Wednesday, October 17, 2018

WEP - Deja Vu

The results weren’t good enough.

Again.

Jonah’s research and planning had been thorough. Now, he’d have to reanalyze his data to figure out where it had all gone sideways. No matter how careful and methodical he was, he just couldn’t emulate the results of that first trial.

Disappointment seeped into his bones until Jonah wanted to weep. His premise was sound, the research was solid, his planning meticulous. He needed to figure out how to extrapolate that research into reality. Nothing counted except results.

With a sigh, Jonah pulled out his cell phone to document the current mess. He’d gone into this knowing that it would take multiple trials before he found consistent success, but that first lucky hit had made each subsequent failure more difficult.

Which variable was he missing? Was it in the timing, the speed, the angles?

Jonah took photos from all directions looking for anything that would show him the way out of this deja vu cycle of failure.

A scrap of noise had Jonah jolting up from the pavement. He’d gotten so caught up in the failure, he’d lost track of his surroundings. Moving out of the light, Jonah gathered his nerves along with his knives. He needed to get home, analyze his mistake, and prepare so he could continue his work.

As he eased away from the circle of light, Jonah caught glimpses of where he’d erred and where he’d succeeded. The body lay perfectly centred in the pool of blood, but the wounds weren’t symmetrical. The facial expression showed a moment of confusion, not fear.

Jonah took one last picture.

Next time it would be perfect.

Next time.

***

This is my first time participating in the WEP challenge. Hope you'll check out the rest of the entries for the twin themes of Deja Vu & Voodoo!

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

IWSG & Life's Craziness

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***

October 3 question - How do major life events affect your writing? Has writing ever helped you through something?

Wow - timely question!

As many of you know, I've got a family member recovering from some major injuries. Events like my loved one's accident and subsequent recovery require a lot of time outside of our regular schedules. As we all know, time is a valuable and coveted commodity. Like many of us, I don't have enough of it and the current situation gives me less time for writing.

When I don't have regular writing time, my groove gets a little bumpy and my confidence drops. To get back into my groove, I end up needing to reread my WIP. More time required, but it does work.

On the flip side, writing most definitely helps me through all parts of life. It's a fabulous way to relieve stress and work through situations.

Despite all the ups and downs that life throws along our paths, I know I'll continue to write.

How about you? Does writing help you cope and relieve some stress? (Except when it's causing you stress!! 😄)

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Pippa Roscoe & Getting Tough!

Please welcome Pippa Roscoe back to the blog today!
***
When the going gets tough… the tough get going!
Last year, I had my bathroom redone. (Bear with me!) We ripped out of the bath and installed a huge shower along one wall. Instead of using wall tiles, I wanted to do something different. I’d seen penny floors and back splashes and loved the look of it. But could I really do that in my bathroom? My (fabulous!) plumber helped me put together an idea of how we could do it. And over the course of three and a half solid days, morning to night, I patiently and not-so-patiently, used a caulk gun to individually stick £210 of 2 pennies in rows along the three walls of the unit. 
After about the first hour that I thought, oh my god, what on earth was a I thinking? I feared that I was never going to get it done, and that even if I did, I’d hate it when it was finally up. That… or they’d find my dead body collapsed under mouldy 2p coins! 
There’s a point of no return with projects like this and I’d reached it the first penny I stuck to the wall. All the little fears morphed into bigger ones – how was I going to clean them? Would they discolour and disintegrate after one month? Would the grouting stick to pennies and take me years to chip off? Would I have to rip them all off one day? Was I mad???  
I realised recently that writing is a little like this. With every book I’ve written, there’s a moment – whether it’s the first chapter, second, third, or eighth, that I’ve had this very same moment. When I think… this isn’t going to work. This is going to be awful. Did I really think I could do this? 
Every single writer – published or otherwise – will tell you that writing is hard. Absolutely 100% worth it, but hard. It takes grit and determination to push through the moment when you find yourself staring at your computer, thinking what on earth is this? How did I think that was any good? It’s a fairly dark and lonely time when this happens. The characters are misbehaving and you’re losing the threads of your plot and that no one else can help you. Those doubts and that frustration… they can overwhelm you if you let them. 
If you’ve had that moment, then I want to tell you that you’re not alone. We’re here. We’ve been through it. And we’ve come out the other side of it. 
Because this is the moment that defines you as a writer. This is the moment when you must push on through those painful doubts, when you find the way to fix the plot hole, arm wrestle your characters into submission… You may have to walk away for a bit – spend some time in the garden, go for a walk, let your imagination run wild! Writing doesn’t just take place in front of the computer putting words on a page. It takes place in the spaces where you’re thinking about the whys and wherefores, it’s the silent conversations you have with your characters, it’s the moment you zone out of the dinner table conversation and realise that’s what’s not working. It’s in the shower, when you’ve left the conditioner on your hair for ten minutes too long as you realise that’s how to fix it. 
There’s always a moment in every project when you think what have I done? But that panic, that fear… it’s up to you how you handle it. Please don’t let it overwhelm you. Allowing yourself to be curious, to question why and what if, that makes you the writer you are. So give yourself the time to consider it, the kindness to accept and move on from the doubts, and the power, once you come through the other side, to see just how far and how fabulous that journey has been. 
In the spirit of positivity, I’d love to hear about how you felt when you’d overcome a difficult writing moment! And if you feel like sharing the how – I’m sure that all readers would love to hear it!

