Family – Thursday’s Children

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I can’t believe how fast Thursday’s Children comes around each week. But then again time in general seems to be whizzing by for me at the moment. If you’re not familiar with Thursday’s Children the idea is that you write a post on your blog about whatever inspires your writing.

I thought for this week’s Thursday’s Children I’d talk about family and how mine has gone some way towards inspiring my writing. My mum once told me that she thought me and my immediate family (i.e. my brother, my sister, my dad and herself) could almost write a story together. Her feeling was that we all had it in us to tell a cracking good yarn. So I guess in some ways I was steeped in storytelling as I grew up. When I was little my mum would tell me true stories about her own childhood which always began with ‘When I was a little girl…’ These stories were always so interesting for me as they would obviously involve not only her but her brothers (my uncles) and my grandparents. It was fun to hear about the scrapes she and her brothers got into.

My mum also enjoys creative writing herself and as I was growing up she always nurtured my craft. I would often share stories I’d written with her and she would give me helpful tips as to how to improve on what I’d written. I’m grateful to her for that. It’s been lovely to be able to share my work with her over the years.

While I was still only young my dad would read stories from the Bible to me. We had little booklets for children of single stories from it. My dad would read these stories to me and do different voices for different characters. One story used to make me squeal excitedly because when he got to a certain point, Dad would do a sudden nasty loud voice. I think it was one of the stories Jesus told about the servant who refuses to write off someone’s debt even though he himself has had his debt written off by his master.

I think I may have mentioned this in a previous post, but from a young age I would tell stories to my younger brother and sister. Some of them were about dogs tormenting cats with itching powder. My siblings ended up telling their own versions of the ‘Sniffy Dog’ stories. So I guess I inspired them too. Other stories I told them were about ‘Flopsy Bunny Rabbit’. The funny thing with the rabbit stories was that one time when we were in the car as a family in France, I began to tell a story about Flopsy Bunny going to Disneyland Paris. During that particular car journey, we started to see lots of signs for a certain theme park…

My brother and sister and I had no idea we were going there – it was all an amazing surprise. My mum later wondered if I’d twigged that we were going there and was telling that story deliberately. But I hadn’t. It was just a coincidence. I was being creative with my storytelling, realizing only that we were in the vicinity of Disneyland, so telling a story about that in particular.

Stories my grandparents told me have remained in my mind as well. One true story is really amusing. My paternal grandfather was in Spain many years ago. I can’t remember where he was or what he was doing there. But whilst he was out and about he came across a painting. As he was looking at it a man came up to him and asked him what he thought of it. My grandfather replied ‘Not much.’ The painting he was looking at just happened to be by Picasso. And you’ve guessed it – the man he’d spoken to was Picasso himself.

It’s stories like these which are really inspiring to me as a writer. My grandfather meeting Picasso like that is the sort of story I would love to be able to say I came up with. But although I haven’t, it’s inspiring to me to think that I might be able to emulate that kind of anecdote in my writing thanks to a wonderful story my grandfather told our family.

I’m sure it’s true for everyone that their families have inspired their writing in one way or another. It couldn’t really be any other way – families are a big part of our lives and our lives inpsire us, don’t they? I feel particularly with our families, it’s easy to forget that the way our families are have shaped us and not only us but the way we write. Sometimes, especially if our family background is difficult, we would rather forget them. But like it or not our writing is shaped by family.

If you would like to join in Thursday’s Children, just post on your blog whatever inspires your writing. Then add your name to this linky. Thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

Teaser extract – WIPpet Wednesday

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I’ve got the same problem that some of you have commented on recently – that I’m gradually running out of excerpts to share from The Inheritance on WIPpet Wednesday without giving too much away from the plot. It’s taken me ages to find a suitable excerpt to share but I’ve FINALLY found one. It being the 29th today I’ve taken 29 words from chapter 13 (in line with the year – clever eh??!!). So here you are. It’s a teaser and it’s all you’re getting today! Oh and I should say, Emma is struggling. Not quite as badly as in last week’s extract, but badly enough…

She yearned for a relationship with someone and bitterly regretted the meaningless sex she’d had with Tom. She did want a physical relationship with someone. What normal person didn’t?

