May has already brought with it a fair share of positives and negatives.
Lets get rid of the negatives first. Okay, so far there's only been one negative but for me its huge. Namely, that of hitting yet another of what quaint folk like to call, a milestone birthday. Let's make things clear, it is not a milestone, but a grind-stone around my neck. Yet another 'nail in the coffin,' step towards death,' 'staring St Peter in the eye,' 'smiling at the grim reaper,' or 'wearing too much loose skin,' and not in the right places either.
That feels a bit better, not a lot because when I look in the mirror and try to see only my mind, not my face, I fail dismally. I don't want to see the wrinkles, the dropped eyelids, the lines appearing around my lips, the sag in the cheeks near my nose, or the second hanging line at each end of my mouth.
When I smile and lift my eyes like I'm surprised at the price of something, these things reduce, and when I pull the skin tight at the nape of my neck, the two cords of ligaments at the front, and the baggy turkey neck vanish. I wish I could buy bulldog clips to put there.
But enough of my vanity. I don't want to bore you with my body inadequacies the most prominent of which is my nipples looking for loose change on the floor, instead of seeking which direction to go in, like they used to do.
The positives just about outweigh my big negative.
First, Westwood Cross Management is supporting me in my first ever National event. We are holding
WESTWORDS 2019 on Sunday 14th JULY
from 0900- 1600 at Westwood Cross.
This is the first event (as far as I know) of its kind. Normally, people attend expensive conferences and whilst there attend an Author Signing Session. Here keen readers and fans of certain genre, meet with their writer heroes and generally chat, ask questions about their writing and characters. If they are lucky they also get to purchase signed copies of their work and have their photos taken with them.
I'm cutting out the expensive bit and the bit where you have to travel and stay overnight somewhere, or pay an exorbitant price for car parking. I'm hoping folk will come to this event because I don't want it to be a one-off. I'd like it to be an annual event attracting more authors, and readers, year on year. It'll probably be smallish to begin with, but it needs support to thrive, just like children. We are also having readings, at no cost to the public. This is another thing they do at expensive £+++ conferences.
Westwood Cross Management and myself are keen to support events which promote literacy and this is not our only WESTWORDS event planned this year.
My final positive is that I've finished the first draft of "What If?" my fourth full-length novel. My fellow author, Tara Moore, has been encouraging me to approach a "proper" literary agent this time. After my first two were rejection 80+ times. I didn't bother with novel number three because I know how to publish independently. I'm a bit nervous about it to be honest. I am totally capable of producing novels myself, but in reality I will never get the readership that comes with having a traditional agent and publisher. Can I face rejection on a grand scale again? What am I talking about I suffered just that only last year. My heart was ripped in two and thrown to the wolves to devour, but that's another story...
What If, is a story about Katie Wadlow a normal girl in a normal town. Until she reaches twenty-four that is, then she discovers her whole life has been a lie. Not only that, it appears she is not human either. At that point, things really start going down hill for Katie with not one, but three groups trying to lure, capture or kill her.
I've had my fill of minor illnesses over the last six months and I'm sure I'm not the only one. For me it seems the germs wait around until I have some time off, as my previous blog regarding Jury Service will testify (not a deliberate pun, just fits thats all ).
This will be the first half term since last October that I've not been ill and my goodness haven't I filled it up. I'm another 10,000 words in on my What If? novel, though I'm toying with calling it 'The Cat's Out of the Bag,' instead. It depends how many books are already called that, I'm guessing lots. Its up to 72,000 words now and today the ending hit me, or rather my husband in a rare moment of imagination assisted when I asked for ideas. I've gently moulded the wisp of idea and have a good last few chapters in my head. Hence the new title.
I'm also 10,000 words in on Quest 4 Courage, the third novel in the Witch on the Warpath series. As I was working some days last week 20,000 in a week isn't bad for me.
Monday I took a 'me day.' I haven't had one of those in forever. You know how when to go somewhere with someone else (and I do enjoy these times) you feel you need to cede to their wishes and likes? Or when you go retail with your hubby in tow, you feel you can't spend more than five minutes in Victoria Secrets or he'll get antsy? Well Monday was awesome.