P.S. the finished bathroom looked amazing! And the books I’ve had the greatest wrestle with? On the shelves!  
***
Mills & Boon author Pippa Roscoe lives in Norfolk near her family and makes daily promises that this will be the day she will leave the computer and take a long walk in the countryside. She can’t remember a time when she wasn’t dreaming of gorgeous alpha males and misunderstood heroines. Totally her mother’s fault of course—she gave Pippa her first romance to read at the age of seven! She is inconceivably happy that she gets to share those
daydreams with her readers.
Pippa Roscoe on the web:
Website          Facebook        Twitter 

A Ring to Take His Revenge (The Winners' Circle)

He’ll do anything to settle the score…

…even fake an engagement!

To secure his revenge against his cruel father, billionaire Antonio Arcuri needs a fake fiancée—fast! He demands his shy PA, Emma Guilham, wear his diamond. In return, he’ll help fulfill her dreams—starting with a jet-set trip to Buenos Aires! It’s a simple charade, until the burning tension between them erupts into irresistible desire. Now Antonio must decide between vengeance and Emma…

A powerfully intense revenge romance!.

Buy on:

Amazon UK             Amazon Aust


Nook                        Kobo


***
Thanks Pippa!
I know I've hit a few of those dark moments - and am maybe in the middle of one right now! - but digging in with hard work always makes it better.

What about you? How do you power through?

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

IWSG & Publishing Paths

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

***
September 5 question - What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I'm in the process of making this decision. I'm close (not there but close) to thinking that I know enough to consider publishing my stories.

Now I have to decide if I want to query or self-publish. There are many advantages to both.

I am definitely a bit of a control freak, but I also like having experts in my corner and there is lots about the process that I don't know.

Covers and formatting are 2 examples of things I don't know much about. Can I learn to do them? Probably. Will they be at a professional level? Not sure.

So, even more decisions to make, things to learn. I'm glad I like learning new things!

As many of you know I have a family member who has recently required emergency surgery and is now in the long recovery process. This is going to take up a lot of my time for the next several months so my publishing choices will be on the back burner for a while. No worries, though, I'll get there when the time is right.

How about you? Are you a control freak too? Isn't nice to have experts in your corner?

