Choc Lit Search for a Star – As Weekends Go

Remember when Ordering Flynn Matthews was short listed February 2015 in Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition? Well the winner, As Weekends Go, by the lovely Jan Brigden, was published earlier this month. Congratulations Jan!

As Weekends Go cover

Click cover for Amazon link

I’ve already bought my copy 🙂 Hoping to start reading it this weekend.

Bridge House Book Launch

On Saturday, courtesy of my chauffeur (husband) I made it to Bridge House’s launch of Snowflakes and Cafe Lit anthologies not far from Leicester Square in Waxy O’Connors. Such a cool place. Should’ve worn a cloak!

Waxy O'Connor's

While my husband and son hung out in London my daughter and I had an interesting afternoon chatting with the other writers, listening to readings and finally meeting Debz, my wonderful editor! Her critique of my early novel writing was and still is invaluable. I’ve learnt so much from her.

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Me & Debz

Sometime during the afternoon her handbag was stolen right from under our noses. Amazingly she didn’t let it ruin her day. Check out her post about the day here: When Writers Meet

Snowflakes Book Launch

This Saturday I am going to London for my first book launch. It should be my third. I missed my first one in 1995 as I was about to give birth to my son and had feet the size of an elephant’s. Wearing shoes was tricky!  I couldn’t make it for On This Day‘s anthology launch so am very excited to be able to go to this one. I’ll get to meet my fellow Snowflakes authors and the lovely people at Bridge House Publishing especially Debz whose editing services have been instrumental in developing my novel writing skills.

From tomorrow up until Christmas Chief Editor at Bridge House Gill will be posting daily excerpts from each short story in Snowflakes plus interviews with the authors. So look out for those at Bridge House Publishing Blog.

Murmuration Somerset Levels, Love Alice Photography

Murmuration – Love Alice Photography (Tina Huckle) – © 2015

Flynn Matthews

After my last post about Ordering Flynn Matthews a kind friend sent me this:

Robert-Pattinson-Dossier-big-twilight-series-5480348-1221-1046

Looks like Flynn on a good day 😉 nah a bad day. So RPatz has at some point had blonde (ish) hair which makes him perfect for Flynn. I wasn’t searching hard enough. Perhaps there’s hope he might bleach his hair for a book cover photo shoot!

She sent another one too:

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Sort of how I imagined Flynn on a good day however a couple of my lovely followers sent me some other blonde actors/singers smoking:

AlexPettyfer  Screen-Shot-2014-03-23-at-2.35.10-PM Flynn smoke

Thanks everyone! Now I can’t decide!

Murmuration

Snowflakes – an anthology by Bridge House Publishing was published at the weekend.

Snowflakes Small

Click on the cover to go to Amazon UK

My short story Murmuration is in it. It’s about a married couple where one partner has dementia. Although it is a work of fiction its storyline is a personal one.

My mum has dementia. She hasn’t known who I am for a good few years but there are times when she will look at me, smile and say, “I know you don’t I.” For a split second there’s that connection with her, with the past, with what might have been, what we’d be sharing now if she didn’t have the disease.

And then there’s my dad who despite his own health issues cares for her with patience, love and understanding. It can be exhausting however he still finds the time to be there not only for her but for others too.

Murmuration is more heart warming than hard hitting but I hope it gives a little insight into being a carer and shows some of the symptoms a person in the latter stages of dementia may experience, and how those precious moments of recognition are a joy for their family.

A murmuration is a flock of starlings. A talented friend of mine Tina Huckle at Love Alice Photography supplied the beautiful photograph for Murmuration in the book trailer. It was taken on the Somerset Levels.

Book trailer:

Ordering Flynn Matthews

“Ordering Flynn Matthews is quality writing, original, fun, zany, has great dialogue and very credible characters however struggling with how to publish it in a commercial way as it sort of straddles genres in that it’s not traditional women’s fiction but tricky to categorise it anywhere else.”

Last week’s paraphrased rejection from the publisher who had shown interest in OFM. Disappointed as I love this publisher.

Original’s good, right?

Flynn’s a drug addict and foul mouthed. He uses the c-word and I don’t mean Christmas. He’s not the irresistible male hero that a romance novel has. None of the men in it are, they make big mistakes and so does Ellie who becomes unwittingly embroiled in a series of mishaps, and naïve judgements.

It’s a pacey contemporary novel that covers some tough subjects – obsession, addiction, loss, betrayal – in an original unconventional way.

Genre? Well it’s definitely contemporary with its social networking, fangirling and celebrity obsessed media. Probably more adult fiction with the language, drug taking and sex however it’s got crossover appeal as it’s contemporary and let’s face it young adults today know as many swear words as Flynn if not more. More women’s than men’s fiction although amongst my readers the men have enjoyed it too although I doubt as a gender they’ll be the ones picking it off a bookshelf. A romance novel? Not really although it does have elements of it but relationships with family and friends are as important as romance to our heroine, Ellie. And with a thread of humour running through the novel perhaps it’s Chick Lit.

So I think that’s how I’d market it.

