Tag Archive | books

Struggling to keep it together

Depression

I’ve been working on character profiles for my WIP about a school teacher which I’ve been sharing with you. So while I’ve been doing that I haven’t been writing.

So I’m sharing with you something different today. It’s from a story I was working on some years ago, but never finished. It’s a highly personal tale – you could say it’s semi autobiographical. I would like to finish it one day and maybe publish it.

It’s about a girl of about 15 who’s struggling at school.  She has few friends and is very unhappy.  Then a new girl joins the school and she’s kind to my MC.  They become friends.  But unfortunately for my MC it doesn’t last.

I’m sharing with you 23 lines for the 23rd July:

I withdrew into myself, trying to talk to as few people as possible.  If Mum and Dad asked how I was, I put on a brave front, smiling and saying I was fine.  No one guessed how I was feeling.  At school, I tried to stay by myself as much as possible, not wanting to be seen.  At lunchtimes, I didn’t go out, I just stayed in the library, trying to absorb myself in a book, hoping that somehow a good story would make the pain go away.  Christine had been the only friend I had had in as long as I could remember, and now she was dead.  I couldn’t bear it.

   I stopped sleeping.  My nights were ones of restless tossing and turning, throwing the bed covers away from me, and then in turns gathering them towards me.  I was always very quiet, not wanting to wake my parents or Bryony.  Even so, Mum started to notice a change in me.  Whereas before I had answered her questions, be it monosyllabically, now I didn’t say anything.  When I went down to breakfast a couple of days after the announcement of Christine’s death, she was sitting at the breakfast table reading a newspaper.  Looking up at me with a serious expression on her face, she said,

   ‘There was something in the news this morning about a girl from your school who was killed in an accident.  It was Christine, wasn’t it?’

   I didn’t answer.  Mum sighed.

   ‘Kate, why didn’t you tell us?  Your dad and I wondered what was wrong with you.  Lately you haven’t been yourself.  We had no idea of what you were going through,’ she said, coming over to me and laying a hand on my shoulder.  ‘We want to help you in anyway we can,’ she added.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this so please comment. :)  And if you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post some of your writing (old or new) on your blog.  It should (ideally!) relate to the date.  Once you’ve posted it, add your details to this linky.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting.

Review of ‘Emergence’

Emergence

I thought I’d post another review of a book I’ve enjoyed here on my blog. It’s by the lovely K. L. Schwengel who kindly hosts WIPpet Wednesday on her blog once a week.

It’s called Emergence and it’s the second in her Darkness and Light series. It was a hugely enjoyable book to read. Here is my review:

This novel picks up the story of Ciara, and the battle for her power, where the last story ‘First of Her Kind’ left off. As the story begins Bolin, who is trying to protect Ciara, has a summons from the Emperor of Nisair demanding that he bring her to him. Bolin does everything he can to try to avoid this. There are powerful people who want Ciara and her powers for themselves and Bolin doesn’t want to risk taking her away from the safety of the Greensward, where she is being cared for, on a potentially perilous journey where she could be captured…

I really enjoyed this novel. I thought it was even better than the first, although I would say that to understand the story fully it might be helpful to read the first in the series, ‘First of Her Kind’, before this one.

The characters were vivid and memorable. Bolin in particular stands out for me. He is a troubled character, desperately trying to ignore what he feels for Ciara and always putting himself in dangerous situations before others. He refuses to let anyone get properly close to him and the consequences are often near fatal.

Reading this novel, it is clear that the main character, Ciara, is maturing. She is less hotheaded and headstrong than in the first novel, and she actually listens to people who’re trying to give her advice. Like Bolin, she is a memorable character – a strong young woman, yet endearingly vulnerable at times too.

I thought that the battle scenes were realistically described and the author also drew me, as a reader, into her world. The people and places felt real to me. All the characters were well drawn and I really felt that I got to know them as the story unfolded.

The story was gripping and exciting. There were plenty of twists and turns and the author kept me guessing as to who would have the upper hand by the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys an adventurous, thrilling tale. You won’t be disappointed.

If you would like to read it, it’s available from Amazon.com and Amazon UK.

A quick WIPpet for Wednesday

Hey!  I thought I’d do a quick post today as I’m quite tired and rather busy.  So I’m gonna share with you 7 sentences for the 7th month from my current WIP.  It still doesn’t have a title yet lol.  I’ll get there in the end.

