Wednesday 31 December 2014

Good riddance 2014

I've just had a look back to my Goodbye 2013... post. Wow, I had a really good 2013!

You can obviously see, from the title of this year's post, that 2014 wasn't as good. I even called it my nemesis year, on account of turning 40, but in the event, that was okay. I knew it would be, but I do like a bit of drama.

2014 wasn't all bad - we had a wonderful family holiday in Scotland...

 This photo was taken from the top of a mountain - yes! I actually climbed a mountain. You see that green patch in the middle of the photo? That's where we were staying.

And, below, was our final morning. I left Hubby to pack the car, and my sister-in-law and I took a last walk with the kids. A lovely memory for the long journey home!

And we had some really lovely weather over the summer - I caught a tan! Well, I could see I'd caught a tan, even though no one else could.

But on the whole it wasn't the best year. There were many struggles, and a lot of people I know were having very bad times too. I'm glad it's behind me.

Next year is going to be challenging - #1 son taking his GCSEs and starting college, #2 son starting secondary school, and Hubby away touring for longer than he's been away before.

Writing-wise, I decided to start my next book yesterday. It was going to be a rewrite - plus additions - to a previous manuscript, but I woke up yesterday morning with an idea for a sequel to the book I'm submitting at the moment. I know there's more story to tell - because a dream told me (obviously) - but at the moment I have no idea what. I'm just writing stuff in the hope that it'll all come together.

Actually, that's how most of my books get written, so really I'm just hoping that skill hasn't left me!

So, that was 2014, here's to 2015...

Have you made resolutions? Do you have goals?
Are you looking forward to something amazing?

Aren't you all just a little disappointed that the world doesn't look like this...?

Back to the Future II

Tuesday 23 December 2014

Merry Christmas

My tree!

This is my last post before Christmas, and possibly this year. So I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

2014 has been a challenge for many of my blogger, and real life, friends, so I hope 2015 treats you better.

Friday 19 December 2014


When I first started blogging, I was given a couple of blog awards, including the Liebster. At the time, it had a badge and probably required me to tell you several interesting facts about myself.

Today, I am honoured to have been tagged by Rena Rocford on her Doctor Faerie Godmother blog. Thank you, Rena, I love an excuse to talk about myself.

The Liebster seems to have evolved now, though, as all things do - and now I have questions to answer about my WIP... I hope you're ready!

I am going to tell you about the WIP I'm getting ready to query, The Book of Abe. This is probably the fifth title this book has had, but I think this is the one that will stick.

What is your WIP About?
The Book of Abe is about a narcissist who tries to convince people he is the second coming. He's essentially a con-man, but over time he starts to convince himself until he can't distinguish fact from fiction. He believes he has the key to solving all the world's problems - all the wars, poverty and natural disasters. There are several people who get caught up in his nightmare, including a man in a coma, a woman who doesn't speak, and a man who draws all over his body.

How long have you been working your WIP?
I started it in 2009/10, but put it on hold while my novellas were spruced up and published. I came back to it at the beginning of this summer and wrote THE END about a week ago.

Who is your MC?
The MC is Abe, the narcissist. He grew up with a smothering mother who probably loved him too much, and he thinks the world owes him everything. He has a unique gift of persuasion, to the downfall of everyone around him.

What are some of the themes you’re exploring?
I'm not good at exploring big themes, so - as always - I've focussed on what makes people who they are, what makes them different from other people. How long would people sit back and watch something happen, even if they knew it was wrong?

What song would represent your story or MC?
Absolutely no idea!

If you were casting your story as a movie, who would play your main character?
Ooh, I think Andrew Scott would be great - especially with the deep intensity he play Moriarty in BBC's Sherlock.

What is your favourite line in your WIP so far?
Back, way back, before the internet changed the way we shop for bargains, before mobile phones replaced red phone boxes on every street corner, before Marathons became Snickers, a child was born.

This is the line that introduces Abe. I like it because it comes at the start of Part 2, and changes the whole feel of the book.

If your MC were to have a pet, what would it be?
A snake, maybe. Or a white fluffy cat that he could stroke in a Bond villain kind of way.

When do you think your WIP will be done?
It's finished right now. I'm currently waiting for one lovely lady to read it, and I'm writing the synopsis - it may take me longer than the book itself :-(

Who is your favourite side character in your WIP and why?
Elizabeth is a woman who doesn't speak. When she gets overwhelmed, she disappears into the walls (actually or metaphorically, you decide!), and she has a very special connection with Max - the guy in a coma - that she doesn't really understand. The other characters give her a back story - because she won't talk to them and tell them who she is - which is truly heartbreaking. I cried when I wrote it.

What’s your MC’s favorite food?
If Abe could live off whiskey, he would. In fact there is a part of the book where he tries to do just that. It doesn't end well - for him, for Elizabeth and the guy in the coma, for anyone at all, really.

And now I'm going to tag a few people... (and - because I'm being lazy - I'm going to copy Rena's lead and ask the taggees to answer the same questions that I did. Rena was tagged by Sarah Ahiers, so these are, by rights, her questions so I'm linking back to her too.)

Murees Dupe
M.J Joachim
Rebecca Bradley

Thursday 11 December 2014

News, and cheesy Christmas music

It's December. I am not ready for December. I'm sitting here, amongst the Christmas decorations that Hubby put up last night while I was out at work, and I'm still not feeling it. I even went present shopping this morning, and - nah, nothing...

The problem is it's too early for Christmas/December/winter. It was such a long, hot summer, I haven't really accepted autumn yet (fall, for my American friends).

On Facebook the other day, I mentioned Boney M, and several people said they'd never heard of them. So, here there are, in all their Christmas cheesiness...

In other news, I finished my novel. A couple of people are reading it at the moment - so I have my fingers crossed. I'm hoping to submit it to an agent - yes, I actually wrote a proper novel that an agent might consider. This is huge for me, seeing as though I have a habit of taking novel length manuscripts and cutting them down to novellas.

I'm also considering re-writing my 1998 novel Pictures, Fading. Note the use of the comma - I did that way before Love, Actually and Girl, Interrupted ;-) Hubby read it, many years ago, and has several hundred ideas on how to improve it - I still have the email! Although if I implement all the ideas, I'm sure he'd want double billing!

I got a rejection last month. I've always referred to this particular book as the most depressing novel in the world... ever, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that their reason was it is 'relentlessly bleak'. I'd spent time re-writing it, taking out the most depressing parts, and yet it still, apparently, is. Ah well. I still stand by the story, so obviously that publisher just wasn't a good fit. Back to the drawing board.

That's all my news, but I'm racking my brains to come up with something positive to end on. Oh, yes - my shifts at work are changing (again) which means I'll now have a whole Tuesday and Wednesday once a fortnight where I won't have to leave the house at all. Now that's what I call a pyjama day :-) Is that the kind of thing you were expecting?

Wednesday 3 December 2014

IWSG - Not quite a book review, but close

It's the last IWSG meeting of the year - time to share our problems and worries, and help others in turn. The list of participants is right here.

This month I am insecure about something I read, rather than something I wrote.

The book in question - A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing, by Eimear McBride - has mixed reviews on Goodreads, but has won several literary awards. It is experimental, in style; although I've never really understood what that term means in terms of fiction, because I've never really found anything I would consider truly experimental - they usually have words and sentences, a plot, some characters... So far, so normal.

However, just the first page or two, had me wondering whether I'd actually forgotten how to read! The sentences are half-formed, let alone the girl. I read every paragraph a couple of times, getting the drift of what the author was saying but not really understanding it. For example:

"I know. The thing wrong. It’s a. It is called. Nosebleeds, head aches . Where you can’t hold. Fall mugs and dinner plates she says clear up."
McBride, Eimear (2014-04-07). A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing (p. 1). Faber & Faber. Kindle Edition

I have never before read something that made me feel stupid. And I don't think I want to ever again. I actually gave up on the book on the second page - something that I try never to do.

So, does this make it experimental? Hmm, not sure. I don't think this novel has helped me decide what experimental fiction really is. I can understand that stream-of-consciousness can be seen as such, but I think it should be more than that. And surely since fiction has existed for thousands of years, there's no new way of telling a story that someone hasn't done at some point.

(Slightly off-topic, because it's been bugging me - I usually think in whole sentences. I have never thought It's a. Have you?)

The good reviews on Goodreads call it impressive, intelligent and accomplished. So, because I just don't get this book, does that mean I'm none of the above? Am I missing out? What does it say about my own writing - am I too simple, too basic?

Have you read this book? Did you enjoy it?
Have you ever read a book that made you feel stupid?
Can you explain experimental to me?