Monday, September 3, 2018

K.A. Servian & The Unreliable Narrator

Please welcome K.A. Servian back to the blog today!
***
I’m currently reading (well, listening to on Audible, if I’m honest) Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. It has been in the top ten alongside Pride and Prejudice, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and The Lord of the Rings for ages, so I thought I should give it a go.  
I very quickly came to the realisation I was dealing with an unreliable narrator in the protagonist, Eleanor. Her reactions to everyday situations seem odd and out of place, but as her back-story is slowly revealed, we begin to understand why. As a character she is wonderfully quirky. Her scorn over the ‘lack of manners’ in other people and her unintentional humour is skilfully portrayed by Honeyman.
Realising that Eleanor was unreliable because she was seeing things from her own skewed point of view, I started thinking about other examples of unreliable narrators. 
Daphne Du Maurier uses the device in Rebecca. The protagonist (who remains unnamed) is unreliable because she doesn’t have all the information. She builds an image of her husband’s late
wife that is completely wrong until we find out the truth about Rebecca at the end.  This provides a very clever twist and, as readers, we realise when we look back there were clues all the way along—brilliant writing.
Another example of an unreliable narrator is Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Carraway’s feelings about Tom, whom he views negatively, and Gatsby, whom he views positively, skew his opinions and therefore his narration. He is also an observer of the action rather than a participant, so does not always have all the information required to provide a balanced viewpoint.
In both of the above examples the narrator is unreliable because of their ignorance of the facts. But there are other ways to make your narrator unreliable. An example of a narrator who is deliberately misleading is the character of Michael Rogers in Agatha Christie’s Endless Night.  I’m going to do a spoiler now so if you haven’t read this book and plan to read it, please close your eyes.  Right until the very end Michael portrays himself as a bit of a drifter and a hopeless case who falls into a fortuitous marriage to Ellie, a rich, American heiress.  However, we find out at the very end that Greta, who is apparently Ellie’s friend and confidant and appears to be a stranger to Michael, is in fact his lover and they have set out to ensnare and murder Ellie for her money. 
Each of these examples uses an unreliable narrator in a slightly different way to add interest, intrigue and sometimes a shocking twist to their story. 
Other examples of books that have an unreliable narrator are: Catcher in the Rye by J D Salinger, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk and Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. 


What are your thoughts on how the device is used by these authors and can you recommend other novels with unreliable narrators?  
***
About the Author
An overwhelming urge to create led Kathy to pursue qualifications in both fashion design and screen-printing which were followed by a twenty-year career in the fashion and applied arts industries. 
She then discovered a love of teaching and began passing on the skills she'd accumulated over the years—design, pattern-making, sewing, Art Clay Silver, screen-printing and machine embroidery to name a few.  
Kathy’s first novel, Peak Hill, was a finalist in the Romance Writers of New Zealand Pacific Hearts Full Manuscript contest in 2016. 
Her second novel, Throwing Light, was published in February 2017.
The Moral Compass is her third novel and the first in a historical series set predominantly in colonial New Zealand. 
Having recently completed a diploma in advanced creative writing, Kathy fits writing around teaching sewing and being a wife and mother.
K. A. Servian on the web:
Website       Facebook     Twitter     Instagram    Author Page  

A Pivotal Right: (Shaking the Tree Book 2)

Florence struggled for breath as she stared in the face of a ghost. "Jack?"

Twenty years after being forced apart Jack and Florence have been offered a second chance at love. But can they find their way back to each other through all the misunderstandings, guilt and pain?

And what of their daughter, Viola? Her plan to become a doctor is based on the belief she has inherited her gift for medicine from Emile, the man she believed was her father. How will she reconcile her future with the discovery that she is Jack's child?

A Pivotal Right is the second book in the Shaking the Tree series set in colonial New Zealand. It continues the story of Jack and Florence begun in The Moral Compass.

Buy on:

Amazon Kindle             Amazon Paperback

Amazon UK                  Amazon Aust
***
Thanks K.A.!

The first unreliable narrator I remember reading was another Agatha Christie story (love her!!). Spoiler Alert: I reread The Murder of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I'd finished it because I was so thrown off and fascinated by the ending. So well done!

How about you? Any favourite unreliable narrators out there?

Monday, August 20, 2018

Catch Up Time

About 2 weeks ago, someone in my immediate family was involved in an accident. Injuries required him to be airlifted out of town to a larger hospital with specialists. Thanks to these specialists, my family member will recover and be good as new after some time, care, and rehab.

The air ambulance's regulations allowed me to accompany him along with one small carry-on bag for both of our needs. The stay of a few days extended to almost 2 weeks. I did have my cell phone with me, but it absolutely refused to deal with more than one email account - and sometimes refused to deal with even that. Because of that I've been completely out of contact with all my author emails and social media accounts.

I'll catch up over the next little while as time allows, although it's going to be even more chaotic than normal for a while.

Now, tell me what I've missed!

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

IWSG & Pitfalls

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.




Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

And we’re revving up IWSG Day to make it more fun and interactive! Every month, we'll announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG Day post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.
***

August 1 question - What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Some days I feel like I'm the Queen of Pitfalls...