I left home, when I wanted to. I drove in the motorway lanes I wanted to, I parked at Bluewater where I wanted to, then I deliberately strolled at the slowest pace I could manage. It was more like meandering than walking and I switched my brain off and let my child side come alive. Heaven.
Initally I'd planned a film, Sushi and make-up, but Sushi didn't make it (this time). Usually I have to avoid fish at all costs for my husband's sensibilities. I didn't feel hungry, but I could have if I wanted to - and that was the point. Sadly my make-up shop Kiko had vanished, so too had Monsoon, at least I could only find Accessorize. Managed to buy something there of course.
Didn't fancy any films, then suddenly I did, returning on an impulse to watch Hell Boy, naturally. Normally a different film would have been chosen on a democratic vote and once the timing selected that would be it. I was very peeved to find out later when doing my receipts that they charged me OAP rates HUH! not happy with that, when I'm not - yet. I paid for the very expensive coke and popcorn which cost more than the ticket - and I didn't care.
There's a new shop aimed at Writers called Typo, it called to me, as did Hotel Chocolate. The former selling cute panda items which I know my son loves. I purchased cough medicine from Boots for my son's cough - which was rubbish - and several more pairs of knickers (my weakness) from Boix Avenue.
But that was last Monday, since then I've wormed the cat, spring cleaned the downstairs loo and taken up my penance of running around the village early evening. However yesterday was the best day of the week when I met with Westwood Cross Management Team and two super ladies who ae supportive of my planning event there in July called WESTWORDS 2019. More details of that exciting adventure to follow in future blogs.
I have to admit I went into the ladies loo afterwards and did a fist pump in the air while screaming once. I did request those present turn away before my manic outburst, but I think they still believe I'm insane from the looks they treated me to.
Will update soon. BFN
What an exciting week ahead, I thought on the Saturday night. I was down to do Jury Service at the local Crown Court. I'd already deferred once due to the short notice and on Monday I was about to get an experience I always wanted. Especially so because being a writer any experience adds to your ability to write about it. Okay so I couldn't write anything about cases etc but I didn't want that. I can very easily make up my own crimes. (That didn't come out quite like I meant it to)
What a meant was I'd get a feel of the place, the importance, the seriousness, the vibe. The pomp and ceremony like swearing in and sitting in a jury and listening to evidence, the weight of somebody's life on the line. It was frightening, exciting and sobering too. A judgement might send a mother away from her children, a son away from his mother. It might lose someone their job. Jury service is not to be entered lightly you are messing with real people's real lives.
I was also concerned about not being at work. It would be the first time in years, literally that I'd been off work that long. I worried about folk having to bear my workload in addition to their own. And, as you know nowadays, there is no slack anymore. Everyone I know works at break-neck speed with little or no rest.
Still, it wasn't like I had a choice, I didn't want to be standing in the box for not turning up to Jury Service, heaven forbid.
However, all my plans and ideas went down the pan on Sunday night. I'd even driven to the Courts 18 miles away on Saturday to check out that I could park - yes there plenty of spaces behind an intimidating looking green metal fence with spikes on top. I swallowed hard looking at that. Did the jury sometimes get antsy? I wondered. The entrance was easy to see and I had a vague recollection of coming here 19 years ago on another adventure, but thats an entirely different story.
Sunday night I started coughing and when I say started coughing I don't mean that polite ladies cough. This was a hacking, soul-stretching cough that felt like someone had grabbed a cheese grater and rammed it down my throat whilst I slept. Next, a gigantic bloke with a hammer began striking the back of my head and if that wasn't enough he picked me up threw me into the road where someone in a steam roller decided to drive over my legs. The pain was beyond pain. How I was still conscious I wasn't sure. Finally, I couldn't figure out how I had so much water running off my body like Niagara. I'm dammed sure I've never drunk that much in my whole life. I must have a temperature I concluded. Sure enough 39.7C Eeerh! I've got Jury Service in the morning and I can't defer again, or they'll send me to prison.
