A lift home

Hi all. Hope your week’s gone OK so far. I’ve been doing all right. I’ve made some progress with Teaching Mr Leavis  and I’m beginning to have at least a vague sense of where I want the story to go and how it’s going to get there. Thank  you all for your advice re first drafts – it was very helpful to have my instinct to stick with the first draft until I’ve finished it confirmed.

So for today I thought I’d share with you 10 paragraphs for the month from Teaching Mr Leavis. This scene takes place about a page on from where last week’s excerpt finished which you can read here. To see the excerpt before that go here.

In this scene Rebecca has left the club and is making her way home when she hears someone call her name. When she realises who it is her heart sinks…

‘Mr Leavis,’ Rebecca replied, her voice coming out as a groan. She didn’t care if he noticed. He walked up to her until he was standing only a few feet away. The dull orange glow from the streetlamps didn’t give her much light to see by, but nonetheless Rebecca got another good look at Jonathan Leavis.

She had to admit to herself – albeit grudgingly – that he wasn’t a bad-looking man. He was tall and had a good figure. His hair was almost black and, although short, wavy. His striking eyes were the same colour. She surmised that he was in his early forties, though he was one of those people whose age was indeterminate.

He cut a powerful figure, although he seemed a little worse for wear tonight. Maybe it was just the poor light. But he looked almost a little haggard to Rebecca, and she wondered how often he went to his club, how much he’d had to drink.  

A half-smile was on his lips; his expression was friendly enough, but Rebecca really wasn’t in the mood to have a verbal sparring match. Feeling a wave of fatigue hit her again, she cleared her throat and tried not to sound hostile as she spoke.

‘Mr Leavis, what do you want? It’s late, I’m tired and I need to go home.’

‘Would you like me to take you home?’ Jonathan asked her, giving her direct look that made her feel as though he could glimpse her soul.

Rebecca said nothing, just gawped at him. Had she heard him right? Was that really the parent from hell, Jonathan Leavis, asking her if she wanted a lift home? He has been drinking, she reminded herself, shaking her head to try and clear it of confusion.

‘I’ll take that as a no then,’ he said, pursing his lips and beginning to turn away.

Rebecca thought quickly, weighing up the pros and cons. If she went home with Jonathan she’d have to put up with his questions and general talk. Also he would see where she lived, another downside. But if she chose to get a taxi home, she’d have to wait a while for one to turn up – they weren’t all that frequent in this part of town – and it would be expensive.

‘Wait, Jonathan,’ she said, wincing as she realised she’d used his Christian name without meaning to. He turned back; she saw a half-smile creasing his lips and silently berated herself for slipping up. But she swallowed any biting comment she would have liked to make. ‘Yes, I would like a lift home, thank you.’

WIPpet Wednesday is open to everyone who would like to share some of their writing on their blog. If you want to join in, just post some of your recent writing on your blog. Ideally it should relate in some way to the date. Then add your name to this.

K. L. Schwengel is our lovely hostess. 😀

Breaking it up – WIPpet Wednesday

Hi everyone! Hope you’re all well. I’m gradually adjusting to the cooler weather. Here in the UK it’s been quite sudden – we had an extended period of summer weather, but that’s over now and it’s well and truly autumn here. It’s a bit cold and I need to wear a coat when I go out – this time last week I was out in a T shirt!

Oh well – at least WIPpet Wednesday doesn’t change and I can share with you some more from my WIP Teaching Mr Leavis. I’m doing OK with it – I wrote over 1200 words on Monday which is a record for me. 🙂 But the trouble is I seem to have got quite far along in the plot without the word count reflecting that. So as of right now I’ve done 38,000 words and ideally I want to do about 70,000 in total, but as I say the plot’s kind of run away from me.

I think part of the trouble is that although I made a plan at the beginning, I didn’t plan out the middle part of the story as carefully as I did when I wrote Reunion of the Heart. OK, even in ROTH I deviated quite a bit from the plan, but I still had a clear idea in my head of how I wanted the story to get to its conclusion. I don’t have that with this one. I’ve been much more of a pantser this time around and I’m not used to dealing with it!

