Cue Cliff Richard and his red bus – the hols are here!

cliffThe summer hols are here and I couldn’t be happier. It has been a tough year this year – too many hours spent marking, planning, marking, admin and admin and admin. But, the sun is shining in merry old England and I am free for a few weeks to catch up on all the things I’ve been longing to do – and some stuff that I would have rather said ‘I’m still a little bit too busy to do that.’ But, I’ll take the rough with the smooth. I’m a trooper after all.

The first on my hit list of pleasant things to do is obviously write. Therefore, I’ve just finished my short story for Ylva’s Christmas anthology and am pleased to say that it has been accepted. What a relief! This one, unlike my last two, is more light hearted. It is Christmas after all. No doom and gloom at this seasonal time of the year from these wayward fingers. I was just too damned happy to be off work to write about sad stuff.

Seems strange to talk about Christmas when the temperature is 25 degrees – unless you live in a country that actually gets warm. I mean, in England, anything above freezing is commonly termed as a heatwave. This is usually followed by lots of pasty white skin on display, skin that rapidly becomes a distinctive lobster red, with the phrases turning from ‘Isn’t this great, Bob. No brollies today’ to ‘Oh … It’s just too hot. I can’t stand it. I wish it would rain so I could breathe.’ The smells of the BBQs and burnt offerings has declined over the last few days too, and probably the decrease of people attending A & E for third degree burns and / or salmonella poisoning from that dodgy sausage that only looked slightly pink inside its cremated casing.

Enough from me about the weather. I know I’m British and we can wax lyrical about its capriciousness until the cows come home, but I doubt that’s what you want to hear. I am still writing even though I’ve finished the Christmas story. I have finally cracked open the story I started eons ago and have had a read through. I’m quite pleased with what’s there and am wondering why I stopped writing it in the first place. Maybe I’ll be the only one who thinks it is any good, but hey – I am enjoying getting to grips with my muse (She is sat by the paddling pool at the moment whilst I write this – bikini on, and sipping a non-alcoholic beverage. Little minx).

So, with fingers uncrossed, as it makes it more difficult to write, I am hoping to crack this baby over the next few weeks. It will be me and her, her and me. We might not see eye to eye on everything, but I’m the one who masters the delete button. Unless the muse gets involved and then things could turn nasty. Again. Let’s hope she doesn’t get sunburned and I end up taking her to A & E to sit for hours with the spewers and moaners.

With that thought, I’d better go and get her. She’s looking a tad pink.

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Tiggy It …

I’ve been tagged! Emma Weimann, author of Heart’s Surrender, has tagged me to spill the beans on my Writing Process. I loved the detail she has used in her blog to explain how she settles in for a good writing session. Alas, mine is pretty poor by comparison. But, she did say some nice things about me …

What are you working on?

Definitely not my tan. The weather in Norwich has been awful and I have more chance of getting rusty than golden brown. But, the sun has got his hat on today. Finally.

As for writing, I am currently working on a short story for the Christmas anthology for Ylva. I am consciously trying to keep it under the word count this time – something I find difficult to do, as the count doesn’t matter to me. I find the story needs to be told in however many words it takes.

I have just finished editing Still Life, my new story that is due out in September. If it hadn’t been for Day Peterson, I think I would have run screaming from the house every five minutes. But, I am really happy with how she (I mean the story, not Day) is turning out, although editing is very time consuming.

Driving Me Mad has just been accepted for publication for spring next year, a story I started to write last year and sent along to the Academy of Bards as a short piece. I had such great feedback that I decided to add to her – and she ballooned like a greedy piglet. To be honest, I am really happy at how she came out. The story seemed it had to be written.

I didn’t seem to stop for breath as I got stuck straight in to my Halloween tale, Forget Me Not. It is not the usual fare delivered at Halloween, but it was a story I felt I needed to tell. I thoroughly enjoyed writing Batteries Not Included last year for the Halloween special and couldn’t wait to write another this year.

The next on my agenda is editing Beginnings for publication. If this vacuous head of mine is correct, I think she should be out in December. So that seems to be my time eaten up with track and change and lots of crying.

