It’s been a while…

Hi all. Happy New Year! How are you doing? I feel like I’ve been away for quite some time. I guess I have. But I’ve had my reasons – namely work. I started a new job and although it’s going well, it’s meant that I haven’t had a lot of energy for much else.

Anyway I’m gradually getting used to my new routine and today I thought I’d join in WIPpet Wednesday again. My poor blog has barely seen the light of day for ages and now is as good a time as any to update it and also read all your lovely contributions for WIPpet Wednesday again.

I’m getting on quite well with my editing/rewriting of Teaching Mr Leavis. And I’m enjoying it, so that’s a plus! The flip side of the coin is that I haven’t touched the marketing side of my life as an indie author for months! It’s just gone out the window and I’m feeling quite guilty about that! I’ve had a lot on my mind but also I’m not sure of the best, most cost effective way to go about it. I need a plan of action, some simple steps I could take to promote my books without it being too time consuming. Any ideas?

I realise that marketing requires a certain amount of work, time and dedication – which I’m simply not giving at the moment. I also realise that my books aren’t going to sell unless I do something about it and I’m feeling low in terms of morale where my books sales are concerned, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.

However, I feel that with ebooks it’s not a race against time to sell them before they’re pulled off the shelves – there’re gonna be there forever in virtual form unless I choose to take them off Amazon. So I’ve got plenty of time to devise a marketing plan and do something about it.

There is another aspect to all of this which you’ve probably heard about – that ebook sales are plummeting. Which obviously doesn’t help any of us indie authors, especially those of us (like me!) who don’t have any print copies of their books. I want to use Create Space soon to do some print copies of Reunion of the Heart. So watch this space! (no pun intended! ;) )

Having said all that, I am still enjoying writing, which is the main thing. There’s nothing in this world that is going to make me stop writing or persevering to (eventually) have some success with it all. I may never get there – but it won’t be because I haven’t tried. I’m just having, as my grandma would have put it, a blip!

OK, I didn’t really intend to do a long spiel about my current writing situation! So onto the main event – my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday: another excerpt from Teaching Mr Leavis. This is a new part I’ve added; it takes place towards the end of the story. Rebecca is at a party celebrating 25 years of her father’s business. She and Jonathan have been up down in their relationship. Currently they’re apart so she’s surprised and shocked to see him there. I’m sharing three short paragraphs: 1 for the month + 2 from the year.

She stopped dead when she saw the figure of a tall man standing in the group of people with her mother. He appeared to be engaged in conversation with her father. The man had his back to her. It couldn’t be, could it? Her face hot, she swallowed and walked determinedly towards the group.

As she approached, the group turned around as one and looked at her, including the tall man. It was indeed Jonathan Leavis, looking as handsome as ever. She saw that his expression was surprised as he gazed at her, his eyebrows raised. Their eyes meeting for a moment, Rebecca turned away from his stare, willing herself to ignore him.

What the hell was he doing here, she wondered, deep in conversation with her parents no less? This unanswered question goaded her as she walked up to her parents and gave each of them a brief hug.

I will visit and comment on as many of your posts as I can – but I can’t promise to look at all of them, though I’ll do my best!

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of your latest writing work. It should ideally relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteers’ offerings.

Big hugs to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. ;)

A very quick WIPpet

Hi everyone. How’s your week been? My apologies for missing last week’s WIPpet Wednesday. I was working. The new job’s going well but it’s quite tiring.

Anyway I’m working again tomorrow and I’m busy the rest of today, so most likely I won’t be able to comment on anyone else’s post until Friday. So this is just a quick WIPpet.

