Lazy Sunday #25

Good afternoon, I know these are getting later but it seems a lot of people were letting off a lot of noisy fireworks last night so it took a while to get to sleep. We didn’t go to a bonfire this year, I have a lot going on personally at the minute and the monster is not a big fan of crowds but hopefully next year we will go to an organised display. So quick update, the print version of Voices is now available on Amazon I will do a proper post tomorrow including links but the final proof copies arrived and are looking good though of course I will be sitting down and doing a proper read through just to treble check for the millionth time lol.

Right onto today’s blog offerings…

  1. I am a big fan of people paying it forward and sharing other peoples posts as long as it is done properly with full accreditation this young man has done just that and his friends images are wonderful    https://paintdigi.wordpress.com/2016/10/21/beauty-in-nature-d2-photos-of-plants-art-and-beauty-images-for-you-8/
  2. Everyone says you should always look to the future and not dwell on the past but sometimes it is a good thing to glance over your shoulder to appreciate just how far you have come  https://stephanie-hurt.com/2016/10/28/flashback-friday/
  3. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for me you cannot do better than to look to nature for true magnificence this ladies images capture such fascinating moments and make art from them https://drawandshoot.me/2016/10/28/birds-falling-like-leaves-off-trees/
  4. We need to support each other as indie authors, we do not have the marketing budgets of traditional publishing houses, cannot get out books onto book shelves as easily but what we can do is share posts spread the word and give each other a shout out whenever possible  https://lindaghill.com/2016/10/27/thank-you-3/
  5. Finally a brilliant spooky story worthy of the Halloween season  https://roughwighting.net/2016/10/28/the-old-mansion-on-my-street/
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WIP Wednesday – Keeping the motivation going.

First up if you want to check out the resolution round up for May you can do so by clicking here.

One of my major issues is seeing things through to the end, I write a story then things either go wrong or it just gets to the editing stage and I lose momentum.  As much as I want to finish a project my mind has finished with it and wants to move on to the next, it does not want to carry on doing the tedious work of editing.  I know if I exert myself and become even semi successful this will get easier, once I start to make money back I can look at hiring editors and getting help with that part or the process.  My daughter was helping with it at one point but she has a full time job and life of her own and that has to be her priority I would not have it any other way though of course I would love to be able to hire her as my editor full time there is very little chance of that ever happening.

Voices is proving extremely hard to finish, I have lost stories that were completed, some of which I have printed off and am in the process of editing as I type them up, others require more or less a full rewrite from skeleton outlines of stories.  I know I will get there and I am forcing myself to persevere.  The one thing I have done is to begin working on two projects at a time rather than one, now by that I do not mean two novels at a time, rather while working on Voices I am also working on Disintegration and swapping between the two when I find myself hitting a wall with one.  Once Disintegration in completed I will alternate with a bonus short story of a different genre for submission to journals.

I am feeling very positive still even though at times it is easy to feel like I am climbing a mountain wearing flip flops but I know I will get there.

WIP Wednesdays – Getting the house in order.

There is a Kylie song which pretty much sums up how I am feeling at the minute in fact lets insert it here and you can listen while reading as long as you don’t get distracted by the hot pants…

Okay so now we have the music pumping lets crack on, first you will have noticed Monday remains book reviews but the TV post on a Tuesday has undergone a little transformation towards more of a writing view point.  Here on a Wednesday I will talk about my writing in the previous week, so this week I would mention the fact I have been reworking the story which was rejected into a longer form for submission to a Sci-Fi market and that I have now moved on to reworking an old serial I posted on here to try to extend it with the intention of publishing it as a novella.  I felt a brief break from Voices was needed for a couple of weeks while I get into the swing of my timetable/scheduling routine.

For those of you who want to see who I am doing with the resolutions I posted back in January the last months round up is published and you can read that here.

