Category Archives: Dreamers never disappear

When the Leaves Drop

I love this time of year.  I love the chilled air and the crispy leaves. I love that feeling of the seasons changing, I embrace it. What about you?

It’s been a strange but exciting year of change for me. I am still writing but the focus has changed a little. After ten years or more or less full on then, I guess, we do need times when we make other things priority. Right?

I’ve still had some short stories published and been working on the British novels, but unless you pursue it with undying passion then not a lot happens. Don’t we know it. But life is good and as we approach five years since the release of my debut (yikes!) I am getting itchy feet. I need to see another novel out there. So I guess my mission after my wedding for 2019 will be just that. I am ready.

I think it helps at times to have distance and to rethink purpose. I love that saying that ‘being a writer is like having homework for the rest of your life’. So true. Right now I feel as if there is something I am supposed to be doing but I am not! Like I am not living my dream. Then I have to stop and remind myself: I am a writer but life changes. That is life.

And good things will happen, it just needs ‘life to happen’ to have something to say about it.

So come on the journey with me and let’s see where it takes us next.

So what am I reading? Bereft by Chris Womersley… have been reading a lot this year and enjoying it 🙂 This is great writing.

So… have an amazing week and enjoy the change. Embrace it.

Autumn

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Short Journeys

I have talked about short stories before and how important they have been to me on this journey to become ‘real writer’… that makes me think of Pinocchio I want to be a real boy… 

I think, all too often, we tend to overlook the short story form, assuming that the real success and I guess therefore the real creativity and even the real money is to be made from the novel that becomes the bestseller that becomes the Hollywood blockbuster… and so on. But short stories have also been made into movies you know. And besides, not all short stories want to grow up to be movies, do they?

I always talk about how I ‘cut my teeth’ as a writer working on the short form, and how important this was for me in terms of developing my style and honing my craft and I have spurts now of still writing short stories and sending them out. When I did that earlier this year I had three successes and two of those placements has resulted in a publication; one of which is now available to pre-order, I was runner-up! So I thought I would share a short extract of that as a teaser with some links…

Thinking in Circles

In order to understand something, we must exist outside it.
We are all made of numbers.
Aged 13, Size 8 shoes, Form 5, the 14.35.
We are all on a journey to somewhere from somewhere else with
our eyes half-closed.
And sometimes we get stuck.

You are standing there. Head tucked down; reminds me of a
penguin. The strap of your big blue school bag cuts across your blazer
and it’s as if there’s a thread attaching your head to your shoes. Not
shiny new shoes. These are scuffed, end of term Clark’s one-size-too-small
shoes; they didn’t buy new shoes. Because of what happened
over the summer.
It’s the thing – the thing no one will want to talk about – but they
will talk about it. They’ll whisper. They’ll pretend they’re not talking
about it.
People say bad news is always better when it happens to
somebody else but even when it happens to somebody else,
sometimes it’s happening to you.
You shuffle last year’s shoes to the front; to the desk you used
last year. And the year before. And the year before that. Soon they’ll
all come in and sit where they always sit and nobody will ask. But
they’ll all know.

They’ll all know because it was in the Echo. It was in the Echo
over the summer. Shock had filled up the kitchen: a line of uttered
Oh Gods.
In the sound you were sure you heard something break.
Not like a snap. Not like an ornament shattering into a million
pieces. Not like that. And not like the jolt of something stopping
suddenly, because that happens all at once. This was like a slow
unpicking along the seams.
It happened because of what happened over the summer. It
happened to your dad when he went quietly mad and your nan had to
move in.
It was in the Echo. Everyone knows. About the thing – not your
dad going quietly mad, or your nan moving in. About the thing. The
thing that happened over the summer.

The train left London at 14.35. The name on the front said
Southend Victoria…

© Debz Hobbs-Wyatt 2017, With Our Eyes Open, Published by Bausse Books October 15 2017

The book is available now for pre-order as an eBook and a paper version will follow in tine for Christmas! I will share the link again!

With Our Eyes Open

Order me…

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Who Will Be My Friend?