I’ve chosen 5 short paragraphs to share from Teaching Mr Leavis and my maths goes like this (it’s simple as always!): 3 (for the day) + 2 (for 2014) = 5

Just to get you up to speed – this excerpt that I’m sharing with you takes place near the beginning of the story and it’s one of the new bits I’m adding in my editing process. This scene takes place outside the school where my MC Rebecca teaches. Jonathan Leavis is giving her a hard time (as usual). He’s angry at her for keeping his son Daniel behind at school for a detention and so causing him to miss an appointment:

‘Mr Leavis, I cannot be held responsible for any missed appointments your son has had,’ she said, barely keeping her anger at bay. ‘But perhaps if Daniel had told me that he had an appointment I might have…’

‘Oh that’s a pathetic excuse if I ever heard one,’ Mr Leavis interrupted, his expression incandescent with rage. ‘Daniel’s a kid; he’s never going to remember these things. If he’d come out on time though, we would have made it and I…’

Disgusted with the way the conversation was headed, Rebecca decided she’d had enough of it. ‘Mr Leavis, I have said all I am going to say. Goodbye.’ And she turned and began to walk away.

‘I’m not finished yet,’ he said in a loud voice. She heard footsteps behind her and then felt a hand on her arm. Amazed at his audacity she turned around, aware that Daniel and some other bystanders were watching.

‘What do you…’ The words died on her lips as she looked at him. In spite of the anger she felt, there was a not-unpleasant tingling in her stomach. His eyes were blazing at her, his face was red and yet as their eyes met, for a moment Rebecca felt an affinity with him. She couldn’t think why.

Like to join in WIPpet Wednesday? It’s easy. Simply post an excerpt of your recent writing work on your blog, then add your name to this little linky thingy. Just make sure it relates in some way to the date. Don’t forget to check out the other WIPpeteers’ contributions too.

Thanks goes as always to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :D

I START MY NEW JOB TOMORROW!! (and here’s my WIPpet for Wednesday)

Yes I am indeed starting a new job tomorrow which is why this post is late and short (but hopefully sweet!). I’ve been doing all my washing and other house jobs today because I won’t have time tomorrow or Friday as I’ll be working all day. :)

(Great excuse not to do housework hee hee!) I should add that I might not get around to commenting on many WIPpets this week because of said job. My apologies. Anyway as I said today’s WIPpet is a short one because of the time thing. So using my incredible powers with mathematics, you get 2 sentences: 1 + 1 for the month of November. :)

I’m not going to say much about it except that it’s from Teaching Mr Leavis again (which I’m hacking to pieces editing at the moment) and it’s taken from the first chapter. Here you go:

Rebecca heard a snap – probably the man closing his phone – and began to walk around the corner to get her bike. She collided with a solid, muscular chest and nearly fell over before strong arms caught her and lifted her upright again.

If you’re reading this and thinking ‘Ooh that’s something I’d like to take part in’, it’s easy. Just post on your blog an excerpt of what you’ve been working on lately writing-wise. Ideally it should relate in some way to the date. Then add your details to this linky thingy here. Don’t forget to check out the other WIPpeteers’ contributions.

Thanks to the fantabulous K. L. Schwengel for hosting once more.

An interview with my MC Rebecca – WIPpet Wednesday

I wasn’t sure what to share today as I’m up to my neck in editing Teaching Mr Leavis and changing a whole lot of stuff. OK that’s putting a bit crudely, but you get the idea.

Anyway I thought I’d share with you something I’ve written especially for today: an interview with my main character from Teaching Mr Leavis, Rebecca. It’s a bit rough and ready but I hope you enjoy it. Oh and I should say that it doesn’t relate in any way to the date and it’s over 500 words long. My apologies! Here you go:

Me: I’m pleased to be interviewing the main character in my story Teaching Mr Leavis today. Her name in case you didn’t know is Rebecca. By the way I should add that we’re travelling back in time as the story is set twenty years ago. So over to you, Rebecca. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Rebecca: I will but what do you mean by the story being set twenty years ago? (Folds her arms and looks stern.)

Me: Um… nothing really. Please continue.

R: (Looks suspicious) All right, well I’m an English teacher at a secondary school called Wyncliffe High.

Me: Could you clarify what a secondary school is? We have an international audience.

R: (raises an eyebrow) We do? OK, a secondary school is for 11 to 16 year olds and at 16 the children sit their GCSEs – that stands for General Certificate of Secondary Education. Then they leave.

Me: (nods) So what’s it like teaching at Wyncliffe?

R: (shrugs) It’s pretty good. Though what with this being my first year it’s been a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

Me: In what way?