I feel I should briefly touch on that here I am a list addict I find I am more productive if I can see exactly what needs doing and what has been accomplished. Previously I seemed to have different lists all over the place but then I bought this…

index71cJ64-A3BL._SL1500_I am loving it and although it has taken a week of two moving things round to find a way to make it work best for me I am really happy with it.  At £17.99 it was not exactly cheap but it has some brilliant exercises in the front as well to help keep you mentally focused and motivated I just hope they make one or next year now, if you want a better look you can find it here.

Thursdays for now will continues as Throwback Thursdays partly because they are quick to post and secondly I have lots of old photos and as time goes on new photos become old ones, not sure I would continue it next year but for the rest of this year you get to look at my mug at least once a week.

Fridays will remain Vlog Time though I would like to improve these and add a little more in terms of content I also know a few people would like to see and hear more from the monster so maybe I will look at when I film them and see if that can be changed.

Saturdays will become a little more about me, once a month will be the Glossybox review, my friend Deborah gave me lots of grief when I stopped those before and as she has my phone number and knows where I work I better not upset her any more. I will use this day to talk about any days out I have had, plays I have been to etc.  It may be in the form of a blog post or some video footage depending where I have been or most likely a mixture of both. I also listen to a lot of podcasts so I may discuss issues from them or the news at this point but I do not want this to get heavy and serious I would rather keep up with a light hearted tone similar to the one I used during A-Z.

Sunday will see the return of Sunday Story, at the minute I am aiming to post a flash piece or a character scene and keeping it under a 1000 words, half my flash fiction pieces seem to end up getting reused at a later date as the start point for longer pieces and that is a failing of my flash fiction writing that I can never tell the full story in so few words people always ask for more so we shall see what happens with them.  I do think by having at least one separate piece to work on each week it will give me a break from my main WIP and take some of the pressure off myself.

Write back to writing now I hope you like the sound of the changes I am making and really hope you will all enjoy what is to come.  And I want to say thank you to all of you for being there through the last few dark months, your likes, comments and support has meant more than you can ever know xx

Feedback

Previously I discussed having a story rejected and then published the story for feedback from you guys, (if you missed it you can read it here), which I have to say was very positive.  I have actually received official feedback from the competition itself and their reasons for rejection were not the ones I thought they would be but actually turn out to be something I have had before on my flash fiction.  This is what they had to say…

– I really liked the ending to the story, but it ultimately couldn’t outweigh the things that I felt needed work.
– My biggest issue with this story is that it’s essentially six paragraphs of exposition. You have such an interesting plot—the fashion show of a lifetime ruined by a SWAT operation—and you get us no closer to it than the day after. Why not the day of? Why can’t we live and experience this catastrophe for ourselves as the horror unfolds? You could even keep the phone call at the end. You’d be sacrificing nothing and giving the readers so much more.
– I liked the plot of the fashion show a lot, but the element I had issues with was the criminal. I didn’t buy a SWAT team takedown of a bank robber. Drug Kingpin? Yes. Organized Crime Boss? Yes. Terrorist? Yes. But not a bank robber.
– I also had issues with him attending in the first place. Given the security and scrutiny around banks, bank robbers are either petty criminals who are caught quickly or massively organized heists. In the second case, they’re rarely referred to as “bank robbers.” In any case, the choice of the particular type of criminal I found just jarring enough to take me out of the story a little.
– I think there’s a lot here that’s great, but I felt the heavy use of flashback did it a disservice and some of the logic didn’t add up.
– Great use of flashback, and I like the premise!
– You’ve done a great job with flashback in here. I would’ve liked a little bit of dialogue, but overall this was a really fun read.

I assumed that it was the storyline which was not exciting enough for them but instead it seems to be something I have had issues with before, basically FLASH Fiction! I primarily wrote novels and short stories and it has been noticed before that rather than being self contained full stories my flash fiction pieces have either left people wanting more or been more like a set up ready for a longer piece. I did consider the type of criminal and in retrospect maybe I played it safe in my choice of wording and a more provocative criminal would have made more sense.

Overall I think the feedback is very fair and constructive and will be helpful when I try again in the next quarter, I just thought you guys might find it interesting to share this final part of this particular submission journey with me, now I shall get back to finishing writing another submission before starting a little research for my A – Z challenge.