Typically I couldn't find any good paracetamol in the house and made do with a selection of various meds that should have helped - they didn't. Monday morning came and I felt worse. The bed, at least my side resembled a deflated hot tub complete with water aka sweat. I couldn't get any response from either the GP surgery or the Jury Service Team before 8am and that's when I needed to leave home to get to the courts without going to prison for being late.
It was awful. I thought for moments that I might be dying and god had decided to keep me in the dark in case I freaked out, which I would have - he knows me well. Every exhalation was a continuous cheese-grating cough until I inhaled. I got out the car, I was early and folk grimaced at me like I was carrying a weapon. I suppose I was a biological one. Women tutted and turned away in disgust, men cowered in the corner too afraid to be exposed.
The security man wasn't impressed. He couldn't run away, though he looked like he wished he could. Didn't they realise if I could have run away too, I would have joined them?
I'd deliberately stocked my bag with "everything" and I mean everything. I was told we needed to provide our own lunch and I was worried they might still make me do jury service regardless of my temporary dying state. If I'd swung my bag, I probably would have knocked out any guilty defendant without a problem. As it was, I could just about lift it.
Big burly security man directed me up the stairs so off I plodded. I swear I heard a collective sigh of relief from the people now assembling behind me. I wandered down the hallway and around the corner and couldn't see any sign of the waiting room. I accosted a lovely man coming out of the men's toilet and he escorted me upstairs to the assembly area.
Two flights of stairs later and I needed oxygen, fortunately I'd brought an old inhaler of Ventolin along, just in case stairs were in my future. It helped - slightly. I sat with folk around me, glaring at me. I could feel their displeasure boring into the back of my neck as I faced away from them all. A deliberate ploy I wondered to keep my germs cordoned off. The very nice organiser-man, said I could go home and he'd defer me again. I asked if he was sure only the paper work said only one deferment. He assured me it was fine and even send me a letter via email later confirming it and my new date.
I decided a trip to the doctor was in order. I managed (thanks to a very kind friend) to get an emergency appointment in 1.40hrs. Too poorly to be bothered driving home I went to sleep in the car, waking only when I needed a wee. Quietly entering the surgery, I headed straight to the loo, did my business and went to return to my car when the staff advised me to stay inside. I still waited another 30 minutes to be "the next one in."
While I lolled in a chair by the window trying to keep my lungs inside my body, my spine had melted by then, I watched my lovely car outside as someone came into the car park and hit it! I definitely don't like Mondays anymore.
"Great, half-term., I'll really be able to get some writing under my belt." I'd planned to finish the storyboard I'd started for What IF? and this in turn would motivate me to complete the bulk of the story this week.
What do the say about the best laid plans mice and men? Well laid is the right word, except I'm laid up in bed with a nasty dose of gastric Influenza. Temperature up to 39.6C and aches in places I didn't know you could have aches.
You know how you plan to do loads of stuff and it never happens? This is likely to be my week off. I'm annoyed, frustrated and annoyed again. I know I've managed to sit here - in bed - and run off this blog, but its not the same as writing. For my writing to flow, I need to immerse myself in the story, become one with the characters. Not going to happen with me sitting on the loo every 20 minutes. And, when did my stomach get so noisy? I swear the neighbours can hear it. It's quite disturbing, I'm waiting for the equivalent of Alien to burst from my stomach like a volcano. Fortunately thats only happened on the loo - so far!
If my temperature could retreat for a while tomorrow I might get something accomplished, but I haven't left my bed today - oh yes I have! to go to the loo - many times. I actually slept on the floor of the bathroom at one point and not because I'd had too many to drink. I know there are people who have done that too.
I don't want to eat, don't want to look at or talk about food. I've been on water since yesterday and the weight has dropped away, Over one and a half kilos in 24 hrs, seems impressive but we all know it'll pile back on again and as people often say "its all water". Why can't it be fat that's what I'd like to know?
These are the ravings of a women on the edge - of the bed and heading for the loo again.
Really excited after booking a stall to do signings at Sci-Fi by the Sea in Herne Bay on Sunday June 16th. I have been considering a stall there for a couple of years and last year, though I didn't eventually book a stall, considering it too costly, I decided to go to the event to scope it out.