But at the same time I don’t want to go back and change things – I think it’s VERY important that I finish the first draft – even if I only get up to, say, 45,000 words. Then I will go back and do some MAJOR editing (and hopefully flesh it out a bit). After that I may ask for a volunteer – literally one person – to be an alpha reader for me. I don’t even want to let beta readers see it for some time! If you have any words of wisdom to offer, let me know!

All right, that’s enough writerly angst! As you may have guessed from the title of this post, the excerpt I’m sharing with you this week follows directly on from last week’s, which you can read here if you haven’t already! To recap Rebecca is trying to stop a fight between Jonathan Leavis, an obnoxious parent from the school where she works and Nick, a colleague of hers from the same school. I’m sharing 15 paragraphs. My maths goes like this: 8 +10 = 18 – 2 = 16 – 1 = 15

‘Oh don’t be ridiculous,’ Nick muttered.

‘I’m being ridiculous?’ Rebecca’s voice rose in volume. ‘I’m not the one trying to punch the living daylights out of someone!’ She felt her face grow hot with anger.

‘Yes, Nick, just stop causing trouble,’ Jonathan said, his tone arrogant.

Rebecca rounded on him. ‘I meant both of you!’ she snapped. ‘You’re not exactly whiter than white in all this are you, Mr Leavis?’

‘You can call me Jonathan,’ he murmured.

Rebecca blinked. ‘Right now I’ll call you anything I want,’ she said. ‘If it was in my authority I’d ask you to leave this club, but seeing as you own it…’ Her voice was clear and, as the music had long since stopped, her words carried across the room. There was a collective intake of breath as the audience of clubbers took in her words. Everyone seemed to turn to Jonathan and scrutinise him.

His face went redder if that were possible, and he gave Rebecca a look which she couldn’t fathom.

‘I’ll go,’ Nick said in a loud voice. ‘I was about to anyway before this knob head decided he wanted to have a go.’ Despite his bravado his voice was weary and his expression, although defiant, a little careworn.

He turned and began to walk away and this time Jonathan didn’t try to stop him. Rebecca glanced at Jonathan and saw a dark scowl marring his features as he watched Nick leave. Rebecca too turned away from him and was about to return to her friends when she felt a hand on her arm. She turned around.

‘What do you want, Mr Leavis?’ she asked him. She was blowed if she was going to do as he asked and call him Jonathan. And she was beginning to wish she’d never met him. Was he never going to stop causing her trouble?

His expression was guarded yet a little contrite. ‘I want you to know, Miss Engleton, that there’s more to this than meets the eye,’ he said in a low voice.

She sighed and looked him straight in the eye, noticing that he was gazing back at her with extreme interest and wondered what he was thinking. Why did he have to give her such brazen looks all the time? It was so unnerving. Rebecca felt fatigue beginning to overwhelm her and her limbs were heavy, as if she’d climbed a mountain. It’d been a long day.

‘There probably is, Mr Leavis,’ she said.  ‘But I’m too tired to hear your story tonight. Maybe another day.’ She resolutely turned and walked away from him, feeling his gaze still on her as she walked towards her friends, who by this time were standing close by in the crowd. Their expressions were a mixture of astonishment and admiration.

‘What was that all about?’ Karen asked laying a hand on Rebecca’s arm, an amazed look on her face.

‘I haven’t a clue,’ Rebecca admitted. ‘I just knew if I didn’t step in either one of them could get seriously hurt.’ She felt her legs becoming a bit shaky. ‘Can we sit down? I think I’ve got a bit of post-traumatic stress disorder,’ she joked.

So there you have it. To take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post some of your recent writing work on your blog, then add your name to this. Rule: ideally the excerpt of your writing should relate in some way to the date. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteer’s contributions.

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

Fight!

Hi everyone! How are you? I hope OK. Here in the UK we’re just about coming to the end of our Indian summer. It’s been a very warm, dry September which is great for me as I hate winter and I want the warmer weather to last for as long as possible!

But at the same time the evenings are drawing in and I’m not used to that yet! It’ll be even worse at the end of the month when the clocks go back. 😦 Anyway, that’s my moan out of the way.

For today’s WIPpet Wednesday I thought I’d share with you 14 paragraphs from my WIP which I’m calling Teaching Mr Leavis. Thank you to all those who helped me come up with the title BTW – you know who you are! My WIPpet maths goes like this: 1 + 10 + 2 + 1. OK so I played around with the date a bit, but that’s what WIPpet Wednesday is all about!

