Book Three, Book Four or Something Else Entirely

Last week I had a crisis of  confidence in Book Three (wt: Afterglow). Pants idea, no clear plot and with two timeslines and 3 POVs, far too tricky to write. No one would want to read it because there main characters take drugs. What was the point? And I had a couple of one star reviews to back up just how rubbish my books are. I won’t share the gory details but they used phrases such as “the content was rancid” and “an example of how not to write”. Oh I know I shouldn’t take negative reviews to heart – usually, I don’t, but when they arrive in the middle of an ongoing confidence crisis, it really is soul destroying.

With my faith in Afterglow shot to pieces, I decided to do what many people said I should do with #Forfeit when I was stuggling with that: If you’re not feeling it, move onto another book.

So bye-bye Afterglow, hello One Big Family.

Three days later… I hate One Big Family. Pants idea, no clear plot and with flashbacks and 4 or 5 POVs, far too tricky to write. Sound familiar? Ugh.

So bye-bye One Big Family and hello my first short story, The Walk of Shame. Double ugh. Can’t be figged to write that. What I’d really like to do is write a series of kids books, but a crisis in confidence has turned in abject apathy. Clearly, I’m failing at this author lark, but what’s the freaking point of writing books anyway?

And then I get this review…

Outstanding romance, stunning murder mystery
Best friends Libby and Zoe are struggling to hold their city lives together. Libby can’t keep a job and Zoe’s relationship is going nowhere. Salvation arrives in the form of an inheritance from Zoe’s aunt – a cottage in The Lakes. The cottage may be crumbling but its location is in an idyllic village seemingly populated by ‘fit’ men and their equally gorgeous wives and girlfriends. As a romantic novel, this is perfectly crafted. As a murder mystery, the back story is brilliantly embedded within the plot to make this an absolutely unputdownable read. With plenty of steamy romance, some more steamy than romantic, the pace fairly flies along. The end absolutely hits you between the eyes and the clever plotline prevents you from really relaxing your guard throughout. When a book grips your attention to the extent that you get annoyed when your reading is interrupted by real life then you know you’re onto a winner. I loved everything about this book and felt quite lost when it came to an end.
~ Five Star review of Nearly Almost Somebody from someone called “Perkins”

Actually, sod the One-starrers – they probably don’t like gay marriage or kitten videos either. Besides, I’m not writing books for them. I’m writing books for me and “Perkins”. And I love writing books, creating worlds and relationships. The real problem is that I wrote The End on Forfeit in 2010 and the same words on NAS in 2011. I’m out of practice, that’s all. Now I get why established authors advise to “write every day”, it’s a skill you need to keep practising. There’s now a 500-word per day minimum in my house – FYI blog posts count.

After I gave myself a stern talking to, I got back to work on Afterglow. It’ll be a tad different to my other books. If #Forfeit is the Literary Love Child of Jilly Cooper and Swedish House Mafia, then Afterglow is the novel that Quentin Tarantino would write if he turned his hand to Chick Lit – drugs, gangsters, murders, beatings… and a totes emosh love story. True Romance meets One Day.

Not everyone will love it, but I know one person who definitely will. Me.

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I’m back in the game, baby.

Cx

#Forfeit in Your Ears – Part 2

A little while ago I posted about creating the audio book of #Forfeit. Hannah’s been a busy bee and has whizzed through a few chapters already. She’ll most likely kill me for this, but I thought I’d share the (rough and unedited) sample she made:

It’s not perfect, but I think it shows Hannah’s lovely, natural and friendly style – some of the bits she reads are exactly as I would read them. Love it. What do you think?

Cx

Get #Forfeit today for just £1.99 from Amazon, or utterly FREE from Kindle Unlimited!

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NAS Soundtrack #11

The End. I won’t say too much here, but below is the last sentence of Patrick and Libby’s story. I wrote that line when I was about 2000 words into the story – the original first 2000 words probably don’t exist anymore, they’ll have been rewritten so many times, but the last eleven words haven’t changed a jot.

“I told you I wouldn’t rely on plying you with booze.”

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If you’d like to buy Nearly Almost Somebody, you can get this 436 page Award-winner for just £1.99 / $2.99 from Amazon

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NAS Soundtrack #10

Local newspapers turning everyday people into ‘celebrities’ is a sub-plot of NAS – and I wonder why more papers don’t do it. Fear of getting sued I should think. But think about it, expose on the vicar and the verger, local football star in affair shocker… it’d work.

*** SPOILER ALERT ***

The camera flashes startled her, but Libby maintained her cool smile as Paolo helped her from the taxi. Several photographers yelled to him, asking for her name. He obliged, but told them nothing more. Together they headed toward the burly doormen, Libby striding out on her highest black heels.
‘You look beautiful. A real star,’ Paolo whispered. ‘You sure you’re in love with the vet and his rural dream? This could be us, being fabulous in London and going to all the best parties…’
She laughed, in her element. Here, she didn’t worry about not having real world curves like Zoë and Grace. Here, she walked amongst neurotic models and size zero actresses. Here, Libby blended in. Tomorrow, the cannier journalists would discover Olivia Wilde was a ballerina, a ballerina who hadn’t danced for four years. Her anonymity would be over and she’d become known as the Broken Ballerina.
Inside the Kensington art gallery, Libby and Paolo drifted around, studying the bizarre paintings and even more bizarre sculptures. Just about everyone they met air-kissed and hugged him. This was Paolo, her destitute ex-boyfriend, who’d lived in more squats than he’d held down real jobs. Now he wore a cutting edge suit and Italian leather shoes. She missed his threadbare jeans and Converse boots.
‘Some art I just don’t get,’ Libby said, frowning at a three dimensional, upside down papier-mâché representation of Van Gogh’s sunflowers. ‘So which is the artist?’
‘Danny’s the guy with the red beehive by the bar.’
Libby giggled. ‘I’m so glad your art is recognisable.’
With his arm around her shoulders, hers around his waist, they looked like the cosy couple they were trying to portray. Both had little to lose from any newspaper inches.
‘You really do look beautiful,’ Paolo said, kissing her shoulder.
‘Thank you.’

 

If you’d like to buy Nearly Almost Somebody, you can get this 436 page Award-winner for just £1.99 / $2.99 from Amazon

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#Forfeit in Your Ears!

Do you listen to audiobooks?

I’ll admit – I don’t, but my mum does and several friends swear by them as a distraction in the gym. I’d never thought about making them until a lovely reader messaged me to ask if I’d thought about doing audio books as her daughter who’s blind, would adore #Forfeit. Well, I had to look into it, didn’t I?

A quick Google-search later and I discover Amazon have set up ACX – a place where authors and publishers can find narrators and producers so together we can make audio books as painlessly as possible. Later that same day, I added my books. Woo hoo for step one being easy-peasy.

Now, I could’ve sat back and waited for narrators to come to me, but realistically would they ever know I exist? Instead, I spent an afternoon trawling ACX and listening to the sample audio files narrators have uploaded. I messaged ten of them, letting them know a little about my books and me – then I sat back and waited.

Nine out of ten got back to me within three days – that’s pretty good, right? Several were interested but not available and four submitted auditions. Another two narrators who I hadn’t messaged, also submitted auditions. They were all really awesome, but one stood out for me. Her name is Hannah Platt and the superstar is also up for a 50:50 split royalty deal which means I call off the crowdfunding and concentrate on writing! Woo hoo for step two going way beyond my expectations.

What’s next? Well, Hannah is nose-deep in #Forfeit, but she’d like a list of the characters and a v short description of them, like where they’re from, what do they talk like. But where possible, Hannah would like a ‘real-life’ person to match the character. Eek – too hard!

Do you know any famous people or characters from TV/movies who you think are like any of the #Forfeit crew?

So far, I have:

Xander = Max Irons, posh, public school educated, confident, relaxed
India = Patsy off-of AbFab (but when she’s 30, not 50)

Beyond that, I’m stumped. I’ve always thought of who my characters looked like; now I need to get my ass on You Tube and start finding out what they sound like.

Help Real People

If you can help me pick some “real” people to illustrate my characters, I’ll pop your name into a hat for a prize draw to win a signed paperback and fab SWAG.

 

Life Imitating Art

So this is a thing – I’m turning into one of my characters, Daisy. It started last September. Daisy went sober for October…

Daisy V Me 1

I went sober for October…

Daisy V Me 5

Daisy gets Skank Manor to renovate…

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I’ve got a Skank Manor to renovate…

Daisy V Me 4

Daisy needs to raise £5000 to play #Forfeit…

Daisy V Me 3

I need to raise £500 so that you can play #Forfeit.

Wait, what? Okay, not play the game, but play the audio. I’m making #Forfeit into an audio book and YOU can help!

Pubslush1 On Wednesday 10th June I’ll be launching a crowdfunding project with Pubslush – the money will go towards paying for a narrator, cover artwork, and a marketing campaign including all important prize giveaways. There are fab rewards and the donation levels start at just £1. But how do you fancy a limited edition hardback, a #fuglyho t-shirt or lunch with me at a #Forfeit location? Priceless dreams no more – these are all rewards that money can buy! #andforeverythingelsetheresmastercard

So follow the crowd and head on over to *** Update 15/06/15 – I’m no longer crowdfunding as I’ve agreed a contract with an awesome narrator who’s happy to do a 50:50 deal with me. 🙂 ***

***

Cx

Walking in Daisy’s Black Gucci Knee Boots

Once a month or so, I head out with a few girlfriends for dinner (and wine) and one of our favourite destinations is the Blacksmith’s Arms.

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It’s a proper country pub with great real ales, a fab wine list and Xander-quality food. Favourite menu items include warm Cajun chicken salad, goats cheese tartlet, confit duck, roasted lamb rump with fondant potatoes… *sigh*

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But want to know a secret? It’s also the inspiration behind the Miller’s Arms – the pub Daisy and Xander are having dinner in when he drops the “Bombshell”. This is where they sat, the fire Daisy stared into…

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If you’re ever in the Lake District, check out the Blacksmith’s Arms – and ask for the “table by the range”. You’ll be walking in Daisy’s black Gucci knee boots.

