WIPpet Wednesday & call for cover reveal volunteers

Classroom

Welcome to the wonderful, weird world that is WIPpet Wednesday when we writers share our work. Today as well as sharing some of my writing with you, I wanted to ask if any of you would be willing to take part in my cover reveal for Reunion of the Heart.

I haven’t set a date for it as yet, I thought I’d see how many people would be willing to participate first. But it will be soon as I’m making the final touches to Reunion of the Heart and it won’t be long before I publish it. Yay!! I’m amazed, actually, that it’s come around so fast – I was expecting things to take a lot longer to prepare it for publication. But things have come along really well.

So anyway that’s that.  For my contribution to today’s WIPpet Wednesday, I’m being generous and sharing with you 30 sentences for the 30th July (see what I did there?  Genius!!).  OK so maybe not generous by some people’s standards… Anyway it’s another excerpt from my romance about a school teacher.

Before you ask, no I haven’t decided on a title yet.  It’s currently saved on my computer under the hugely original title of ‘school’.  I’m rubbish at thinking up titles for my novels and this one is no exception!  I’m completely stumped at the moment.

In the scene I’m sharing today, my teacher MC Rebecca has kept two of the boys in her class behind at school because they were messing around during the lesson.  They’re not too happy about being given a detention and Rebecca isn’t wildly thrilled at having to keep them there either…

As they’d been told, Daniel and Richard stayed behind at the end of the lesson.  As they were standing in front of Rebecca’s desk to learn their punishment, their faces were surly, their shoulders slumped.  Outside it was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was shining, the sky was blue – and it was a Friday.  Rebecca didn’t really want to be there herself, but it had to be done.  She couldn’t let this go; they needed to understand that rudeness and disrupting the class was unacceptable.

‘Daniel and Richard, I’ve decided in the next hour, you will both write me a two page essay on a book you’ve read which you enjoyed.’  She saw their scowls deepen and sighed inwardly.  This was going to be a long hour.  She watched as they took the paper she handed them and trudged back to their desks.

In spite of her better judgement, curiosity won out and Rebecca pulled out the piece of paper which she’d seized from Daniel from her desk drawer.  She glanced at him, hoping he hadn’t noticed her looking at it.  But Daniel’s head was bent in concentration over his writing.  Rebecca’s lips twitched as she read what was written on the piece of paper, and she had to purse her lips to stop herself smiling.   

It was a little poem about her – she assumed it was written by Daniel.  Not only did it rhyme perfectly, it had a clear rhythm as well.  It was cheeky, yet not offensive, although she did note the allusion to her looks.  But that didn’t bother her.  Rebecca knew what young men were like and she was aware that she wasn’t unattractive.  She stole another glance at Daniel; this time he was looking out of the window and while she had the chance, she quickly put the paper back in her drawer.

Looking at the clock, she saw that there was still ages to go until Daniel and Richard’s detention was up.  Resigned to her fate, Rebecca picked up the first in a large pile of exercise books to begin marking.  But the stories the year 8 pupils had written about their favourite weekends were engaging and often amusing.  She had to suppress a chuckle now and then.  Before she knew it, she looked at the clock and saw that the time was up.

‘All right then,’ she said to the two boys who were looking tired and fed up, ‘you can go.  Put the essays on my desk,’ she added as they approached, ‘and I’ll see you both tomorrow.  And I hope I won’t be seeing any of that misbehaviour again.’

Daniel and Richard shook their heads, clearly itching to be gone.  They turned to leave the room.  Then Rebecca thought.

Oh BTW I should say if you need to contact me re. the cover reveal my email address is: elaine (dot) jeremiah (at) gmail (dot) com

That’s it from me today.  If you’re reading this, but you’re not involved in WIPpet Wednesday and you think it’s something you’d like to get involved with, it’s easy to take part.  Just share on your blog anything you’ve been working on recently writing-wise.  Your excerpt should preferably relate in some way to the date.  Then once you’ve done your post, add your details here.

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

Call for volunteers for cover reveal for Reunion of the Heart!

cover reveal

Well this has certainly come around fast! I’m in the final stages of preparing to publish my second novel Reunion of the Heart.

To tell you a little bit more about it (without giving too much away!), it’s a romance and the story of a young woman who returns to her school for a reunion.  She finds that her life won’t be the same again…

I’m not gonna say any more about it because (obviously) I don’t want to give half the plot away.  But to cut to the chase, I need some volunteers to do the cover reveal for it.

I didn’t do one for my previous novel, The Inheritance.  To be honest I was learning the ropes – I still am but last year when I published it, I had no idea about cover reveals, so I simply shared the cover for it on Twitter.

This time around, having seen other people do it, I thought it would be a good way of generating some interest in my novel.