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your current work in progress on your blog that relates somehow to the date – today is 29/5/13 hence 29 lines from chapter 13. Or it could be 29 lines or 29 paragraphs etc. Just go with it and have fun! Then add your name to this linky. Thanks as always to K.L. Schwengel for hosting.

More great blogs I’m following

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A few weeks ago I posted a list of all the blogs I’m following. Well I’ve added some more since then. Here’s a list of them. Check them out – they’re worth a look.

Amber Roettger The official website for the author.
Bookendings The greatest WordPress.com site in all the land!
Briana Vedsted My blog is about how I became an author, what steps I took and how it all started
Celuth Twyned Earth // Celuth’s World of Writing
Destiny Allison My blog on art, life, and writing
Ionia Martin An opinion on everything literary
Jade Reyner Jade’s Jungle | A Self-Publishing Safari
Jennifer M Eaton A Reference of Writing Rants for Writers or ‘Learn from My Mistakes’
Joanne Phillips A writer’s journey
Kait Nolan Action packed paranormal romance
Kate Sparkes Life, writing, kids, dragons- not necessarily in that order
L. Marie Thoughts about writing and life
Lauralynn Elliot Vampires and Wizards and Ghosts…oh my!
Rhiann Wynn-Nolet A Nest of Words
Shanjeniah Writing My Life; Trusting My Self….

WIP Update

Briana Vedsted tagged me in her WIP Progress Update post.
(http://whenibecameanauthor.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/wip-update/)

Why not check out her blog and read about her latest work in progress.

Here are my answers to the questions about how I’m getting on with my own WIP:

1. What is the name of your current WIP?
The Inheritance

2. Ready to do a cover reveal?
Yes. Here it is:

Cover

3. How many words are you into it?
Well it’s nearly finished now and it’s just over 53,000 words.

4. Goal word count by the end of the week?
N/A

5. Goal word count for the entire manuscript?
Well ideally I’d like it to be a bit longer, but it’s just the way it’s gone really. I think that when writing a story it’s as long as it takes.

6. What genre does your work in progress fall within?
Women’s fiction but also N/A. That may not make sense but that’s how it’s gone!

7. When would you *like* to publish this project?
Hopefully before the end of the year. Can’t say exactly when but I’m getting closer and closer to the finish line.

8. Go to page 5 of your manuscript and pick a sentence at random to share with us!
‘I live on a farm which my dad owns.’

9. Will this WIP turn into a series book?
No.

10. What has been the hardest challenge in working on this WIP?
Just trying to make it believable and to research the parts of the story I wanted to write about which I didn’t have much knowledge of, particularly farming.

11. What has been your favorite part of working on this WIP?
Changing and improving the storyline as I’ve gone along.

12. Any special treat planned for when you finish the final draft of your WIP?
To be honest I hadn’t really considered what I’d do apart from celebrate! Maybe go out for a meal with my hubby. 

13. Tag three people to complete this WIP meme!

Kate Frost
Emily Witt
Shanjeniah

Copyright – Thursday’s Children

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As my contribution for this week’s Thursday’s Children, I thought I’d share an idea for a potential story I’ve had in my head for a while now . I may never get round to actually writing it but I thought I’d tell you about it because I think it’s quite an interesting one.

It’s kind of a sci fi idea. This is unusual for me because I haven’t really written any sci fi before. My idea is as follows – what if someone (I kind of weirdly imagine that someone as me, although I think actually it should be a fictional character!!) at some point discovers a way of travelling back in time (OK – that’s very much NOT a new idea, I know) but with a specific purpose in mind. That purpose is to steal authors/songwriters/any other kind of writers ideas for what becomes their big success in the future.