Dreams never die and my dad is a testament to that! Some of you will know he is a Walt Disney artist (one of only a couple back when he started approved to work for Disney) and has illustrated many children’s books and comics over the years. He was a co-creator of the BBC’s Poddington Peas when he brought Paul Needs’s characters to life, some of you might remember.

I worked with him when my little press published The Jet-Set books at Paws n Claws for Born Free helping him to realise the dream of writing as well as illustrating his own characters.

Well I am thrilled to announce that he had another picture book of his illustrations and stories published this month by Chapeltown Books and how lovely this is for its illustrations and beautiful message that in today’s political climate is just what we need.

 

Who Will Be

The book is available on Amazon; here is the UK link! Dad will be doing talks in schools and has some planned at local libraries next month; this Saturday in Benfleet!

Do please spread the word… Dad taught me that age is no limit and if you have a dream… never give up!

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In The Spotlight, Guest Blog by Writer Lauren Scharhag

I have a special guest in the spotlight for you this week folks… please give a big warm welcome to Lauren Scharhag who kindly had me as a guest on her blog at the end of last year and she agreed to come over to mine! Thanks Lauren!

 

spotlightoj-md

 

Lauren Scharhag is a writer of fiction and poetry.  Her titles include such works as Under Julia, The Winter Prince, and West Side Girl & Other Poems. Her work has appeared in The SNReview, The Rockhurst ReviewInfectus, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. She is the recipient of the Gerard Manley Hopkins Award for poetry and a fellowship from Rockhurst University for fiction. A lifetime resident of Kansas City, MO, she currently lives in the Waldo area with her husband and three cats.

Lauren Scharhag

 

Have you always wanted to be a published writer? Tell us something about your path to having your first book/story published.

I wouldn’t say I’ve always ‘wanted’ to be a writer.  It was something I’ve always been.  For me, it’s more like a vocation, a calling.  My whole life, I’ve always loved reading.  From a young age, I kept journals.  I wrote stories and poems.  When I was thirteen, I started writing for the Kansas City Star’s teen section.  That same year, I wrote my first novel (which was very awful and will never see the light of day).  I completed my second novel by the time I was seventeen (only marginally less awful).  I studied literature in high school and college.  In 2005, I wrote a script for a small independent production company here in town.  But I don’t feel like I really hit my stride till just a few years ago, where I can actually look back on some of the stuff I’ve done and feel something other than embarrassment.

Did that journey involve an agent? If not did you try to get one? Any advice about that?

I did get an agent with my second novel.  In my experience, it didn’t work out.  They shopped my work around for two years to the publishing houses and nothing ever came of it.  Since then, whenever I’ve tried to submit novels, I always try agents first, then publishers.  Again, that has never worked out for me.

I tried submitting my third novel, Under Julia, a few years ago.  I had eight different agents and publishing houses extremely interested, but ultimately they found the work too dark, too controversial.  They said, “Send us your next work.”  Like it’s just so easy to whip something out!

At that point, I decided I was done with submitting.  I have somewhere around 600 rejection letters, both in a filing cabinet and in a folder on my email account.  I mean, how much rejection is enough?  I decided it was time to get back to my roots—why had I ever started writing in the first place?

Because I can’t not do it.  I can’t tell you how much happier and more productive I was when I remembered I wasn’t writing to please the publishing industry, but myself.  Then, whaddaya know?  A publishing house in the UK found me on Twitter and asked me to submit some work.  I sent them a vampire novella.  They liked it and asked if I would consider turning it into a novel or even a series.  I’ve since signed a contract with Kensington Gore for a horror trilogy.  So I guess my advice is, you have to find what works for you.  We all have to forge our own paths.

I don’t believe agents or even publishing houses are the only path to success anymore.  Do they make things easier?  I’m sure they do.  But I believe it’s possible for a determined author to self-publish, self-market and ultimately become successful without them.  And you gotta ask yourself, who are you doing this for?

Do or did you ever belong to a writing group? Crit group? Did you ever have someone professionally critique your work before first submitting? Or do you have friends or anyone else who sees it before you send it off? Has that changed since you became a ‘successful author’?

Sure, I’ve always hung with other writers.  In high school, three of my best friends were literary.  We’d read and critique each other’s work.  For many years, I belonged to an online community called Sharepoetry and became very close to a lot of the people there.

