Wednesday 30 December 2009

Near Edgware

The Ridgways are triplets - identical, as far as the world-at-large is concerned - but Jess just doesn't see them that way.

The brothers were in the Common Room. Raphael worked on a low table. Alex lounged with his feet a little too close to his brother’s work. Caleb was moving the Common Room chairs into place and lining them up. Who said it was hard to tell the brothers apart? It was strange to see them relaxed, without the secretive huddle they would switch to once the rest of the Sixth Form arrived. I stood completely still-didn't even breathe-but they each turned to look my way.

Why are they triplets? Because three is an odd number. I couldn't bear separating twins and leaving one on his own. Besides amongst the three brothers Caleb is the odd one out. The one with a different destiny. Caleb is different, flawed... and human.

Sunday 27 December 2009

Near Edgware

I made the notes to end the second Autumn term for Jess and Caleb, yesterday - during my i-tunes and Facebook heaven. The next stage, which I always knew was a kidnapping, crystalised for me as the notes turned the white page blue - an idea I am so excited about I can hardly wait to be given the opportunity to write it. It is the next page of the street map, it will make writing everything inbetween easier.

This time last year, I was feverishly trying to get Near Edgware completed - I was writing the scene that matches with the prologue. I stood in the woodland at dusk and walked out the route Jess has to run. The owl, who features strongly, turned up to give me heart failure, and had to be written in to the story.


Dark, clawing brambles shredded my skin. Gasping and shaking, I scrambled to higher ground at the top of the mound dragging shallow breaths into my aching, ice-scorched lungs. Time, like my energy, was running out and I still hadn't delivered the warning.
I’d come back home to enjoy hanging out with my friends. Instead, I’d spent time researching a little-known subculture and walking, make that running, into danger. Before being ripped apart and dying – if I was lucky – I had just about enough time to wonder if he was really worth all this.
I imagined myself in quieter - safer - alternate realities. In my head I agonised over the question but, in my heart I found the answer: the excitement of knowing - and being loved by him. I loved him. He made even this seem like the right place to be. I smiled and, even though he wasn’t there with me, I reached out my hand as if we could really touch.
The pain hadn’t started yet so, unless lacerations forced me to change my mind, I decided I’d stand by my choices. But, I took a deep breath and screamed.

Saturday 26 December 2009

Facebook and i-tunes

Could there be a more stressful way to spend the evening?
I wanted to edit STAYING LOST, but my new i-pod had other ideas.

I've thirsted for portable music since someone, and it can't have been me flattened the lead for my i-pod Shuffle. Santa obliged with a shiny purple i-pod Nano and I realised, since I got my new computer, I've been glued to Spotify. All my new playlists are locked in a non-portable format and I never got around to uploading any CDs onto this computer.

Remembering how long it took to put each CD into the disc drive and wait while it whirred through the process on the other computer, it has taken me days to start. I've worked through prevarication and done time wasting - JUST DO IT took on a whole new meaning.

Uploading music is meant to fill you full of joy, but, do you know how many CDs I own? No. Neither do I. But they are all going to be passing through my fingers so I'm going to know... somewhere in the next two days. Glum! The incessant whirring is calling warning me -- the next ping is due.

To celebrate this evening of repetitive strain, I decided to go the whole hog and set up my Facebook page. Any passing friends are more than welcome to click and join.

See you'all when, or if, I ever finish.

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Writing Secrets - I'M IT !

Donna asked if I would be IT so I completed the task, but I don't know the rules for what comes after this. If you would like to be IT - to take up the challenge and answer the questions about your writing, please feel free to have a go. Let me know. I would love to read your responses too.

1. What's the last thing you wrote? What's the first thing you wrote that you still have?

The section of Near Edgware where Jess, sure that something is very wrong, sets out to walk to Caleb's.
Flower preparing to move from fostercare - being handed over to her Great Uncle Will with the remains of her life in a suitcase and two plastic bags.

2. Write poetry?

If you count Haikus as poetry, then yes, daily.

3. Angsty poetry?

Deeply philosophical.

4. Favorite genre of writing?

Anything with emotion and action.

5. Most annoying character you've ever created?

Jam - James - from Flower is deliberately annoying, but only to Flower herself.

6. Best Plot you've ever created?

The threads that run deep through Near Edgware.

7. Coolest Plot twist you've ever created?

The one that is the undercurrent in Near Edgware.

8. How often do you get writer's block?

I don't get writer's block I get writer's writing crap and go back later to fix it!

9. Write fan fiction?

No clue what that is.

10. Do you type or write by hand?

When I am writing it is a computer for me, all the way - I don't even like to have to work on a laptop.
I do plan in a range of note books - pocket sized ones for when I go out - larger one when I'm plotting the book before I start - card indexes as I'm writing so I have all facts for each character etc at my finger tips.