I’ve decided to do things differently in other ways too for the launch of Reunion of the Heart.  Last year when I published The Inheritance, I did a blog tour which I’ve decided I’m not going to do this time.  Organising and promoting the blog tour was a lot of work and while it was quite fun to do, I didn’t have a lot of people commenting on what I’d shared and it didn’t really seem to translate into sales.

So.  That was then and this is now.  I’m doing this cover reveal and I’m going to do some other promotions for Reunion of the Heart… Watch this space!

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.

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. :)

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. :)

An update on how things are right now

Well I didn’t make WIPpet Wednesday this week.  Truth be told I didn’t have anything new that I’d written to share.  I’ve been busy and Wednesday just crept up on me so quickly.  I kept umming and ahhing over whether to write something at the last minute to share, but in the end I decided not to.  I was so tired I couldn’t face it.

Anyway the reason I’m busy and tired is that a couple of weeks ago I started another work placement with Bristol City Council (UK). Reason being that after I left the paid job I was doing, I decided rather than spend a lot of time on my own with only a bit of job hunting to do, I would do something constructive with my time, put the job hunting on hold and go back to the council.

I’m with a different team this time, but they’re just as lovely as the first team and I’m really enjoying it.  I felt I needed the experience and confidence boosting that the placement at the council would give me. I’m not that accustomed to the world of work due to illness over the years, so doing things this way gives me time to increase my skills and confidence.

I’m doing admin with the aim of being able to get a job in that field later on.  I enjoy working as part of a team with all the camaraderie that entails.  It’s good for me – I couldn’t have coped working alone in the job I left which you can read about here.

So what about my writing?  Well today I finished my editing of Reunion of the Heart (yay!) and I’m going to send my manuscript (via email of course) to my mum for proofreading.  The catch is that I haven’t timed things very well – she and my dad are off walking the Camino (the pilgrims’ trail in Spain) and won’t be back for another couple of weeks at the earliest!

Oh well.  That gives me time to go back to my WIP which I began working on before I started editing Reunion of the Heart.  Apart from all this I’m trying to blog as much as I can and follow as many blogs as I can.  I’m failing miserably at keeping up with all the emails of blog posts I’m getting – but hey I’m only human and I can’t look at everything.  So I’m picking and choosing, trying at least to comment on those blogs of people who’ve done me the courtesy of commenting on mine.

Talking of blogging, I’ve linked my blog to Facebook and Twitter (and then got really surprised when the number of my blog followers leapt from 181 to over 2200 lol!!).  So I’m hoping that’ll help me to give it a bit more exposure.  I also want to link up to some more social media sites – but all in good time.  At the moment I’m finding it hard to keep up with life – though things are good they’re busy and a little bit hectic. By my standards anyway!

So hopefully I can get Reunion of the Heart published by the end of the summer (hopefully being the operative word!!).  I’ll keep you posted as and when that happens.

How is your writing going at the moment?

How I’m blogging now

I just thought I’d continue on from what I was talking about the other day – blogging, gaining more followers on my blog and how to go about it.

Well I’ve signed up to follow a fair few more blogs in the hope that that may be a way to gain more followers myself.  And, of course, it’s interesting to read others’ blogs and see how they’re successful, what they do or don’t do that I could learn from.

I’m a bit flummoxed by one thing though.  For a long while I didn’t add tags to my blog posts as I wasn’t aware of how useful they could be.  I think I may have gained a number of followers through tagging my posts.

But the thing that’s puzzling me is this: when I Googled certain words that I use as tags in my blogging, intending to see if I could find other writers’ blogs, it came up with very little that was helpful i.e. hardly any relevant writers blogs at all.

So it got me thinking – how exactly do tags work?  Are they what other people use to find blogs to follow – do other people Google certain words to find a blog they might like to follow, or do other people know something I don’t about tags?

Anyway I’m confused by that.  Any info about that gratefully received.

To go back to the main point of this blog post, as well as working hard at blogging myself, it’s been interesting to see how various other bloggers go about… well blogging.  Some of them list targets they’re trying to achieve (I don’t find this particularly helpful, in fact it’s a bit boring!), others intersperse anecdotes about their non-writing lives (which I find fascinating) and then of course many blog about how their writing is going, their plans for releasing their novels, details of when their novels are being released etc.

I have found that the most successful blogs engage with their readers; they provide good content that others want to read; they ask questions and the blog itself is attractive and looks good.

As for my own blogging – well I’m trying to comment on others’ blogs as much as I can – though I do delete a number of posts as I haven’t got the time or energy to look at them all.  I’m only human!

With this blog, I’m trying to post more often, as obviously that is so important.  I also intend at some point to start linking more to other blog sites.  Some of the most effective blog sites have great links to helpful sites for writers.

Here are some that I enjoy:

Catherine, Caffeinated

Daily (w)rite

Shannon A Thompson

Joanne Phillips

I think I’ll leave it there for now.  But before I go, here’s a question for you.  Do you have a favourite blog that you keep returning to and why?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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.

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!