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?