To give you a bit of context this scene takes place BEFORE last week’s excerpt. Rebecca and her friends are at a nightclub. Rebecca has already had an encounter with Jonathan Leavis at the club. She’s seen her friend and colleague Nick (from the school where she teaches)  there too, who she likes. (She’s not keen on Jonathan!) Although she’s seen Jonathan, her friends have shown up and everything is going OK until this happens:

Two men were standing facing each other with their fists clenched, looking as though they were about to engage in fisticuffs. When Rebecca saw who the two men were, her mouth fell open. It was no less than Nick and Jonathan Leavis. What on earth?

‘Isn’t that…’ Michelle trailed off.

‘Yes it is,’ Rebecca replied. ‘Why are they arguing?’

‘Maybe they’re arguing about you,’ Karen piped up in Rebecca’s ear.

‘Get real, Karen,’ Rebecca said, then wondered for a moment if she might be right. But that couldn’t be so. She shook her head as if to clear it from troubling thoughts, and she and her friends watched engrossed while the argument between the two men continued. While she couldn’t hear clearly what was being said, Rebecca could tell from their body language that Nick and Jonathan were incandescent with rage at each other.

‘I won’t!’ Nick’s shout reached her ears. He looked as though he were about to turn around and leave, but Jonathan caught his arm and forced him to turn back and face him.

‘You coward!’ Jonathan yelled. He shook his head and turned his face away from Nick for a moment. Bu this proved to be a bad move. Jonathan was caught off guard as Nick landed a punch on his chest, clearly winding him. Although Rebecca couldn’t see well in the half-light of the club, Jonathan’s face looked almost purple. Nick turned to leave again and Rebecca watched, biting her lip with tension, as Jonathan rushed at him, pushing him over.

‘Why doesn’t someone do something?’ she muttered. But it seemed that everyone was enjoying watching what was happening too much to intervene. It looked as though Nick and Jonathan were going to get into a full blown fight. Someone was going to get seriously hurt. She shook her head. Standing up and ignoring her friends’ protestations, Rebecca left the alcove and weaved her way through the crowds of onlookers until she had reached the space where the two men were.

Saying nothing, she walked into the centre of the space and positioned herself so that she was standing in between them. Her lips pursed, she glared at them.

‘What are you doing, Rebecca?’ Nick asked, pulling himself up off the floor. It was the most he’d said to her for days. His face was red and she noticed that his eyes were bloodshot. He sounded annoyed.

Rebecca felt a hand on her arm. She turned to see Jonathan, a calmer, serious expression on his face.

‘Yes, Miss Engleton, this is between Nick and me,’ he said.

‘Maybe it is,’ she replied. ‘But you’re about to hurt each other. Couldn’t you at the very least do it outside and allow the rest of us to continue with our evening?’ She paused, looking from Nick to Jonathan and back again. Jonathan’s face was as red as Nick’s, if not more so. But his eyes were their usual dark hue.

‘Better still, cut it out,’ she said finally. ‘I really don’t want to have to be the one to call the police or worse still an ambulance.’

Hoped you enjoyed that! As always your comments are welcome. WIPpet Wednesday is open to anyone who’d like to share a bit of their writing. So if you fancy doing that just post a bit of your latest work on your blog. Then add your name to this. Don’t forget to check out the offerings from the other WIPpeteers.

Thanks goes to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. 🙂

‘Lower Education’ Cover Reveal!

I’m pleased to be able to share with you today the cover reveal for Lower Education, the upcoming novel by my fellow author and WIPpeteer Amy Leibowitz. Read on to find out more and to see her great cover!

Lower Education

By A. M. Leibowitz

Publisher: Supposed Crimes, LLC
Publication date: November 1, 2014

Synopsis:

Phin Patterson is an educational consultant dissatisfied with his job and his life. On a mission to complete one last assignment before escaping his unfulfilling career and figure out what he wants, he accepts a commission from Donald Murdock at the New York State Education Department. Suddenly, he finds himself on his way to evaluate a tiny school in New York’s Southern Tier, not far from the town where he grew up. Now his only goal is to get in, do his job, and get out before anyone from his past remembers him.