  • Don't trust just anyone with your words. Make sure you know them well enough to trust them and their personality
  • Trust someone with your words - finding crit buddies is a major step along the journey
  • Don't get too caught up in social media - spend most of your time writing 
  • Don't avoid social media - I've made so many incredible friends through social media and learned SO MUCH!
  • Be brave - being a coward gets you exactly nowhere (still working on this one!)

How about you, what pitfalls have tripped you up? What would you suggest avoiding?


Monday, July 23, 2018

Ella Carey & Connections

Please welcome the lovely Ella Carey back to the blog today!!
**
The more I write, the more I realise that there is one key element that must be there if a novel is going to work. It’s the one thing I cannot do without, the one thing that propels and motivates me to write, and the one thing I’ve eventually found with every one of the books that I have written. If it wasn’t there, I would stop.

Yes, I think a strong story is important, yes, I think that weaving setting description is important for me, as is working hard to write beautiful prose. But if one element is missing, then the work has no life, and I just can’t write it. I’ve learned that. 

Sometimes, when I’m contracted to write a novel, when I’ve brainstormed it with my agent and my editor, it can still take a while to find that element when I begin working on the first draft. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen straight away, and I’m plodding along through a field thick with mud rather than flying, floating, in the way everyone wants to when it comes to writing your own book- it’s why we write, for the sheer, joyous love of it. It’s what motivates us- it’s the exact same thing I need when I’m reading a book.

It’s the emotional connection that I’m talking about, that feeling that you are so close to your characters that you can see and feel everything that they do. It’s hard to describe, but I have that gut reaction when I’m writing. I’m not dispassionate. I guess, the thing is- I care. It’s instinctive, not something anyone can teach me to do.

When it came to THE THINGS WE DON’T SAY, I felt such a connection to Emma, whose relationship with the man she adored all her adult life was pulled into question, right at the end of her life. What if she died not knowing the truth about Patrick? And as for her grand-daughter, Laura, it was easy for me to be able to relate to her quest to save her passion for the one thing she loved in her life - playing music. As writers, when that creative part of you, or the opportunity to create is put into jeopardy, you can imagine how distressing it can be.

Happy writing!

***
Ella Carey is the international bestselling author of four novels published in the US- Paris Time Capsule, The House by the Lake, From a Paris Balcony and Secret Shores. The books are published in twelve countries, in ten languages and Secret Shores has been shortlisted for an ARRA award in 2018. Ella has degrees in music, majoring in classical piano, and in Arts majoring in nineteenth century women’s fiction and modern European history. Ella's fifth novel, The Things We Don't Say, is set for release in the UK, Australia and the US on July 1st, 2018. Ella is working hard on her sixth novel. She writes full time. She lives in Melbourne with her two children and two Italian Greyhounds who are constantly mistaken for whippets.

Connect with her on the web:

Website           Facebook    Twitter     Blog

The Things We Don’t Say

A beguiling painting holds the secrets of a woman’s past and calls into question everything she thought she knew about the man she loved…

Near sixty years ago, renowned London artist Patrick Adams painted his most famous work: a portrait of his beloved Emma Temple, a fellow bohemian with whom he shared his life. Years after Patrick’s death, ninety-year-old Emma still has the painting hanging over her bed at their country home as a testament to their love.

To Emma’s granddaughter, Laura, the portrait is also a symbol of so much to come. The masterpiece is serving as collateral to pay Laura’s tuition at a prestigious music school. Then the impossible happens when an appraiser claims the painting is a fraud. For Laura, the accusation jeopardizes her future. For Emma, it casts doubt on everything she believed about her relationship with Patrick. Laura is determined to prove that Patrick did indeed paint the portrait. Both her grandmother’s and Patrick’s legacies are worth fighting for.

As the stories of two women entwine, it’s time for Emma to summon up the past—even at the risk of revealing its unspoken secrets.


Buy on:

Amazon Kindle         Amazon Paperback  

Amazon UK                Amazon Aust

Book Depository      B&N

***
Thanks Ella!

I agree. That emotional connection is such an important element when creating a story. 
I know I get cranky gets in the way of my creative pursuits.

