Well you have been teased with storylines and extracts so I suppose the next tease is to show you the amazing cover the wonderful Mel over at Melchelle Designs created for me. So without further ado here it is….
I know it has been a long time coming but it shall be out next month hopefully both as an ebook and in print through createspace…watch this space for details.
Despite the fact I have good intentions for the ghost story collection I have stalled on writing it. The last few days I have done some soul-searching as to the reason and I think I know why now.
I originally intended it to consist of ten stories but the idea for different stories kept coming to me then the other week I posted a flash fiction based on one of the ideas I had dismissed which everyone seemed to love and think should be made into something more. While praise is of course wonderful it made me question the stories I had chosen to put in and those consigned to the sidelines.
The solution now seems to me to cut back the number of stories to the original ten and save the rest for a second volume. Since I reached a decision on this the task has become far less daunting though I still am hovering over one or two stories and whether they should be included in this first collection. I do now at least feel I can get back to work on it without having to ignore new ideas that spring up.
To get my mind back in the right frame of mind I have been watching a few ghost films and programmes I thought I would share a couple of clips from what I have been watching.
The delightful Maddie over at Breezy Books has tagged me in a new game you can read her post here.
The challenge is “The idea is to locate the word ‘look’ in whatever manuscript you have lying around (I may be paraphrasing here) and post the few previous and following paragraphs and then invite other authors to do the same.”
So off I wandered to have a quick look….
As the elevator halted Priscilla lost her balance, the heels that she wore as part of her daily corporate uniform failed her, sending her forward through the air. Instinctively she reached out grasping Tyler’s arm to steady herself, as soon as she regained her equilibrium she pulled her hand back as if the cloth of his suit had burnt her hand.
“Sorry” She found herself apologizing despite the fact he had turned to her and smiled.
“Not a problem, are you okay?”
“Yes it just caught me off guard, I just hope it isn’t stuck for too long.” She reached out her hand to the control panel hitting each button hoping that it would spur the elevator to movement. She reached finally for the alarm button pressing it several times before a voice crackled into the intercom explaining there was a power cut, an accident in the street had hit a power cable it would be back up as soon as the cable company arrived.
She stepped back aware there was nothing they could do but sit back and wait. She looked around at the steel walls, wondering how long she would be able to bear being in here. Tyler seemed to sense her unease and turned to face her loosening his tie, he began complaining he would not make the ball game he was heading to that evening if they were held up long. She was aware he was trying to pass the time and distract her from the fact they could be trapped for hours but as he spoke she found herself drifting off contemplating what it would be like to feel his lips against hers. She made the effort to return his conversation all the time taking in each of his features, the lines that appeared round the corner of his eyes when he smiled made her realize he was perhaps a few years older than she had believed previously. She had thought him in his mid twenties, too young to consider for anything more than a fling, not that she would have considered having one she quickly reminded herself.
She was becoming aware of the walls closing in on her, she could feel herself growing warm and feel her heart pounding in her chest. She felt it was beating so loudly surely he must hear it, she slipped her jacket from her shoulder, her eyes now leaving him and flitting round looking for an escape route from the shrinking metal cage which encased them. His words were muted now as if they were coming to her through water, she could see concern spread across his face and his arm reaching for her. She felt herself falling then dull pain as she met the floor before everything went dark.
In the darkness she saw streams of blood running down the elevator walls she ran between them pounding on the cold hard metal as she screamed for help. She knew she was not alone a figure stood watching her. It did not move or speak just stood watching, she flew at it now pounding her fists against the unyielding flesh. She felt strong hands grasp her wrists, holding her, restricting her movement
Okay so thats my bit taken from one of the ghost stories I am working on, lets see who is next up…
I decided today to take a break from the medieval but don’t worry another dungeon tour is imminent, instead I want to talk about ghosts.
We all grew up hearing ghosts stories you would think they would be easy to write but they are not. First the very fact we all grew up hearing numerous variations on themes makes it incredibly hard to actually come up with original ideas. When I first got the idea to do this story collection it was because I already had a couple of ideas, then others started coming the problem was obviously my muse had the same childhood I did and was retelling me stories I was convinced I had already heard. Eventually I came up with 15 ideas that I am happy are original enough to continue with that even if not totally original I can put my own voice into enough to make them my own.
I found myself asking several questions as I vetted these ideas..
Who is the ghost?
Why are they a ghost?
What do they want?
Can they have it?
Who sees them?
How do they react?
Is there a resolution?
The last one is most interesting does resolution mean the ghost moves on in very case in my stories it turns out the answer is no. Sometimes they merely provide a resolution for the breathing characters.
I also wanted a couple of more humourous stories and hopefully when they are done a couple will have people laughing out loud but that will depend on my storytelling abilities, if I could show you them the way I see them in my head I know you would but it is the transference from mind to page that is hardest for me. Ideas have never been a problem but I get incredibly frustrated at times trying to project the image to paper, to find the words to express my vision, I know I am probably not alone in that but it can feel that way at times.