That turns out to be easier said than done. Dani Sloane, the sharp-witted administrative assistant to the principal, learns the truth about why Phin is really there. With the help of her friends, she sets out to unmask him and force the local board of education to stop the plans that could ruin their school. Discovering that her sometime-lover is an old business associate of Phin’s only complicates both the situation and their relationship.

Meanwhile, Phin, who has committed himself to keeping his emotional distance, can’t resist the charm of the town and its residents—especially the school psychologist, who turns out to be an old friend he hasn’t seen in over twenty years. While Dani works to take him down and save her school, Phin wrestles with learning how to do the right thing, including telling the truth to the man with whom he’s already falling in love.

 

And here’s the cover:

Lower Education Cover

Excerpt:

He pulled out his phone and glanced at it. “Listen, I need to go. Dani, what time do you want me to come over to help Jake draw his display board?”

“Is nine okay? We need to be at the school by eleven to set up, and the fair starts at noon.”

“Sure thing.” He grinned at the group. “Good night, ladies. Alex.” Once again, his face colored just a little when his eyes flicked to Alex. With that, he was off.

Dani watched him go, shaking her head. “Pied piper,” she muttered.

“What?” Eunice asked.

“You know—the pied piper. He got everyone to follow after him, thinking he was solving the town’s rat problem, only then he stole the children.” She laughed. “I’m just being paranoid. Where are the kids? We should get going—long day tomorrow.”

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Lower-Education-M-Leibowitz-ebook/dp/B00NCA48TE/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/473664

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lower-education-a-m-leibowitz/1120325979?ean=2940046149760

Author bio:

A. M. Leibowitz is a spouse, parent, feminist, and book-lover falling somewhere on the Geek-Nerd Spectrum. She keeps warm through the long, cold western New York winters by writing romantic plot twists and happy-for-now endings. In between noveling and editing, she blogs coffee-fueled, quirky commentary on faith, culture, writing, and her family.

Find me on the Internet:

Web site: http://amleibowitz.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/amymitchell29 (personal profile); https://www.facebook.com/UnchainedFaith (author page)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/amyunchained (@amyunchained)

Pondering – WIPpet Wednesday

Hi everyone, hope you’re having a good week so far. I’m getting back to doing more  work on my writing than I have been. I managed over 1100 words on my WIP Teaching Mr Leavis yesterday which is good for me. 🙂

What’s not so good is that  I can’t access Facebook on my laptop at the mo. It keeps telling me there’re no posts to show and that I should find some friends. The cheek! I can get it on my tablet and my smart phone so you might think it’s my laptop that’s the problem, not Facebook. But actually my husband helped me rejig the internet yesterday and it’s still not working.

All the other sites I use are working so I’m fairly sure it’s not my problem. Sort yourself out Facebook! *shakes fist in the air* If any of you are having problems with Facebook too please let me know.

Anyway thankfully I can still access WordPress which I’m glad about. So I can share with you my contribution to this week’s WIPpet Wednesday. My maths is simple as always. I’m sharing with you 23 sentences – 24 for the day minus 1 from 2014.

In this excerpt from Teaching Mr Leavis, a romance about a teacher,  my MC Rebecca is cycling to the school where she works, going over recent events in her mind…

The alarm woke Rebecca with a start. She almost leapt out of bed with shock. Rubbing her eyes she pressed the off switch, wishing she could stay in bed. Was it really Monday already? Where had the weekend gone? It was definitely Monday though; the weekend was well and truly over. Feeling woolly headed as she got ready to cycle to work, Rebecca found herself yearning for a coffee. But there was no time.

Out on her bike, cycling away from her flat towards Wyncliffe High School, Rebecca found the cool air whipping across her face soothing. Then thoughts from her eventful weekend began to invade her mind and she felt less settled. In spite of her best efforts, she found herself thinking about Jonathan Leavis. He was certainly an enigma. Then again so was Nick.

Rebecca recalled his behaviour over the past month or so. When she’d first started work at Wyncliffe he’d been so attentive to her, so kind. He’d made her feel that he felt something for her, and she’d certainly been attracted to him. But he’d never said anything; he hadn’t done wrong by her. She hadn’t exactly had her heart broken.

