

I also had afternoon tea with some girlfriends yesterday and read the opening page from my manuscript hot off the press. Oh my God! When I read it aloud, I realised that this crucial piece of writing ( first page needs to hook the reader) was one of my most boring. I need to rethink things QUICKLY.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Hopefully one day I will be remembered for my writing (rather than my crying!)

How wonderful...I woke this morning to find an email from the British owners of the house I rented in the French village of Alet during my adventure around the world.

I laughed at Steve's words, "Your visit to Alet is remembered with great affection by Freha, Christophe and Anne (and by us although we didn't actually get to meet you)!" because although we never met, they were victim to my melodramatic personality when I rang begging to return to their house as seen in the following extract from my book:

The next morning in a bid to change my unhappy disposition I rang the owners of my old house, a lovely couple from Bristol in England and explained that I had already paid for my apartment in Esperaza but was prepared to forfeit my money if they could give me a reduced rate for another two week stay back at their beautiful home in Alet. Very kindly they agreed, which I believe was due in part to the fact that my request was made in between loud and uncontrollable sobbing. I was so thrilled and rang Christophe, who having already been informed of my plight (as had the rest of the village) assured me that he would be there in half an hour to collect us (apparently Nicolas on his way home the previous evening from dinner with me had stopped at Christophe’s where another party was being held and declared to all that, “Rebekah needed saving!” All present informed him of their desire to help my cause and as a result I was to dwell no longer in my current house of gloom).

Friday, March 12, 2010

I can write but can't talk!

Managed to write for three wonderful uninterrupted hours this morning. However, the deep concentration turned my brain to mush for the rest of the day and when I picked up Jack for lunch I told him to, "Stop eating with food in your mouth."

I think I need some sleep!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Having a date with Elizabeth Gilbert

Yippee! Just booked tickets to see Elizabeth Gilbert who is coming here in May as part of the New Zealand Writers' Festival.

The sympathetic booking agent booked seats for my friends and me with a single vacant seat next to mine and promised to place a nice single guy in it if the chance arose!

Wish me luck!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The kindness of strangers

During our adventure around the world, the boys and I spent four glorious weeks on England's beautiful Isle of Wight. In my book I describe Christine, the owner of the bed and breakfast where we stayed. But recently a friend criticized my work, saying that although I wrote about all the kind and charitable gestures that she did for the boys and I, there was not enough detailed description about Christine herself.

No offence to my friend, whose ideas I value greatly, but I stand by my words, because I believe that recounting the kindness of someone speaks volumes. Christine may or may not have been happily married; she may or may not have had children; she may or may not have been attractive. These may be interesting facts I agree, but at the end of the day, the description of Christine’s kind actions tells the reader that she is a selfless and caring character.

To reiterate my thoughts on the idea that a person's deeds can describe their character, I will use the example of my lovely neighbours, Mary Anne and Jim. I have only recently gotten to know this American couple who leave their home town of Seattle each winter to live in New Zealand and enjoy its summer. They live on the beach near me and as a result are always part of the beach parties that my friends and I have on a regular basis.

Jim and Mary Anne value their family and friends and because they see that my boys have only ME (I have no parents and Marco's father and family live overseas) they turn up at events that family members are likely to attend. This occurred today when they surprised my eldest son Marco by coming to a morning tea at his school in honour of him receiving top marks on his report card. Jim and Mary Anne gave up their morning which could have been spent relaxing on the beach, to make Marco feel special. It worked. And I am extremely grateful for their kindness.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Stephan King is just about to change my writing for the better

I am so excited... I have just received the highly recommended book, 'On Writing' by Stephan King. Am off to make a cup of tea and absorb all his wonderful words of wisdom regarding writing.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Finding time to write as a single mum of two young boys has been difficult (to say the least).

Marco being twelve is relatively independent, but Jack is only four and as a result still demands much of my time.

Actual time Jack is at Kindergarten each week = 17 hours

Now, this sounds like a reasonable amount of time to do my writing, but let's be real and subtract parenting tasks from those hours:

Time to walk Jack to and from Kindergarten = 5 hours
Time to go on Kindy trip to aquarium = 4 hours
Time to wash Jack's sheets that he wet during the night (because in my state of fatigue, I forgot to put a night time nappy on) = 1 hour

This leaves seven hours of free time (as long as I am not tempted to go up the road for a coffee with my good friend Julie, or spend time writing my blog, which I admit I am becoming a little obsessed about).

So here are my excuses for taking so long to finish my book. Better get cracking...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Can't see the wood for the trees

A tutor at University gave me one very important piece of advice regarding writing: CUT AND PASTE (literally).

Because I have been writing my book for such a long time (over a year), I often do not see parts of my story that need editing; When a third party reads my work they often point out things I have not noticed, like the repetition of subject matter.

Yesterday, I sat down with two pages of my opening chapter and before I cut the paragraphs (literally), I colour coded the themes:

Red = reservations I had about my travel
Yellow = benefits of travel
Blue = inspiring others

As a result, I clearly noticed that I repeated all three themes in two or three places throughout the chapter. So I edited the work using the following method:

1) Cut each coloured paragraph
2) Placed the pieces beside each other spread out on the floor
3) Cut and paste the pieces (on the computer)

Voila, now I had a chapter that flowed.

Shame we can't do this rearranging with our PERSONAL LIFE!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


My oldest and dearest friend Fiona, whom I met at the age of eleven, met me in a city cafe for an editing session, the main subject of our meeting being my 'desires'. We got straight down to business over strong coffee.