R: (cheeks turn pink) I’ve had to get used to teaching – this is my first teaching job since completing my QTS – that’s qualified teacher status for those who don’t know. I got that after my degree. Anyway, I feel like I’m settling into the job now.

Me: (murmurs) In more ways than one.

R: (sharply) What was that?

Me: Um… nothing.

R: I suppose you’re referring to my love life?

Me: Well…

R: (turns red in the face) I don’t see how it’s anyone’s business but my own. Yes I’ve had my ups and downs in that department, but haven’t we all? (Pauses, smoothing down already smooth hair.) Mr Leavis and I are…

Me: What?

R: We might be an item, but we’re keeping it under wraps. For now anyway. Daniel, his son, has just finished his GCSEs so it should be easier without him at the school. I mean, it just looks bad if I’m dating my pupil’s father.

Me: (nods) But I don’t suppose anyone really cares. It’s not illegal is it?

R: (shakes head) No, that’s true but I’d hate to think that I was the subject of gossip. Though I have been warned that people do gossip at Wyncliffe. It’s just what seems to happen. I suppose that’s life. (sighs)

Me: And are you happy in your life at the moment Rebecca?

R: (smiles) Yes, very. I wouldn’t turn back the clock, not for anything.

Me: What do you mean?

R: Ending my engagement with Alex. We both made the right decision and I know that he’s happy now and I’m happy too. It’s taken a long while for me to get to this point. Now that I’m with Jonathan things are good for me. Though I hated his guts for a while. (smiles)

Me: Well I’m glad you’ve found happiness. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me, Rebecca. (I hold out my hand for her to shake.)

R: Thank you very much too. You helped me and Jonathan to find each other.

Me: I did? (feigns perplexity)

R: Yes, you know you did. I’m grateful for it.

Me: Maybe I helped you a little… anyway I’m glad you’re happy. See you around, Rebecca.

R: Yes, see you in the twenty first century.

(I blink and she’s gone.)

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is share a piece of whatever you’re working on writing-wise. It should ideally relate in some way to the date, though I’ve broken that rule today! Then add your name here.

Thank you to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. I believe she’s back from her travels now, so why not pop over to her blog and take a look? :)

Sort of finished – WIPpet Wednesday


Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, that time of the week when we WIPpeteers share some of what we’ve been working on writing-wise lately.

As the title of this blog post suggests I’ve finished the first draft of Teaching Mr Leavis. Yay! you might say – I’m sort of yay but not quite because now comes the hard part.

It’s come in at less than 50,000 words and ideally I want it to be longer than that. Also it needs a LOT of work on it and when I say a lot, I mean a lot! I need to tighten things up plot wise, develop underused characters, make it more romantic (yes really!) – the list is endless!

So I’ve started going through from the beginning and starting to change things. I want to edit the entire thing myself before anyone else sees it. Then maybe get an alpha reader to look at it. And only after that will I get any beta readers to take a look. Right now I’m feeling like I don’t want anyone to see it in its present state! (WIPpet Wednesday doesn’t count – I can share the better bits with you all for that!!)

Anyway onto what I’m sharing with you today. I’ve decided to share something a bit different. I thought I’d introduce you to Judith, my MC Rebecca’s disapproving mother. Rebecca and her parents – Judith and Martin – don’t see eye to eye. Judith and Martin have always wanted Rebecca to do what they think she should be doing – they don’t approve of her teaching. Rebecca won’t play ball so there’s tension. Lots of it! This scene takes place after Rebecca has had another encounter with Jonathan Leavis. Today Judith is visiting Rebecca in her flat. Rebecca’s preoccupied and things aren’t going well between them…

For today I’m sharing with you 21 sentences. My maths goes like this: 20 + 1 = 21 (I’m cheating again, taking the digits from the year!) Enjoy!

‘So how’s it all going at the school then, Rebecca?’ her mother Judith asked, taking a sip from her bone china cup of tea. It was Saturday afternoon. Rebecca’s mother and father were visiting Stokington for a few days. Maria had point blank refused to let them stay with her again so soon after their previous visit, so Judith and Martin, Rebecca’s father, were staying in a local hotel. Judith was visiting Rebecca while Martin went to explore the Stokington aviation museum, which was on the outskirts of the city.