Thinking about it as she powered up the final hill towards the school, Rebecca found herself becoming convinced that Nick’s distance towards her lately had something to do with his argument with Jonathan. Something had happened between the two men to make them want to duff each other up. But what? She decided she’d try and grill Nick about it today. If he’d talk to her that was.

If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday all you have to do is post an excerpt of whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately. The only ‘rule’ is that you relate it in some way to the date. Then add your name here. And don’t forget to check out what the other WIPpeteers have shared too.

Thanks as always goes to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. 🙂

 

Just a short WIPpet

Hi all. How are you doing? (Yes, OK I sound just like Joey from Friends!) Anyway I hope all is well with you. I’m still fighting off this virus – I’m taking a long time to get rid of it. Urgh.

So because I’m tired and not wanting to do too much as I don’t want to be too knackered to do go out tonight, I’m sharing with you nine lines for the month from my WIP, which I’m tentatively calling Teaching Mr Leavis. (Thanks to all of you who commented on my WIPpet a couple of weeks ago with ideas on how I could tweak the title!)

In this scene my MC Rebecca is at her sister Maria’s house and they’re having a heated discussion about who should deal with their parents. I should add that Rebecca grudgingly accepted a life home from Jonathan Leavis the previous evening. That’s all I’m gonna say though…

Rebecca watched as her sister shut the cupboard door with unnecessary force and turned to her. Her brow was furrowed; Rebecca could feel an argument brewing and she wished herself back in Jonathan Leavis’s car – anywhere was better than here.

‘I don’t see why you had to dump them on me, Rebecca,’ Maria said, her face red.

Rebecca sighed and picked at the piece of cake on the plate in front of her. She raised her eyes to her sister. ‘I can’t cope with Mum and Dad descending on me at the moment, Maria,’ she said. ‘School’s just too busy and…’

‘That’s always your excuse, Rebecca, isn’t it?’ Maria interrupted. ‘I mean, come on, it’s been months now.’

And that’s all you’re getting! If you’ve never taken part in WIPpet Wednesday and you think it’s something you’d like to do, all you have to do to join in is post an excerpt on your blog of whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately. All we ask is that it relates in some way to the date. Then add your details here. And don’t forget to check out the other WIPpeteers’ offerings as well.

Thank you oh Queen of the Monkeys K. L. Schwengel for hosting us. 🙂

An olive branch – WIPpet Wednesday

Olive branchHow are you all this Wednesday? I hope OK. I’m feeling a bit rubbish today but thankfully I don’t have too much to do.

Just a quick mention about Reunion of the Heart – I’m still after people to read it and review it for me. So if you or anyone you know fancy a free copy of Reunion of the Heart in exchange for a fair and honest review, please let me know. Thanks!

OK enough of that and on with today’s WIPpet.  It’s another excerpt from my current WIP and… drum roll please… I’ve thought of a title!  Yay!  I’m thinking of calling it Teaching Him, but I’m not absolutely sure I’m going to keep that title.  I’ve looked it up on Amazon and there are a couple of… ahem… erotic novels with those words in the title.  But anyway let me know what you think, if you think it’s awful/could be better.  I want to know!

This excerpt carries on from the previous two WIPpets which I’ve shared with you.  You can read them here and here.  Last week we left Rebecca and the nasty parent Jonathan Leavis at an impasse.  I’m sharing with nine paragraphs for the ninth month:

Then as she was sitting virtually glaring at him, she was surprised to see his lips twitch.  Rebecca thought she was seeing things; seconds ago he’d clearly been so angry.  He looked as though he were trying to suppress a smile, though why on earth… Thinking quickly she decided to offer him an olive branch.

‘Mr Leavis, take your complaint to Mrs Morsley if you must.  But if it would help I’d be happy to offer Daniel some extra tuition – at no extra cost to you.  If he’d be willing to stay behind at school, say one afternoon a week for up to an hour, I could give him a bit of help.’ Though I’m sure Daniel won’t be thrilled by that idea, she thought grimly.  And I could certainly do without the extra work.  But if it’ll keep Mr Leavis off my back…

‘Yes, all right,’ he replied leaning back in his chair and clasping his hands behind his head, appraising her.  A smile played on his lips; the thunderous look had gone.