Currently, I co-author a scifi/fantasy series with my friend, Coyote Kishpaugh.  He’s now my main go-to for professional advice and feedback.  My husband is not a writer, but he’s a very insightful reader—he’s usually the one who gets to read the first draft of something.  I’m sure those two guys will continue to be my main critics for years to come.

Over the past year, I have also become very active in the local literary scene.  Kansas City has a lot of groups and organizations that are very helpful and supportive, like the Writers Place and the Uptown Arts Bar.  I have always felt that connecting with other writers not only improves your work, but provides a constant source of inspiration.

Who did you first tell when you heard your first book had been accepted?

In order: my husband, my co-author, my mom, then Facebookland.

What happened next? Can you tell us something about working with an editor? How important is that to you now – is there a lot of discussion and does the editor make a real difference to your work?

I haven’t come to that stage yet.  I’ll have to let you know.

Tell us something about your writing day, routine.

For me, it’s kind of different for each book, especially as I write across multiple genres.  I tend to do all my research on the front end, and come up with a broad outline that still leaves plenty of room for improvisation.  I really love it when the characters hijack the story and do things that surprise me.

Whatever I’m working on, I like to immerse myself in that topic or genre.  I watch movies and documentaries related to it, I read books on the subject.  I want to dream about it when I go to sleep.  Right now, since I’m working on a horror trilogy, I always light a candle for atmosphere.  I’m writing it longhand in a notebook.  I also have an hourglass that I use to keep track of time.  After an hour, I like to get up and move around.  That’s something I always do—I always need to pace when I write.  My husband calls it my “stomping time.”

When my co-author and I are working, we have a set schedule—every Friday night, almost without exception.  We’ve been doing that for eight years now.  He usually gets here about five, then we write until dawn, pausing only occasionally for snacks.  We record our sessions so we don’t miss anything.

What or who inspires you most? Any particular people, authors, books?

I’ve always been a passionate reader, as I mentioned, so plenty of books and authors would be on my list: Watership Down, Lolita, The Dark Tower series, The Road; anything by Charles Bukowski, T.S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath.  I’m also a big TV and movie geek, so a lot of visual media has influenced me as well.  Tarantino films, The Dark Crystal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Sopranos, The Twilight Zone, cartoons—these are some of my go-tos for inspiration.  Writers have to think of big pictures and grand schemes, but we have to be concerned with the details, too.  I think that we have to be interested in everything.  Anything that involves language involves us.

Music is another big source of inspiration.  I like all genres—rock, rap, country, classical, you name it.

I usually listen to music before I write to get into a particular mood, but when I start writing, I either turn it down very low or turn it off.  I also soundtrack my stories.

Why do you write? (Now that’s the question!) What do you want your stories to do?

I write because I must.  In the movie, Frida, when Frida goes to ask Diego Rivera if he thinks she can be a painter, he says, “If you are a painter, you will paint.  You’ll paint until you die.  Okay?”  That’s how I feel about writing.

As for what I want my stories to do—I’m very interested in people.  I want readers to connect with the characters—I want them to see themselves and people they know.  I want to introduce them to people they’d never associate with in real life.  For me, writing is the chance to be a thousand people.  I want to give the reader that same experience.

I’m also a worshipper of language, so I want the prose to be beautiful and lyrical, yet clear and authentic.

How much marketing have you had to do, even with a big publisher? How comfortable are you with self-promotion?

I’m not with a big publisher, so I expect I will have to do at least as much as I am now—playing the social media game, blogging, seeking out reviews and interviews, that sort of thing.  On my own, I’ve done a few literary festivals.  I’m hoping working with a publisher will mean expanding into doing more events—book signings, conventions, all that good stuff.  I’m getting more comfortable with self-promotion, as long as the focus is on the work and not me.

Tell us about the latest published book …

The first book hasn’t been published yet.  I signed the contract based on the short story, which I can tell you about.  The story was inspired by a vampire walking tour I took in the French Quarter in New Orleans.  It takes place in 1909.  A young schoolteacher gets a job at a Catholic girls’ boarding school only to find out that her students are not what they seem.  The short story was called, “Our Miss Engel.”  The series is going to be called The Amaranth Trilogy.