How about you? Anyone else get cranky without their writing time?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Wendy Davies & Unpacking The Editing Process

Please welcome Wendy Davies to the blog today!
***
Unpacking the Editing Process

A lot of my writing friends groan and moan when it comes to editing, but I love this part of the writing process. For me, editing is my natural habitat so that might explain why I don’t dread it as much as others seem to. So, let’s have a look at what the editing process comprises.
It’s a three-phase process: A structural edit. A copy edit. A final proof read. Sounds scary, but it isn’t.
A structural edit is where an editor – or you with your editor hat on – looks at the overall story and answers questions like: Does the story make sense? Are the actions and reactions laid out in a logical and understandable way? Does each scene move the story forward? Are the main characters changing and coming to terms with their main issue in a logic and clear way? Is the point of view consistent throughout the story? Which bits annoy, or stand out, or need closer attention? Can these areas be rewritten or moved or deleted altogether? 
I’m not going to sugar coat this, this phase can be a lot of work. Even writers who plan their stories need to do a structural edit once they’ve finished writing the story. And it’s especially useful for writers who begin without a clear plan for their story. Believe me, structural edits get easier – and faster – every time you do one. And no, I’m not just saying that because editing comes so easy to me. I find it as difficult, if not even more difficult, as anyone when it comes to editing my own work. 
A copy edit usually means fixing grammatical errors (misplaced commas, missing full stops, wrong or confusing sentence structures) and spelling errors.
The final proof read is what you do right at the end of the process, just before submitting your story to a publisher, to a competition, or uploading it when self-publishing. You should find few or no mistakes, but if you do, you must fix them. It is essential to do a final proof read so you can pick up anything that the other two phases have missed.

Personally, I tend to do both a structural edit and a copy edit at the same time. This is probably because most editing jobs I’ve had don’t have the luxury of time or resources to separate these two into separate activities. The final proof read I get someone else to do. Or I leave the story for weeks or months so that I can view it through fresh eyes. When I do that, mistakes just jump right off the page. 
***
Australian, Wendy Lee Davies began writing romances as a lark after leaving her communications and editing job of many years.
Wendy enjoys cycling, especially cycle touring which she did a lot of in her younger, some say more foolish, years. Now that she’s older and wiser, Wendy is wearing out the bike paths around her home town, making good use of her amazing pedal-assist electric bike. She's also traversed most of the incredible rail trails available in Victoria, and one in New Zealand as well.
If she's not writing or riding her bike, Wendy can be found enjoying a coffee in some cafe. Or taking landscape photographs. Sometimes she makes cookies or muffins. She’s even been known, on occasion, to annoy her writing friends with long, detailed editorial comments on their latest writing endeavour. But don't worry. They get her back, tenfold, when it comes to critiquing her latest romance-in-progress.
You can catch up on her latest news via her website (www.wendyleedavies.com ). She loves hearing from readers, so don’t be shy about dropping her a line.

Wendy Davies on the web:
Website     Facebook     Twitter  
 Blog      Instagram 

Good Enough for Love

Renovating a country hotel challenges everything Amber knows…
When Amber Hutchinson inherits a country hotel, all she wants is to do it up, sell it and move on. The money she’ll earn from the hotel is her only chance to secure her future, even if living in the country never featured in her plans.
Local sheep farmer, Zach Wentworth always does the right thing, but he won’t risk his heart being broken. All he wants is to improve his farm and keep his hometown of Willow’s Bend alive. So, when he comes across a woman stuck in the hotel window, he naturally tries to help.

Sure, Amber’s tempted by the handsome sheep farmer. But she knows their sizzling attraction won’t last. It never does. Because she’s never been good enough for anyone to love. Without the hotel, Willow’s Bend is likely to die a slow death, so Zach does whatever he can to secure the town's future. But doing the right thing just might mean risking his heart once again.
With everyone eagerly watching their every move, Amber and Zach must choose between protecting their wounded hearts and taking a chance on love.

Buy on:

Amazon Kindle
           Amazon UK          Amazon Aust

***
Thanks, Wendy! I am slowly and painfully learning to enjoy the editing process. My natural habitat is in the first draft - those are SO MUCH FUN!!! But, editing is definitely growing on me!

How about you? Is your natural habitat the first draft, the structural edit, copy edit, or the proof read?

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

IWSG & Writing Goals Over at Tick Tock

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanaugh. He, his clones, minions, friends, and fellow authors make it an amazing event every month.



Hi everyone! I'm over at the Tick Tock blog today discussing my writing goals - hope you'll pop on over!!