11. Do you save everything you write?

Yes. In it's various formats as I'm working. Later versions often start with NEW or the date in the title.

12. Do you ever go back to an idea after you've abandoned it?

I write the starts of things as they come to me and shelve them. I don't abandon anything. I check in on them to make sure I could write them at a moments notice, if I had to.

13. What's your favorite thing you've ever written?

Near Edgware. Having said that STAYING LOST is a favourite in a different way.

14. What's everyone else's favorite story that you've written?

I share everything I write with as broad an audience as I can reach from day one. Everyone is different. My Writing Circle love Near Edgware.

15. Ever written romance or angsty teen drama?

Near Edgware is YA supernatural romance :)

16. What's your favorite setting for your characters?

Woodland settings in all kinds of weather and school.

17. How many writing projects are you working on right now?

One that is ready to actively seek representation for. One that was finished in November but is going through editing. Flower and Found'er.

18. Have you ever won an award for your writing?

No, but I've never entered anything.

19. What are your five favorite words?

“I want to represent you.” After I hear (read in an e-mail) those five, they’ll change to “I found you a publisher.” I stole this from Donna but it made me laugh and it is, in its own way, true.

20. What character have you created that is most like yourself?

Jess Trainer's Mum - but she doesn't get to do much except force the issue - in book one. She has, in the past, and will, in the future be much more proactive and centre stage.

21. Where do you get ideas for your characters from?

The physical image of the characters come from the glitterati - I have strong images in my mind when I describe the way they look but their personalities are all their own. They have to be the kind of people who would act and do the things that are necessary for the plot.

22. Do you ever write based on your dreams?

I hardly ever dream - not ones I remember anyway. Only people who get enough sleep remember their dreams. When I'm in a writing fever I keep my note book by the bed because ideas form before I fall asleep and as I'm waking up. Very occassionally I have dreamed about my characters.

23. Do you favor happy endings?

Ultimately, yes. I like the promise of happiness to follow even better.

24. Are you concerned with spelling and grammar as you write?

Yes and no. I need to get the story written and my fingers don't keep up with my brain. Thank goodness I can touch type or I would be soooo frustrated.

25. Does music help you write?

Is there a God in heaven?

26. Quote something you've written. Whatever pops into your head.

There were at least four people in the house and every one of them could hear the phone ringing, even if they were submerged in water or playing music in the attic. The nausea intensified. I tried Caleb’s house again. This time I counted the rings, and crossed my fingers, and hoped someone would pick up the phone. But it rang and rang, and no-one came.
I felt seriously sick and it had nothing to do with food or drink. Suddenly, I was very sure something was wrong. I couldn’t let my mind follow that thought further than the words. But, something was wrong.
Back in my bedroom I began to change into my running shoes and clothes. I caught sight of myself, in my black tracksuit and trainers, my pale face framed by dark hair my eyes strained and wide. I could run if I wanted to. I could run down the roads to The Old Bridle Way... to Grimm’s End... if I wanted to. I’d see Caleb and he’d laugh at me. Then we’d come back because everything there would be fine. They’d all just be busier than normal.

NEAR EDGWARE 21st December The Longest Night Just A Kiss

The Girl with One Eye and Dominique started me thinking about kisses.
I may be one day late for Just A Kiss on the 21st December but I couldn't resist posting Jess and Caleb's kiss from 21st December in NEAR EDGWARE.
I wanted to stop before the kiss because the build-up... is quite that. But, I guess I'd better let them kiss or they'll be waiting a while to get some lip action.