The publisher and I are discussing a contract for The Order of the Four Sons series, which I co-author with Coyote.  O4S is about two ancient organizations, the Order of the Four Sons (of course), and Starry Wisdom, who have been battling for centuries for possession of a powerful artifact known as the Staff of Solomon.  Whoever has possession of the staff can rip open the very fabric of existence.  We’ve written and self-published Books I-III.  The fourth and final book is about a year away from completion.

Blog: http://www.laurenscharhag.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laurenscharhag

Twitter: @laurenscharhag

What next? Tell us about work in progress and aspirations. Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Next, I finish Book I of the horror series and get it out the door.  I’m hoping to have it done by fall.

Coyote and I are working hard on Book IV.  As I mentioned, I think we’re still about a year away from having it done.

In ten years’ time—I haven’t the faintest idea.  There’s a saying, “Announcing your plans is a good way to hear God laugh.”  I’ve learned not to plan too far ahead.  I can tell you that I have a lot of stories and poems in me, and I just hope that I have enough time to get some of them out.

Tell us something random about you for the pure hell of it

I just found out recently I have a second spleen.  It really doesn’t mean anything except it confuses doctors whenever they have to do an abdominal scan.

Which of your characters would you most like to be friends with and why?

Christophe and Leopold from Where Flap the Tatters of the King (O4S: Book III).  Basically, they’re everything I admire in people: brilliant, kind, witty, resourceful, generous.  They’re lifelong best friends, the sort of friends I’d want to have—loyal and courageous.  Also, they can use magic.

Finally: can we post an extract of your latest published book?

From The Order of the Four Sons series, I will share an excerpt from the latest book, Where Flap the Tatters of the King. 

 

When they sat out again, it was still snowing heavily.  They were exhausted and running low on stores.  They had no choice but to take a detour.

The town was much larger and more crowded than the previous.  The basic design and sensibilities were quite similar, though: row houses, shoppe fronts, a pretty little square.

At the inn, they dismounted, and, as usual, JD took the horses around back.

“How are we paying for this?” Bill whispered.  “I thought we spent all our money on the horses.”

“Not to worry,” Clayton replied.  “It’s all under control.”

Murphy opened the inn door with a bow.  “Ladies.”  As they passed him, he gave a contented sigh.  “Blond, brunette and a redhead.  Like flavors of ice cream.”  All three turned and gave him the exact same look simultaneously, and he grinned.  “I must’ve done something right in a past life.  I can’t imagine what it might’ve been . . .”

“Thank you, Mr. Murphy.  That will do,” Clayton said with good-natured tolerance.

This inn, like the one before, had a tavern.  It was quite packed.  And loud.  Several card games were in progress as they entered the room.  A young woman bustled in and out among the tables, serving drinks and the occasional plate of food.  The air was thick with the scent of cigars.  Overhead, the rafters were lost in a haze of smoke.  Beneath their feet, the stone floor was sticky with spilled drinks and littered with ashes and butts.  There were two more women in the tavern.  One was at the bar, the other sitting in a man’s lap, her arms around his neck.  Both women wore surprisingly plain dresses, very short in front, the hem stopping well above the knees, putting their fine stockings and garters on display.  The stockings were quite eye-catching, in fact—one pair striped red and white, the other woman’s black with rainbow-colored sequins.

The roar of conversation lessened only slightly when the team gathered in the entryway.

The proprietor, a surly-looking man perched on a stool behind the counter, said, “Your pardon, my lord, but this is a modest establishment.  I am sure you are accustomed to far better.”

Clayton glanced around.  “Have you rooms to let?”

“We have.”

“Then I’m sure they’ll suit us just fine.  We’ve been on the road for some time.  Two rooms for the night, please.”  Glancing at Bill and Emily, Clayton quickly amended, “Better make that three.”

Emily smiled gratefully, and beside her, Bill was in no way displeased, but his eyebrows shot up at the extravagance.

The man bowed.  “As my lord wishes.”

