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!

Only One Way Out – WIPpet Wednesday

DSC00458I very nearly had nothing to give you for today’s WIPpet. I was trying all kinds of WIPpet maths to make an extract work that didn’t give too much of the plot away. In the end I’ve decided to keep it simple and have chosen 1 paragraph for the number 1 in the 31st July. Do you remember last week when I asked if things could get any worse when Maisie and Danny were stranded on a sinking boat on the Thames in 1666? Well fast forward a few chapters and this time Maisie and Lizzie are in a spot of bother in 1730.

 

Thud. Someone’s full weight crashed into the cottage door. Dust puffed from the sides. Lizzie backed away and I pulled her into the bedroom and closed the door. There was no lock and the only way out was through the window. I grabbed a blanket from off the bed and wrapped it around my hand before smashing the glass. There was another thud on the cottage door and the sound of wood splintering.

I’m still working my way through the final edit of Time Shifters, so there won’t be any brand new writing from The House of Stone for a little while yet. What I”m concentrating on this week though is setting up promoting The Butterfly Storm for when it’s free from the 9th to the 11th August – I’m hoping for lots of downloads!

The WIPpeteers are continuing to grow, so if you’d like to join in then post an extract of your work in progress that corresponds to the date (I could have chose 31 lines or gone with an extract from chapter 31 today for example) and then add your link to the linky hosted over on K L Schwengel’s blog. You can check out the other WIPpeteers’ offerings here.

Could Things Get Any Worse? – WIPpet Wednesday

King Charles III went AWOL last Wednesday and missed posting a WIPpet since first joining the WIPpeteers back in February, although I did manage to get round to reading some of your WIPpets. I did, however, feature on someone else’s blog last week. The very lovely Leah Symonne who was my first interviewee for my 5 Minutes With… feature wrote up a lovely post along with some Q&As about The Butterfly Storm for her new blog. Leah is a young Canadian writer who’s just graduated from high school and has a bright future ahead of her. If you’ve got a few minutes to spare then please go check her out.

I’m getting about the internet this week too with The Butterfly Storm being featured on Chick Lit Central’s Book Shelf and a 4* review appearing on Chick Lit Plus yesterday stating, ‘If you are looking for a thoroughly detailed story of relationship trials, family trials, and decisions of the heart, then The Butterfly Storm would be a perfect book.’

Now to the WIPpet! It’s getting trickier to choose an extract from Time Shifters without any plot spoilers, so I’ve opted for short and sweet this week and chosen 22 words (in honour of the Royal baby being born on the 22nd) from chapter 24 for the 24th July. It would end up being a very long post if I set up this teeny tiny extract so all I will say is it takes place in 1666.

Floating in the middle of the Thames in a sinking boat with London burning behind us things could not get any worse.

 

Or could they?

The final edit of Time Shifters is going well and I’m over halfway through the novel, so I may just meet my target of getting it finished by the end of this month. Then it’s on with The House of Stone. Eek! A brand new novel!

Fancy becoming a WIPpeteer? Simply share a slice of your work in progress that somehow corresponds to the date (WIPpet maths is encouraged), or write an opening of a brand new novel and add your link to the linky that K L Schwengel hosts over on her blog My Random Muse. Happy reading.

Chill Out Lizzie – WIPpet Wednesday

Tyntesfield TowerHello fellow WIPpeteers! This week has been a very good and happy one so far but it’s also one of change with my brother, his girlfriend and my little nephew moving from our hometown of Bristol to beautiful Carmarthenshire in Wales. It means that they’ll be 2 and 1/4 hours away by car instead of just 15 minutes but the time we spend with them will hopefully be quality time. No doubt they’ll be back to Bristol often and frequent trips to Wales to visit them sounds pretty blissful to me.

It’s all change for my characters in Time Shifters this week too. Without giving too much of the plot away it’s still 1471 and Maisie and Lizzie in their quest to rescue Danny (who’s still with the army marching to battle) come across Robbie, the Lord of Towcester. Maisie and Lizzie stay at his house for the night and the following 10 paragraphs from chapter 10 for the 10th July takes place in the morning after their first good night’s sleep in days.