So for example think of J.K. Rowling. Yes I realise I’d probably have to create a ficitonal incredibly-successful-author (although not necessarily). But what if someone found a way to travel back in time and steal her ideas, maybe before she’s even come up with them? Maybe this someone takes copies of her novels back with him/her into the past and somehow passes them off as their own. This is with the idea of getting all of her wealth and success etc.

But this person (or people) are not alone. They are being chased by the authorities from the present day whose mission is to prevent them from being successful, to safeguard the copyright.

I know it may not be much of an idea, but I found it interesting. Just the thought that ‘hey if I was completely unscrupulous and didn’t give a **** about right and wrong, wouldn’t it be great to go back in time and steal these big ideas that incredibly successful people have had before they’ve even thought of them’. So then their ideas would be mine mmwhahahaha!!

Seriously it is a thought. If it wasn’t J.K. Rowling’s ideas I – or rather my character whoever stole it – could be some famous author from the past whose work the character could pass of as their own. Yes I know I’m always banging on about Jane Austen, but she’s a great example. Think of how wealthy she’d be if she was alive now. Like a billionairess or something. Very rich anyway. And so if someone were able to go back in time and steal her ideas, they could then have them published in the present and pass it off as their own. I know the copyright on her work has long since finished – hence all the sequels written/Jane Austen-like chick lit books – but if someone had the original ideas maybe they could have all the success in the present day and become filthy rich.

Just a thought. As I say I may never get round to actually writing this. But for a final few thoughts, the title of this blog post makes me think about what copyright really means for us authors. The online Cambridge dictionary defines it as: ‘the legal right to control the production and selling of a book, play, film, photograph, or piece of music’. And copyright is incredibly important for us as indie authors. We don’t, of course, want anyone ripping off our work. But I think as authors using socia media, we have to take the risk that if we share our thoughts on our writing and share our work, in theory at least someone could come along and take ideas from us that are not theirs to take.

But for me the benefits of sharing ideas, as in this very post, far outweigh the risks of being copied, of our ideas being stolen. And anyway, since Jane Austen died nearly 200 years ago hasn’t she been copied and plagiarised millions of times? Yes all right I hear your shouts of ‘but she’s dead, we’re not and we don’t want our ideas stolen’. That is true of course. But if we don’t take the risk of putting our work out there, we lose out. So for me I think I’m going to take the risk and continue to share excerpts and ideas of my work.

If you would like to join in Thursday’s Children simply write on your blog about what inspires and influences you as a writer. Then add your details to this linky. Many thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

Seed of Light award

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I received this award from the lovely Briana Vedsted. Thank you Briana!

The rules are very simple. Planting of the Seed of Light award is easy: if you receive this award, simply pass it on to another blogger who inspires you through the beauty of their words/images as well as any blog which brings joyful awareness to nature and our connection to each other.

I’m nominating the following people:

Kate Frost
Regi McClain
Raewyn Hewitt
Jessica Minyard

Finishing up – WIPpet Wednesday

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Today I finally finished my alterations to The Inheritance. Yay! It needs proofreading but the end is in sight. So I thought I’d share with you another excerpt from it. The excerpt fits in quite nicely with this post title. I’m posting 22 lines from chapter 3 – not entirely in line with today’s date but I really wanted to share this particular passage. Emma is ‘finishing up’ in Cornwall and on her way to London…

Emma gazed out of the window at the beautiful May-time countryside rushing past her. She was leaving Cornwall further and further behind. The train to London clattered and swayed around her. She reflected on her final conversation with her father, asking him if he could drive her and her possessions to London, heard his refusal all over again. She saw in her mind’s eye the self-righteous expression of her sister’s face as she stood in the doorway of the kitchen listening to Emma and her father argue. The countryside blurred even more as Emma angrily wiped a tear from her eye. I should have known he’d refuse, she told herself. But she was fed up of always being the one in the wrong, of being made to feel that she was the black sheep of the family. If only Meredith were still around. Emma knew the two of them would have got on so well. They were alike, she was sure of it.