Cx

If you’d like to get your mitts on this award-winning book, head over to Amazon
– it’s just £1.99 / £2.99 or totes FREE with Kindle Unlimited.

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NAS Soundtrack #8

For some reason, I decided Libby would be able to impersonate Lady Gaga – I don’t know why, I just thought it’d be a cool quirk to have. Gaga’s You and I makes quite a cool theme for Patrick and Libby so when our Broken Ballerina gets tipsy and sings in the local pub, what better song for her to belt out to the guy who’s driving her potty?

‘Where the hell have you been?’ Scott asked.
‘Grace’s. Had some–’ Patrick shook his head, dragging Scott away from Clara’s gossip-mongering ears. ‘It doesn’t matter. Where’s Libby?’
‘Gone home. It’s fair to say she was shitfaced.’
Patrick swore. ‘What happened?’
‘She drank a lot of wine. Did you know she can play the piano? She also does a very good Lady Gaga impression and can do pirouette things with a shot of vodka in each hand and one on her head. That girl has some top party tricks.’
Patrick perched on one of the outside tables, staring at the dark windows at Maggie’s cottage. ‘When did she go?’
‘Hour ago. Xander had to carry her home.’
Patrick folded his arms, desperate not to show his jealousy. Bloody Xander.
‘Did you tell her?’ Scott asked.
‘Didn’t get chance.’
‘Well, you’ve missed your opportunity tonight.’ Scott clapped his back. ‘Gotta go.’
‘Night, pal.’
Patrick wandered across the Green, past his own house, down the lane to her garden. Maybe she’d be sobering up with a mug of tea. She wasn’t. Sod it. He crossed the lawn. Okay, this was borderline stalker territory. There were no lights on in the house. This would be classed as breaking and entering. Or checking she’s okay, not choking on her own vomit. A public service really. He smiled at himself. No, this was stalking. He wanted her to be awake.
‘Libby?’ he called softly, not wanting to freak her out. ‘Libs?’
In the living room, she lay curled up and unconscious on the sofa, her hair covering her face. Trust Xander to do a half-arsed job of taking a girl to bed. Hyssop sat at her feet, watching over her as Patrick lifted her hair off her face. Still breathing. Still wearing her biking gear. Christ, that seemed a week ago. He should go, but he rubbed Hyssop’s chin. Libby didn’t look very comfortable. He could put her to bed. When he picked her up, would she wake up?
This had to be the lamest tactic ever.
‘Libs?’ He gently shook her shoulder. ‘Libs, you need to go to bed.’
No response. She wasn’t waking up. He sighed, disappointment coursing through him, but scooped her up. She was as light as a feather. Carefully, he picked his way around the furniture and headed upstairs. Her head lolled against his shoulder. How the hell did she still smell… pretty? She hadn’t had a shower after the ride. Neither had he, but he bet he didn’t smell like an English summer’s day. There was something odd about the roses.
A stair creaked and she stirred, wrapping her arms around his neck. Oh, this was a bad idea. Her fingers laced into his hair at the back of his neck. A very bad idea.
‘…must be dreaming…’ she mumbled.
‘Yes, you’re dreaming. Go back to sleep.’ Was this the kind of dream she had? He quite liked it.
It wasn’t difficult to tell which bedroom was whose. The first one he came to smelled of that bloody awful, cloying perfume Zoë wore and high heels were scattered around the floor. In the other room, several books were piled up on the bedside table, photos of horses were stuck to the dressing table mirror and it smelled of roses and sweet peas.
He laid her down, drawing the line at even the idea of removing any clothes. Gently he stroked her hair back.
‘Night, princess.’
He kissed her, barely brushing his lips against hers. But sleeping beauty didn’t wake.
She was a habit. An addiction.

 

If you’d like to buy Nearly Almost Somebody, you can get this 436 page Award-winner for just £1.99 / $2.99 from Amazon

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NAS Soundtrack #7

THIS. *sigh* This is where the title comes from.

She’s nearly perfect – He’s almost the one. But with witchcraft, scandal and murder in the village, will anyone find their Somebody?

Robbie took a CD from the table. ‘Track seven is noteworthy. It’s what you should be looking for instead of inappropriate, untrustworthy types.’

Libby studied the CD, Depeche Mode’s 101. Track seven was Somebody.

That evening, she put the CD into her laptop and skipped straight to track seven. Somebody. The track, recorded live, featured nothing more than the singer, Martin Gore, playing piano as he sang about what he looked for in a partner. Libby pressed repeat four times, captivated.

This was what she needed, what she wanted. She wanted somebody to share the rest of her life, know her innermost thoughts, her intimate details. She wanted somebody to put their arms around her and kiss her, tenderly.

I want my ‘Somebody’.

 

If you’d like to buy Nearly Almost Somebody, you can get this 436 page Award-winner for just £1.99 / $2.99 from Amazon

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