Rebecca was silent for a moment, pondering her mother’s question. Memories of her encounter with Jonathan Leavis two days ago came flooding back. She felt heat rush to her face and downed the rest of her tea in one go.

‘Are you feeling hot?’ Judith asked. ‘It is a bit warm in here; maybe you should open the window.’

‘No, Mum, it’s all right, I’m sure I’ll cool down in a minute,’ Rebecca replied, her face warm with embarrassment. ‘School’s going well thank you. It’s busy but I’m coping.’

Barely, she added silently. She was feeling the pressure of continuing to prepare her pupils for their exams later in the school year.

Judith nodded. ‘Well you know what your dad and I say. You can always…’

‘Give it up, yes I know,’ Rebecca snapped. ‘But that’s not going to happen. I’m not going to give up after just one term. I know how much you’d love it if I did, but I won’t.’

That’s it from me today. :) If you have any advice re editing/pulling a book apart let me know!

WIPpet Wednesday is open to anyone who’d like to take part. Just share with us on your blog an excerpt from whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately. Preferably your excerpt should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this linky thing.

Thanks goes to our lovely currently-travelling K. L. Schwengel for hosting.  :D





The reason for the fight – WIPpet Wednesday

Hi all. I’m gonna make this quick cos I have a lot to do today. Seeing as many of you were asking what the fight between my characters Nick and Jonathan (which you can read here and here) was about, I thought I’d be kind and share with you the reason.

This scene is from my current WIP, Teaching Mr Leavis, and it takes place at my MC Rebecca’s flat. Her colleague Nick – the one who was in the fight – has come over to tell Rebecca why he and Jonathan Leavis came to blows. Nick has just choked on some water (yes really!) and he’s going through a tough time so Rebecca doesn’t want to be too hard on him.

I’m going to keep my maths simple as it fits the amount I want to share. So here’s ten paragraphs for the month. Enjoy!

‘You don’t have to tell me about what happened to cause the fight between you and Jonathan,’ she said. ‘Maybe you should just relax now. It is Monday evening after all.’

He shook his head. ‘I do need to tell you, I want to.’ There was a long pause. ‘I first met Abigail three years ago at a party. Abigail is Jonathan’s younger sister. We hit it off from the word go and very soon we were inseparable. I did care about her, honestly I did. I loved her. We did everything together; I was planning to ask her to marry me. Then…’

‘Then what?’ Rebecca asked, her voice low as if by talking too loudly Nick would stop telling the story.

‘Abigail got sick. She had a nervous breakdown. None of us could help her; her family couldn’t cope, so she was hospitalised.’ He spoke haltingly and as he paused he swallowed, running a hand through his already unkempt hair. Rebecca waited.

‘She was in hospital for many months. It got to the point where we all thought, Jonathan included, that she wasn’t going to recover. Then about eighteen months ago she showed signs of improvement. We thought, we all thought, we’d got our Abigail back. But she was different.’ Nick’s voice caught in his throat. ‘She was a harder person in some ways, yet at the same time fragile, almost brittle like she was going to physically break if you spoke too harshly to her.’

‘So what happened?’ Rebecca asked, reaching without a thought for Nick’s hand. He took it in his own and squeezed it.

‘Abigail and I were together again for a while, but as I said she wasn’t the same person. I wanted; I desperately wanted to make a go of it. But she became volatile extremely easily – I could be having a perfectly normal conversation with her, and then suddenly she’d switch and take offence and be aggressive for no apparent reason.’ Nick leaned across to the coffee table and had a sip of water, this time managing not to choke.

 Rebecca’s thoughts returned to the night at the club. ‘I suppose Jonathan was calling you a coward at the club because you were refusing to carry on your relationship with Abigail?’

Nick nodded, his face pale and his jaw tight. ‘Jonathan thought I was letting her down, being unchivalrous. He’s very up on chivalry.’ Nick gave a hollow laugh. Jonathan chivalrous, Rebecca thought. I’ve yet to see it. ‘But I had to end things with Abigail,’ Nick went on, ‘I couldn’t cope with her. I know that sounds awful, I know Jonathan thinks I betrayed her and him, the whole family, but I couldn’t pretend. I’m not someone who can just grin and bear it; I’m not that sort of person.’