Lights, Camera, Catastrophe!

This is the rejected Flash Fiction piece I mentioned on Wednesday, the criteria was 500 words or less and must include the words ankle. fashion and criminal, hopefully you guys will enjoy it and remember constructive criticism is always welcome.

I staggered into the office, wobbling under the weight of sketchbooks, an oversized handbag, filled with the detritus of modern life and a precariously balanced coffee. Sunglasses shielded my eyes from the glare of artificial light. It was 6am on what I was sure would be the second worst day of my life.
The worst day had been yesterday, the day that should have been my greatest triumph, my first ever fashion week show. Twelve months had been invested in the designing and creation of my collection, previews had resulted in high praise. I had been so excited standing backstage as the audience had taken their seats. The lights had dimmed, the music started and my heart pounded as the first model strode out confidently down the runway. If only my memory could end there.
It was my head that pounded now as I reached into my bag for painkillers to be washed down with the coffee which I now discovered had gone cold. I heard the outer door to the office open, a glance at the clock revealed I had lost an hour, struggling under the weight of a forest of newsprint my assistant entered, avoiding eye contact.
They say that any publicity is good publicity but there he was splashed across the front page, the criminal who had destroyed my dreams. An alleged bank robber with a girlfriend who liked designer clothes. They said they had been watching him for months so why pick the middle of my show to go for the take down? The second rotation of the models had just begun when the SWAT team leapt from god knows where. The target had leapt up on to the runway knocking models flying as he attempted to escape. Chaos had ensued, people had fled or dived for cover, the bodyguards of the rich and famous had rushed forward, each determined to protect their own client, several celebrities took the opportunity to even old scores in the commotion. In the aftermath two hairpieces were found trampled on the carpet.
That was the picture they had on the front pages the fleeing villain and tumbling models, then the next photo they showed was the supermodel that had cost me a fortune been loaded into the ambulance, her broken ankle secured in a splint. Mascara was streaked down her face as she proclaimed the injury could mean the end of her career. I made a note to call my solicitor as soon as they opened to check my liability.
The office phone rang; my assistant picked it up handling it as if she expected it to explode at any minute. There was silence, followed by a series of strange noises, for a moment I considered that my assistant might be choking but as she did not appear to be turning blue I decided against it. When she hung up she turned to me incredulously and uttered a few words before passing out.

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Rejected But Not Dejected

Yesterday I received an email from Mash Stories, it was their quarterly competition I entered last month, the email thanked me but said I had failed to reach their short list and encouraged me try again next time.  I will be honest I was expecting it.

Now that is not to say I think there was anything wrong with the piece I submitted but I think it was certainly wrong for this competition.  I have been listening to podcasts of the short listed entries for the last few issues and realise that the piece I wrote was too simple and not clever enough.  It could be that the three words that have to be included just did not inspire a more complex story, it maybe that my writing style is not consistent with what they are looking for, I guess we will find out more about that when they send the feedback I requested.  But I do think it is the simplicity of the story that was my downfall. many of the other stories have a more Sci-Fi/Dystopian feel, the words for this month were ankle, fashion and criminal and I did find once I had an idea in my head I could not shift it or get past it, this is of course something I can learn from and learn to find ways to get round maybe I should write the first story then once the initial idea is out of my head maybe a second story I have to think about more will be the one more suited for submission.

The fact is it would be easy to cry into my coffee but the fact I submitted in order to be rejected is a huge step forward plus the fact even before feedback I can see areas in which I can improve and have a plan to implement that are positives.  The other positive is you guys get a flash fiction to read this Sunday and you can let me know what you think of it, remember I don’t mind criticism as long as it is constructive.

Lizzie Bennet Diaries Episodes 77-80

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So it’s time to visit Pemberley…

I confess I caught on to the identity of the tour guide straight away but only because I knew she was due to put in an appearance, I love the idea that the firm it so wonderful and takes such good care of every need the staff could have with is in complete opposition the the views we know Lizzie has on Darcy, that she had no idea it was his company when she agreed to the placement I find a little harder to believe as it is the sort of thing that you would have expected to have been mentioned previously.

I have to admit I got blind sided, I am guilty of sexism! I assumed that Doctor Gardiner was male like the uncle mentioned in the original however this episode showed her to be female and I found myself shocked by my own preconceptions.

Gigi’s matchmaking is hilarious especially when she pushes her brother into the room and the awkwardness between the two is so comical, I think episode 78 was the funniest yet.

Bing makes a reappearance and Lizzie’s efforts to protect Jane are so heart warming, although I find it funny he still has no idea about the vlogs and thinks she is still recording video letters to Charlotte. I totally relate to Lizzie in the final episode of today in that she had the chance to confront Bing and failed to take it up, I think we have all done that where brilliant comebacks spring to mind a few hours after events.

The interaction between Darcy and Lizzie was interesting, and raises some interesting questions regarding Jane and Bing and if you can get back a romance after a break if it causes one of you to change.

 

A to Z Challenge 2014 – U is for Undercover

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U I decided on another flash fiction for this post so I googled undercover and from there looked at spies and secret agent images until one spoke to me and told me it’s story…

femme-fatale-4

Damn she screwed up the letter as soon as she finished reading it, everything had been going so well, now it was time to make a decision.  When she had accepted the assignment it had seemed simple, infiltrate the gang, discover the power structure behind the drug cartel and get information on the big shipments so they could move in and complete drugs busts catching them in the act.  Then she had met Carlo and everything had got complicated fast.

He was everything she should have hated, top of the food chain in this dark world which she was inhabiting, good looking with an arrogant swagger and the self assurance of someone who was used to having his own way.  Maybe that was why he had pursued her, the fact she had not fallen straight into his bed at the snap of his fingers, she shivered as she thought about those first meetings where he had cornered her, his fingers tracing his intentions slowly over her skin.  Ironically it was his interest in her which had caused her superiors to extend the length of the operation, throwing her at him as bait hoping to lure bigger fish into the open.  It had never been voiced that she should allow herself to be caught and they certainly would never have approved had they realised she would fall for him hook, line, and sinker, but that was where she found herself now well and truly snagged.

The letter she had received this morning though changed everything, it confirmed what she already knew in her heart, her hand slipped unconsciously to her stomach where his child was now growing.  There was no way he would allow his child to grow up not knowing who he was, but if he found out who she really was…the thought made her blood run cold.  She could request to be pulled from the operation and placed in the witness protection programme but he would find her, she suspected that he had people on the inside although the fact he had not worked out what she was confused her.  She turned to leave the room intending to head out to get some fresh air, she had not heard him come in and his presence in the doorway made her jump.

She smiled at him and began walking towards him before freezing mid step, dangling from his hand was her badge…

Can she talk her way out of it? To be honest I can think of a hundred different ways it could go from here which is why I decided to leave it hanging and let you all fill in your own endings, maybe you could leave your ideas for what happens next in the comments.

A to Z Challenge 2014 – Q is for Quest

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Q  I am playing blog catch up as I missed a couple of posts this week so the second post for today is the Q entry.  I  decided to pick the word quaint then use Google images and pick one to write a Flash Fiction based upon it.

So here is the image and the story/scene to go with it…

quaint-old-stone-archway-225614

He paused and looked at the open archway ahead.  This was too easy.  He had been told that this quest would be challenging but so far he had not met with any real obstacle.  He pulled out the parchment once more upon which his instructions were written. If the crudely drawn map were correct the treasure lay in ruins just a few hundred metres beyond that opening.

So far he had encountered everything exactly as laid out in the scroll, he had followed every step as instructed, he read the next line again before rolling it back up and securing it inside his shirt. Climb over the wall it said obviously there had been a gate when this instructions were written…

The gods looked down and laughed, the goddess Isis threw down her dice in annoyance, “One day, one of them will actually just do as they are told!”