I woke to a cockerel crowing. I was warm and cosy all snuggled up in bed and for a moment I believed I was at home on our farm. I almost imagined I could smell bacon frying downstairs. I waited until my eyes adjusted to the gloomy room. Yesterday morning I’d woken up achy and cold beneath a tree and now I was sleeping on the softest bed ever. Robbie had warned us that the cockerel started crowing before 6am. Who needed an alarm clock? I wanted to leave early to try and close the gap between Warwick’s army and us. I swung my legs out of bed and padded over to the window and drew the thick curtains. Grey light flooded in. I squinted but could only see trees poking through the mist. It didn’t look very inviting and half of me wanted to get back into bed. Instead, I cleaned my teeth, washed my face and started to put on the clean clothes that had been laid out for me on the chest at the foot of the bed. I’d gone from looking like a peasant to a lady overnight. The pale green dress was a bit too big with a high waist, square neckline and long, tight sleeves that covered my hands. There was a pair of soft leather boots next to the chest. I picked up a cap with a turned up brim, put it on and went to the window to see my reflection. I looked totally ridiculous.

My bedroom door slammed open and Lizzie stormed in red-faced and wearing a flattering gold version of the dress I was in. Hers had a jewel at the centre of the waistband.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” she said, waving a jewelled piece of fabric at me.

“Come on in why don’t you,” I said.

“Aaaghrr!” She paced across my room pulling at her dress. “I can’t even walk in this.”

“Chill out Lizzie, it’s just a dress,” I said. “I’m the tomboy remember. Anyway we can hardly walk around in trousers.”

“Tights. The men wear tights and the women wear poncey dresses.”

“I think you look really pretty in it.”

“Oh,” she said, turning awkwardly to face me. “Thanks.”

She was really pretty. Her hair was clean and brushed and lay straight against her shoulders. Mine was a mass of curls that bobbed up and down every time I moved.

Raewyn did a wonderful interview with me last Friday, so if you’ve not yet read it and have the time, then please do pop on over to her blog to check it out.

I will get round to reading everyone’s WIPpets but it may take me a couple of days to do so. And if you fancy joining in then simply choose an extract of your work in progress that relates (however loosely) to the date or write a completely new opening to a brand new novel and add your link to the linky over on My Random Muse. Thanks as always to K L Schwengel for hosting.

This is a Stupid Idea – WIPpet Wednesday

DSC00667My focus this month is going to be firmly on Time Shifters so it makes sense to choose a snippet from it for today’s WIPpet. As it’s the 3rd July I’ve opted for three paragraphs from page 23 (3 + 7 + 13 = 23). This takes us nearly all the way back to the beginning of the book when Maisie found herself time shifted at Warwick Castle to 1471 along with the class bully, Lizzie. The two girls have realised that Maisie’s best friend, Danny, has been caught up with the army that has just marched out of Warwick Castle’s imposing gates and the girls set off after the soldiers.

The view I’d seen yesterday from the top of the castle lay before us unchanged. Outside the castle walls Warwick was little more than a village. The kitchen girls headed down the dirt path towards a cluster of cottages. Home for us was two hours in the other direction by coach. By coach. How long would it take to walk – days and days – and what would we find when we got there? But the Kingmaker’s army was marching in the opposite direction, past Warwick and away from our home, their armour glinting in the early morning sunshine. In every direction there was an uncluttered landscape filled with green grass and trees. No pylons, no roads, no landmarks or signposts. I stopped just a few steps from the castle gates where the path to the car park had been.

“This is a stupid idea,” Lizzie said, stopping beside me.

“Have you got a better one? Like go back inside and wait to be rescued?”

The WIPpeteers are growing and if you’d like to join in then add your link to the linky over on host K L Schwengel’s blog and have a read of all the other great WIPpets too. Talking of the WIPpeteers in last week’s WIPpet post Raewyn asked the question what my WIPpeteer outfit would be and I replied in the comments that it would be the costume I wore when I was a drama student in Aberystwyth and I played King Charles II in an all female production of Stephen Jefferys’ fabulously bawdy play, The Libertine. I did say to Raewyn that I would dig the photo out, so as promised here I am, aged about 19 in full swing as King Charles II…

King Charles II

A very suitable WIPpeteer costume, don’t you think?

On Monday the very lovely Alison Strachan interviewed me for her Moment of Truth feature so if you’ve got the time please pop on over to her blog and have a read. And as Raewyn has already mentioned, this Friday she’s kindly featuring an interview she did with me about The Butterfly Storm. Have a great week everyone.

Time Travel Messes With Your Head – WIPpet Wednesday

Today’s extract is a short and sweet 20 words from chapter 4 of Time Shifters (20 + 4 = 24) for the 24th April. Us WIPpeteers find it confusing enough what with Raewyn Hewitt publishing her WIPpet posts on a Tuesday evening (that’s going by my time in the UK) and then it being Thursday in New Zealand by the time Alana Terry and ReGi McClain post their WIPpets over in Alaska. If that messes with your head then just think how confuddling it would be to find yourself travelling through time and one minute being in 1471, the next in 1666, before winding up in 2016 when you actually think it’s 2012 – confusing, huh? Well, with that in mind feel sorry for Maisie spelling out the predicament they’re in to Lizzie after they’ve been time shifted to 1471…

“You really think we’re going to be found? It’s the fifteenth century. We’re not born for another five hundred years.”

