Tag Archive | KL Schwengel

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!

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!

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. :)

Something new for WIPpet Wednesday

Hi all.  As the title of this blog post suggests, I decided to do something a bit different for my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday.  I haven’t actually written anything new for ages – I’d put my new WIP on hold while I was editing Reunion of the Heart.

Anyway, I decided that because I hadn’t done anything new I’d create something new.  What follows is something I’ve written in about half an hour.  I don’t know if it’s good, I don’t know if it’s bad, so as always your comments are welcome.

It doesn’t relate to the date, but hey you can’t have everything!  But it’s not too long either, so that’s a bonus!!  I won’t say anything else about it, so just enjoy. :)

What am I doing? she asked herself as she turned around and left him standing there in shock, his mouth hanging open, as though all the words he wanted to say had deserted him just as she had. 

But she kept walking on and didn’t look back; she couldn’t.  This was it.  She had to take a stand – she couldn’t do this anymore.  Her life had been one big lie for the past ten years.  If only she could make him understand.  It’s too late for that, the merciless voice in her head told her.  There’s nothing else you can do.

Tears pricked at her eyes as she thought of what might have been.  She blinked them away and trudged along, the one bag she was carrying heavy on her shoulder.  She half expected him to come running after her, to grab her arm and wrench her back into his life.  But she knew him better than that – the indifference he showed her that had threatened to engulf her.

Her mind carried her back to their wedding day, how happy they’d been.  The hopes and expectations that they and all their friends and family had had.   She remembered the smiles of her father, the happy tears of her mother, her own joy at celebrating this perfect day as she was marrying this wonderful man.  Was it really only ten years ago?  Somehow it felt a lot longer than that.

The road she was on, literally and metaphorically, was not one she would have chosen for herself.  It would be an uphill climb, and there would be no one to share her heavy load.  She stared at the narrow pavement she was walking along; it was the evening rush hour and vehicles of all shapes and sizes were rushing past her, some narrowly avoiding crashing into her, all oblivious to her presence, her pain.

Barely aware of the traffic, she soldiered on, remembering the clichéd saying: To thine own self be true.  Reaching the pedestrian crossing she’d used on multiple occasions, she pushed the button and waited for the signal of the green man.  Its beeping jolted her out of her reverie and she began to cross, never seeing the car, whose driver was talking on her mobile phone, until it was too late.

There you have it.  If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, it’s easy.  Simply post on your blog any piece of your writing that you want – preferably relating to the date – and then add your name to this.  Then you can read all the wonderful things that the other WIPpeteers have written.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for being our hostess with the mostest!

An interview with my character Michelle

Hi all.  Seeing as I didn’t have anything else to share with you this week, I thought I’d do another character interview.  This time, however, it’s with a character from my new as-yet-untitled WIP, which is a romance about a young woman working as a teacher in a secondary school (11 to 16 yr olds).

The character’s name is Michelle and she’s my MC Rebecca’s closest friend.  However they’ve fallen out because Michelle has complained to Rebecca that she’s never around anymore for her friends.  She’s pretty much told Rebecca that she feels teaching can’t be that much of a tiring job; see here for last week’s WIPpet Wednesday to read Rebecca’ s mother’s attitude.

Needless to say Rebecca isn’t exactly impressed by Michelle’s attitude.  But now, in my interview with her, it’s Michelle’s chance to give her side to the argument.  This doesn’t relate to the date (shock, horror) but I hope you enjoy it!!

Me: Hi Michelle.  Thanks for agreeing to meet with me. 

Michelle: It’s my pleasure.  Anyone who’s a friend of Rebecca is a friend of mine.

Me: Thank you.  Well, as I mentioned in our phone conversation, I wanted to talk to you about your relationship with Rebecca.  I’m particularly interested to learn about how you two have been getting on since she started her teaching job.

Michelle: (sighs and flicks hair back) It’s not been easy.  For either of us.  I know what Rebecca will tell you – if she hasn’t already – that she’s working so hard at her teaching job and none of us understand that.  I’ve had an earful from her already about not appreciating her enough and so on and so on.

Me: So you do understand then, and she’s just making a big deal out of nothing?

Michelle: Yes… um, no that’s not fair.  Look, the thing you’ve got to understand about me and Becs is that we’ve known each other for a long time.  So we’ve had the odd falling out now and then as all friends do.  But this time around it feels different, like Becs is different.  I feel like I’m not allowed to complain about the fact that she’s hardly ever around for her friends.

Me: (nodding) It sounds like you’re no longer on the same page.

Michelle: Exactly.  And I don’t know what to do about it, how to return our friendship to what it was before she started her job.