To give you a bit of background to the scene my MC Rebecca, a new teacher, has been working at the secondary school (11-16 yr olds) for a few weeks.  In this scene she’s surprised to see a pupil she hasn’t seen for a while…

Looking up from her desk, Rebecca was surprised and pleased to see Melanie Bailey standing beside it, an uncertain expression on her face.  She’d barely seen the girl since she started but Rebecca was still grateful to her for her concern when she’d nearly been hit by that awful man’s car.  But Melanie hadn’t been in any of her classes so far.  She wondered what she was doing here now, during lunch break when all the pupils would be either in the cafeteria or skulking around the school grounds.

‘Can I help you, Melanie?’ Rebecca asked her.

‘You remembered my name,’ she smiled, her features brightening a little.  Then she lowered her eyes as if embarrassed by her statement. 

So that’s it from me!  If you want to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post an excerpt on your blog of whatever your working on currently writing-wise.  The general rule is that it relates in some way to the date. Then add your name here.

Thanks once again to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :)

 

Feeling misunderstood

Misunderstood

Hello one and all and welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday here on my blog. Well technically it’s still Tuesday here, but I’m posting early again. :) My apologies for being absent last week – though I did manage to comment on a few WIPpeteers’ posts, I didn’t do my own.

This was down to fatigue – I’m working quite hard at my day job and sometimes I just don’t have the energy for extras (for want of a better word), such as WIPpet Wednesday.

Anyway I read some good excerpts last week and I’m glad you’re all keeping up with your writing.  Which I am with mine, though not quite every day.  I did manage over 600 words on my WIP last night despite feeling shattered so I was happy with that.

For this week’s WIPpet,  I thought I’d share with you 11 sentences (9 for the day + 2 from 2014)  from my current WIP.  (I’m definitely gonna need to think of a title soon – I’ve done over 11,000 words now!) In this scene my MC Rebecca, a teacher, is talking with a colleague about the way her family and friends don’t seem to be able to understand the pressures of her new job:

‘That badly, eh?’ Jenny’s sympathetic tone forced Rebecca to be brighter.  She wasn’t going to have anyone feeling sorry for her.  That was one thing she wouldn’t be able to stand.

‘Actually no,’ she replied turning to Jenny and smiling with an effort.  ‘It’s just that teaching is a lot of hard work.  I knew it would be when I decided to train, but it’s made harder by my family and friends not really understanding that.’ She looked away again, remembering her spat with Michelle which she still hadn’t resolved.

Jenny was nodding.  ‘I completely understand.  When I first began teaching – well to be honest with you it led in part to the breakup of my marriage.’

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of your writing on your blog.  Only stipulation is that it must relate to the date in some way.  Then add your name here.

Thank you to the wonderful K. L. Schwengel for being our hostess with the mostess!

The story’s changing…

Novel

I’m having an interesting time writing my new as-yet-untitled novel.  I must decide on a title soon I guess, but at the moment I’m stumped on what to call it.

Anyway, I digress. Ideas for a title is not what I wanted to talk about in this (short) post. Rather I wanted to talk about something that I guess happens a lot for authors – the plot veering away somewhat from the plan. OK, so I know some many of you are pantsers.

Well I’m not – I’m definitely a plotter. BUT my plot does tend to veer away quite a bit from the original plan.  It’s something that happened in Reunion of the Heart and it’s happening with this story too. This new story I’m writing is a romance too and I’m wondering exactly how my MC is going to get with the person I intended her to get with when it seems as though she’s deliberately disobeying me and leading me to write her falling for someone else completely.

So I think what I’m going to have to do is somehow drag her back at least towards the original plan, rather than completely away from it, and create a diversion so to speak so that she gets with the right guy.

Does this sounds familiar to anyone?  I mean it doesn’t necessarily have to happen when you’re writing a romance, right?  From what I’ve read on other writers’ blogs, this sort of thing happens a great deal to authors writing in all kinds of different genres.

And I just wanted to ask: when you find your characters pulling you away from your original plot or idea, what do you do?  Do you pull them back onto the straight and narrow?  Or do you go with the flow and let them take you somewhere new?

As always your thoughts are welcome.

 

Review of ‘Kings and Queens’ by Terry Tyler

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1Well this is a new one for me.  This is the first time I’ve posted a review of a book I’ve read on this blog.  Or any blog for that matter. And this book certainly is a good one to have for a first review. Though technically I’ve written loads of reviews of books I’ve read. You can read many of them on Goodreads.

I’m doing this as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Challenge, where a number of authors have donated their books to be sent to readers, who choose one of the books, in exchange for an honest review.

I chose to read Kings and Queens by Terry Tyler.

So here’s the review.  It’s a really good book, so take a look (no rhyme intended lol).

