Zero Day

Yesterday was a hectic one for me. It included two appointments, a quick bite to eat with the other half and then a ten hour (busy) shift at work. I knew I wanted to write and I figured that maybe when I finished work I could come in and get at least something written down. However, my shift ran over and I had to stay late for a few reasons so by the time I got home it was well after 10pm. And I was exhausted. After doing boxercise on Thursday I’ve been sore from head to toe and the week has put a bit of a mental drain on me.

Although everything in my brain was nagging at me to turn on my laptop and write, I knew I couldn’t. There was no point. Anything I produced last night would have warranted the scrap pile this morning. So instead, I made myself a cuppa and spent some time with my partner before heading to bed. Yesterday was the first day since the start of the year that I haven’t written. Yes I was a little bit annoyed that I couldn’t but at the same time, I know I had to realise that life gets in the way. I can’t always write and things won’t always go according to plan. It’s about learning to adapt and when and if I have to, allowing myself to take that time off. Nothing has been lost and in fact, this morning I feel fresh and ready to go so I’m off to make a start on my WIP which is Peyton’s back story.

If you want to know about Peyton, you can find one of her stories in Eight Deadly Kisses which was released by Dark Chapter Press in February this year, an all women anthology with strong female characters. Definitely worth a read. You can find it here: Eight Deadly Kisses

Eight Deadly Kisses

 

Kill for a Copy Review

Kill for a Copy

Kill for a Copy

I received a copy of Kill for a Copy in exchange for an honest review. Because Kill for a Copy is an anthology comprised of seventeen short stories, I decided it would be best laid by my bedside table so I could read it at night (with the hope that it didn’t scare me too much it kept me awake!) What I found inside was a wonderful plethora of stories that ranged on the horror spectrum from light-hearted humour to downright nasty but I enjoyed each and every one of them.

Each author has added a piece of their own voice and in their own story, brought Kill for a Copy to life. Home, Sweet Home by Jack Rollins was the first in the book and as I read this curled under the covers, I literally could not put it down. I had to know what would happen.

My favourites in the anthology were Bon Apetite by Stuart Keane, Redwood by Angus Fenton, Bedlam Betty by Brian Barr and Tactile Living by Audrey E. L. Coots but each and every one of the stories brought something different to the anthology and made me think. Definitely worth the read if you love a good yarn!

Sojourn: The Wildlands – a Review

Sojourn: The Wildlands
I was given a copy of Sojourn: The Wildlands by B. D. Messick in return for an honest review.

The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where everything beyond the small cities, called Enclaves, is wasteland. However, when a person turns eighteen they must travel to a new Enclave, chosen at random, to start their new life.

Rayn is a seventeen year old girl looking at facing her future while dealing with the typical struggles of a teenage girl. Her best friend, Luk, is a little younger than her and his Sojourn to the new Enclave won’t start until a few months after her so she is facing a long trek across the wildlands on her own.However, a couple of days in and her best friend Luk is there to find her. He can’t stand not being with her and they share their first kiss in a run-down camper van.

The story moves forward from there, taking the reader day to day through the struggles the pair face including hunting for food, searching for water and making tough decisions. They have some luck on their way as well as some bad times but come through it together.

I love Rayn as a character. She’s strong and independent. She is the one doing most of the leading throughout their Sojourn although she doesn’t believe it (and knows that without Luk she might not have survived). She has studied well and the time spent with her father before her Sojourn is always coming back in some way in terms of map-reading or shooting. She’s a smart girl.

Their relationship is just budding throughout this book and we watch as she goes from unsure to bashful to confident still in this honeymoon phase.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, leaving the reader to wonder what will happen in the next book. It’s a great read and I would recommend this to anyone who likes YA and post-apocalyptic.

 

Middlings

I’m currently working on the fourth novel in a series (of which there will be seven). I have been loosely planning the novels in my notebook but mostly they have come together of their own accord. It’s like something I’ve never experienced before and I love it!

I’ve come to the realisation that my weakness (because we all have them) while writing is the middle. Because I have planned the beginning and know where I want it to end up, I know what I’m doing there. However, because I haven’t been putting in a rigid structure or plan throughout my novel I’ve found two things: that my characters have free reign to tell me what they want to do and that I flounder somewhat.

In one way, I like writing like this. My story goes where it should go and the characters seem to know where to take me from one scene to the next. They seem to have a lot of bright ideas. But one thing that I do find is that on the occasion when I sit down to write and I’m not sure where my characters want to go, I’m a bit lost. Sometimes I find myself slogging through the thousand words just to get it down on paper but not really feeling it. Sometimes I’ll sit for ages just wondering (and of course procrastinating) what should happen next.

Of course there are pros and cons of planning and pantsing but I like to adopt an in-the-middle approach that seems to work generally quite well for me. What I do think I’m good at doing is soldiering on through the times when I find it hard to write. I make myself write because I know that when I hit the next scene my fingers will be flying and the characters will be taking over again.

In other news, I’m taking off this weekend for some time with family and my partner as we head to the Harry Potter studio in London. Of course I’m so excited about it being the huge Harry Potter dork that I am (and currently deciding how many Harry Potter themed clothes it would be acceptable to wear!).

Oh and look out this weekend for a cover reveal from Granville, my new co-written novella which is being released on the 17th. If you want to take part here’s the link to the release party on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/464630770410893/

David Owain Hughes will also be attending the party as of course, he is the co-author! Also look out for Eight Deadly Kisses released by Dark Chapters Press, an anthology written by women with strong female characters. All proceeds go to CAMFED.

The 2016 Dark Chapter Press Longlist

Wow! I didn’t expect to come home to such amazing news! I made the longlist for Dark Chapter Press contest. I stand alongside four other fantastic authors and it will only be a few short weeks until I find out whether I made the grade…

Dark Chapter Press

Five titles have been selected to progress to the next stage of the competition. These will be whittled down to a shortlist of 3 finalists over the coming weeks.

The five longlisted entries are as follows:

The Man With The Red Tie – Grant Skelton

Tainted – Myles Nielsen

Labyrinth of the Fallen Angel – Alice J. Black

The Daemonic Civil War – Brian Barr

Piece It All Back Together – Feind Gottes

Congratulations to you all for making it to the longlist, and commiserations to the other entrants who leave us at this stage.

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Granville

You may remember me chatting about a co-written novella a few weeks ago. This was co-written with David Owain Hughes and came to fruition last year after a lot of early morning Facebook conversations. It grew and grew and gained a life of its own and now, lo and behold, it will be released sooner than I could imagine!

From Stitched Smile Press, you’ll meet Granville. There’s a new killer in town…

 

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Co-editing

Writing something with another author has always baffled me–that’s until I actually did it. I’m the sort of person who worries about the logistics of a thing, who will do what, will it be equal etc. However, when it got down to writing it  we passed it back and forth each adding a little at a time until it was finished and we had a completed novella.

Now we’re at the editing stage after being offered a publishing deal. I worried about the same thing. Thing is, it has gone more smoothly than I thought. My co-writer, David Owain Hughes, did the first round of edits using track & change, I have gone through a second round adding, accepting or rejecting and passed it back for a final read through. Hopefully by April this will be out.

I think co-writing has taught me a lot about compromise, working together and discussion as well as opening me up to ideas and styles of writing that I haven’t tried or possibly have been a little shy to in the past. Often I stop and think, What if someone I know reads this? Often it can put me off writing certain things, making things too gory or erotic for example, but then writing with David has taught me to write like I want to write. I write for me and hopefully someone will enjoy my work. Not everyone will and that’s true of friends and family.

In other news, I’m working on the third novel in the series I’m currently working on. I’m just over 20k in and still going strong although at times it’s a slow write. I think it could have been planned just that little bit better but I’m going to see where it takes me. I want to finish writing them all before going back to edit and doing that it one big, long stint. I think that’ll help with keeping the flow of the piece.

Oh and in other news, I ran over my big toe with a sofa today. If my toe doesn’t drop off then I think that my nail will. All I have to say is OW!

What are you working on at the minute? Or if you’re not an author, what are you reading?

White Walls and Straitjackets: a Review

I finished reading White Walls and Straitjackets after a copy was given to me from the publisher. I went into the book knowing nothing about it except that I loved the cover art and I was taken by complete surprise.

I met Harry and Crystal, two very devious, manipulative characters who are on the run together. They’re certainly a very toxic mix but they don’t think so and keep on going. When they find a book entitled White Walls and Straitjackets in the glove compartment, Harry begins to read to Crystal as they drive. The first few stories he reads scare them both but as the book winds on they both realise something is happening.

The book contains a lot of gore throughout and some very interesting characters and while gore is not usually something I go for, this I enjoyed. The characters are woven into the main thread until it came out with an ending that left me shocked. The novel itself is written in a different format which I really enjoyed. Having stories within a novel was something I’ve not seen before and I thought it might be distracting but actually, it really worked.