It was amazing, regardless of whether I sell novels or not. Every type of fantasy and Sci-fi character from films, cartoons, anima and TV series was there from Ghostbusters and Dr Who to Star Wars and Marvel characters, plus everything in between. I'd go this year just to view the folk dressed up.
I usually pay in the region of £25 - £40 to attend an event hoping to break even in most places. Naturally, finding places where my target reading market go makes the chance of me making more sales. Sci-Fi by the Sea is much more costly, but I'm hoping it will be worth it. A large number of people attended making it appear very worthwhile. Fingers Crossed.
After reading a really interesting piece on writing from Medium's Daily Digest yesterday, I've set myself some new goals. It's not often I get a lunchbreak at work, but when I do I fill the 20 or so minutes by reading. In the evenings, I tackle my writing structures and later in bed I read some more. However, I'm not home every evening with various activities and groups and thus my free writing time dwindles.
The evenings are predominantly for my continuity work at present so I'm not actually writing anything new. Medium suggests having a set time of every day for writing and from today I started using my lunchbreak to do this. I can easily get 500 words down in that short space of time writing with my left hand while stuffing my face with the right one. I'm going to do this for the rest of the month and see what progress I can make with my latest novel, The Quest for Courage.
Then someone put this on FB and I saw my books from Quex and thought Yay! Inspiration to continue writing.
I remember earlier in my life that when I was supposed to do a certain thing, I'd find all manner of chores and jobs to prevent or delay me actually doing the task I was avoiding. The bin needed cleaning, those books needed sorting, the cat litter tray, that pile of biros needed testing individually to see if sufficient ink remained. I thought I had outgrowth these traits - it appears not.
The only difference between then and now is I was conscious of my feeble attempts to avoid the task then. Today, I realised I've been doing the same behaviour again all week. I've been avoiding writing. It's not good, finding the inside of my cat's food pot leftovers of greater value. I know I need to finish What IF? but its a drag completing the continuity board and though I've re-corrected the telephone call history, its just not driving me wild with excitement.
I've thought about changing to a different WIP but I'm not in the 'right place' for Prodigy. (if you've read Aqua you'll know what I mean) and I don't want to get sucked into The Quest for Courage. I must finish What If? and I don't have a clue regards the ending yet. It's probably why I'm, as my friend used to say, "fannying about."
My pantser brain seems to be side-tracked, not helped by me thinking about the upcoming Inspirations AGM. Like all of us, I have a mountain of thoughts, activities and worries circling my head. Unfortunately not one of them is the ending to What If? I'm pretty sure it's going to be huge when it does finally make an appearance.
I'm not sure whether this is a stand alone novel or the beginning of a saga. It has the potential to be and might be the reason I can't close or end the story. There's the feeling that there is more to it. Aqua felt the same way, but Witch on the Warpath evolved into Gristle's Revenge only recently and The Quest for Courage coming on the heels of the launch has taken me completely by surprise.
Stay tuned to hear the outcome. Will my creativity burst forth for What if? and words roll off my mind again, or will it have to move over to make way for another of my novels waiting to emerge?
Christmas is nearly upon us. I can feel it's arms reaching for me, encouraging me to gather my family close once again in its annual embrace. I shall look forward to giving and receiving gifts from family, friends and work colleagues on Xmas morning while my turkey, which I collect tomorrow, roasts in its juices (Apols vegans).
Meanwhile my writing continues apace. Gristle's Revenge is not 4 weeks out of the starting blocks and I've been woken a few short mornings ago by that proverbial voice in my head hassling me about a new story. It continued pestering me to begin the process of capturing the fleeting images that swirl inside my head on a daily occurrence ever since that morning. There is never any let up until I remove those words onto the page and thus my third novel in the sequence of books that is fast becoming a series is stumbling into life as The Quest for Courage is born.
Already I have penned the first chapter as it falls from my mind onto the paper, cereal box, laptop screen, or indeed any medium that allows me to record its story. I'm not sure if I've told folk before how my writing is created. It is not me, I feel like a conduit from which it flows. I mean it must be me, but it is endless and compels me. I write until my mind empties, then it leaves me alone for a while. Often I leave pen and paper by me bed during these storming times because I never know when it might be. At the dentist, in a café, in Tesco queue, or the loo. Driving the car is a prime one and one I have promised myself to keep a Dictaphone in, but I never do. Sometimes I can write like now, where I decide what is going to be put down into words, but other times it pours from me unstoppable. Any of you who know me personally would probably say, "That's just you Carol, that's how you are," but I can assure you, this is much, much more. It takes over my thoughts until I release it. My husband will tell you I tend to speak of nothing else for days at a time, so he often switches off. I believe it's what is called a 'pantser' in the writing world and those of you who write like this, like me, will know what I speak about.
As a result, I now have three novels under construction. I'm two-thirds of the way through writing the What If? novel, half way through the follow-up Aquasapien Prodigy novel and now The Quest for Courage has entered the arena. Its only a question of time to see which novel will finish this race first, the newcomer TQFC, or my two on the home straight. Keep a lookout for further instalments on this three horse race to see if TQFC will fall at the first hurdle or romp home a rank outsider.
I'd like to thank all the folk that came to the signing today and purchased a copy of my latest novel Gristle's Revenge. I appreicated you all making the effort for me despite the terrible weather and the difficulty finding parking.
I'd also like to give a big thank you to Olby's Soul Café for Claire contacting me, and Eli agreeing to host my launch event. Both Eli and his staff were amazing. They were kind and supportive and in case I haven't mentioned it, their food is amazing too. Thank you to their innovative Caribbean-style menu and their talented chef many of us, who came for a drink, stayed to eat their scrumptious food, myself and my son included. If you didn't want to purchase book please consider visiting Olby's Soul Café, Margate. Not only does it have brilliant tasty food, it offers a host of music events throughout the year.
Regards Gristle's Revenge, if you missed it you missed out because I was selling at a pound off the R.R.P. I'm signing books again at the Sandwich Xmas Festival next week on the 8th, hopefully in St Peter's church there. That is my last signing date before Xmas. After that you can order from Waterstones or WH Smiths, but you won't receive these in time for Xmas. If you order via my EStore you will receive it in time for Xmas if you live fairly locally and I'll make every effort to see that you do if you live abroad. I have had sales in Ireland, Germany and Australia, the latter might still be feasible if action is speedy.
Once again thank you to those of you who braved the weather. I was very humbled to have such great friends, relatives and buddies.
Gristle's Revenge is officially a reality. I did have a worrisome day when the day they were supposed to arrive didn't happen. It was definitely stressful. I was working and had arranged for a relative to be on hand all day. When they didn't materialise my stress ratchetted up several levels. Only the good comms from my printers kept my heart from escaping out my chest and flopping onto the floor like a landed trout.
Reassured, I tracked the books as they left the printers later the same day, landing at the Medway depot ready for delivery yesterday. Two hugely heavy boxes arrived, fortunately I didn't need to move them I had strong arms to assist me.
Opening the boxes I held my breath. They were stunning, the top four were individually wrapped, the remainder sealed in groups of four. I've only opened one group of four not wanting to mess with perfection, so I'm hoping the insides are printed round the correct way! Of the ones I opened I couldn't resist stroking the smooth satin covers and sniffing the fresh scent of print.
I must admit a strong inclination to sleep with the copies, but I guessed my family might find that a wee bit weird and a call to the mental health crisis team might follow. As I can't have anything obstructing the launch now I decided to act normally - for a while - and behave. It took all my resolve to climb the stairs to bed and leave my precious bundles alone.
Now half the order is packed up in the lounge ready to take to the launch on Saturday, this Saturday just in case I haven't mentioned it. From 12 - 4pm at Olby's. I notice they have advertised the event on their website, its on Kent Online too and the wonderful Kathy Bailies is putting it on the on-line Ilse of Thanet News. https://theisleofthanetnews.com
I haven't noticed whether the papers have included it, but Waterstones are offering Gristle's Revenge on their site despite not having any copies.
Also Brown's Books for Students have an entry.
And this site really confused me when it produced this photo. I can only assume the man in the photo is Gristle.