As Clayton signed the book and collected their keys, JD came in from stabling the horses.  There was a second, more pronounced lull in conversation, and some men even turned to take in the Carcosan.

JD scanned the room and quickly zeroed in on the poker tables.  One table in particular, the fellas there were taking their cards real serious.  Real serious.  And that meant serious stakes.  He glanced over at the kid.  She had been standing behind Clayton, looking out over the bar area.  When JD came in, she turned to him expectantly.

The slightest of nods passed between them.  JD approached Clayton.  “Game goin’ on.”

Clayton handed him the small pouch with their remaining funds with the attitude of a man who never had to count such things.  “You may indulge yourself.”

JD took the bag with a nod and a “My lord,” and while Clayton finished arranging some supper and a table, threaded his way to the high-stakes table.

Alyssa, having shed her coat and gloves, wandered over to some chairs by the fire, where a gentleman gladly gave up his seat so she could warm herself.

JD tipped his hat to the card players.  “Evenin’.”

They did not return the greeting, but eyed him guardedly.

“I wonder if you fellas might wanna deal me in?”

One of the men tapped ash from his cigar.  “Do they play Blind Prophet in Carcosa?” he inquired.

“Can’t say as they do,” the Colonel said genially.  “But I reckon I can keep up.”

The men looked amused.  “Very well,” one said.  “If you have stakes, you are welcome to join us.”

JD tossed the bag of coins on the table and took a seat facing the kid.  Her chair was turned so that he could see her profile.  She did not look at him.

They dealt him eight cards.

 

* * * * *

 

Murphy, Clayton and Emily sat down at a table while Bill and Kate took the luggage upstairs.  The barmaid brought them a pot of tea, then went back to the kitchen to fetch plates of food.  As Murphy took a sip, the woman with the spangled tights approached.  “Pardon me, monsieur.  Would you care for company?”

Clearing his throat, Murphy set down his cup.  “Thanks, but I’m good.”

“You don’t have to say no on my account,” Emily said sweetly.

“Gosh, Em,” Murphy rubbed the back of his neck.  “I appreciate that.  But no.”

“Are you sure?” the woman raised her eyes to Clayton’s.  “The nights are so terribly cold.”

Clayton shook his head.  “Thank you, mademoiselle.  But we’ve had a very difficult journey.  We require sleep more than company.”

“Well, if my lord should find himself in need of my services, you have but to ring.  Monsieur Danaeus knows where to find me,” she nodded to the innkeep.  And with that, she sauntered off.  They saw that her skirt was longer in the back, the dark silk falling like water around her derriere.

Murphy gave Emily a look.  She shrugged.  “Just trying to help.”

“Uh-huh.”  Murphy turned his attention to the poker game a few tables away.  It seemed JD had lost the first few hands.  That was to be expected.  New place, new game.  But on the fourth hand, Alyssa touched her ear, and JD immediately raised.  And won.  Next hand, he folded.  Then she traced a line down her throat, and JD won again.  But not before he’d bluffed the rest of the players into going all in.

“Oh,” Murphy remarked.  “They have a—oh, nice.  Very nice.  Can she do lottery numbers, too?”

Clayton stirred his tea.  “Sure.”

Both Murphy’s and Emily’s heads turned sharply at that.  “Really?”

“Of course.  She’s an Oracle.”

“But I mean—really really?”

“Where do you think the Order gets a great deal of its funding?  Oracles usually aren’t engaged for this type of activity.  Alyssa just does it because she likes to.  She and the Colonel have been quite the team for many years now.  But the Order has a whole division of psychics who are completely non-combative.  Their entire role is to, very carefully so it’s not traceable, gather funds for the Order.  Lotteries, casinos, always small jackpots, of course.  The stock market—”

Murphy looked over at Alyssa with a newfound respect.  “Y’know, I take back some of the things I said about you people.  You’re all right.”

The barmaid came back with dishes and a steaming chicken pie.  They all breathed the scent of pastry and giblets appreciatively.  Murphy looked around.  They were out of the cold and all looking forward to warm beds tonight.  Emily was unshackled.  Bill was sleeping—well, presumably, he would not be sleeping tonight, but in a good way.  Kate and JD were on speaking terms again.  Even Al was as close to being happy as she allowed herself to get—she was playing with the Colonel.  And everybody was back to being friends.  And look—pot pie.  Chicken pot pie.  Life was pretty fucking good.  And look, here comes Kate and Bill now.  Just in time for pie.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Alyssa rise swiftly from her chair by the fire.

A man at one of the tables whistled at Kate.  “Hello there, berry girl.  Do you taste like strawberries?”

Kate paused, frowning, then resumed walking.  Several other men laughed.

The catcaller seized her arm.  “Don’t you turn your back on me when I got good money–”

She barely had time to get out a “Hey!” when the unmistakable sound of a pair of hammers being pulled back on their revolvers brought the whole place to a stop.

The Colonel had stood.  One gun was pointed upwards, ready to come down if anyone so much as breathed wrong.  The other was pointed at the offender’s heart.  His eyes blazed with terrifying intensity.  “You get your goddamn hands offa her.  Right now.”

Murphy threw down his fork.  “God dammit.”

Alyssa had materialized at Clayton’s side, her hand on his shoulder.  “Get our bags,” he said calmly as she pulled him to his feet.

Bill and Emily raced up the stairs.

Meanwhile, the man had released Kate and raised his hands.  His face had gone dead white.

Kate stared at JD.  “What the fuck are you doing?”

His voice was low and eerily calm.  “Don’t you worry about a thing, darlin’.  I got this.  You just go on outside now.”

Behind Kate, Bill and Emily came running back down.  They didn’t even pause, but made for the door.  On the way, Bill grabbed Kate and dragged her along.

“But—” Kate began.

“C’mon!

And the three of them were out the door.

Alyssa had already gotten Clayton and Murphy safely outside.  Returning, she busily circled the poker table, sweeping handfuls of silver into a coin purse.  One of the men’s hands rested on some of the money.  She tapped it.  With a small grunt of surprise, he raised his hand and she swept the remaining pile into her purse.

JD kept the room covered as she finished.  Then the two of them backed towards the door together, Alyssa grabbing the registry book from the counter as they went, tucking it under her arm for safekeeping.

Finally, they too, were out in the cold.  The others had brought the horses around.

The Colonel and Alyssa joined them, and the seven of them rode back out, into the darkness and snow.

 

* * * * *

 

Once they had reached a safe distance, they stopped to set up camp.

Murphy got furiously down off his horse.  “We were in there all of twenty minutes!  I timed us!”  He threw his arms out.  “And now here we are!  Are you people allergic to happiness?  Is that what’s going on here?  There was pot pie!  And now there will be no pot pie for anybody!  None!  No one gets pie!

 © Lauren Scharhag 2015 Can not be reproduced without permission from the author or publisher

 

More about this series:

The Order of the Four Sons is a sprawling, fast-paced, epic adventure that encompasses multiple worlds and ensemble cast of characters.  Two ancient organizations, the Order of the Four Sons of Horus and Starry Wisdom, have been battling for centuries for possession of a powerful artifact known as the Staff of Solomon.  Whoever has possession of the staff can rip open the very fabric of existence.

Book I

The series’ heroes are introduced: Colonel JD Garnett, novice mage Kate West, Detective Ryan Murphy, scholar Doug Grigori, and field techs Bill Welsh and Cecil Morgan.  The team is dispatched to investigate the disappearance of one of their own in a small town.  There, they uncover a lot more than they bargained for—a segment of the Staff of Solomon, and the evil forces that are converging to claim it.

Book I is permanently free through Smashwords and other e-book retailers.  

 

Book II

Carcosa follows the team – JD, Murphy, Doug and Kate – as they pursue Countess Elizabeth Bathory across the face of a sinister desert planet filled with untold dangers.  O4S Director Clayton Grabowski and the Oracle find themselves mired in the political intrigues of the Order’s leadership, while back on Earth, Bill forges an uneasy alliance with a government agent.  As they race to recover the Staff of Solomon, they uncover truths they had never expected about their enemies—and themselves.