Me: Maybe Rebecca feels that you’re underestimating all the work that she has to do?  I mean I’ve heard from others in the teaching profession that it’s not a nine to five job, that teachers have to take a load of work home with them…

Michelle: (snaps) Is that what she’s told you then?  That I’m ‘underestimating’ her?  She’s one to talk.  I have a very demanding job myself you know.  But I suppose working day in day out managing a call centre isn’t very demanding by her standards? 

Me: (holds hands up) I’m sorry, Michelle, I meant no offence.  The two of you are obviously at a bad place in your friendship right now and the last thing I want to do is make it worse. (I pause) Maybe you and Rebecca should think about finding a common ground, you know, something you could talk about that’s non work related?

Michelle: (nods) That might be a good idea. (sighs) I would hate to lose my friendship with Becs, you know.  That would just be the worst thing that could happen out of all of this.

Me: I’m sure that won’t happen.  Why don’t you just call her again, maybe invite her out for a coffee and have a proper talk?

Michelle: (doubtfully) I could try.  But I’m not sure she’d be interested, she’d probably just say she was busy or something.

Me: Well you never know until you try.

Michelle: That’s true.

Me: How are Susie and Karen getting on with Rebecca these days?

Michelle: About the same as me I think, although they’re not as close to her as I am.  (pauses) I am quite a demanding person, in that I demand a lot from my friends.  I expect them to be loyal to me and to be there for me when I need them, even if it’s just a quick phone call for advice.  But I do give a lot back; I try to be a loyal friend myself and I care about my friends.  I care about Rebecca – maybe she thinks otherwise, but I do.

Me: (nodding) OK, well I don’t think I had anything else I wanted to talk to you about.  Only, I just want to say again – don’t give up on your friendship with Rebecca.  She needs your friendship; I’ve only known her a little while, but I can tell that from the way she talks about you and your falling out.  It’s like she’s bereft.

Michelle: (reddens a little) Oh.  Well that’s good to know.  I have missed her… I’ll call her again.

Me: You do that.

Michelle: (nods and reaches over to shake my hand) Thank you very much for your advice.  It’s so helpful.  Maybe I’ll see you around.

Me: I’m sure you will.

If you would like to get involved with WIPpet Wednesday, all you need to do is post something writing-related on your blog.  It should ideally relate in some way to the date, but don’t worry if not!  Then add your name to this.

Thanks goes to the Queen of Monkeys herself K. L. Schwengel.

Feeling frazzled

Frazzled

OK it’s not me that’s feeling frazzled, although I have been on the verge of tearing my hair out on occasion!  No, it’s my character in my new WIP, which I haven’t actually done anything with since the end of March.

This is because of work commitments, but also because I’m currently editing Reunion of the Heart, which is going well and hopefully will be finished soon.  At which point I can send it to my mum for proofreading. :)

For today, the 21st May, I’m sharing 21 lines from my as-yet-untitled WIP.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is feeling frazzled.  She’s just started working as a teacher at a secondary school (for 11 to 16 yr olds) and it’s tough going. And now her mum and dad want to come and stay.

Rebecca can’t bear to have them come; she’s too busy and is feeling the strain.  But on the phone to her mum, it’s clear that she just doesn’t understand how stressful teaching can be.  Rebecca gets lots of holiday, as her mum sees it, and doesn’t work weekends, so where’s the problem?

But Rebecca isn’t having it…

‘No, I’m sorry but you can’t.’ Rebecca heard her own voice sounding exasperated and wondered why her mother always had that effect on her.  It was six thirty on a Tuesday evening and Rebecca was a couple of weeks into her new job.  She was feeling crotchety.

‘But you don’t work weekends as a teacher,’ her mother pointed out helpfully.  ‘Surely your dad and I could come and stay.  And anyway if you really needed to work, we could go off and do our own thing.  You’d hardly know we were there.’

If only that were possible, Rebecca thought.  ‘I’m sorry, Mum,’ she said, ‘but it’s just not possible.  I’ve got too much to do.  If you were a teacher you’d understand.’

There was silence the other end of the phone.  Rebecca couldn’t help her last barbed comment – her mother never understood.  And she was beginning to think that even if she had chosen the career path her parents had favoured, they would still never understand her.  Finally the pause ended.

‘All right, if that’s the way you feel,’ her mother said stiffly.  ‘I’ll see if Maria’s free.’

Thank you God!  Rebecca mouthed tilting her head up to the ceiling.  Then she thought of her sister.

So that’s Rebecca’s story for the moment, as I haven’t written much beyond this point.  It’s all in here! *taps head*

To join in with WIPpet Wednesday, just post on your blog anything you’ve written lately.  Relate it to the date somehow and then link up with us here.