 

Are you working on a WIP that you fancy sharing? Then join in by posting an extract that has some kind of connection to the date and add your link to the clever little linky over on author K L Schwengel’s blog. Happy reading!

Fugitives – WIPpet Wednesday

A few weeks back I posted an extract from Time Shifters in which Maisie and Lizzie had hidden in undergrowth at the side of the road when a skinny horse pulling a covered wagon trundled to halt in front of them. It was all fine until Lizzie, much to Maisie’s dismay, decided to step out into the open and ask the man sitting at the front of the wagon where the nearest town was. The man, called Harold, a slightly unsavoury and rather smelly character allows them to hitch a lift with him and his family on the condition that they pay him when they reach Towcester. The only problem is Maisie and Lizzie don’t have any money and so when they reach the town they make up an excuse and run for their lives only stopping when they’ve put a good distance between themselves and Harold… The following extract is 17 paragraphs from chapter 7.

Lizzie was bent over with her hands on her knees. “You’ve turned us into criminals,” she said between breaths.

“We hitched a lift and didn’t pay. That’s not exactly stealing.”

“Believe what you want,” she said standing up straight. “How are we going to get food and a bed for the night now we’re fugitives?”

“Don’t be so dramatic. Harold and his family will move on and we’ll be forgotten about.”

“And in the meantime?” she said with her hands on her hips.

“We go on the hunt for food and water.” I felt rebellious and didn’t care if surviving here would go against everything that was right back home. It was 1471 after all, not the 21st Century. I wandered amongst the gravestones reading the ages of the dead, which ranged from a beloved son aged three months to a positively ancient sixty-one.

“This place is freaking me out,” Lizzie whispered as if she was afraid of disturbing the dead.

“The church might be a safe place to sleep.” I walked over to the door, slid the wooden bar across where it was wedged closed and gently pushed. The door creaked open. I beckoned to Lizzie and we slipped inside, closing the door behind us. It took a while for our eyes to adjust to the dusky light. Lizzie stayed close to me as we walked down the aisle between wooden pews. I knew we had to have somewhere sheltered to sleep but it was still daylight and I was conscious of Danny and the army getting further and further away from us.

The door scraped open and daylight crept in. I pulled Lizzie down behind the pews at the back of the church.

“I know you’re in here,” Harold’s voice echoed inside the church.

I held my breath and Lizzie tensed beside me. “See, bad idea,” she whispered.

“Half the town saw you run this way,” Harold continued. His boots thudded loudly on the flagstones. “Then I followed your muddy footprints. I only want my two pennies, a deal’s a deal.”

I motioned to Lizzie to follow, and crawling on our hands and knees we made our way slowly along the far wall of the church, skirting the pews. The cold flagstones bruised my knees and palms. I held my hand out to stop Lizzie when we reached the middle pews. I strained my head forward and saw Harold standing in the middle of the aisle.

“I know you’re in here,” he said, flicking a rope he held in one hand gently onto his other palm.

I took a deep breath and continued forward, we were nearly there, and I could see the patch of daylight on the flagstone nearest to the door… Thud. Lizzie’s iPod clattered on the floor. I scooped it up, grabbed Lizzie by her sleeve and pulled her to her feet.

“You little…” Harold swung to face us as we ran the few paces to the door and slipped out of the church, slamming it shut behind us.

“Help me close it!” I said, heaving the wooden bar across. Together we wedged it shut. The full weight of Harold landed against the door but it stayed closed.

All you have to do to join in with WIPpet Wednesday is post an extract from your current WIP that relates in some way to the date. For example, today, instead of opting for the extract above, I could have posted 17 paragraphs from page 117 (required way too much explanation) or 17 lines from chapter 17 (gave too much away). When you’ve published your post add your link to the linky that K L Schwengel hosts over on her blog and get reading some fabulous posts from the other WIPpeteers. Enjoy!

Heading Into Battle – WIPpet Wednesday

The other week I gave you the last few sentences from chapter 13 of Time Shifters. In it Maisie and Lizzie had been travelling for days in an attempt to find their friend, Danny, who they believed was caught up with the Earl of Warwick’s army. To set the scene – it was early in the morning and foggy and the two girls had been quietly riding along when they came to a halt at the sound of men screaming. Today’s extract follows on from that point with ten paragraphs from the beginning of chapter 14 (10 + 4 for the 10/04/13 – see what I did there!).