Rebecca let Nick’s words hang in the air, leaving her hand in his. She felt a sense of deep pity for him, for Abigail, even for Jonathan. It was an impossible situation they’d found themselves in, with no easy way out.

Thanks for reading. :) If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy. All you have to do is share a piece of your writing on your blog – old or new, it doesn’t matter. All we ask is that it (preferably) relates in some way to the date. Then add you name to this linky. And don’t forget to check out the other WIPpeteers’ offerings too.

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


A lift home – part 2

Hello everyone! Welcome to the always wonderful WIPpet Wednesday. I hope this week finds you happy and well. How’s your writing going? Mine’s going pretty well, and I’ve written a lot lately. The only problem is that the plot of Teaching Mr Leavis is still unravelling. What I mean is I need to catch up with it and reel it in a bit. This novel is going to need SO much editing!

So anyway as the title of this post suggests I’m sharing with you some more from the scene I shared last week. And don’t worry – Rebecca isn’t getting in the car with a drunk – I’ve amended it to Jonathan Leavis assuring her that he’s only drunk a glass of NON ALCOHOLIC wine! If you don’t think that works, let me know in the comments below.

OK so how much to share? I think I’ll share 14 paragraphs following immediately on from last week’s. My maths goes like this (I’m manipulating things a bit): 2+2+10=14 Simple! In this scene Rebecca has accepted Jonathan Leavis’s offer of a lift home, now she knows he hasn’t been drinking. But she’s awkward and during the drive to her house Jonathan isn’t exactly doing his best to put her at ease…

‘If you want to follow me, my car’s this way,’ he informed her.

Rebecca followed Jonathan as he led her down the dimly-lit street towards a car park behind the club that she hadn’t known existed. Suddenly aware again how short her dress was, she had to fight the urge to pull it down in case he noticed.

She kept her distance making sure she stayed a few feet behind him as they walked, her face warm with the awkwardness of the situation. You could have just got a taxi, she reproached herself. But that would have meant waiting longer in the cold, with only her flimsy black dress and jacket to protect her against the elements.

‘It’s here,’ Jonathan announced abruptly. He waved the key at the car and it unlocked automatically. I bet he loves doing that, Rebecca thought. Probably takes loads of girls home in his car. If he hasn’t already scared them off beforehand.

Then she remembered what Nick had said about his wife dying. Maybe there were no women in his life. She shivered involuntarily and quickly walked over to the car. Jonathan had opened the door for her. So he can play the gentleman then, she thought raising an eyebrow.

‘Thank you,’ she said in a low voice, climbing into the car and willing her dress not to ride up.

In no time at all Jonathan had started the engine and they were off. Rebecca barely had time to put her seat belt on. Does he drive like this all the time, she wondered, then remembered her first encounter with him and decided he must do.

‘Where do you live?’ he asked her, glancing at her out of the corner of his eye.

‘Coopers Close in Yarrick,’ she told him. The city of Stokington had many areas such as Yarrick, which had been a village once and had got swallowed up into greater Stokington.

He nodded, but said no more. Rebecca exhaled silently and gazed unseeing out of the window. Jonathan’s fight with Nick swam into her inner vision and she wondered again why they’d been fighting. She turned to Jonathan.

‘Are you going to tell me what that was all about?’ she asked, her voice blunt.

‘What was what about?’ came the terse reply.

‘Oh don’t give me that, Mr Leavis. Your argument with Nick.’

‘I don’t want to talk about it,’ he replied, glancing at her for a second with a furrowed brow before returning his attention to the road.

Hope you enjoyed that. :) Wanna take part in WIPpet Wednesday? It’s easy! Just post an excerpt of whatever you’re working on writing-wise at the moment, then add your name to this linky. It should – in theory at least – relate in some way to the date. Don’t forget to check out what the other WIPpeteers have shared this week.

My thanks as always goes to the fantabulous K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :D