Blogger Award and My Last WIPpet Wednesday (for a While)

sisterhood-of-world-blogger-awardIt’s true, this is going to be my last WIPpet Wednesday, in fact my last blog post for a while. How long a while is all depends on when our baby decides to arrive and when I’m next awake enough/have any time (you get the idea) to even think about blogging. Apart from taking the time to relax over these next couple of weeks I also want to concentrate on writing A Long Way From Home while I have the chance. It has stalled at around a third of the way in and I’d like to get a good chunk written before our baby arrives. A little scare over the weekend when I was admitted to hospital for 24 hours to be monitored made me realise how soon our little baby could actually make an appearance. All is fine and baby’s heart was monitored and he/she was moving around like a crazy thing so I was discharged on Monday. Feet up, laptop and writing – that’s my plan.

I’ve also been meaning to do a post about a blogger award I received way back in November from my friend and fellow author, Jade Reyner, who’s not only a prolific blogger but about to launch her second novel in the coming weeks. She nominated me for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! and so I thought it was about time that I officially thanked her and passed the award on. As blogger awards go this is a simple one:

Rules:

  1. Provide a link and thank the blogger who nominated you for this award.
  2. Answer 10 questions.
  3. Nominate 10-12 blogs that you find a joy to read.
  4. Provide links to these nominated blogs and kindly let the recipients know that they have been nominated.
  5. Include the award logo within your blog post.

Questions:

  1. Your favourite colour? – Blue
  2. Your favourite animal? – Dog, specifically our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
  3. Your favourite non-alcoholic drink? – Rhubarb & Custard drink from M&S that tastes just like the sweets I had when I was a kid.
  4. Facebook or Twitter? – Twitter, although I’m getting in to Facebook more now.
  5. Your favourite pattern? – Stripes
  6. Do you prefer getting or giving presents? – Giving, particularly when you know you’ve got something that person will really love.
  7. Your favourite number? – 2 and 7
  8. Your favourite day of the week? – Sunday
  9. Your favourite flower? – Colourful, sweet smelling ones!
  10. What is your passion? – Writing stories of course.

There’s absolutely no pressure to take part but I’d like to pass the award on to all my fellow WIPpeteers as I love reading your novel extracts each week and receiving your comments on mine. You’re a great and supportive bunch, so thank you.

Now, for my WIPpet. What to give you today… hum, it’s really getting tricky now without having written any new stuff recently. I think, because it’s my last WIPpet for a while, I will give you five paragraphs for the 5th February 2014 from the last chapter I’ve written, which just so happens to be chapter 14. For those of you who didn’t beta read book one this extract will probably be quite confusing. All I will say is by this point in the book Lizzie has been found and she’s with Maisie in a house in 1940s London with a future version of Danny. Oh, and to be really mean I’ve cut the last paragraph short because it gives away a huge plot spoiler.

“What are we not going to like?” I asked.

“My suggestion of what I think you should do.” Future Danny looked directly at me.

I pointed to the top of my chest. “What I should do?”

“Why Maisie?” Lizzie asked, folding her arms and huffing.

“Because,” future Danny said. “Maisie is the only one of us that can time-shift to…”

Make of that what you will! We’re a very welcoming bunch headed up by the fabulous KL Schwengel, so if you fancy joining in with WIPpet Wednesday simply choose an extract from your WIP that corresponds with the date (creativity is encouraged) and add your link here over on My Random Muse. Take the time to read the other WIPpet offerings too – we’re a diverse bunch.

I don’t know when I’ll be blogging again, but I will be back, that’s a promise. Until then happy writing and reading everyone!

Get Your Head Around This – WIPpet Wednesday

Words from page 29I managed to find the extract I’ve chosen for today in less than a minute – result! Recently it’s taken ages to find a suitable snippet that doesn’t give too much of the story away, and then of course there’s the time spent working out WIPpet maths, which always leaves me scratching my head… Today’s WIPpet maths is lovely and simple. One paragraph – to celebrate it being the last Wednesday of the first month of the year – from page 29 for the 29th January.

I briefly introduced a new character, Lucia, in a previous WIPpet and in this scene she’s with Maisie and Danny in ancient Rome. Maisie has just questioned why Lucia isn’t shocked by her and Danny turning up at her door (to explain anymore or who Lucia is will give way too much away I’m afraid). Here’s her answer.

Lucia laughed, a long throaty chuckle. “There’s very little that surprises me anymore. I’ve known you two and Lizzie since you were in your late teens and of course I recognise you even though you’re children. I always knew this was a possibility to meet you when you were much younger. So no, I’m not surprised, but I am concerned why you’re here and why Lizzie isn’t with you.”

That’s it for today. To join in simply post an extract of your current WIP that has some kind of connection to the date and add the link here. Thanks as always to K L Schwengel over on My Random Muse for hosting.

A Man With a Tattoo – WIPpet Wednesday

Swollen feetI’ve been putting my poor swollen feet up this week but instead of being idle I took the opportunity to catch up on emails and lots of blog posts that I’d missed. Elaine Jeremiah interviewed debut indie author, Chloe Corin on her blog, while queen of the WIPpeteers, K L Schwengel continued her fabulous WIPterviews with Ruth Nestvold and Adrian J. Smith. Jade Reyner wrote an interesting post asking the question ‘Should we speculate to accumulate?‘ and Joanne Phillips shared news on her blog about a brand new service from Kim Nash helping authors market their book. Last but not least I loved L. Marie’s ‘If I lived in Middle-Earth…’ post – go check it out and decide who you’d be: hobbit, wizard, human, dwarf or elf?

In recent weeks I’ve been jumping around all over the place trying to find suitable extracts from my WIP for WIPpet Wednesday and today is no exception. This scene takes place much earlier on in A Long Way From Home than recent WIPpets but it’s one that I’m happy to share and the WIPpet maths works out nicely. So for the 22/01/14 I give you 22 sentences from page 22. Simple. Maisie and Danny are in ancient Rome after time-shifting from Danny’s bedroom (they initially ended up in the Coliseum watching Gladiators fight). They’re trying to find somewhere safe when this happens…

“Which way do you think we need to go?” Streets on either side of the Forum bustled with people. I glanced to the left and caught the eye of a man watching us. I turned away but there was something about him. I looked back but he’d disappeared, probably into the crowd of people that streamed between the square and the street.

“That was odd.”

“What was?” Danny turned to me.

“Nothing. Probably just my imagination.” I scanned the mass of people behind us in the square. There he was again. A big-built man wearing a loose toga, no different to the majority of people we’d seen so far. Except this man’s head was shaved and as he turned to say something to another man I noticed what looked like a tattoo on the side of his neck. Much like the one I’d half seen on the rider who’d tried to capture us on London Bridge in 1730.

I grabbed Danny’s arm. “I’m not imagining things. We’re being followed.”

“Seriously? You’re sounding just like a paranoid Lizzie in 1730.”

“Yeah but Lizzie wasn’t being paranoid, was she.” I looked back to where I’d seen the two men but they’d disappeared again. “We need to keep moving.”

Ancient Rome really hasn’t been much fun for Maisie and Danny so far…

Anyone can join in with WIPpet Wednesday. All you need to do is choose an extract from your WIP that has a connection to the date and add your link here. Many thanks to K L Schwengel for hosting!

Maisie, What Have You Done? – WIPpet Wednesday

ButtStorm700x700CenteredI don’t think I’ll ever manage to post an extract from A Long Way From Home which doesn’t find Maisie and co. in some kind of trouble. Today’s WIPpet is no exception and a bit of a tease because it’s rather short. Maisie is with Edward, a new friend, and they’re in a villa in Roman Britain trying to find Lizzie. I’ve been creative with my WIPpet maths and I give you one paragraph from chapter 12. The one paragraph for it being the first month of the year, and chapter 12 because 1+5+1+1+4=12 for the 15/01/14.

 

Edward practically rugby tackled me to the ground. “Now you’ve done it.” He grabbed my hand, pulled me to my feet and started running along the hallway back the way we’d come.

 

My main focus this week is actually on The Butterfly Storm because I thought I’d give a KDP free promotion another go. I was blown away by the results I had last August and I’m hoping for the same again this time – although I’m not holding my breath. My promotion runs for 5 days from today until Sunday 19th. So, if you’ve not got a copy and fancy a free read then please download it (or tell your friends about it if you think they’ll like it). Any tweets or shares on Facebook will be much appreciated. Thank you!

Back to WIPpet Wednesday… Along with some tetchy flying monkeys, the very welcoming K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday over on her blog, My Random Muse. Get creative with your maths and choose an extract of your work in progress that has a link in some way to the date and post it here if you’d like to join in. Happy writing and reading.

 

Dangerous Times – WIPpet Wednesday

Dangerous extractThe festivities are over, the decorations are packed away for another year and life is back to normal. For people who had the whole two weeks off over Christmas and New Year I can imagine that this first week back at work is pretty miserable, particularly considering the wet and windy weather that’s been battering most of the UK recently. I’ve always tended to have jobs that have meant I’ve had to work during the festive season and often on the main holiday days. Although I worked the weekends over the past two weeks, I did get to enjoy a work-free Christmas and New Year for the first time in eight years.

It actually feels quite good to be back to normal and not overindulging. I have renewed vigor to get writing, not least because with only a third of A Long Way From Home written I’m already finding it increasingly difficult to find an extract without too many spoilers for WIPpet Wednesday. With that in mind I’ve opted for just one paragraph from chapter eight for the 08/01/14. The trouble with a novel that involves time-travel is that unless you read it from the beginning it’s very difficult to make sense of it, however much you explain it. All I will say is this WIPpet is set in ancient Rome and involves another new character called Lucia who’s talking to Maisie and Danny.

With her dagger Lucia ripped the cloth covering the opening in the side of the coach. “You need to go somewhere unexpected, dangerous even, but a time where you’ve got somewhere safe you can hide or a friend that can help you.”

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K L Schwengel over on My Random Muse. To join in the rules are simple – post an extract here that corresponds with the date or use ingenious WIPpet maths to make it work. There are always some interesting and diverse WIPpets posted each week if you fancy a good read.

Happy New Year WIPpet Wednesday!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHappy New Year everyone! I hope you all had a fabulous New Year’s Eve kissing goodbye to 2013 and welcoming in 2014.  We had a quiet one at home and I just about managed to stay awake until midnight.

I usually find the eve of a new year quite odd – there’s this big build up all for a second to pass and take us into the next year. Last New Year’s Eve I couldn’t wait to say goodbye to 2012, which had proved to be one of the most difficult twelve months of my life. When the clock struck midnight and 2012 turned into 2013 I was hopeful that it would be a better year and although the beginning couple of months were challenging, so very disappointing and echoed of history repeating itself, by June the hope I’d had on New Year’s Eve was beginning to turn into reality. Not only did I launch my debut novel on the 12th June, but a week later I found out I was pregnant. The two things I’d wanted for so long had happened at the same time.

A new year often focuses on new starts, whether that’s making new year’s resolutions or making plans about what you’re going to do that year. For me 2014 is all about becoming a mum first and foremost, but I also aim to publish my second novel by the end of the year and, time allowing, finish writing a first draft of the second book in the Time Shifters trilogy.

It’s a new beginning too for Maisie and co. in Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home. In this extract for the 01/01/14 I give you one paragraph in which a new character has joined in with the adventure. Remember that curly blonde-haired boy from a couple of weeks back who had confronted Maisie and Danny with a sword? Well, quite a bit has happened since then and Edward has managed to get time-shifted with Maisie to Roman Britain.

Edward clamped his hand over my mouth and pulled me towards the trees. There was a rhythmic clomp of horses’ hooves and the creak of cart wheels. We huddled down into the undergrowth and Edward unsheathed his sword.

WIPpet Wednesday is hosted by K L Schwengel over on My Random Muse. If you’re interested you can also read the last WIPterview of the year that she did with me here. If you’d like to join in and become a WIPpeteer yourself then simply post an extract of your work in progress that corresponds in some way to the date (for example one paragraph for the 1st January, although you can be more creative than that), and add you link to this linky.

All that’s left to say is Happy New Year and I hope that 2014 proves to be a happy, healthy and successful year for all of us.

What are your plans, writing or otherwise, for 2014? 

A Very Merry Christmas WIPpet Wednesday

Christmas FrodoMerry Christmas everyone! I’ve cheated this week by actually writing this post in advance because right now I’m cooking our Christmas dinner and singing along to festive songs. It’s just Nik and I this year (plus Frodo and ‘bump’ of course) and it will be our first Christmas on our own (we usually go to my Mum and Dad’s). We’ll sit down and eat about 1pm before opening our presents and then spending the rest of the day all cosy in the living room with the wood burner going, roasting chestnuts, playing board games and watching Christmas TV.

Everyone keeps telling me to make the most of one last quiet Christmas because next year will be frantic with a baby. But that’s what I’m really looking forward to, as in my mind that’s what Christmas is all about – family. I remember Christmas being such a special time when I was growing up, with my Mum, Dad, brother and I always spending the holidays with my Grandparents and uncle on their farm in Norfolk. To be able to replicate those happy times with our own son or daughter will be simply magical – however hectic it may be.

Maisie and Danny in today’s extract definitely aren’t having quite such a magical time in ancient Rome. This scene from page 25 for the 25th December takes place a little bit before this one that I posted a couple of weeks ago. Maisie and Danny have just been chased through the streets of Rome by two men and have found somewhere they hope will be safe.

The double doors were made from a rich-coloured wood and had carvings all over them. I looked closer at images of hooded riders on horseback, of battles, and characters eating from plates piled high with food. In the centre, and crossing both doors, three letters were carved into the wood:

D M L

“Danny, Maisie, Lizzie,” I said. “This is definitely the place.”

“Get the key Maisie – they can’t be far behind.”

I tipped the key into my hand from the locket round my neck. I searched the door. “Danny. There’s nowhere for a key to go. There’s no lock.”

“There’s got to be.”

“I promise you there isn’t.”

He had his back to me and was looking along the street the way we’d come. “We need to get inside, like now.”

The fabulous K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday over on her blog, My Random Muse, so do pop over and say hello, have a read of the other diverse WIPpets or even post your own extract here.

I will get round to reading all the other WIPpets but with all this eating, drinking (non-alcoholic of course) and being merry to do, it might take me until the end of the week. In the meantime, have a very happy Christmas all my fellow WIPpeteers and blog readers and I’ll see you back here on the 1st January 2014!

A Blast From the Past – WIPpet Wednesday

Christmas presentsWith just one week to go until Christmas, festive fever has well and truely hit the UK. Everywhere you go Christmas songs are playing; the German market in the centre of Bristol is in full swing; and the shops are heaving with people frantically buying presents for their loved ones. I’ve written my Christmas cards and sent them off and all the presents are wrapped and looking very lovely under the tree. This lunchtime I’m off out for my first roast turkey dinner with friends from work. I may not be able to move this afternoon so that will be the perfect excuse to make the rounds and read everyone’s WIPpets.

My WIPpet maths is simple today – 18 (nice and short) paragraphs for the 18th December from Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home. Be warned it is a completely unedited first draft! In this extract Maisie and Danny are time-shifting again after finding themselves in yet more trouble in ancient Rome. They’re in a horse-drawn covered coach escaping Rome when they’re attacked. Maisie has very little time to decide about where and when they should attempt to time-shift to…

There was another shudder. I didn’t know if it was Hunters attacking the coach or us about to time shift. I kept my eyes tightly shut and concentrated on the warmth of the fire in the Great Hall and the feel of the well-worn wood of the table.

Another shudder. And then the cushions we’d been sitting on fell away from beneath us and we were left spinning. My legs kicked nothing but air and my arms gripped Danny tighter and tighter. I didn’t dare open my eyes, not just because I’d be able to see ourselves falling but also because I was terrified about where we’d actually end up.

Still with linked arms we thudded on to a stone floor and ended up sprawled on the ground. I opened my eyes and untangled myself from Danny. It was definitely Robbie’s Great Hall, except there was no roaring fire and the room was cold and unwelcoming with grey light streaming through the windows.

“Where are we?” Danny brushed dirt from off his makeshift toga.

“Robbie’s house. The guy me and Lizzie met in 1471.”

The door creaked open and a servant walked in with a bundle of wood in her arms. She stopped when she saw us, let out a seriously loud scream and dropped the wood on the floor.

“It’s okay,” I said, holding my hands out and taking a step towards her. “We’re friends of Lord Robert’s.”

She screamed again, turned and ran from the room.

“That went well,” Danny said. “You do realise how ridiculous we look dressed like this.” He pointed at himself.

“At least we both made it here.”

There were voices out in the main hallway and a boy, a little bit older than us, charged into the Great Hall with a sword pointing towards us.