 

Book III

Where Flap the Tatters of the King sees the surviving members of the Order – Kate, JD, Murphy, Bill, Clayton and Alyssa – reunited in a world known as Corbenic.  With the Corbenese king held hostage by Starry Wisdom, the land has been plunged into endless winter.  At all costs, the Order must liberate Corbenic and restore the king.  As the team sets out, they find themselves once again braving the elements, on their way to Corbenic’s capital city.  There, they will be plunged into a dark and seductive world, a world of alchemists and geomancers, nobles and courtesans.  Unrest has spread throughout the empire, stirring talk of rebellion.  And beneath all the gilt and glamor, evil sleeps.

 

Book IV

Going Forth By Day –the fourth and final book of the series is due tentatively in 2015.  Be sure to check out the authors’ blogs for news and sneak peeks.

Buy some of Lauren's books in the UK! LINK

Buy some of Lauren’s books in the UK! LINK

 

Wow what a fabulous and insightful blog post and I really appreciate your generosity in sharing this with us. I certainly hope it will inspire and encourage you all to look out for these! I know I will be!

Thanks for being in the spotlight and we hope to have you back at some point with more! 

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The Day the World Stopped #JFK51

Tomorrow marks the 51st anniversary of that fateful day in Dallas when John F Kennedy was assassinated. Today, the Friday, is the actual day of the week, 12.30pm.

 

kennedy for president buttonjpg

From website: LINK

With the Zapruder tapes, it remains one of, if not THE, most watched and most studied murders captured on film. The very public nature of it and the conjecture that came from it, puts it up there as one of the most iconic moments in history and it sits in the top ten list of conspiracy theories; being labelled THE quintessential conspiracy theory.

Why it captured my imagination the way it did and hence became integral to my novel, I don’t know. It hit me one day what other news stories are overshadowed when something as big as this impacts on our lives. That concept inspired our On This Day short story collection at Bridge House and some later works of mine. And of course is the premise of While No One Was Watching; Eleanor Boone goes missing from the grassy knoll at that exact moment.

I know I have talked about it here before, about the role of fact in fiction, but it continues to fascinate me and I am itching to recapture that sense of time and place, as I did for Lydia and the American civil rights movement when I revisit Colourblind. This was one of my training novels and one I really want to dive back into. I know it has something.

It’s a year on since we marked the 50th anniversary with my big launch event on Canvey, a day I remember so well and so fondly, having already celebrated its release and started to get some great reaction to it with my lovely friends in North Wales as well. And it marked the start of Lydia coming into her own when I started to give readings in her voice.

And a year on, some 60 reviews later (virtually all 5 star or 4 star) and reasonable  sales (not anywhere near the figures reached with the big presses but respectable never the less) I am still plugging away. And I still hold the dream alive that one day While No One Was Watching makes it onto the BIG screen. Keep dreaming they say and I always will. Come on!

I will mark tomorrow in WHSmith in Southend-on-Sea signing books with my stars and stripes bunting and tablecloth and I might even have some candy to share! Please come and see me if you live local and consider a signed novel (£8.99 so less than a tenner!) for a Christmas present! My mission is to outdo my afternoon in Liverpool and again SELL all my books but we have more! Come on Southend –prove you can do it! Help the local lass!

And of course if you can’t make it, I have signed copies for £12 on my website if you are in the UK! It would cost more if shipping elsewhere! http://www.debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk/Pages/BuySignedCopies.aspx

The book is on Amazon too as you know! So please add it to your lists. And what a pertinent weekend to buy it, right?

Amazon.co.uk: LINK

Amazon.com: LINK

My Goodreads Giveaway finishes Sunday so if you haven’t had a go yet — please do! LINK

I was also in the local paper yesterday so as soon as I have a copy I will also post that here!

Have a lovely weekend.

I will leave you with my book trailer again for those who haven’t seen it, or want to see it again and my poster.

 

Have a peaceful one.

Signing again!

Signing again!

RIP JFK

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Here to Help

I have had a request for a subject which I plan to post about later this week. If anyone else has a request for something to do with the nuts and bolts of writing, about publishing, how the process works for example, even about my own writing, then please feel free to make a suggestion. I tend to get up and write whatever is in my mind and sometimes it’s more than other days! So please do get in touch.

