Nanowrimo2016 – Winner

November can be a strange month if you’re signed up to NaNoWriMo. A month filled withelvislive words (of course) but also numbers… that constant word count check, am I up to the target? My usual plan is always to try and write as much as possible on a Sunday and (hopefully) that way manage to get a few days ahead to allow for those days when you just can’t write – like if you have plans to go and see an Elvis concert for example (and that was AMAZING by the way!!)

And then you get to a day like today when I started the day with just under 3,000 words left to hit that magical 50,000 target… with each check the number got closer and closer and then, almost without warning, you do the validation check to see where your word count is up to and BOOM!!!!!

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerYes the 50,000 target has been hit – granted at this point I am only 56 words over the target but even one word over would count 🙂 The Imagined is in no way a complete book yet – there is still more of the story to go and I hope to keep on writing it for at least the rest of the month. And then we shall see 🙂

So, fellow NaNo-ers I hope the target is in sight for all of you and if not, well there are still a couple of days left to get those fingers tapping on those keys 🙂

Happy writing!!

The Meadow – short story

A writer’s mind can be a strange thing, it can see things in everyday scenes and situations that an average person might not, and it can twist those casual observations into strange realities.

An example of this is the short story below (I say short story but it could be the opening of something more, who knows). So there I was, walking the dog along the side of a small stretch of water (a brook I assume) and the grassy area between path and water was covered with hundreds of little daisies and buttercups, they seemed to glow in the beautiful sunshine (where has that gone by the way) and my mind began to wander… until it created this…(this is a rough, unedited throw together but the words wanted out of my head!)

The Meadow

The sun was at its height. Full and golden, blazing in a clear spring sky.

White and yellow faces of the small daisies and buttercups reached up to bask in the sun’s warmth. Their petals reflected back the sunlight making the tiny flowers appear to glow amidst the soft carpet of green.

The grass was thick and lush, begging for bare feet to sink into it and toes curl in delight at the sensation of its soft blades wriggling between them.

Far enough from any main roads the meadow held an air of peace, the delicate birdsong enhanced rather than detracted from the quiet. All was calm. A haven in a world that all too often lacked such solitude or tranquillity.

In the centre of the meadow something else shone in the midday sun, something completely removed from the scattering of delicate flowers and as out of place as it were possible to be.

Red and viscous it glistened in reminiscence of fresh paint, asking for a fingertip to touch at its edges, curiously checking if it was still wet. But no fingertips touched at it. Touching was not permitted.

The peace of the meadow was shattered at the sight of what lay at its heart.

The police tape cordoned off the pool of blood and the figure of a man whose body had once housed it.

He was young, early thirties at the most. A trim physique and short cropped dark brown hair complimented handsome features which held an expression of pure serenity. If it were not for the blood he might well have just been dozing in the springtime sun.

His short sleeved shirt was open, unbuttoned rather than torn, and his exposed torso covered with countless small lacerations, each one with a small trickle of blood which had spilled from it, adding to the pool around his body.

The pathologist shuddered as he looked at the body. He had been to more murder scenes than he cared to remember and yet this one still gave him a chill.

It wasn’t the blood that caused the pathologist’s discomfort, nor the carefully placed cuts over the flesh, even the sight of the chest torn open was not the first such sight he had witnessed. And the removed heart was, if not common place, still not unheard of.

What really made the pathologist’s blood run cold was the placement, within the empty chest cavity, of a carefully made daisy chain. The small circle of linked flowers, such as young girls would make on a summer’s day to wear as a crown or necklace, lay where the man’s heart had once been. The flowers half sunk in blood and yet still visible.

The pathologist report would confirm that the heart had been removed post mortem and the numerous incisions had led to a slow death, yet somehow a peaceful one judging by the lack of any defensive wounds and the serenity on the victim’s face.

Had the killer brought the floral tribute to the murder scene or, a more chillingly likely scenario, had the flowers been weaved together while the victim lay slowly bleeding to death?

Was the killer so confident in their actions, so lacking fear of discovery that they happily sat on the carpet of soft grass, linking one small flower to the next waiting for the moment when the young man’s heart would beat it’s last and his breath would cease.

What kind of twisted mind would do such a thing, and why?

And where was the man’s heart now?

 

#RRBC – find out what it means to me!

Hmm okay – so the title of this post is meant to be read along to the tune of R.E.S.P.E.C.T but I’m not sure that worked too well 🙂 Made me chuckle at least ….

Now I’ve mentioned RRBC a few times on this ol’ blog of mine – but in case you haven’t seen those posts (why haven’t you seen those posts.. where have you been?) RRBC stands for Rave Reviews Book Club and it’s… well it’s a book club – I think you probably worked that out yourself didn’t you?

This, however, is not your normal run of the mill “let’s all read a book” type of book club… in fact just calling it a book club is somewhat of a disservice to everything else that goes along with it. What RRBC actually is is an amazing support structure by, for and with authors and readers.

I joined this club back in September of 2015 – I had self published my first book “Assaie’s Gift” the previous February and hadn’t really known where to go from there. I had invested in a couple of places that promised the earth (you know the sort, “we will tweet your book to our 20 million followers”) and had zero results when I happened to notice a re-occurance of the RRBC hashtag and decided to check it out.

Within a few months I had been awarded a “Push Tuesday” slot – which is basically a day when the whole club in encouraged to “push” the work of a selected member.

Then, last month, I was honoured with one of the three Book of the Month slots for my second release “Spirit of the Book”.

Being one of the BoMs has a few perks – firstly your book is listed for the month clearly on the websites sidebar and in the BoM page, then of course members are encouraged to read and review your work, there is also a monthly online chat where the authors get a chance to talk about, and answer questions about, their book.

Now I’m not going to say that being one of the BoMs instantly propelled my book to best seller status – that would have been nice but these things take time 😉 But I went from zero reviews on Amazon.com to 13 and from 1 review on Amazon.co.uk to 4. Not all of these were glowing 5* reviews, as nice as that would be the truth is it wouldn’t really be all then beneficial. What I did get – and what the club stands for – are some well reasoned and honest reviews, both praising what was enjoyed but also pointing out my flaws.

From this I discovered two important facts:

  1. I can tell quite a good story
  2. I cannot self edit

It was a good encouragement to get positive feedback on the story I wrote, I was pleased that the tale I wanted to tell was well received. It wasn’t great to be told there were too many typos/grammar errors in my book – I think it really is almost impossible to self-edit your own work, you just see the words you meant in your head – but it has encouraged me to invest in a proper edit through of the book, via another wonderful RRBC member who you can find at her website should you need such services.

Once Spirit is edited through I plan to do a “re-launch” of it, and I am in no doubt that the awesome members of RRBC will be behind me all the way helping me get the word out there of a new shiny version of my book.

So, if you’ve written yourself a book and don’t know where to go next then come and join us at RRBC… or if you are just looking for a new and exciting author then just check out our catalogue.

Well… what are you waiting for? Don’t forget to tell them I sent you!

 

#PIF #RRBC Meet Paula Radell

Time has come around for another of the wonderful RRBC’s Pay It Forward Weeks

The idea being to pay forward support by promoting an author for a whole day. The author assigned to me today is Paula Radell.

I must confess being given Paula to promote threw me at first as she doesn’t yet have a book out for sale and I wondered what I would possibly have to tell you about her but in fact we have the opportunity to meet Paula at the most exciting (or should that be terrifying) point in an author’s world – getting that first book ready to share with the world!

About Paula: Born and raised near the beaches of southeastern Virginia, Paula now lives in Mendocino County, California with her husband Ray, a couple of adopted tabby cats (Matthew & Diana, named after a favorite fictional couple!), and Willow, a 3-year old retired racing Greyhound.

Always a passionate reader and a freelance writer, Paula started her first WordPress blog in 2013. The following year she set up her website and established Passionate Reads & Promotions, a consulting service for self-published authors, collaborating with them on story development, beta reading, editing and various types of social media marketing. She is an experienced Goodreads Group Moderator, a NetGalley Professional Reader, and a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association. Having become addicted to social media in 2012 – and understanding the power it has in today’s dynamic publishing world – she went on to complete 5 post-grad courses in Advanced Internet and Social Media Marketing from the University of San Francisco in 2014.

Paula is currently writing her first fiction novel, Where Angels Sleep, a dark but ultimately inspirational romance set in the holiday season – release date expected in Autumn, 2016. She has two other works in progress: Deception, a dark romance/crime novel, and Night Shift, a collection of “fictionalized non-fiction” nursing stories based on her previous career as an RN, with contributions from nurses around the world.

Paula has worked as an RN – in every area from the Neonatal/Pediatric ICU to Obstetrics, Newborn Nursery, Psychiatry, and a Retirement Village. She’s currently a freelance health care project consultant, a casual but passionate writer, and a sassy editor. These days, she is especially proud of her reputation as a seriously unrepentant bookaholic, passionate about novels featuring complex romantic relationships, mystery, suspense, humor, hope, a healthy dose of unadulterated lust, and a bit hit of the paranormal.

She loves cooking & trying new recipes; sipping French & California sparkling wines; feasting on hot fudge sundaes & Cherry Garcia frozen yogurt; traveling, action-suspense movies with romantic subplots, comedies, books & book boyfriends; David Gandy; Jamie Dornan; philosophical arguments; writing; editing; art; and laughing inappropriately at the worst possible time (not necessarily in that order).

Paula’s debut novel: Synopsis …

Where-AngelsSleepFinal-200x300Matt St. Clair is an angry, bitter, broken man; a man without hope, faith or purpose. But he wasn’t always that way. Once the Chief Resident at a major university Trauma Center, he was a committed family man, married to his high school sweetheart, with a beautiful daughter, loving family and friends, and a bright future ahead.

Until, in a tragic twist of fate, he lost it all.

In the aftermath, a toxic blend of grief and guilt sent his life spiraling out of control, taking everything, leaving only shadows and demons in its wake. Convinced that there was nothing and no one with the power to heal him, he decided to end it all. But first there was one final stop to make — to ask forgiveness, say his last goodbye, and find peace with his decision.

Little did he know that another twist of fate was waiting in the wings. In the least likely place, on the brink of self-destruction, Matt meets a couple of strangers who will challenge everything he’s come to believe about life, love and family. All it will take is a leap of faith and a spark of hope – two things that have eluded him for the past three years.

To save himself, can he risk loving and losing again?

Where Angels Sleep is a dark but hopeful inspirational romance with a faint hint of the paranormal. Due to mature themes, adult language and sexual content, it is most appropriate for readers over the age of 18.

If you fancy a sneak peak at this work in progress (and it does sound worth a peak doesn’t it) Paula has made an excerpt available on her blog.

 

To find out more about Paula’s work and follow her on her journey to bring “Where Angels Sleep” to publication check out one (or all) of the following links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/paula.radell.author
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lady_LovesBooks
Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+PaulaRadell1880
And of course her website where you can find out more about 
Paula and her work:  http://www.paula-writes.com/

Good luck on your journey to complete this book Paula… I look forward to reading it 🙂

 

Calling all authors

For one day only (and that day would be today!) you can get membership of Rave Reviews Book Club at a discounted price… you don’t want to miss this great opportunity!

If you don’t know what Rave Reviews is all about then it’s time you found out 🙂

You have nothing to lose and so much to gain… don’t delay… and tell them I sent you 😉

Nearly Nano Time

Oh dear I do appear to have skipped a couple of weeks posts haven’t I? I’m sure everyone missed me 😉

So – as the title of this post says – it’s nearly Nano time. For one month a group of like-minded writers (aka nutters) will sit around and attempt to write 50,000 words in November.

There will be those sort of writers who are now carefully planning their novel, structuring each character, chapter and scene so that when November 1st comes around they know exactly what they plan to write.

Then there are the other sort of writers – like me – who have this vague idea of a story and have just about got the character names sorted. I think my way can be more fun in some ways – I never really know where my writing will go – I might have a general story plan but when I get going the story can often decide to head off in a completely different direction!

AwakeningThis year I plan to write a prequel to my first Nano novel “Assaie’s Gift” so at least I have the advantage of knowing exactly where this one has to end up… but most of the journey still eludes me.

It’ll all work out right in the end though.. I expect 🙂

So what are you plans… do you even have any?