Thanks K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely host. :D

Blogging about… blogging

blogging

I’ve been thinking lately about how I might generate more traffic to my blog.  Yes I get a fair few comments on it, but I’d like to be able to reach out to more people.  That way I can get myself and my writing ‘out there’ so to speak, and have a bigger audience.

Having read other people’s blogs, some with a huge number of followers, some with less, I realise that there are various things I could do to increase the number of people following my blog as well as increasing the number of visits to my blog.

The blogs that have the most followers tend to have links to various other sites, which makes their own site kind of like a hub.  These successful bloggers also tend to pick an aspect of writing which they choose to blog about.

Their chosen aspect tends to be related to what their writing is concerned with – I guess that’s obvious, but not all bloggers do the same.  But many do choose to blog about genre writing, so for example romance, if this is what their burgeoning novel is concerned with, or fantasy if they’re writing in that genre, and so on.

Truly successful bloggers will thoroughly engage with their audience.  So they will often ask a question at the end of their blog post inviting their followers to comment in return, to participate.  Sometimes if there’s a promotion going on that the blogger is involved with, say to do with that blogger promoting their latest novel, they will do a giveaway and that in turn increases the popularity of that blog.

So where does this leave me and my blog?  Well I should mention another important aspect of a successful blog – regular updates! I’m not so good with this; life takes over as well as writing (and currently editing) my novel and I don’t get around to it, and by the time I check back to my blog a whole week has passed since I did a new post!

Well I’m not going to beat myself up about that – I do what I can.  But I would like to try to aim for two blog posts a week initially, and then maybe increase over time.  I think it’s so important to engage with other writers and bloggers.  We give each other a confidence boost that way and it enables us to promote our work for free, as well as getting other people’s opinions on it – if we share bits of it as I do.

OK, to recap a good blog is updated regularly, it engages with its audience, it provides links to other interesting sites and it has information that people will find relevant and helpful.

And finally I’d like to share with you a list of a few of the blogs that I enjoy reading and that you may do too:

Jade Reyner

A Writer’s Life For Me

My Random Muse

Write me a book, John

And now for my question, what do you find most helpful about the blogs that you enjoy following the most?  As always your comments are much appreciated!

 

 

 

 

A new version of an old scene

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday!  I hope you’re all happy and well. :)  I’m OK except my husband has given me a cold – isn’t that nice of him? – and I seem to have it worse than he did. :-S

Anyway I’m not exactly at death’s door and since I’m currently not working – in between jobs, but I am looking for another one, honest! – I’ve had plenty of time to be working on editing Reunion of the Heart.

And all I can say is ‘I get it!’  I finally get what other authors mean when they say they’re so into their stories, it’s all they can think about and the characters are so real to them!  I’m rewriting many of the scenes between my two main protagonists, making it more romantic.  I’m enjoying it so much! :-D

My characters are really coming alive; it’s a cliche but it’s true.  I’m thinking about them a lot, especially the two MCs and imagining exactly what they look like.

As I said I’m rewriting a lot of the scenes between my MC and the guy she ends up with – I’m also cutting scenes and adding them. So it’s not simply editing, it’s rewriting whole passages!!  But yes I’m really enjoying it and – because I’m quite slow at all this – I hope to publish Reunion of the Heart by the autumn at the latest.

It partly depends on work; if I get another job soon, if I have time to work on my writing without being too tired etc.  So we’ll see. But at the moment I’m making the most of the time I’ve got to spend on my writing.

So on to today’s scene.  I may have shared part of this scene in its old version before.  For today’s date, I’m giving you 14 lines .  To give you an idea of what’s going on: my MC Anna is at a party her two friends from her school days have thrown to celebrate the opening of a new shop of theirs.  Anna knows that the guy who bullied her at school, Will, is going to be there, but she’s decided to go anyway.  This is when they see each other there:

‘So we meet again,’ a voice said in her ear. 

Anna turned around.  It was Will.  As she looked up at him, she was struck again by how tall he was and his looks were certainly arresting.  He was dressed simply yet smartly in black trousers and a deep blue shirt.  His clothes accentuated his figure in all the right places.  Annoyed with herself for thinking like this, she saw that he was smiling at her. 

‘I’m here with Melissa,’ she found herself saying.  ‘She said you’d be coming with Cathy.’  She shut her mouth as if to stop it from saying anything else without her volition.

‘So you knew I was coming, but you came anyway?’ Will was looking directly at her, his expression serious but his lips curving upwards slightly in a half smile.  Anna didn’t reply for a moment, feeling her stomach fluttering incomprehensibly.

‘Um… well… yes,’ she said finally.

You too can take part in the wonderful weirdness that is WIPpet Wednesday by posting on your blog anything you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  Then put your details here.  Oh, I should add that your offering needs to relate in some way to the date.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel, Queen of the Flying Monkeys, for being our gracious hostess. ;)