Tired of watching the world flash past her, Emma picked up her gossip magazine, wishing she had someone to talk to. She’d wanted to travel with Natalie, but Natalie was already there. She’d been up and down to London looking for a place even before she suggested to Emma that they get a place together. Now that she’d found somewhere, she had told Emma that she needed to go ahead to sort things out. Emma had felt a bit left out, but told herself she’d be there soon and it would be worth it in the end. The train began to slow down. Emma looked up from her magazine in a daze, half expecting to find herself in London already. No such luck. It was only Exeter. She’d been here so many times it was no longer interesting and leafed through her magazine restlessly.

‘Excuse me,’ a voice said.

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post part of your current WIP on your blog which relates in some way to the date – so I shared 22 lines (22nd May). Then add your name to this linky and you can see all the other wonderful WIPpeteers’ work. Thanks to K.L. Schwengel for hosting.

Faith – Thursday’s Children

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This week’s Thursday’s Children has come around so fast. Thankfully though I wrote down the idea of what I could write about this week, so unlike some previous weeks I’m a little more prepared. In some ways it’s kind of similar to last week because it’s about something else that’s personal to me. And that is – as the blog post title suggests – faith.

I grew up in a Christian family and became a Christian at a very young age. Since then I’ve had plenty of times when I could have thrown in the towel so to speak and decided not to be a Christian anymore. But I didn’t. My faith has kept me going – yes even through the dark times of my illnesses. I believe that God has looked after me throughout my life in so many different ways. Although I’ve been so very ill it could have been so much worse. I’m being successfully treated for my mental health condition and I’m able to lead a normal life. Some people I know of are not so lucky. They are in and out of hospital and while they may not be as ill as I was, they struggle to cope with day to day living.

So my faith is hugely important to me. And yes I think it has influenced my writing. I give all my characters the opportunity to grow and change. Whilst I may not give them a faith of their own as such, they all have a sort of moral code that I try to make them true to. My novel The Inheritance which I want to publish soon is loosely based on one of the parables Jesus told, ‘The Prodigal Son’.

But as we all know, faith can take many forms. Think of the many religions out there and the many more different interpretations of those religions. In today’s society, in the West, people are free to choose what they want to believe and how to express their belief. Some people believe in God but not Jesus. Others, including Muslims, believe that Jesus was a prophet but not divine. In our Western society many people are agnostic and many are atheists (my husband included).

For people who are not Christians/Muslims etc. and do not have a religious faith, I would argue that faith in its barest form is still hugely important. What do I mean? Well to survive in this world, we all need to have a little faith in our day to day lives or we wouldn’t be able to function properly. If you’re a mother you have to have faith that you can send your child off to walk to school with their friends and that they will come back in one piece. If you’re applying for a job and it seems that you’ve been applying forever, you have to ‘keep the faith’ as Bon Jovi sings, to believe and trust that you will get one in the end. Or else you’d just give up, wouldn’t you?

What about when your spouse is flying across the Atlantic on a business trip leaving you behind to look after the kids? You’ve got to have faith that he/she will come home in one piece and also that you’ll be able to cope with looking after the kids without them till they come home. Everyone needs a little faith just to get by.

And I think faith is also important in our writing. I’ve explained how it’s important in my writing, but how can it be important to everyone’s writing? Well our characters have got to have their own faith in one way or another. It can be a religious faith as mentioned above or it can be basic faith that things will come right for them in the end. A different dimension can be a loss of faith, whether a loss of religious faith or any faith. Perhaps your character has something so terrible happen to them that they can’t believe in a greater good; they can’t believe in anything anymore. Or maybe it’s the other way round: they don’t have any sort of faith but events conspire during the course of your story to force them to reevaluate their beliefs or lack of them, and they end up believing in one way or another when they didn’t before.

Do you and/or your characters have any sort of faith or belief? Let me know…

If you would like to join in Thursday’s Children, simply write on your blog about what inspires your writing. It could be anything. Then add your details to this linky. Big thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

So alone – WIPpet Wednesday

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I’m running late again with my contribution to WIPpet Wednesday, but hey as the song goes I’ve saved the best for last!! (Well maybe – I guess you guys will be the judge of that.) I thought I’d share some more from my story The Inheritance which, as most of you probably know, I’m hoping to publish someday soon. When I’ve finished my editing that is and had it proofread. BUT the end is in sight. I thought I’d share another part with my character Emma. She’s fallen on hard times and life is difficult to say the least. So in honour of it being the 15th May today I thought I’d share about 15 lines. Technically they’re from chapter 14 but I really wanted to share them so I’ll have to bend the rules a little. Here they are.

She felt her lower lip begin to tremble. Tears were threatening to spill down her cheeks, but now was not the time to cry. She stood up, picking up the few plastic bags which contained everything she owned, and walked out of the room. She shut the door behind her and stood still for a moment at the top of the stairs looking down. What if I just throw myself down the stairs? she thought to herself. She knew that no one would care if she was gone. But I might just fall badly without killing myself, or worse still survive but be paralysed. No, she hadn’t thought suicide through properly. For the moment she’d just have to put up with her lot. I suppose I deserve it anyway, she thought bleakly and began to descend the stairs.

Emma had just enough money for the bus to the hostel and thankfully the bus stop was a short walk away. As she was waiting for the bus a few minutes later, she thought of Reg. She’d barely thought of him at all since she’d arrived in London, but now she remembered his kindness to her on the train. She also remembered him giving her his contact card, just as the Chinese couple had given her theirs. She’d neglected all of them.

If you would like to join in the WIPpet Wednesday fun, simply post an excerpt from your current work in progress on your blog that somehow correlates to the date (hence 15 lines for the 15th May). Then add your details to this linky. Thanks to K.L. Schwengel for hosting.

The Versatile Blogger Award

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Today my good friend and fellow blogger Kate Frost nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks Kate! I’m going to tell you 7 things about myself as part of being the recepient of this award before I pass it on to 7 other wonderful bloggers.

1. I grew up in Hampshire not far away from the beautiful city of Winchester where my favourite author Jane Austen died. I have often walked past the very house where she passed away, which backs on to the famous public school Winchester College.

2. Growing up I was always writing stories. I also told stories to my younger brother and sister. They particularly loved my ‘Sniffy Dog’ stories which were about 3 dogs called Sniffy, Mary and Lucy who would use itching powder to hurt all cats who they hated! (maybe not good stories for cat lovers!)

3. As a reward for hard work at school my dad would always buy me, my brother and sister a book or two at the end of the school term. We would get to choose them. I would generally buy a novel; my brother would often buy a Tintin or Asterix comic book (which I loved too!).

4. This a fact but also a confession – although I’ve read all of Jane Austen’s novels at least once, I’ve watched the adaptations far more often, so now I really feel I must go back and read all her novels properly again so that I know the real stories not just interpretations of them!

5. I completed my first novel, which is about 77,000 words in length, a few years ago. But it’s not great so I’m going to leave it on the shelf!

6. I met my husband in a re-enactment society. We would re-enact Norman history in England from 1066 to 1215 approximately. The society we were in would travel to various castles around the country and put on shows. The men (and any women who wanted to) would dress up as Norman knights and perform mock battles for the general public. I was too chicken to fight – didn’t fancy potential bruises (even though the swords and spears were blunt!) – so I dressed as a Norman lady and helped out preparing food for lunch.

7. I moved to Bristol, UK in 2002 after we were married. My husband got me a laptop to replace my rickety PC in about 2006 so that I could do more with my writing. I’ve never looked back!

Now I’ve told you a bit about myself, it’s time to tell you who I’ve nominated for this award. They’re all worth checking out and they are:

Jessica Minyard
Veronica Park
EM Castellan
Sinead
Kate Michael
Christine Allen-Riley
Jennifer LoBeth

The rules for The Versatile Blogger Award are as follows:

1.Thank and link to the person who gave you the award.
2.Tell seven facts about yourself.
3.Pass it on to seven other bloggers.
4.Link to specific posts on their blogs to they’ll be notified by pingback.