I also wondered, since we have not done it for a while, if anyone has a small 500-word piece they would like critiqued here on-line for Fiction Clinic, if so we can do it at the end of next week. Please email me writer@debzhobbs-wyatt.co.uk

And also not had someone In The Spotlight for a while so if you have a novel/short story collection you want to plug and tell us about your writer’s journey particularly, then please do get in touch. I can’t feature them all if I get too many but I can certainly choose!

I also wondered if anyone out there wanted to post a Book Review of something you have read recently really that had an impact on you. I saw the shortlist for the Costa Prize was announced yesterday and I hope to start ticking off some of those books. LIST

Also here are the novel ones:

2014 Costa Novel Award shortlist

Neel Mukherjee for The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus)

Monique Roffey for House of Ashes (Simon and Schuster)

Ali Smith for How to be both (Hamish Hamilton)

Colm Tóibín for Nora Webster (Viking)

2014 Costa First Novel Award shortlist

Carys Bray for A Song for Issy Bradley (Hutchinson)

Mary Costello for Academy Street (Canongate)

Emma Healey for Elizabeth is Missing (Viking)

Simon Wroe for Chop Chop (Viking)

Any appeal? Perhaps someone out there wants to take one of these and read then review it? It would be interesting to see what is deemed good enough to make this prestigious list? Any takers? Let me know which book you want to read and perhaps we can each take a different one? I did this with the Commonwealth Book Prize when they had it and I loved reading them all and I also chose the same winner!

I do like this blog to be a place where we can not only have me waffling about my own work, but to cover a lot of subjects that will be helpful to both readers and writers.

One day I have told myself I’d like to make it onto one of these lists. That is my goal and now I have said it out loud it has to be. Right?

And one final thing before I go and write the last three or four chapters of Isle of Pelicans (well rewrite and perhaps not all of them today!) — I have decided, in honour of my novel’s first birthday to offer a super low special rate on novel critiques this side of Christmas only. If you have something you want me to copy-edit, write a detailed editorial report, the same type of thing I do for Cornerstone — and throw in a synopsis review and help with your query letter, do it now! 100,000 words usually £300 is only £225! The offer is only for work sent now and will be limited to the first few received.

Here is the LINK.

Please do post your suggestions here in response to my questions and make this blog work for us all!

Have a great day everyone!

Do what you love

 

 

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The Like-minded

I have said many times on here, and with good reason, that being part of a writing group and actually also a book club, back when I was coming out of the darkness of grief, quite literally saved me. In Bangor Mary at the time ran both the Paperwings Book Club and the Bangor Cellar Writing Group, I later went on to run the writing group and as time permitted dipped in and out of the book club. What being in a book club/reading group did was diversify my reading and allow a forum for open discussion. In fact while I rarely made it to meetings in the end, a lot to do with work and having to travel into Bangor, I did still keep reading lots, including books outside my genre.

So, I decided at the weekend that if I am to become embroiled in all things literary, the very things that made my life in Bangor such a dream and  gave me lasting and wonderful friendships, I have joined a book club here on Canvey — and of course plan to start the writing group in the new year.

It seems the only book clubs I found meet in the day time at the library, but since I don’t want to start a book club as well, decided it’s only two hours a month — so why not?

I do think, as writers, where the process can be isolating, these activities are great. It amazed me actually how few members of the writing group in Bangor were also part of the book club, when it’s invaluable for opening the writer up to a whole different group of books and helps you see how the reader thinks. In fact I talked about this very thing on BBC Radio Kent a couple of weeks back.

So, anyone out there looking to diversify their reading, make new friends, even deal with the gaping wound left by grief, you could do worse than join a book club — or for that matter a writing group. Check out what’s in your local area.

The first book for November’s meeting is: If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor, so I will also use my blog if there are any books I think worth sharing with you all. Or why not read along with me? I am sure your libraries will have copies? Ours only had a few so I managed to pick up a copy for just over £2 (a penny but that was postage for the hardback!) on Amazon. And I have managed to persuade my mum to read it too and come to the meeting!

Let me know if anyone else is in a book club or wants to read along and post your comments here!

Who says the world has to be a small place?

If Nobody speaks...

Have a great day everyone!

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