We stood in the glow of the Christmas decorations that shone out into the dark from the lobby of the pub and restaurant.
“Call me later?” Caleb’s warm breath moistened my ear and, as I shivered, his fingers traced the raised lines and bones from wrist to fingernail tips.
“Umm,” I agreed. I gazed into the warm, honey glow of his eyes, but his raised brow preoccupied me even more.
Caleb’s laughter vibrated through me as his arms surrounded me and he lifted me from the floor. My eyes were level with his and my distraction was complete, “Promise?”
The soft fabric of his dark school jacket gave way to the silkier strands of his hair as I moved both hands to cradle his head. I had lost the desire to speak. Action seemed, suddenly, very necessary. But Caleb’s lips thinned and drew back – his smile could not spread any wider. The tiny frown between his eyebrows spoiled the perfection. Leaning forward, to place my lips there and smooth it away, I caught the warning glint in his eye. My hands curled over his shoulders and gripped while he twirled us around.
Caleb, with the multi-coloured Christmas lights reflecting in his pale hair, was electrifying. I absorbed each sensation to complete the image: crisp cold air, pine from the tree, his warmth radiating from beneath the woollen coat. My senses were heightened, then he let me slide back down the length of his body to the floor. It took me a while remember I was trying to answer his question, “Promise what?”
“You’ll call me... when you get home?” He flushed. Cleared his throat, and shook his head before he started again, “What time do you think you’ll get home? When will you be able to call?”
“Sometime in the dull bit – before the patrol gets back.”
“Good,” he said kissing his way from eyebrow to eyebrow and then down my nose towards my mouth. I held my breath and waited... while he waited. Our nightly challenge – who would give in first and start the final kiss. I could feel the irresistible pull that meant that it was nearly always me who couldn’t hold out. I tried to enjoy the closeness, that was just one step from perfection. To move was to cheat but sometimes one, or both, of us resorted to that. My fingers on his chest itched to slide up, to cling to his neck or to trace the muscles under his open jacket.
My head swum and my lips curled into a smile of pleasure as I felt the non-Were tremble under my hands just before his lips connected with mine. I threw every ounce of pent-up frustration, he had worked to build, into my response.
“What’s another word for bliss?” his mouth moving over mine demanded, “I don’t want to wear out my word?”
“Not good enough – stars look cold.”
“Better, but...”
“Too much!” he said pulling back as the change vibrations became detectable.
“Too sensitive, by far,” I laughed and pushed my hands up his chest, along his neck, then over the faint roughness on his cheeks towards the silkiness of his hair.
With his nose on my neck I knew he was absorbing my scent, the way I collected images.
“I’ll call as soon as I can.”
He took two paces back without turning so his darkened amber eyes never left mine. I began to walk backwards to the door of the pub. I couldn’t take my eyes from his, until he raised an eyebrow and laughed. I turned to see the man waiting to pass through the door.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, watching as Caleb turned to run the short distance to the corner where his brothers and protectors waited. They'd tried to give him a little privacy, but probably failed.

Back to STAYING LOST - a very different kind of action there.

Monday 21 December 2009

Editing and having fun with words

I love editing: snipping, slicing and re-working the story until the essence is left to tell the tale - complete with L5 punctuation and vocabulary, of course. :)

The sounds in the world beyond were deadened by the rushing of blood, as Jon finally set off on his carefully paced out run towards the ball. He didn’t make it that far. His path was intercepted by the figure dressed in black leather. The motorbike had arrowed in on the far side of the rugby pitch where Jon, with his ash-blond hair, was a solitary and distinctive figure. He was the last person to know that the motorbike was about to arrive – fast and furious across the pitch. The first thing he felt was the shower of mud which, fountained up from the tyres as they spun on the soggy grass, rained down on him. Then, pain when a booted foot crashed into his knee. Lastly, the arm that reached around him, squeezing out his breath and hauling him off the floor. It was fair to say that he had noticed the motorbike by that point.

Sunday 20 December 2009

Snow Day and holidays

Less than two inches equals school closure? Only in England.
My last half day turned into a no-school snow day.
I was ready to hike to school in my arctic snow gear (the one and a half inches of snow looked chilly) when the text message made my phone buzz. School cancelled. Not so much with a bang as a whisper.
When I went whale watching in Tysfjord the snow was piled higher than my head. The last train couldn't run but the bus, with it's snowplough escort, had no problem getting there.
To quote the kids, who should have been at school on Friday morning, "I don't get it." Surely if the snow is lower than your ankles you should be able to go to school?

Oh, well ... more time for the re-edit: Staying Lost. I read Chapter one and two in its more polished format to the class on Thursday - the blood-thirsty crew were very - there - with Nerysa as she dealt with the ambush. Food for thought on chapter order. I keep reminding myself this is Jon's story.

I've also been making notes for Jess and Caleb - I saw a entire last chapter of one of the books being enacted in the snow yesterday so the non-whiteout was useful.

Now listening to JLS Beat Again - wish Amanda Jenssen was still playing her Christmas number - Spotify keeps showing me up ;)

Saturday 12 December 2009

Staying Lost ~ The happily before the ever after

Editing underway - phew

Now I just want to work out how to add images - not at the same thing as procrastination ;)

Tudor School was one of the most exclusive, private boarding schools in the south of England. It was the only educational facility that insisted prospective pupils had to be registered on the day of their birth. If parents, who could afford the kind of fees they charged, made two phone calls when their babies were born one of them was to the school’s Admission Secretary. It was the only way to guarantee that the child would be considered for a place. This was a school with a long history, a long waiting list and tradition.