True Ellie style I photoshopped up an idea for a book cover using an image of Rob Pattinson who imo looks better than anyone else smoking a cigarette. I wish I could credit the photographer however I only found the image on fan pages and I don’t have Ellie’s fangirl dedication to track down the source. Maybe someone out there does… If so, let me know and I’ll add the credit.

Flynn has blonde hair. Wonder if RP would bleach his hair for a photoshoot?

Here it is:

RP

I do not own image used.

Snowflakes

I’m delighted and thankful that a story of mine has been accepted by Bridge House Publishing for its 2015 Anthology.

I don’t write many short stories as I prefer to write novels however my novel writing improved when I was told to treat every chapter like a short story. It has to have a purpose, something has to have happened, it follows the story arc. Like a short story every chapter has to grab the reader. All the same rules apply.

Anyway I digress. Back to the short story and anthology.

‘Murmuration’ had been circulating in my mind for some time and when I read the submission brief

Our theme for 2015 is snowflakes. Real ones? Perhaps but more likely stories that are like snowflakes. Unique and perfectly formed. As they melt into the psyche they bring a life-sustaining force. Snow can be beautiful and it can be treacherous. It can swing from one extreme to another in seconds. It is an important part of the nature cycle 

I knew I had to write it. Although fiction the subject is a personal one. I won’t say anymore for now. I’ll save that for nearer publication. Snowflakes is due out 15.11.15!

Snowflakes

 

Calming the disquiet

After a very long day yesterday that had me questioning when and why us humans decided to make life, our lives so complicated it’s comforting to get back to writing today. Submerging myself in a fictional world grounds me, calms the disquiet and restores my soul.

That is all…

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Fab Feb

February was good to me.

On Valentine’s Day Choc Lit announced its Search for a Star competition shortlist. I was delighted and grateful if not a little stunned to discover my novel Ordering Flynn Matthews had made the cut along with five others.

Cue flights of fancy of it being published with a gorgeous book cover (Choc Lit has amazing cover designs!), being made into a movie – the story really lends itself to the big screen, honest – doesn’t hurt to dream and hey in the spirit of the book and its main character Ellie I’m putting it out there in the hope of triggering the universe’s law of attraction and turning my dreams into reality!

My fellow shortlisters are lovely, accomplished and talented which doesn’t bode well for me!

Being shortlisted means I have returned to editing Failing Flynn Matthews and Working Flynn Matthews. Although Ordering Flynn Matthews can be a standalone novel there are sequels.

Thanks to Carrie, John, Lydia and Sam for reading my stories and for their valued feedback! And thanks to my editor Debz Hobbs-Wyatt too!

The good news continued as a few days later I successfully interviewed for a job with a charity! Ten hours a week which works perfectly with writing. I’m looking forward to starting early April.

It’s years since I went on a march and with my Behcet’s under control I decided to become more proactive and move on from just being an armchair supporter of Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace and the Green Party. So February saw me join the Green Party and sign up for the Time to Act march for action on climate change in London on 7th March. My children are marching too, so my daughter and I will be meeting her uni student brother there. We went banner making in Bristol on Saturday and met some wonderful dedicated activists. We’re looking forward to next weekend!

Best news of all. 😉 It’s official. Dark chocolate is a super food! Fact. (Dietitians may disagree)

Green & Black's Dark Chocolate

My weekly supply…you think I’m joking

Three Manuscripts Later…

This year has flown by. My last post was in February. I had intended to post every month which is a reasonable aim I think however ten months later here’s my second post of the year!

So where was I? Ah yes, Ordering Flynn Matthews  – no agents interested yet so after being ‘nagged’ by a couple of my readers, you know who you are ;), I’ve entered it into the Choc Lit Search for a Star Competition hoping they find my flawed heroes irresistible! You never know…

My Blood Rain manuscript is currently with an agent. In anticipation of her liking it, channelling positivity, finally this month I edited the second novel in the trilogy, Blood Moon. I need to write the finale, Blood Stone – story outline written so I’ll get to that after I’ve finished my latest project.

So what have I done in the ten months since I last posted? Written three novels (80,000+ words each) that’s what! Whether they get published is immaterial (although it would be vindication for the time spent away from my family and all the burnt, late dinners!) I won’t give up writing. I get agitated if I don’t get time to write! It’s an addiction. It truly is.

Ordering Flynn Matthews is a stand alone novel however I have written a sequel Failing Flynn Matthews. I took a break from Flynn and wrote a romantic suspense novel No Blame – it’s dark and unlike my other novels has two points of view. Two weeks ago I completed Working Flynn Matthews. I’m resting all three for the moment. I will do another edit before sending them to my kindle for a read. I find it helps me with spotting typos and seeing if it flows like an actual book! After saving up the pennies I’ll send them to my editor Debz Hobbs-Wyatt who provides a wonderful service. In celebration of the first birthday of her debut novel she’s offering a limited number of reduced price in-depth novel critiques this December. So for anyone looking for a professional edit I can’t recommend her highly enough and her normal rates are very competitive too.

I have plenty of ideas for new stories and have started on my next project The Horse’s Head inspired by a gorgeous notebook (my weakness) I bought on a trip to Camden Market in the summer. It’s become our favourite market to frequent, slightly inconvenient considering we live in Somerset!

Owl Notebook

The inspirational notebook!