Thursday, 27 January 2011

No Fear Blogfest!

This blogfest is kindly hosted by Dominic at Writes of Passage  and,
I'm in this purely for the fun of blogfesting (addicted to the damn things) not in hope of a prize.

Brief: the following snippet is taken from one of my Romantic Thrillers!

‘You shouldn’t have worn Chanel No 5, Sweetheart.’

The game was at end, Mac’s tone less than friendly. She steeled herself to face him, stepped forward CD in hand. ‘You wanted it,’ she snarled, ‘now you’ve got it.’

He snatched it from her hand, grabbed her other hand and hauled her back toward the house. ‘You and I are going to play this goddamned game right through to the bitter end, even if I have to tie you to a fucking chair.’ He bundled her through the kitchen door, flung the CD on the kitchen table; let go of her hand. ‘OK, you’ve had your laugh, given McKinley a right run-a-round, emotionally and otherwise. But this . . . Sweetheart, is the end of the love affair. Just you and me and no one to see, hear, or stop me from doing what I should have done when I first arrived here.’

Cassie backed away, his tone aggressive. She feared Chay, Phil, Rhian, and DI Pratt had all been duped by his suave charming manner, that her welfare was now no longer of importance. She glanced toward a row of kitchen knives hanging in a rack; close enough to grab one.

Mac followed her line of vision and reached inside his jacket.

This was not good.

As expected he slipped his firearm from its holster. He released the safety catch, and much to her surprise placed it on the table and pushed it toward her.

Cassie looked at the weapon in disbelief, at the same time assessed it as being closer to him than to her. She looked to his face, his eyes searching hers and all manner of emotions etched within.

His tone as good as iced ether. ‘If it makes you feel any safer, pick it up. It’s cocked ready to fire.’

Was he thinking counter strike, if she reached for it? Of course he was.

She reached for it faster than she’d ever reached for anything in her life before. He made no move to snatch it back. She picked it up, pointed the hateful device in his direction, yet he remained casually leaning against the washing machine, the loaded gun pointed at his chest.

Was he scared, was his mouth dry like hers, was his heart pounding like hers, or was the gun empty? She mustn’t look, mustn’t take her eyes off him.

‘You had no reason to run, Cassie. The fact the CD could so easily get me killed is less important to me than what and who you think I might be.’

‘I suppose you’re about to deny your code name is Hasan?’ she said, conscious of his blue eyes not leaving hers for a second. ‘And of course, you’re going to tell me you’re not a sadistic bastard who kills for financial gain.’

‘I’m none of those things. If I were don’t you think you’d be history by now?’ He slowly stood upright, locked the kitchen door and removed the key, which he slid into his pocket. ‘Your hands are shaking, Sweetheart, and I’m overly sensitive to the fact that you’ve got a loaded gun in your hand. He moved cautious as a cat toward the hall doorway. ‘I love you Cassie, have from the moment I saw you in the flesh.’

Cassie viewed his words as tactical ploy. ‘I know how to use this, and will if I have to,’ she stressed, eager to regain sense of power. ‘You made a grave mistake, Mac, in letting me have it.’

‘I trust you, but for Christ’s sake do not sneeze.’

His implication that she couldn’t fail to hit him if she squeezed the trigger inspired a sense of confidence. ‘Move away from the door, Mac.’

He half laughed, moved round the table. ‘You won’t get past Rasp, so why not put the weapon down, and listen to what I have to say.’

She ignored his suggestion, her finger toying the trigger as she moved toward the door.

‘For fuck’s sake, Cassie, set the safety catch, and believe me when I say I set this trap purely for personal reasons. Rasp ain’t out there, and Easton’s a thousand miles away by now.’

‘You really think I’m going to swallow that, when they’ve been shadowing you every minute of every day?’ Her hands started shaking again, and she sensed unease for Mac’s part. ‘Not easy to face a gun, is it Mac?’

Sense of power terrified her, the power of holding the life of another in one’s hands, but she held the commanding position. She could back along the hall and go out through the front door in the knowledge that they were very definitely alone.

She glanced at the kitchen clock: Where had the time gone? Five minutes and the taxi driver would be waiting in Tatton Terrace.

‘You misinterpreted the game Cassie, the Jammy Dodgers game.’

‘Game,’ she exclaimed, ‘it’s no game. You killed a girl, and you killed a Dutch financier.’

‘You’re wrong, Cassie. Oh so goddamned wrong. Yes, I was there, but I didn’t kill Carlos’ daughter. Jamie did, and if you’d played the game to the end you’d know by now that I’m Vizier, not Hasan. Believe this, Cassie, Jamie was Hasan.’

‘I don’t believe you. You’re trying to destroy Jamie in my eyes, destroy everything we ever had.’ She moved a step closer to freedom. ‘Jamie was, I know, sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, but not to the extent of becoming an assassin.’

‘Sympathetic to freedom from oppression,’ stressed Mac. ‘He allied himself to Hamas and the terrorist cause, because he had to.’

‘It’s a lie, all lies.’

‘Damn it all, Cassie.’ Mac raked fingers through his hair in a gesture of utter frustration, leaned on the table head bowed as though unable to look at her. ‘Just remember you’re the one who forced this issue, forced me to tell you something you don’t want to hear. ‘Amy, remember?’

‘Your daughter,’ replied Cassie, unsure how Amy entered into the equation.

‘Only she wasn’t my daughter.’ His blue eyes levelled on hers, his expression unreadable. ‘She was Jamie’s.’

No,’ she heard herself wail, ‘it can’t be true.’ Tears inescapably flowed forth, and she lowered the gun. ‘Mac, please, tell me it isn’t true.’

He moved toward her, as though sure he’d convinced her that he was no threat. ‘Put the gun on the table, Sweetheart.’

She raised it again fearful aware that he’d almost disarmed her by subtle and devious means. ‘You don’t fool me Major McKinley. Not with your smart talking smarmy ways, or your sexually applied skills in bed. You are what you are.’

‘OK,’ he conceded, ‘take the fucking CD, wherever you want for twenty-four hours.’ He threw it on top of the refrigerator where she could easily reach it. ‘When you’ve finished the game, ring me on my cell phone and call me a liar then, if you can.’

She reached for the CD. Slipped it in the rucksack, but in that split second loss of concentration Mac robbed her superiority. She’d stupidly averted her eyes from his, and the vicelike grip on her wrist caused her to inadvertently squeeze the trigger. The sound of a shot echoed through the house. Mac instantly keeled over and slid to the floor. She looked down at him, witnessed blood trickling from his left temple.

Oh God.

She dropped the gun and fled.

The front door fought back, mad haste hampering flight. He’d lied, yet again. She sped past an astonished Rasp as he came rushing up the steps, and kept on running ‘til she reached the taxi waiting in Tatton Terrace: the driver there as promised.


To read other entries in this blogfest go here.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Richard Armitage & Georgette Heyer - what could they possibly have in common?

So, what does this once prolific writer have in common with "Hunk of the Month Richard Armitage"  - as seen in sidebar?

If you're a fan of Richard A's you'll know he has a gorgeous voice!

Now, be honest ladies what does a voice like his do for you?

Well, let me tell you he's the narrator of Georgette Heyer Audio books.

Don't tell me that hasn't tempted your palate. And, you can read what he had to say about reading audio books here

If you want to buy one of his narrations they are easily located at Amazon!

As can be seen from these images not all Georgette historicals were set in the Regency period.

Note the book price bottom left corner of Powder and Patch - 2shillings/sixpence.
Did you know Georgette also wrote mysteries?

If you're a fan of the late lady of romance, you'll know she preferred a reclusive writer lifestyle: sensible woman.
When she died aged seventy-one in 1974, she had fifty-one titles in print: hard covers, paperback and all translated into at least ten languages and pirated in others.

What a great Legacy for all historical romance junkies. There are still original gems to be found especially on eBay!

Also, there's a lovely site dedicated to Georgette here. Well worth a visit.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Tessa's Birthday Bash Blogfest!

Tessa's hosting this party blogfest: Happy Birthday Tessa.

The Mystery of the Missing Pink Fairy Crown Cakes.

‘Oh my giddy aunt,’ exclaimed Sybil, upon entry to the kitchen. ‘They’re gone.’

Hearing her mother’s forlorn outburst, Fiona rushed in. ‘Where are the fairy crown cakes?’

Silence hung heavy for a moment. Mother and daughter eyes locked.

‘Who, who would steal pink cup cakes?’ yelled Fiona.

Sybil glanced toward the back door: left ajar. Nearby lay an incriminating crushed pink fairy crown cake on the floor. ‘They, it, whom, went that way’

‘Thank you Sherlock,’ snapped Fiona, panic in voice as she hurried toward the door. ‘Oh no, the tiered plate is broken.'

Sybil couldn't help but let forth a slight smirk.

Fiona's voice escalated an octave.  'It’s here, on the steps. Damn.  It was a wedding present from Jerry’s mum.’

Sybil sniffed. ‘Does it really matter? I’ll buy you another one.’

‘Of course it matters. I used it today just to please Constance. It’s part of that tea set she paid a fortune for. ’

Sybil sniffed again, and rummaged in the broom cupboard for a dustpan and brush.

Fiona lowered her voice, snatched both sweeping tools from her mother’s grasp. ‘I know you don’t much like her, but I have to live with Jerry. Please, please behave when she arrives back from the shops. Do not, I stress, do not make faces behind her back.’

Sybil shrugged, whispered, ‘Have you not thought about that hound of hers?’

Digby?’ shrieked Fiona. ‘He wouldn’t. He never has before. Would he?’

Digby appeared ball in mouth and bowled into Fiona, the contents of the dustpan immediate back to the floor.

Digby,’ screamed Fiona, hurriedly re-scooping the chipped china and bits of bent metalwork into the dustpan. ‘You didn’t, did you?’

Formerly thrilled at hearing his name called, Digby’s expectant expression fell to that of thinking himself in trouble. Ears lowered, eyes soulful he reasoned the best thing was to retreat at speed. Again, the contents of the dustpan hit the floor.

The doorbell rang. Fiona threw the dustpan on the floor. ‘Oh hell, Constance is back.’

Sybil took to collecting the china pieces and quickly dumped them in the rubbish bin. Jerry’s snooty mother would be so upset when she finally discovered the fate of her prized wedding gift.

Rather than stay and hear Constance wailing about a three-tier-plate Sybil ventured outside into the garden, her Sherlock hat metaphorically on head.

After a short stroll she found another pink fairy crown cake, and Digby thoroughly enjoying it. Not that Digby was the thief, for she spied teddy bears having a rollicking picnic with misshaped pink fairy crown cakes.

A little voice from behind a bush said, ‘Is it all right to come out now, Grandma?’

‘Of course, sweetheart.’

The birthday girl remained hidden.

‘I didn’t mean to break Grandma Dicksons best plate. Is mummy very cross?’

‘Not really, Bethany, she was upset because she thought Digby had stolen your birthday cakes.’

Digby didn’t. I did.’

‘You can’t steal your own cakes, darling, and if you want to share them with your teddys’ that’s quite all right.’

Bethany emerged from behind the bush, pink icing around her mouth.

‘There you are,’ said Fiona, eyes immediate to teddy bears, ‘we wondered where you were’

‘We’re having a teddy bear picnic,’ chimed Sybil, aware of posh Grandma Dickson following on her daughter’s heels. ‘Do come and join in the party fun.’

To read other participants party posts go here

If I've missed anyone please let me know, otherwise I won't be able to reciprocate with a visit to those participants I'm not already acqainted with (follower). I've been experiencing difficulty with Tessa's blog: serious freeze screen mode.  

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Writing Process Blogfest - How Do You Do It?

  Shalleem is very kindly hosting this blogfest, which is: How do you process your writing! Basically, are you a Pantser or Plotter? 

Less haste more speed, as the saying goes. Spot the mistake: above!

As this blogfest is all about exposure of how one sets about writing a novel – whether plotter or pantser - I’d say I’m neither. That said I do resort to copious notes in A4 notebook, for both contemporary and historical novels: nothing to do with plotting. Notes consist of character description, character profiling, and peripheral info: names of pets, horses, make of cars, how many etc.