Hoards of old Tudorians, in scarlet capes and soft Tudor hats, swelled the numbers who lined the pitch. Every ex-pupil for the last four hundred years had made it to the final game of the season, it seemed – except one. He promised he would get to the game no matter what came up at work but... well... Jon knew his Dad was a busy man.

Beefing up the bad guy

Abby Annis over on her blog asked about the bad guy. She is re-writing her WIP to introduce evil earlier in her work. She has been keeping the reasons for his less than caring nature under her hat. I started thinking about my two very different projects and the force of evil that affects the lives they meet.

Near Edgware

Evil is huge in the second installment of Jess and Caleb's lives. In Near Edgware it is the affects of psychotic evil that can be seen as first Jess and then Caleb and the pack are targeted. To use the spiked wolf collar showed his twisted genius for ironic torture.

"Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and others have greatness thrust upon them."

I don't think anyone is ever ~ truly ~ all black or all white, checkered pasts produce checkered futures.

Meanwhile, aren't I doing well with the editing of Staying Lost ? Um

Thursday 10 December 2009

Procrastination and Books 2009




Not working - lots of that.

Not editing - just the newly finished SHINEY NaNoWriMo MG masterpiece awaiting polishing with a red-pen.

Not writing - apart from the haikus.

The ill-health-thing that my anti-biotics are busy blasting away is turning my brain to mush. What else could be getting in the way of any of the above or - God forbid - sleeping?

TWITTER and the multi faceted Bransford Blog.

I'm doomed!

I'm in charge of videoing the Y3/4 production of Hosanna Rock tomorrow - I can't even click the right button to make my Twitter link active apparently - can I claim it was black light problem?

Speaking of the Bransford Blog - I've only bought 3 books published in 2009 - MG all - :0 - the other hundred are older :s

Steve Feasey Changling - weretastic
Two from the Gladiator Boy series - which were... both from the Gladiator Boy series.

Sunday 6 December 2009

NaNo not writing - editing - STAYING LOST

Editing - taking words and polishing them until they paint a world


The crowds, who moments before had been shouting and dancing, froze. Then they began moving in unison; zombie-like they shuffled forward. Supporting the team. Supporting each other. A wall of black and red, the supporters leaned forward – closer – drawn towards the spot where he stood. Hands gripped at their scarves, imprisoning them so they could no longer whip around faces or away.
Jon smiled, it would take more than scarves to disturb him and spoil his aim. Nothing would be allowed to interrupt his preparations. He loosened his shoulders, swinging his arms. He began to pace backwards in a carefully controlled curve. Once he reached the place – the only square of grass that contained the exact spot to being his run up from – Jon held up his linked fists, and eyed the shot with care.
Along the line of his arms he saw the two men hurrying down from the castle keep – the main building of Tudor School. Jon recognised the Head Teacher, Mr Gray, even he was on his way to the rugby pitch. The second man was a little shorter than the headmaster. He looked vaguely familiar too. Jon couldn’t wait for either of them to get down to the field. Time was running out.
Jon blew out his breath, steady and controlled. Leaning into the heel of his back foot, he rocked a little as he prepared for his run up. His concentration was complete now. His eye was on the line, invisible to everyone else, that the ball must follow so he could make the kick successfully. Everything he had been taught to do was second nature. The seam on the ball was the most important thing in his universe at that moment.

Wrong shaped ball, but supporters are supporters no matter what the sport.
Football is my sport - I've been to over half the football grounds of England, Wales and Scotland. Maybe I should try to complete the list?

Go Man Utd - a good day for the Red Devils. I'm glad Scholes scored.

Saturday 5 December 2009

The new Harry Potter is worm called Annelid?

I love Come in Character <3 - it makes me think - it makes me think creatively!

I'm going to be obsessing over the perishing, little critter now...

In a hole in the ground there lived a....

pink, segmented worm who had taken streamlined to a place that was both streamy and liney - well, linear anyway. It had stripped down the kinds of extraneous, dangly pieces other life forms seemed to favour to the bare bones. (Pardon my worm humour I just thought you ought to know that Annelid was a highly evolved kind of critter.)

I could have some fun with this one.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Inspiration comes from

I've been thinking about inspiration rather than Muse (for a change) .

Last week, I wrote a haiku that I loved. It is one of the fastest poems ever written. It probably took less than two minutes from reading the #haikuchallenge word to posting it.

Why did the poem leap from brain to Twitter that quickly? I blame the buzz word *before. It cut through the thought processes to the place where inspiration lives and leapt out... Athene-style... fully formed.


Can't we go back to
the before that was our now?
This time get it right?

There was a line in a play - written for TV - I think by John Godber and Jane Thornton.

It is haunting: Can we not have before again?

It's not a long line of dialogue, as these things go, but it is one of the most important to me.

Where do you find inspiration?