An intriguing twist on a well-known historical saga

This book was a slow burner for me. I felt it took a while to get going, in terms of the action unfolding. But once it did the story pulled me along and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I thought the idea of updating the story of Henry 8th and his six wives to modern day Britain was ingenious. The story begins in the seventies when Harry Lanchester takes over the running of the family business when his father dies. Tyler goes on to tell the tale of Harry and his succession of wives and mistresses in a saga which spans four decades. Tyler depicts the passing decades with accuracy and nothing ever felt anachronistic as I was reading it.

I thought that Tyler did a fantastic job in getting inside the heads of Harry’s love interests. All of the six women were completely different from each other in terms of character and disposition, and that helped to make the story move along quickly. I think the character who stood out for me the most was the updated Anne Boleyn – Annette Hever. I really felt that Tyler almost resurrected Anne Boleyn in the form of this modern character and she felt so real – I could easily understand how she’d taken Harry’s heart and then lost it again.

Harry Lanchester was equally believable and knowing a little bit about Henry 8th, I could easily picture him in my mind. He’s an equally likeable and ‘loathable’ character and I thought that Tyler mirrored Henry 8th’s character with that of the modern Harry perfectly.

You don’t have to know anything about history to enjoy this novel and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a gripping story with an exciting plot and memorable characters.

Unsure

Unsure

This is going to be a quick post as I haven’t got a lot of time this evening. But I just wanted to share with you a little about what’s been on my mind today.

As with many of my thoughts it’s to do with my writing and how it’s going.  To update you, I’m about to send my upcoming novel Reunion of the Heart to my proofreader. Once I have it back from her, I’ll start making the final preparations to publish it – hopefully by the end of the summer.

But it’s not Reunion of the Heart I’m stressing over – well not much anyway! ;)  It’s actually my new WIP, as yet untitled.  I’ve shared bits of it on WIPpet Wednesday; you can read this week’s excerpt here.

What I’m unsure about is the fact that it’s about a teacher (it’s a romance), a young woman, who works in a secondary school (11-16 yr olds), but I don’t know a huge amount about secondary schools in the 21st century – I haven’t been at a secondary school for the best part of 20 years.  I’m kind of feeling that I may be out of my depth.  I just don’t know enough about, for example, how technology is used in schools nowadays.  I’m sure it’s light years away from when I was there.

Also, although I’ve planned quite a lot for this story (I am DEFINITELY a plotter not a pantser!!), I feel that it’s still not clear in my head the way it should go in the middle.  I know the beginning and the end, I even know part of the middle, but it’s the in between scenes I’m trying to create now which are wearing me down.

So I was wondering… what do you guys do when you’re in a similar position to me?  Do you keep going and plugging away at it?  Or do you think ‘I’ll stop and do something else, or go back to the drawing board’?  And have you ever been writing something where you’re unsure you know enough about it?  If so, what do you do?

It’s  a lot of questions, I know.  But as always your thoughts are welcome. :)

A chance encounter in a cafe

Costa cafe

Hello one and all and welcome to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday.  I hope you’re all well and, for those of you that are in the UK or anywhere else that’s sunny right now, I hope you’re making the most of the weather!

Anyway as the title of this post suggests, today’s WIPpet that I’m sharing takes place in a cafe.  It’s from my as-yet-untitled WIP romance about a school teacher.  In this scene it’s the weekend and my MC Rebecca has cycled into the centre of the city where she lives for some R&R.

While she’s there, she sees someone she knows and what follows is their encounter.  I’m sharing with you just over 25 lines for the 25th June, which I think is generous seeing as I haven’t written much yet!

Rebecca headed across the pedestrianized area towards the large Next store.  She needed a new belt; her current one had seen better days.  But as she approached the store, the smell of fresh coffee brewing washed over her.  Led astray, she followed her nose to its source: the nearby Costa.  There were only three other customers in the café, a man and two young women chatting together. 

Still feeling the effects of her lie in, Rebecca ordered an espresso and sank down onto a large leather sofa facing a low table.  She picked up the crumpled copy of the previous day’s Times, and became engrossed in an article in the culture section on the newest book by one of her favourite authors.  She was so absorbed in what she was reading that when someone cleared their throat, seemingly right by her ear, she jolted upwards in her seat, nearly spilling her espresso all over her pale blouse.

Her brow furrowed as she looked up, and then un-furrowed itself as she saw Nick’s friendly face smiling down at her.

‘Interesting article?’ he asked her.

‘Yes actually,’ she replied smiling back.  Seeing that he was hovering with a drink in his hand, she added, ‘You can join me if you want.’

‘Thanks, that’d be great.’ He sat down opposite her, crossing his long legs in front of him underneath the table.

