Here’s the prologue from my new book, a scary YA Paranormal Romance – Groundhog Day… but on a dark street… with a murderer.
She sits beside me on the sofa, close but not quite touching. Her hand rests, clenched, on her knee, inches from my own. I daren’t reach for it because I know she’ll flinch. The lights from the TV illuminate her face and flash like fireworks in the darkness of her eyes, reminding me of another place, different lights. I lean back so I can watch her without her knowing.
We’ve only been officially seeing each other for a few weeks and I’m trying my best to act cool about it. It’s incredibly difficult. She sets off explosive charges inside me with just one look. My heart is constantly stuck in my throat. Every rare smile I win from her is a small victory. Continue reading →
So, I’ve been experimenting because there was an expanse of shiny whiteness on my office wall with scribbles on it like ‘Get milk’, ‘Weed the garden (again)’ and ‘***Don’t rescue another cat; you have enough now***’.
But it would be so much better if it said things like:
Chapter 5 – Whenever he smells apples, he is overcome with a murderous rage.
OR, Chapter 12 – Astonishing mid-plot twist: The monkey was never meant to be there, but only the nun knew.
Everyone has that book, or series of books, that defines their childhood and influences their future lives in some way. This is mine. What’s yours, and why?
When I first discovered ‘Flambards’ by K.M Peyton, I devoured the whole series, and returned to them again and again. They had everything; a strong heroine who was so real to me she was like a best friend, a hero who had his weaknesses but it still gives me pangs when I think of his sad fate, and a First World War setting – not on the front line, but on the home front – which pits the rise of automobiles and airplanes against the decline of horses and cavalry, and delves into women’s rights and the crumbling of social divisions. Cleverly, the house – ‘Flambards’ – is a mirror that reflects this era of change in Britain. Its fate is directly affected by all that is going on around it, and yet it is also a symbol for everything the heroine is experiencing. She is tied to it. It becomes her heart.
It’s happened again! Our local second-hand bookshop owner has gone away and left me in charge for the day. Now I just have to try not to spend all my wages on the books! That bookshop owner knows what he’s doing hiring me 😀
It looks like someone may have been telling porkie-pies!
Well, remember yesterday, when I wrote about the exciting news of a Bristol academic cracking the code to the Oddest Book in the World – the Voynich Manuscript – and it only taking him a couple of weeks where many others have failed… including Alan Turing…
Now it turns out that Bristol University have backed away from the claims at a hundred miles an hour after hearing the doubts of another scholar who tried the same method years ago. It didn’t work.
So, sorry for the false alarm, but we’re not going to be reading a translated version of this mysterious book any time soon. I just hope that, when someone actually cracks it for real, it turns out to be worth all the time and effort and not just an extended shopping list.
BREAKING NEWS: Further to my article a few weeks ago about the Voynich Manuscript, otherwise known as The Oddest Book in the World, this has happened …
Although the purpose and meaning of the manuscript had eluded scholars for over a century, it took Dr. Gerard Cheshire two weeks, using a combination of lateral thinking and ingenuity, to identify the language and writing system of the famously inscrutable document.
University of Bristol
Says Dr. Cheshire:
“I experienced a series of ‘eureka’ moments whilst deciphering the code, followed by a sense of disbelief and excitement when I realised the magnitude of the achievement, both in terms of its linguistic importance and the revelations about the origin and content of the manuscript.
“What it reveals is even more amazing than the myths and fantasies it has generated. For example, the manuscript was compiled by Dominican nuns as a source of reference for Maria of Castile, Queen of Aragon, who happens to have been great aunt to Catherine of Aragon.
To find out more about how he did it, and what he discovered, read the University of Bristol Article:
Writers crave good reviews even more than they crave a big slab of chocolate cake or a really fantastic pen. They make everything worthwhile, even if you were only really writing for yourself. It’s so good to receive validation that you’re not wasting your time. Although no writing time is truly wasted if you love it, or even if you took the wrong path in your writing and stumbled too far along it. (See Writing and Cucumbers for more on that kind of thing!)
This is the first written review I ever received for my first book (well-second book really, but we’ll forget the first one), published in the local paper by lovely journalist Hilarie Stelfox. All thanks to my mum, who shouted about my book from the rooftops and remains my biggest champion. Thanks Mum! xxx
After years of sticking rigidly to that long term goal, I started saying yes instead of no to those wonderful, fleeting opportunities on the periphery, and this is what happened…
I listened to Tim Minchin’s inspirational address, ‘Nine Life Lessons’, again a few weeks ago, and keep coming back to one thing in particular (and those of you who know me won’t be surprised that it wasn’t the ‘do more exercise’ one :-D)
It was concerning goals, and the realisation that his words didn’t strike a chord with me the first time I heard the speech, years ago. And that’s because of things that have happened between now and then to make me realise he’s absolutely right. Here’s what he said:
I admit it, I’m a page-corner turner-overer*. I know this crime is almost equivalent to murder in the eyes of dedicated bookmark users, but I have my reasons.
Books are such tactile things; they feel good in your hands and all those wonderful words you are holding up have a pleasing weight. I like my books to feel like they are being read. The books I read over and over again know they are loved because the edges of their pages don’t lie flat, and the spines are flexible and crooked with affection. There might be the ring of a tea-mug stain on the cover. Or a red circle from a wine glass. The crevices might be crackly with sand where I’ve read on the beach, or the pages warped with water where I’ve read in the bath.
My favourite books have a physical personality all of their own and bear the scars of my love. (The one shown above is my copy of ‘Northern Lights’ by Phillip Pullman.)
When I’m writing a larger piece of work, one of the fun parts is the conjuring of odd snippets to add to the history or background of the story. Sometimes these snippets end up in the book (like the chapter headings in The Curtain Twitcher’s Handbook and the petitions in Blackwood), and sometimes they initiate a complete change of direction.
This snippet will be part of the book ‘Foxfires’. The protagonist, trapped in a snowbound farmhouse with strangers, will come across the thin volume of curious tales with this particular page corner turned down. He is already in fear of his life, so this’ll really make him freak out. Hee hee! (Sorry Jack!)
‘Curious Tales from Travels in Yorkshire’ by M.Nesbitt
Chapter 8: A Disturbance at an Inn on the Edge of the Moors
“In the autumn of 1905, the author was passing through a village on the edge of Saddleworth Moor when he decided to rest and take refreshment at a small inn. At first glance, the inn seemed peaceful and emanated a warm glow from a lit fireplace but, upon entering, I was alarmed to find several weeping women and angry men. A number of the gentlemen were arming themselves as if for battle, though the distressed ladies pleaded with them to reconsider. They made no allowance for a stranger in their midst and continued with their heated discussion.
I asked the innkeeper if I could partake of a brandy as the weather was inclement, and it appeared winter was arriving before its time. He poured me my drink with one ear on the growing dispute behind me. I wondered out loud what was happening and he shook his head with a grimace and told me that Mr Hawkins, a young farmer, had not returned from tending his sheep in the hills. His sheepdog, Bess, came home without him and in a dreadful state, covered nose to tail in mud and bleeding from numerous lacerations. Clearly agitated, she set off again after just a few hours rest, presumably to find her master, and she had not come back. Continue reading →