Rebecca felt self-conscious all of a sudden, as though she were on display and Audi-Man had paid money just to see her squirm.  Her face hot, she felt the need to fan herself and she reached for her glass of water, taking a sip.  Mr Leavis continued to watch her, a half-smile on his face transforming it into a real human being’s.

‘Good,’ she nodded.  ‘I’ll make the arrangements for tutoring Daniel.  I think we ought to get this underway as soon as possible.’

‘Agreed,’ he replied leaning towards her.  He was so close to her; she could feel his breath gentle on her forehead.  As he looked into her eyes, she saw that his were such a dark brown that in the artificial light of the hall, they reminded her of two obsidian stones. She tried hard not to flinch.  Why was he behaving so erratically, she wondered.  One minute he had in in for her and the next he was being… Well she couldn’t call it charming, but still she was glad he’d stopped glaring at her.

And then he stood up; she stood too and they shook hands.  Mr Leavis’ hand was warm and strong in her own.  He towered over her, an imposing figure.

‘Goodbye, Miss Engleton,’ he said.  ‘I expect we’ll be seeing more of each other.’

‘Goodbye, Mr Leavis,’ she muttered and watched as he strode out of the hall. Rebecca almost fell back into her chair, picked up a piece of paper from the table and fanned her face.

So there you have it.  If you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post an excerpt on your blog of whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  All we ask is that it relates in some way to the date.  Then add your name here. Don’t forget to check out all the other WIPpeteers’ contributions.

Thank you K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely hostess. 🙂

Another WIPpet Wednesday and call for book reviewers

Hello one and all and welcome to WIPpet Wednesday when we writers share our wonderful work with the world!  OK, enough with the alliteration. :-p  Anyway I hope you’ve all had a good week.

Before I share my WIPpet, I wanted to say that I’m still looking for people to read my book Reunion of the Heart for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.  You can read Amy Mitchell’s lovely review of it here and there’s also a review of it by Kathy on her blog here.

If you’re interested in reading it in exchange for a review, or you know someone who would be, my email address is: elaine (dot) jeremiah (at) gmail (dot) com   Please do get in touch if it’s something you’d like to do. 🙂

And on with this week’s excerpt.  I’m being boring and sharing with you eight more paragraphs for the month of August from my current WIP romance about a school teacher.  They follow on immediately from last week’s which you can read here.

To fill you in a little my MC Rebecca, a teacher, is at a parents’ evening where the parents of the kids at the school where she works get to have a meeting with their kids’ teachers and find out more about how their kids are doing.  Rebecca is currently meeting Jonathan Leavis, the parent from hell, about his son Daniel who isn’t working hard enough…

‘Mr Leavis, the reason that I’ve been grading Daniel’s work so low is because that is the level that he is attaining at the moment.  He’s simply not bothering in class; he’s writing little poems about…’ Don’t say they’re about you, Rebecca, she thought, ‘…about nothing… nothing important.  He’s not paying attention at all; he’s not taking anything in, so he’s not learning.  In short, Mr Leavis, the way Daniel is carrying on he won’t pass his English literature exams next year.’

She paused and forced herself to look directly at Mr Leavis.  While she’d been talking, her gaze had been fixed just slightly above his face; she hadn’t been able to bring herself to look at him properly.  You coward, she castigated herself, as she saw in Mr Leavis’ eyes anger, disappointment and… what?

Rebecca watched as he gave a nod.  There was a long pause.

‘I want to take this further,’ he said finally.  ‘I’m not satisfied that my son is receiving the highest standard of teaching.  Most likely if he was in another class, he would be doing much better.  There was never a problem when Miss Adams was teaching him.’

Rebecca was speechless.  Had she heard him right?  Had he really said what she thought she’d just heard him say?  It took her a moment to find the words to say to him that were repeatable.

‘I’m sorry you feel this way, Mr Leavis.  If you really have a complaint to make,’ she said biting back her anger, ‘I can refer you to Daniel’s head of year.’

‘Head of year?’ he spluttered, his face red.  ‘Headmistress more likely.  I’m going to take this to the top.  I want my son to have the best education possible.’