Both Danny and me held up our hands and took a step backwards towards the fireplace.

“Who are you?” he asked, stepping further into the room.

“We’re friends of Lord Roberts,” I said again. The boy was tall and muscular but with a boyish face and dark blonde curly hair.

“Why are you dressed like that?”

I could see a couple of servants hovering out in the hallway. “You wouldn’t believe us if we told you.”

“Try me.”

I met his eyes and slowly it dawned on me that I might have met him before. “Who are you?”

I may or may not reveal who he is in a future WIPpet, although my lovely beta readers who read the first Time Shifters book might be able to work it out.

K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday over on her fabulous blog, My Random Muse. You can check out the rest of the WIPpeteers offerings over there or even join in yourself by simply posting an extract of your work in progress here that relates to the day. 18 lines, paragraphs or even words for the 18th December – you get the idea…

This time next week it’ll be Christmas Day! I hope everyone’s feeling festive and are all ready for the celebrations. Only seven more sleeps. :-)

Finally Feeling Festive – WIPpet Wednesday

Christmas tree 2013I’m a bit later than normal publishing my WIPpet post because while there are half price sales on and Nik and I both have a few days off together (for once) we’ve been out shopping for nursery furniture, a pram and a car seat. Nik’s also been busy painting the nursery and I’ve decorated our Christmas tree so we’re beginning to feel rather festive. It is, however, far from festive for Maisie and Danny in this week’s WIPpet as towards the beginning of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home they find themselves time-shifted to somewhere hot, noisy and a little bit dangerous. No surprises there. Confusingly these two paragraphs (for the 2 in 11/12/13) from page 11 take place before last week’s WIPpet.

I stepped up on to the bench. My heart skipped a beat as I realised what I’d done. A sea of people spread out in front of us, their attention focused on the arena in the centre. There was sand, just as I’d imagined but it wasn’t a lovely clean beach yellow. Instead, blood soaked into the sand forming large pools around the gladiators who were already dead or dying.

“The Coliseum. You imagined the Coliseum?” Danny said as we were shoved backwards by one of the Romans jumping on to our bench to get a better view of a gladiator holding his sword above the chest of one of the gladiators sprawled on the ground.

I warned you it wasn’t very festive.

The lovely K L Schwengel hosts WIPpet Wednesday and has been doing interviews with the WIPpeteers over the past couple of weeks, which are well worth checking out. If you want to join in and become a WIPpeteer yourself then post an extract of your work in progress that relates, however loosely, to the date and add it to the link here.

In Trouble Yet Again – WIPpet Wednesday

venice3It’s good to be back and joining in with WIPpet Wednesday again – I’ve missed you guys! November was spent working on Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home and I have to say after months and months spent editing, first The Butterfly Storm and then Time Shifters, it was so good to actually start writing again. Getting approximately 20,000 words written during NaNo also means that I have a whole new WIP that I can post extracts from. It’s rough, and I mean really rough, but that’s what WIPpet Wednesday is all about isn’t it? Sharing our work in progress in all its first-drafty glory.

So, for the 4th December I’m giving you 12 sentences from chapter 4 of Time Shifters – A Long Way From Home. This extract features Maisie and Danny who have – unsurprisingly – managed to get themselves into a bit of trouble in ancient Rome.

We tumbled inside, practically pushing the woman out of the way, and shut the heavy door firmly behind us. A great wooden bar fell into place and it was only seconds later that the weight of the two men landed against the door. It didn’t budge. We took a step back and turned to the woman.

She had a tanned face and looked Italian with dark golden hair braided on top of her head. She wore a floating cream dress that had an embroidered band above the waist. She stared at us with wide brown eyes.

“Hello Maisie. Hello Danny,” she said.

I frowned. “You know our names?”

“You speak English.” Danny took another step into the villa.

So there you have it. The WIPpeteers are a friendly bunch and if you fancy joining in simply post an extract of your WIP that relates in some way to the date and add your link here. WIPpet Wednesday is also a fabulous way of making writing friends from all round the world. Elaine and I were lucky enough to meet fellow WIPpeteer, Emily, during her recent visit to the UK. After spending time in London and Cardiff Emily was in Bath for a few days so we met one chilly evening in a cafe and had a lovely chat for a couple of hours before she headed off to Paris.

Many thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting WIPpet Wednesday.