Like so many others whose posts I read I do not believe in my abilities at times, I feel the desire for others to justify my words and it is a feeling I hate, it makes me feel like a needy child demanding praise, I even wonder if that is part of the reason for doing this, but then I get scared I will hear not praise or even censure but indifference.
I told my parents about being accepted for publication their response was hardly overwhelming especially as it is unpaid, but the comments I received here and from friends both real and online compensated and I feel that possibly strangers know me better than my own parents. Don’t get me wrong if the novel was published and made money they would be proud of me but they would not read it still (possibly for the best given a few scenes) but to them it’s not real unless you make a living from it, and I wonder if that is why I feel the way I do about my work though in my case it is not the money but the seeing my name in print which is the main concern. Having someone think I am good enough to print, someone who selects me above other choices, which makes me feel bad then thinking I may be taking the spot of someone more talented more worthy of the recognition.
I know it sounds like I have gone off topic but I haven’t you see these doubts are my real ghosts, the ones that haunt my dreams. I do not fear the dead but I fear joining them never having silenced the doubts which plague me. And for that is the real essence of the ghost story, why we all love being scared by the imaginary ghouls because ultimately nothing out there can be as scary as the fear of failure.
As this is the first real post regarding my WIP I guess it makes sense to discuss where it all began. Three years ago I found a facebook game I loved and in some ways it would be easy to claim that as the starting point. But that wouldn’t be quite true.
You see the reason I enjoyed this game so much initially was I already loved the Medieval. I was a tomboy growing up more at home climbing trees than playing for hours doing dolls hair. Most times people play knights, and castles the only role for girls is to be the princess waiting to be rescued but then I found her…..
Boudicca! Now to be fair she lived earlier than the medieval period generally tends to include as she died around 60 AD .
Now history in acedemic terms is not my strong point and I will not insult you my lovely readers by trying to explain in great detail her life story or the politics of the Roman Invasion at the time For those history buffs out there or those who want to learn a great deal more from better qualified people than I here is the first part of Battlefield Britain’s take on Boudicca’s Rebellion. http://youtu.be/8hpC44KD3O4
If you have the time to watch it it really is a fascinating programme sadly embed was disabled so I could only provide the link. So in simple terms Boudicca was the Queen of the Iceni tribe who led a rebellion against Roman soldiers who wished to enslave her people. The problem here is that many of the stories are as much myth as anything else as history tends to be written by the victors. No one is actually even sure what she looks like take this composite image I found online
She was a figure that disappeared from history for many years being made popular again during the reign of Queen Victoria. Infact it would appear that down the years it is only when a female monarch is in charge that this strong woman is remembered.
She was the isnspiration for my main chararcter Jacantha. Women were seem as the equal of men at the very least. They fought alongside them many being considered far more dangerous than the men. But as in my novel being a female warrio could lead to their sex being used against them if captured, It is reported that when Boudicca’s daughters were captured they were raped an outrage that only fuelled her hatred for the Roman invaders.
The Roman’s accused the Briton’s of barbarous horrors to justify their slaughter and anyone who questions some of the graphic sexual violence this is a quote from Wikipedia ‘Tacitus says that the Britons had no interest in taking or selling prisoners, only in slaughter by gibbet, fire, or cross. Dio’s account gives more detail; that the noblest women were impaled on spikes and had their breasts cut off and sewn to their mouths, “to the accompaniment of sacrifices, banquets, and wanton behaviour” in sacred places, particularly the groves of Andraste.’
This is a clip from the film Warrior Queen for those of a squeamish disposition I should warn it shows sexual violence as well as normal violence and it is a little longer than I would have liked but it also demonstrates as well the belief in magic held at the time.
Next week I shall discuss how the cast of other characters formed around my Queen.
Years ago when I first left school I went to Art College instead of taking A levels we had just moved towns and it seemed like a good idea at the time. In hindsight it was wrong but there was one experience which made the failure worth the lost years. That was the college trip to Paris. As a city I hated it wander off the tourist paths and you found dirty grubby streets, we even had our own adventure walking through the red light district trying to get back to the youth hostel from one gallery but that is a story for another day.
My best memory of that trip was a little obscure looking gallery filled with the most amazing treasures…Monet’s paintings. I was fascinated by Monet for two reasons. First of course were his wonderful paintings, I loved Impressionists but especially Monet. To stand before the sheer magnitude of his canvas’ to see each individual brush stroke up close was breath-taking. For me I think it was the first time I truly understood the meaning of the word genius. But it is the second reason that is the focus of this post. It is the fact he created and grew and entire garden just so he could paint it. He planned the views, the colours, the layout all so he could paint his visions. And in a lesser way this is how I view my note books. They are my garden starting out as ideas, seedlings planted some to grow to maturity some plucked away. I thought it might be fun to share a few picture of the note-book I use for my novel.
These are early pages after all I don’t want to give too much away lol. I started off with collections of images…no thats not true. I started off with the idea I had idea’s about how certain characters would look and act and I searched out images which fit what I envisioned. I scrawled on around and even over certain images taking notes of the parts that fit with what I wanted, asking myself questions, working out what research I needed to do to find the answers I needed.
I saw those early scribbles as the first tentative brushstrokes or the skimming of charcoal on paper providing an outline for what I wanted to create.
As you can see these early pages become more and more filled with my looping scrawl as more thoughts come to me. You will also see I love to doodle on the pages as I think. It has been a long time since I took the time to practise my drawing skills maybe in time if I put in a little more effort as I doodle they will be worth looking at once more. You can also see on these first pages the skeleton for the novels structure just a quick note in chapter form of the novels timeline. It held it most of the way with obviously more details and a few changes in later versions.
I did lose track of myself on the occasional page where my terrible scribbling become too confusing to read myself later but as the note-book was only ever meant for me to see I did not think it neccessary to worry about nice neat flowing handwriting but as the book continues as the note-book begins to contain facts and ideas for actual use then it does get better. no point having a great line if you can’t read what it was.
Someone else made a comment to me that one day if I ever got published people would want to see my note-books and I laughed. Maybe if that day ever came it might be wise for me to destroy them and pretend they never existed rather than disappoint with my terrible drawings and appalling writing but I don’t think I could ever do that. Disorganised as they are this is how my ideas have grown, the pages where my characters were born and took their first breaths I don’t think I would ever want to part with them.
I didn’t want to carry on further into the note book afterall pages of text are no where near as amusing as scribbled pictures and random notes but I hope you enjoyed a little peek into how my mind works. Maybe in writing this I have learnt a lesson myself not just about realising myself how I work but also that spending a few extra minutes when writing in my note-books would not only ensure I can read my own writing but one day might make me feel more comfortable about sharing more from them.
Do you use a note-book or are you a straight to computer writer? If you do what is scribbled in the margins of yours?
I have been debating how to celebrate 3000 views on my page and I thought this was the way to go. I have read so many of your excerpts from your books and WIP and you have repaid me by coming bac over and over again without the slightest evidence that this WIP of mine is actually going to be worth the effort. So I decided that I would give you a taster the first few paragraphs of Queen of Ages. Now please be kind and bear in mind this is only the first draft I am aware of a few glaring grammatical issues, and as I have progressed writing it there will probably be quite a few changes to this but I wanted to share with you where it all began for me. So here goes I hope you like…..
She pulled her cloak tighter around her, the soft fur brushing against her cheek. She was alone now. She would stay here the full night paying her last respects to her father until the flames died to smouldering embers. Despite the warmth from the fire itself she could see her breath as she exhaled. The night was clear, the moon shone brightly. She turned her gaze towards the sky, picking out the constellations she recognised from her childhood lessons. Each pinpoint of light seeming brighter than the last. Finally she settled on one concentrating her gaze on it. She picked out each individual star that made up the constellation. She wondered how far away each one really was. Childhood lessons talked of each star being as big as the land she walked upon. It seemed as unbelievable to her now as it had as a child. She found herself going dizzy at the thought of the insurmountable distance between her and the star. She lowered her eyes back to the ground.
As the flames flickered and danced before her eyes. She allowed her mind to drift back over the last few hours. Everything had happened so quickly, yet she herself had felt as though she had been moving through water. Everything seemed to have happened in slow motion, as if she were watching it and herself from a distance. The men had carried her father’s body back from the battle. They had fought valiantly and on pure skill should have been victorious but it had not been skill which had determined the outcome. The few warriors who had returned had described strange circumstances occurring during the course of the skirmish. She hadn’t been able to take it all in. There would be time for the stories to be retold in the next few days but first the formalities must be performed with the solemnity they deserved. Her father was a bear of a man, tall and broad. She had gained his height but had inherited her mother’s willowy build. In her memories of childhood he was alternately the kind loving father who lifted her into his lap and regaled her with stories of wolves, and witches, faerie folk and elves. Or he was the strict ruler impressing upon her and her younger brother the importance of their future roles. A strict taskmaster on the training field, he taught them to wield various weapons. Forcing them to practice for hours, even though their arms ached and they had reached a point through weariness where it was all they could do to lift the huge broadswords.
A brief smile escaped her lips at the thought. She bore him no ill feelings for the fact the hours training had far outweighed the precious hours of stories. She understood why things had been that way, the smile faded as the realities of the warrior life returned as she thought of the lifeless body carried back through the keep gates. Without his fearsome spirit the body had seemed smaller. Now she would take his place as the leader of their tribe, and would be expected to lead her troops with the same bravery and skill as he had. Tomorrow she would take the crown and her brother would receive the heir’s diadem that now sat upon her chestnut tresses.