Rebecca took another sip of her espresso, determined not to be awkward with Nick.  He’s just a member of staff, she told herself.  A very cute member of staff, but a member of staff none the less.

‘So, Rebecca, how’s your first couple of weeks been?  I bet it’s a lot to get used to.’

She nodded. 

And there you have it.  If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt of whatever you’re working on writing-wise at the moment and post it on your blog.  Ideally it should relate in some way to the date.  Then post your details here.

Thank you our lovely K. L. Schwengel for being our marvellous hostess!

Confession

ConfessionI have a confession to make.  You know how on social media, blogs and writers’ blogs in particular we’re often told that a success for one indie author is a success for us all?  Well sometimes I find it really hard.

I find it hard to swallow that while my novel is languishing at the bottom of the Amazon rankings (well it feels like it anyway!), Mr or Ms Successful Indie Author has sold millions of copies of their novel and is doing very nicely thank you.

As a Christian, I know I need to take a step back from myself and not ‘covet my neighbour’s success in writing’!  And I’m trying, really I am. But sometimes it’s a bitter pill to swallow when I read about so and so’s book doing fabulously while mine… well, isn’t.

See the thing is, like most if not all indie authors, I’ve put the hours in; I’ve worked hard to write and then publish a novel, done a blog tour, updated my blog regularly, tweeted, posted on Facebook etc etc.

I do realise it doesn’t necessarily work that way – I may have worked hard but perhaps my book just isn’t quite what people were interested in reading.  But I feel I’m not quite at the point where I can truly be glad for others’ success.  I’m trying hard but I’m not quite there yet.

I guess it’s a lot like life in general – for most of us there’s always gonna be people who’re more successful than us, have a better job, bigger house, more expensive car etc.

I find it helps me to remember what the Bible teaches – that ultimately these things don’t matter.  What’s important is not how successful we are materially but how we live our lives.

When I consider this life and all the things (i.e. possessions) we hold dear, I often think of the ancient Egyptians and the way they painstakingly filled the tombs of their Pharaohs with their most treasured possessions, much of it still priceless today, in order that the Pharaoh would take it with him to the afterlife.

Because ultimately it’s the same with us: the success we have materially in this life and all our possessions aren’t going to go with us when we die.  So what’s the use wasting precious time getting hung up on so and so succeeding more at something than me?

I hope that someday soon I’ll be able to read about a fellow author’s success without feeling a pang of envy, and be truly glad for them.

Am I the only one who struggles to be gracious when faced with others’ success being greater than mine?

It’s OK now cos I’m back!!!

I'm back no 2

My apologies for missing last week’s WIPpet Wednesday. I’d been very busy with work and I was also really tired. But now I’m back! And I’ve actually written some more on my WIP – finally after months. So I’m happy about that.

If you follow my blog, you may have seen that I’ve been thinking about how to increase my presence online, particularly with this blog.  You can read about that here.  This is with the ultimate aim of publicising my writing.  I guess that’s fairly obvious, but I find it amazing how the whole purpose of social networking i.e. to promote our writing can become obscured until we have less and less time to spend on the writing which is what it was all about in the first place.

That’s how I see it anyway.  I certainly find it to be true of me.  I’m finding it hard to keep up with everything, what with work and blogging, tweeting and most importantly writing.  I feel that I maybe need to scale back what I do on social media a little to focus more on my writing.

Anyway for this week’s WIPpet Wednesday post, I’m sharing with you 4 short paragraphs from my current WIP.  My maths goes like this: 6 for the month – 2 from 2014.  Not great but I couldn’t see another way to do it.  In this scene, my MC Rebecca, who is an English teacher at a secondary school (11-16 yr olds), is teaching her class of fifth formers (15-16 yr olds).  Some of the boys are mucking around.  She’s determined to maintain control over the class…

‘Daniel Leavis, what do you think you’re doing?’ Rebecca said sternly.  She was teaching the fifth formers’ English class.  It was two thirty on a Friday afternoon, the end of a busy and stressful two weeks for her – and they were only the first two weeks into her job.

Daniel looked up at her, smirking.  She saw a bit of folded paper in his hand that he was attempting to conceal.  Feeling her patience wearing thin, Rebecca stalked up to him.

‘Whatever that is in your hand, you can give it to me.’

‘Ooh give it to you, yes please,’ Daniel’s sidekick Richard snickered under his breath.

That’s it from me this week.  If you’d like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday but are unsure how, all you have to do is post on your blog something that you’ve written recently.  Make sure it relates in some way to the date.  Then add your name here.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :)