Saying Goodbye to 2015

There’s always something quite nice and refreshing about a new year. I always find myself gearing up ready for exciting things. I make goals for myself and put in plot points to reach them. I relish the idea of starting afresh and while 2015 has not been a particularly arduous year, I feel like 2016 is signalling great new things to come.

Already I have had news that a co-written novella by myself and David Owain Hughes has been accepted for publication. I have a novel in with Dark Chapters Press which I hope to hear about come February and already a couple of short stories lined up to be in anthologies.

I have plans to finish writing a series of novels that I’m working on. This year I wrote two which means I’m challenging myself to write five novels next year in that series. I have another idea brewing that could possible be something in the middle grade/YA range which I’m excited about and of course I’ll try and keep up with short story submissions.

In other things I want to challenge myself to read more. Although the latter half of this year has gotten relatively better, I’ve picked up an actual reading challenge and started compiling a list of books that I want to acquire.

And of course there are those usual personal goals in amongst all of that including being more organised and certainly more assertive. That’s always a hard one, isn’t it?

Whether you’re a goal setter or not, I wish you all the most happy of New Years and hope that 2016 brings everything you could want.

 

 

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Jessica Rhodes talks about her Debut Novel

Name: Jessica Rhodes

Age: 24

Where are you from? Ramsgate, Kent.

Tell us a little about yourself ie. education Family life etc.

I was born and raised in Ramsgate, and have always loved writing. My highest achievement to date is a BA (Hons) in Music from the University of East Anglia, which I received in 2013. I have a lovely baby son called Charlie, and I’m marrying my fiancé Josh in August 2016. We are also the proud owners of 3 gorgeous cats, who are mad as hatters but lovable with it!

When and why did you begin writing? I started writing in my GCSE year, so about 2007/2008. I did a piece about human grief in which the protagonist’s daughter passes away, shortly followed by her mother. It got a high grade and sparked my interest in the human psyche.

Do you have a novel/collection published? Would you like to tell us about it? I am currently publishing my debut novel, Lady Cannibal, with Immortal Publishing in America. It’s the first in a series of books, which is pretty exciting.

What inspired you to write your first book? I got the opening line for Chapter One of Lady Cannibal at 2 am! It was weird to wake up and have that line going round my head, but once it was down on paper that was it.

Do you have a favourite character from your book? If yes, who is it and why? My favourite character in my book has to be Serena Raymond. She’s feisty on the outside, but on the inside she’s fragile and hurting a great deal. Exploring her is one of my favourite things to do.

Is your book part of series? If so what can readers expect to find in your series? It is, and people can expect to find a lot of darkness, depravity and sexual tension as well as every range of emotions possible.

Do you have a specific writing style? Not really. I suppose my “style” is simply to sit down and ask the book what its story is. It sounds weird, but I literally think to myself “What does this book want to tell me? Whose story am I telling? What’s the story here?”

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Starting a book! Once I’ve started a book, I’m away, but looking at that blank page is the most daunting thing I will ever face.

What are your current projects? I’m working on my second novel, Prison of the Angels, and editing my fiancé’s book Shadowborn.

Can you share a little of your current work with us? That would be telling! No spoilers!

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? A lot of them are based on my own life experiences and events that have happened to me, especially the experiences that shape Serena. She is, to all intents and purposes, my twin. Just with a far better job!

What books have most influenced your life most? Do you have a mentor? I think it would be better to say which authors influenced my life! They are Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Kate Rhodes, P D James, J K Rowling and the wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett. As for a mentor … I have a lot of friends who kick me up the backside when I’m slacking!

Have you ever been able to travel in regards to your books? What was it like? I’ve had the opportunity to travel, but not in regards to my books. Travel is a huge passion of mine, even though I’ve only been to Europe, and I hope to take my son abroad when we can afford it.

Do you have any advice for other writers? Always listen to yourself. Don’t listen to people who say you should write in a specific style, or with a set number of words, because it’s all a matter of opinion. As long as you are being true to the book and true to yourself, nothing else matters.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Other than enjoy the book, nothing really!

What book are you reading now? I’m reading The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman for a website I review for. Juggling that and a baby is certainly fun!

Do you remember the first book you read? If not tell us what your favourite book is and why. Hmm … my favourite book has to be Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I just love how feisty Jane is, how firm she is in her moral outlook, and how she stands by her decision not to marry Rochester and make him a bigamist. She is the older sister I wish I had.

Other than writing do you have any hobbies? I like keeping fit through a mix of Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred and martial arts, and I love cooking and baking. I also love reading when I get a chance, although playing with my son on his playmat is far more fun!

Do you have a day job? If so, what do you do? I used to work for the NHS as admin staff, but I’ve applied for Kent Police as an officer. I’ve passed shortlisting so just have vetting and medicals to pass before I can potentially be an officer!

What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching? I love Strictly Come Dancing and the Great British Bake Off, as well as Masterchef and Celebrity Masterchef. As for films … if I listed them all we’d be here all day!

Favourite foods /Colors/Music.

Foods is a hard one – I’m pescetarian so I love a lot of Asian flavours, and I also love a good Sunday roast! Just with fish rather than meat. Colours-wise, I like dark colours such as purple, red, black, blue and green. I’m not one for pastels and floral prints – you’re more likely to see me in jeans and a t-shirt than a fashionable dress! Music – again we’d be here all day! At the moment I’m loving Pentatonix, Peter Hollens, Evynne Hollens and Lindsey Stirling as well as Nathan Alef and Merlin Showalter.

Links: www.writersedit.com – Writer’s Edit, the site I do freelance reviewing for.

Blog: thehomegrownmum.blogspot.co.uk – my parenting blog.

theliteraturewhisperer.wordpress.com – my book review website.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/somethingtosaytoyou – author page.

www.facebook.com/theserenaraymondnovels – the book series page.

Twitter: @JLRhodes91

Instagram: jessica.rhodes91

Bio: I was born and raised in Ramsgate, and have always loved writing. My highest achievement to date is a BA (Hons) in Music from the University of East Anglia, which I received in 2013. I have a lovely baby son called Charlie, and I’m marrying my fiancé Josh in August 2016. We are also the proud owners of 3 gorgeous cats, who are mad as hatters but lovable with it!

Circle of Trees: the idea.

I’m working on editing a novel I wrote during the 2013 NaNoWriMo extravaganza. I hit near 60k with this one (one of my longest to date on initial write) and I really loved it. It’s already had a couple of different titles and I’m working on giving it another for when I finish but for now we’ll call it The Circle of Trees.

This novel idea came to me when I was out walking one day. I remember the day just as it was: bright and sunny. I was out for one of my first walks with a hiking group, my dad in tow. We were hiking in Ingram Valley which is located in Breamish Valley, Northumberland. It’s a beautiful spot and one I’ve been to before with bbqs and friends for fun days out.

This day in particular was sweltering hot and we traversed up a narrow pathway up the side of a steep hill. My dad and myself were near the back of the group and as I walked, I watched my feet. There was no way I wanted to stumble and slip over the side! So I finally got to the top and as our group was moving over a stile one by one, I finally had the chance to look up. I saw hills after hills, greenery and blue sky. It was beautiful. That’s when I saw them. On the top of a hill there was a circle of trees. It struck me with the way they were formed, almost as if they had been put there on purpose, and I couldn’t help but think on it. It lingered in my mind and I wish I had managed to stop and take a photo – it was hard work keeping up with everyone – as there have been so many times I’ve wanted to go back and grab the shot and never managed yet.

As we ended the walk at the local pub with a well earned pint of beer and a snickers (essential walking food!) I got out my notebook and jotted a few things down. The idea grew from there and it seemed, so did the characters. When I wrote the novel in 2013 it was one of my easiest writes so far. I’d planned it well and I was so absorbed in the story itself.

Now I’m finally getting around to editing (five chapters in so far) with the hopes of submitting it when I’m done. So I’m going to start searching for publishers too!

Am I a technophobe?!

At one point I never thought this question would be on my mind. Yes, I’m not brilliant with computers but I know my way around them pretty well and when it comes to the internet, well I pretty much grew up on it so when I’ve been working on things using my blog and especially this Giveaway and I can’t seem to get the links to work etc, I get a little frustrated.

That being said, I think all is well now! So check it out at:

a Rafflecopter giveaway “>

(I REALLY hope that works lol).

Oh wow. It’s less than a week now until my release date. I’ve got a bunch of books coming ready for certain things (who knows, there might be another giveaway on the cards at a later date) and to do a couple of signed copies. I also plan to approach my local book stores to see if they’d be interested in stocking it. I’m feeling pretty nervous for that. After all, it would be an all out face-to-face rejection if they said no. Still, it would be my first rejection and that’s something, right?

There seem to be a lot of opportunities coming my way at the minute which I’m very thankful for (particularly to my good friend TS who has pointed me in the right direction) but I’m really excited to be getting involved in it!

Giveaway!

Hey guys

in order to commemorate the release of my novel, The Doors, on 20th November I’ve decided to give two lucky winners the chance to win a copy! There’s an e-book and a print book up for grabs and all you have to do is take a look at these few simple things…

a Rafflecopter giveaway “>

a Rafflecopter giveaway

First round of edits: Complete!

I finally finished the first round of edits for my novel. *phew* breathes a sigh of release. But it’s not over yet folks. That’s right, the second round is to come. How do I feel about that? Well, let’s start with how I felt about the first round! It was tough. I’m not going to lie, it was tough but at the same time I got a lot out of it. I learned a lot about how well I handle criticism, I learned how well I can work and edit when I put my mind to it and I worked damn hard to do it.

The second round – I’m quite looking forward to seeing the whole thing altogether as a novel. I’m equally intrigued to find out how many words it is now. When I submitted it was around 48k and I’m guessing it’s gone up some since then. My story has changed slightly, not the plot itself but since adding background info in and more character development, small details I’ve had to waiver. But it’s all a part of the creative process.

And let me tell you what a genius my editor is. I think she was just as nervous as me when we started this. She was worried she was being too critical or making too many notes. She’s an absolute saint. She’s given my baby everything she could and for that, I’m so thankful. Thank you, Missy!

This weekend I plan to have a little bit of a breather. I’m taking off for the day on Saturday with some friends and my partner to have a lovely day out involving lots of sunshine (fingers crossed) and on Sunday I plan to be in my pjs all day. I’m going to cook a Sunday dinner complete with roast potatoes (my favourite thing at the minute). I might possibly scrapbook or write or the bigger likelihood, I’ll game! Either that or watch a few movies. There’s a few I want to catch up on so I can go see the sequels that are coming out now.

Then I have a third day off! That’s unheard of. No idea what I’ll do with that. I have a niggling feeling that there’s something in the back of my mind… I’m sure there’s something I’m doing. But anyway, nice and relaxed.

Then back to the grind and hopefully the edits, feeling refreshed!