Hopefully, I will start work again on another story I started a while ago. She keeps popping into my head and whispering ‘What about me?’ Poor little girl.

Like Emma, I seem to have ideas sneak inside my head all of the time, some of them I shake out – frantically – and dismiss. Others I put on a backburner for later. I should learn to write them down though, as by the time I get my butt moving and want to write them, I’ve forgotten what they were about.

How does your work differ from others in the same genre?

I tend to write romance although I do like to write paranormal stories too. I also tend to write in the first person with a rambling narrator, something that could drive some readers mad when reading. But, I like the conversational tone and find it comes to me naturally. Yep. I’m a rambler who can go from one topic to another in the blink of an eye.

One thing I always strive for is believability. I want the reader to empathise with my characters, or even think ‘Crap. I do that.’ Obviously, my writing will not relate to all who read it, but I also believe that would be impossible. It is a definite case of ‘Can’t please everyone all of the time’ scenario.

Humour plays a big role in my writing too. Maybe it is just the way I think, or maybe sometimes humour can elaborate the agony of situations more than writing ‘angsty’ all of the time. Shakespeare used it with his comic relief, and although I’m not even in the same breathing space as the man (ignore the fact he is no longer breathing for this, please) I think it accentuates the situation without killing it or making it over the top.

Why do you write what you do?

I would love to say why I write what I do, but the only answer I can think of is because that’s the way the story flows from both my head and my heart and out of my fingers.

cover_hearts-and-flowers-borderUntil I penned Hearts, I had never felt the need to write AT ALL. The only times a story came from me was when I was told I had to write them when I was at school. I still remember a tale I penned about a group of kids who were out in the night time and they got lost and ended up at ‘The House that Dripped Blood’. It was dire. I can remember illustrating it too – how sad is that?

Even when I decided to ‘have a go’ at writing a story, I didn’t think for a minute I would finish it. As people who have already read my blog about Hearts will already know, it just came out of me. Am I a romantic? Is that why I write about love, loss, love, loss, angst, yearning, love and loss? I wouldn’t categorise myself as a romantic even though my writing screams otherwise. I believe in love. I believe we are meant to be with someone who completes us. However, I am also a realist. Love is beautiful, tender; it can border on the celestial if that love is returned. But love can also hurt like buggery and make a person doubt who she or he is, make s/he feel worthless, crush ideologies. But these examples are not the product of love. They are the product of self-doubt and low self-esteem.

Therefore, I strive for my heroines to find their true loves. It may be a bumpy ride, like life, but there has to be a happy ending. Has to be. For all our sakes.

Writing for me is an outlet. A place I can slip into and live for a while. I tend to write more now than I have for the last couple of years as I feel I have the motivation to do it – and I am beginning to make the time for it too. I love to write. It lets me be me for just a little while. Shame work and other responsibilities try to eat away at my time. Such a pity I have to pay the bills.

How does your writing process work?

Open laptop. Click switch. Wait for said laptop to boot. Stare at screen. Check emails. Play on Pinterest. Check emails. Read news. Watch videos of dogs.

Open word document.

Stare at the screen. Grin inanely before going through the process of checking emails, watching dog videos, etc. again. Maybe even playing with my dogs in between each stage could be a great tool for delaying the inevitable.

But as soon as I start to write, I am away with it. Nothing seems to encroach. Well, when the words are being my friend and the muse is not off playing hooky – and the dogs don’t want to play ball.

There are certain times when I am writing a new story that I am constantly thinking about it. ‘She’ is in my head all of the time and I find myself talking aloud about ideas and scenes – especially when I am driving to, and from, work in the car. My characters become like the nicer members of my family and I want to spend more and more time with them.

Alas, when the story is over, I miss them so much. So much so, I have to stop myself from writing a sequel.

I hope you found out a little bit more about my writing process. I did tag ‘the one and only’ D Jordan Redhawk to continue this Writing Process Blog Tour, but she has already done hers. Redhawk was the writer I read all of those years ago that inspired me to have a crack at writing. So, you can either thank her or blame her.

Therefore, with a heavy heart, this tour stops here. Everybody off! Termination Point!  All change!  I’ll stop there as I think you have got the message.

Have a wonderful day.