In the eeriness of the cold foggy morning the screams sent shivers through me. I didn’t want to ride any further or risk the noise making Zeus bolt. But most of all I didn’t actually want to witness what was through the fog. I reined Goliath in and dismounted.

“Let’s tie the ponies here and walk,” I said.

Together we crept through the damp grass towards the cries, shouts and clang of metal. I wanted to run in the opposite direction but Danny was somewhere amongst the noise. What if he was injured…what if? I stopped on the slope.

“What now?” Lizzie said, turning to face me.

“What if Danny’s dead?”

She stared at me with her mouth open. “Don’t be stupid. He’s twelve. He’s too young to die.”

With the bloodthirsty noise of battle growing by the second I couldn’t hold back my tears any longer. Tears for Danny, and for Mum, Dad and Ollie streamed down my face, and tears for leaving Robbie behind and for being chased and for being stuck in the past.

Lizzie awkwardly put her arm round me and left it there, heavy on my shoulders. I wiped away my tears with the end of my sleeve.

“We’ll find Danny,” she said. “He’ll be OK, I promise.”

There were shouts and a clash of metal from somewhere close. Lizzie’s grip tightened on my shoulder. I couldn’t see a thing through the fog but heard a duh duh, duh duh sound like something rolling… something rolling and picking up speed. And then a soldier rolled to a stop in front of us. A dead soldier with a broken sword stuck in his chest. We both screamed and staggered backwards, falling onto the grass.

Got a WIP to share? Don’t be shy, the WIPpeteers are a friendly bunch. If you like the idea of joining in then post an extract of your current work in progress that relates, however creatively, to the date and add your link to the linkie found over on author and WIPpeteer extraordinaire, K L Schwengel’s blog. Even if you don’t want to join in then take the time to read the other fabulous WIPpet Wednesday posts that can be found here.

Rain-Soaked London – WIPpet Wednesday

It’s unseasonably cold in the UK at the moment with daytime temperatures barely nudging 3ºC and snow up north. However, when I started writing this WIPpet Wednesday post on a dull and rainy afternoon last week, it seemed quite appropriate at the time to choose around 27 lines from page 217 of Time Shifters where Maisie and Lizzie have a run-in with a drunken old lady on a rain-soaked London Bridge. Out of context this extract may not make complete sense but to set it up is a bit complicated and would give too much of the plot away. All I will say is the year is 1730 and having eventually found Lizzie (who had gone missing in the extract I posted a few Wednesday’s ago) it’s now Danny’s turn to have disappeared (yet again). This time shifting business is confusing stuff…

“You looking for someone?” a raspy voice suddenly said. Lizzie grasped my arm as an old woman staggered out of the shadows opposite us. She clutched a bottle in her hand and swayed as she moved towards us.

I stepped forward. “Yeah, we’re looking for our friend, a boy…”

“A boy. A boy you say.” She waved the bottle at us. “I saw a boy here, a little while ago, a boy and a girl ’bout your age, and two men on horses. The boy and girl disappeared. I swear they just disappeared.” She started to laugh and then erupted into a hacking cough.

Lizzie leaned towards me. “That was you and Danny.”

“I know, I don’t think she realises though.”

“That’s because she’s too drunk.”

The woman finished coughing and spat a big blob of green phlegm onto the cobbles in front of us.

“Yuck,” Lizzie said.

I swallowed back the sick feeling in my throat. “Are you sure you didn’t just imagine this boy and girl ‘disappear’. It doesn’t exactly sound possible.”

“I knows what I saw.”

“I bet you often see things when you’ve been drinking,” I said.

“This ain’t strong stuff.” She held out the bottle and chuckled. “Tastes of watered down piss anyways.”

“Did anyone else see what you saw?”

She shook her head and her wet grey hair slapped her face and remained stuck. “There ain’t no one about but me,” she said and started coughing again.

Got a WIP to share? Then join the WIPpeteers! Every Wednesday post an extract of whatever you’re working on that somehow relates to the date – for example today you could post 27 words, lines or paragraphs from page 27, chapter 27 or even page 217 like I’ve done. Make sure you share your link by adding it to the helpful linkie that you can find on K L Schwengel’s blog.

Other fabulous WIPpeteers include: Raewyn Hewitt, K L Schwengel, ReGi McClain, Elaine Jeremiah, Alana Terry, Krista Walsh, Kate Sparkes, Jessica Minyard, Emily and Ink and Papyrus (who also designed the WIPpet Wednesday logo).