‘Well in that case, perhaps a state education isn’t for him.’ Rebecca closed her mouth.  I did not say that, I did not say that, she thought, feeling her face turn scarlet.  But she had said it and she watched as Mr Leavis’ face began to mirror her own, only his was puce.  I’m fed up with this, she thought suddenly.  I don’t care anymore, it’s late, I don’t need this, I want to go home.  She folded her arms.  He folded his arms.  They were at an impasse.

That’s it from me today, except to say that if you would like to take part in WIPpet Wednesday, all you have to do is post on your blog an excerpt from whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  Just make sure it relates in some way to the date.  Then add your details here and join in the fun by visiting the other lovely WIPpeteers sites to read their contributions.

My thanks as always goes to K. L. Schwengel for being our lovely host. 😀

 

WIPpet Wednesday and an update on Reunion of the Heart

Parents evening

On Friday I published my second novel Reunion of the Heart. Initially it went well and I had some sales so obviously I was happy.

But then… they slowed right down. OK so it hasn’t been long since the launch and it’s only Tuesday now as I’m writing this. But what’s going on? The Inheritance, though it didn’t exactly set the world alight, sold more than Reunion of the Heart has at this point.

I was feeling a bit miserable about it to be honest.  I spoke to my dad and he had some words of wisdom: that releasing a book in summer is a bad idea because everyone in the Western world is away on holiday – or at least many of them are in the US and UK as well as the rest of Europe.  So it follows that they’re not around to download/buy books.

He’s got a good point.  He also said that, for example, film makers release their films at certain times of the year, depending on what sort of film they are.  They release blockbusters in summer and Oscar-worthy films at others.  He reckoned a good time of year to release a book would be October when everyone is almost certainly back from holiday.

It makes me think that perhaps I chose the wrong time of year to release Reunion of the Heart and that maybe I should have waited till the autumn.  Do you have any thoughts/advice?  I’d love to hear from you.

Anyway on to today’s excerpt, from my WIP.  I still haven’t chosen a title yet lol.  But it’s the one set in a school.  I thought I’d be generous and share with you 8 paragraphs for the month.  In this scene my MC Rebecca is coming face to face with Audi-Man again. It’s parents’ evening where the parents of kids at school get to meet with their kids’ teachers for an update on their kids’ progress.  Unfortunately for Rebecca, she’s teaching Audi-Man’s son.  Here’s a snippet of their conversation:

Taking a sip from the glass of water on the corner of the table, Rebecca looked at the list of parents still to see on the list in front of her.  She stifled a yawn.  It’d been a long evening.  She’d seen twenty eight sets of parents, although sometimes only one parent had attended, usually the mother.  There was only one parent left to see, the one she was dreading.  She would rather have seen him first.  Mr Leavis, Daniel’s father.  What could she say to him about his son?  That Daniel mucked around in lessons and never bothered?  That he could be a grade A student if he just knuckled down and did some work?

Her encounter with Mr Leavis in the school corridor came back to her and Rebecca’s cheeks warmed.  What was the meaning of it?  And why had he arrived so early at the school?  What on earth had he been doing for the last two hours?  But there was no time to dwell on those troubling thoughts.  She watched as Mr Leavis – Audi-Man – strode across the hall towards her.

Feeling her resolve falter, Rebecca took a deep breath, pulled her shoulders back and remembered what she’d learnt at drama school about portraying confidence.  As Mr Leavis approached she gave him the biggest smile she could muster under the circumstances and stood up to shake hands with him.

‘Good evening, Mr Leavis,’ she said, forcing the smile to remain on her face, though she would much rather have scowled at him.  ‘Please sit down.’

He did so frowning at her; it looked like a puzzled frown to Rebecca though she couldn’t be sure.  ‘Good evening Miss… Ms Engleton,’ he replied.  He sounded flustered.  Good, Rebecca thought.  The boot’s on the other foot now.

She gave a little nod and looked down at Daniel’s grade sheet.  It was woefully inadequate, when she knew he could do so much better.  She looked up again and nearly bashed heads with Mr Leavis, who she saw was also looking at the grade sheet.  Her face became hot, hotter still when he began to speak.

‘I don’t see what could possibly be so wrong with my son’s performance in class that you’re giving him such low grades.  It’s his GCSE year – he needs good grades to go on and do his A-levels.  There must be something wrong with your teaching methods for him to be failing so miserably.  Your predecessor never had it in for him as you clearly do.’