As I said in my profile, my book is not just a travel memoir, but it has also become a book about my unsatisfied desires, which, let's face it, everybody has (whether you are a twenty-two year old mechanic or an eighty-three year old grandmother). However, Fiona had some very strong opinions regarding the way I was portraying myself in relation to these desires, specifically my desire for SOMEONE TO GIVE DAMN:

"Perhaps you need to ask for it [help]! This sounds like a really miserable life and might make the reader wonder why you have no friends? They might then presume that you are or could be ‘unlikeable’ and you could lose the readers’ sympathy. This is so far from the truth as you are sooooo likeable, have a multitude of friends who do really ‘give a damn’ and aren’t some loser that nobody wants to know! Maybe try and read these from a reader’s perspective who only has what’s written here on which to form a picture of who you are and what you’re like. You don’t do yourself justice – you aren’t making yourself very appealing or empowered".

Well, she certainly said it as it was, but I really appreciated her honesty. After all, Fiona knows me better than anyone. She was right. I do have lots of fantastic friends and I am a fun, assertive, enthusiastic and strong woman who loves her life (most of the time).

I guess, I wanted to emphasise my feelings of despair at times to give a more honest portrayal of life as a single mum. Because, although most days my smile is genuine, there are times when I just want to run away from the loneliness I feel.

Fiona's reality check made me acknowledge that I needed to get rid of the hundreds of POOR ME violins playing in the background of my story.

At this point of the discussion, our Eggs Benedict arrived, fulfilling one of my most important desires - TO RELISH

Monday, March 1, 2010

The help of friends - Part II

As I said in my last post, Caroline and I rushed home to put on our bikinis. WOW. We looked amazing. It was a miracle - overnight all of our tummy rolls had simply disappeared and we were stunning.

Our new found beauty must have caught the eye of the handsome stranger looking my way. He stood there in the waves that were pounding his glistening wet skin. He was perfect. He smiled and then beckoned for me to come to him. How could I refuse? This was the one.

At this point, I had better mention another piece of advice that Caroline had given me during our editing session (prior to being distracted).


The help of friends - Part I

I have many wonderful friends, who wanting me to be successful, are always willing to give me their valuable advice. After all, they are my market audience, so it always good to get their opinions, even though they are often conflicting.

FRIEND #1. SARAH - We catch up regularly to work on the editing of my book. last week the weather was fine, so Sarah thought it might be nice to take a flask of coffee and biscuits to a local park so her dog could get some exercise while we worked(I had no idea that this patch of green was doggie paradise - there were hundreds of the little barkers).

In between barks we started to discuss the idea of having a screenplay style introduction of the three main characters (the boys and I) and because I am film-obsessed I thought this was a great idea.

Much to my disappointment, our discussion got cut short by the humping dogs that we could no longer stomach, which along with a female stranger who started to lean over my shoulder to eavesdrop on our conversation caused us to pack up our bags and do a runner (while trying to dodge the dog poop all over the grass).

FRIEND #2. CAROLINE - Because Caroline lives near the sea we thought we would meet for our editing session on the beach, this time with a flask of tea.

Caroline told me that she felt I did not offer the reader detailed descriptions of the people we met on our travels. I agreed and told her that I would use my new Dictaphone (my new best friend) to help with this.

Unfortunately, like my session with Sarah, the outdoors would interrupt our talk, because out of the corner of her eye, Caroline spotted about six gorgeous half-naked hunks in the water tackling each other playing ball (what is it about men, balls and grabbing each other?). Unable to concentrate, we went home to get our swimsuits. Editing could wait.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy to have missed my deadline(s).

Just over a year ago I had a plan.

I would write furiously for a couple of months so that my manuscript would be ready to send out to agents February 2009. I thought that this would be a great time to have my work sitting on agents' desks, because surely they would be refreshed from a Christmas holiday ready to receive new writers such as myself.

Little did I know, fourteen months later I would still be writing and a second Christmas deadline would have passed.

I was going to set a new time limit, until my friend Susan said, "Isn't the writing more important than the deadline?"

How right she was. In fact, if I had completed my first deadline, my book would have simply been a travel memoir. Instead, my writing has taken me on a journey which has led to my book's inclusion of the parallel story of my conflicting and unsatisfied desires as a woman and mother.

Although I know that my book still needs a lot of work, I am (secretly) hoping to have my manuscript sent out by April. If I can achieve this deadline it might be on the shelves by Christmas. No, I am not crazy, just full of imagination. Besides, I have to have a bestseller before Oprah ends her show!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I was on Oprah last night!

Last night I was on the Oprah Show talking about my book, a travel memoir that describes my eight month trip around the world as a single mother with two young boys (even though I am haven't actually finished writing it, acquired an agent or secured a book deal). To be honest, I wasn't physically on the show...

When I was a little girl, I would lie in bed and tell stories to myself; The subject matter would generally be about boys, which as I got older changed to men. Now that there is a complete drought on that front, my bedtime stories tend to be about future book deals (yes, for the book I have not yet completed).

These stories do not remain in my head. I lie in bed verbalizing them, speaking for all the characters and last night Oprah interviewed me. It was fantastic. I was so proud of myself. I had the audience (and O) captivated. They both loved my book. I was so confident in answering Oprah's questions.

Speaking aloud parts of my story made me realize that in comparison, my writing had become too verbal and 'wordy'. I wanted my memoir to be like a conversation to a friend, not some academic essay.

So I decided to buy a Dictaphone. I would start at the beginning of what I had already written and chapter by chapter record the stories. After comparing the recording with my written word I would change any passages that seemed too stiff.

Today I recorded pages 1-4 of my book. When I played the recording back I realized that I had real potential to work as a sex-phone worker (a good option if a book deal doesn't work out). Better go and make some more 'calls'.