Mr Leavis’ voice was angry, as was his expression.  The word thunderous came to mind as Rebecca watched him, trying to remain cool while inside she was seething.  When she spoke she was surprised by how calm she sounded.

So there you have it.  If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I’d love to join in’, all you have to do is post on your blog an excerpt of whatever you’ve been working on writing-wise lately.  Just make sure it relates to the date in some way.  Then add your details to this linky.

Thanks once again to the lovely K. L. Schwengel, our wonderful host. 🙂

A sneak peek at ‘Reunion of the Heart’

RotH-Cover

Well the release of Reunion of the Heart is fast approaching. Only four days to go!!

Now I know most of you don’t take part in WIPpet Wednesday, so you won’t have read any of the excerpts from Reunion of the Heart that I shared.

So… I thought I’d share a spoiler-free excerpt from it with you.  To give you the lowdown on the story, Reunion of the Heart is a romance about Anna, a young woman who returns to her school for a reunion after her friend encourages her to go.  She’s reluctant to go because her school days weren’t her happiest.  But the reunion sets in motion a chain of events that lead Anna to realise her life will never be the same again.

In this excerpt Anna has arrived with her best friend Melissa at her old school for the reunion.  She’s feeling nervous…

Melissa’s voice brought Anna back to the present with a bump.  She’d been so distracted that she had hardly noticed the car slowing down.  Now she felt all unprepared.  As the school loomed up ahead and the car ground to a halt, Anna could feel all her previous anxiety about the event hit her like a blow to the chest.  Am I doing the right thing in going to this thing? she wondered.  It was as if the reunion was her own personal D-day.  

Seeing her old classmates, gauging their reactions to her and making a good impression – she had to get it right or the battle would be lost.  She hadn’t forgotten what Melissa had told her, but being relaxed about it all and keeping it on her terms was easier said than done.

‘Are you OK, Anna?’ Melissa asked her voice concerned.  ‘You’ve been very quiet since we started talking about your parents.  I’m sorry if I’ve brought it all back for you.’

Anna shook her head.  ‘It’s not your fault.  Sometimes I find it hard to face the fact that my parents haven’t been together for years and never will be again.’

Melissa nodded.  ‘So you’re happy to face the brood of vipers now?’

Anna pulled a face.  ‘You make it sound so pleasant.  But yes, I’m fine. Don’t worry about me.  Let’s go inside.’

 ******

 They got out of the car and headed for the entrance.  Anna shivered in the cold wind.  Although it was early March, winter was still clinging on and she was freezing.  Her fancy coat and winter dress weren’t as warm as her puffer jacket and fleeces, but she wanted to look good and so today fashion won out. 

Her long chestnut hair was pulled back into a neat ponytail which Melissa said really suited her.  Anna stumbled a little as she walked; she didn’t wear heels very often.  As they approached the school buildings, memories of being a pupil here flooded back to her.  It was hard to believe that she and her ex classmates were thirty one now.  She and Melissa walked through into the hallway where there was a large banner saying ‘Class of 98’.  A middle aged woman she didn’t recognise was standing there waiting to greet them.

‘Welcome to Mayfield Secondary “Class of 98 Reunion”,’ she said.  ‘In case you don’t remember, the sports hall where the event is being held is at the end of this corridor.  I hope you have a fun evening.’

Anna and Melissa smiled and nodded, though they didn’t need to be directed.  Anna felt as though she had the memory of this place engrained in her mind.  They walked down the corridor which was every bit as long as she remembered.  Loud music from the sports hall drifted towards them.  Melissa gave Anna’s hand a squeeze.

‘It’ll be OK,’ she said softly.  ‘Just remember what I said.  And if you’re really struggling imagine everyone’s naked!’

Anna snorted with laughter and then covered her mouth quickly.  ‘You are quite loopy, Mel,’ she said.

Melissa shrugged.  ‘It’s what a friend taught me once,’ she said.  ‘You’d be surprised how well it can make you feel more relaxed.’

I hope this has whetted your appetite!  I’ll be posting every day on this blog in the run up to the release on Friday.

As always any comments gratefully received! 🙂