When writing historical novels, re times/ dates, notable events, costumes, availability of fabrics, and even word usage etc., becomes essential to credibility of the novel’s period setting. Without this knowledge of the above a historical novel will read like a story set in whatever time-period you choose, but will it ring true to those who love that period and who love history? That's the guide I go by and judge by as a reader. That said, I don't want the book to read like a history lesson.

So oft I come across historical novels written not only in 21st century speech (gotten what she wanted – not got, or when required, begotten), the author also used 21st century slang (sheesh/huzzah etc), and committed the cardinal sin of not researching places (town/city). It happened in one novel, where Brighton featured. Whereas, in the period chosen, Brighton was known as Brighthelm. In another, Bath was mentioned (as Bath is today) not Bath as it was in Jane Austen’s time. There is every reason to check, check and double check historical fact. It can be the difference in acquiring a readership following or being ranked the author who writes crappy would-be historicals. Even with modern contemporary novels, element of research is necessary if what is happening in our novel is outside our own field of expertise. Why try and write about what we don’t know without first reading up on what we need to know!?

Now to inspiration for novels, which for me tends to be artwork. I love art galleries and can spend ages gazing at pictures. And, it’s at times like these a particular picture might cause me to linger, pondering who the person/people might be, and what might they have been thinking when posing for the portrait. Sometimes they are well known people, sometimes a figment of the artist’s imagination, so too the backdrop.

Take a quick look at these three images: they all inspired the writing of a novel.

With the first image I couldn’t stop feeling these two men were father and son on opposing sides in a war. Hence, a dream brought them alive and they became the inspiration for a historical set within the period of English Civil War. Chapters available to read on my writer profile blog.

In the second image, the girl conveyed (to me) sense of loss, sadness and longing! It became a modern contemporary romance. The name Tara seemed to spring from the image, her story and inevitable tragedy came to me in full cinematic glory during overnight dream, and I felt as compelled to get her story down in words as that of the two men on horseback in previous image.

The third image too drew my eye, my attention stuck on the polo player on the right hand side. Something about him spoke volumes: his boldness on the polo ground not in doubt. Yet I felt, despite obvious wealthy lifestyle, there was air of man alone and something missing in his life, all the while women throwing themselves at him. His story and that of a would-be mistress came to light in overnight dream, but it was not the would-be mistress who’d stolen his heart. It was a woman who walked with lions, yet one unkind gesture by him and she fled from the man known to his polo cronies as el Cavaliero. How in hell was he supposed to undo what he’d done? Well, I helped him out a little.

In effect I am not a pantster or plotter, as you can by now tell, because images inspire the conscious mind, the subconscious logs flickered thoughts, the subconscious then working overtime at night in revealing characters and their stories in perfect movie format. I am then left with painting those pictures in words. So, there you have it, that is my way of writing.

To read other participants writing process: go here.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Timelines in novels - how to execute smooth transition!

I'm over at Heroines' with Hearts today: every Monday from now on.

This week we're discussing transition of timelines within novels.

Also, for anyone with a book coming out April onwards 2011, we have a Friday Friends day. A Friday Friend has the opportunity to tell us a little about their book, and what inspired them to write it. If you would like to be a Friday Friend e-mail me: it's on my profile.  Friday Friends has been a regular event at Heroines with Hearts so there are lots of authors already listed. 

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Writing With The Stars Blogfest - celeb not!

E. Elle is hosting this blogfest, and I'm happy to play along in stretching the old imagination!
So, ever the intrepid here's my contribution.

* * *

Why, why had I agreed to enter into a reality TV show – mad or what?

Dream Wannabe Scriptwriter Challenge & Reality TV Show.

Write an episode for the Sharpe series.

The headline caught my eye, (Wow! Working with Sean Bean- it don't get better than that) and first sub heading suited me fine, but the little blighter below was so small it passed unnoticed:

Star in your own Sequence!

Anyhoo, I signed up and a few weeks later I had gotten through the interim stage with script presentation of a swashbuckling rescue scene. I was then invited to the studios where the reality show was to be staged, and that’s when the awful truth dawned!

There was no going back: I’d signed a contract. I was there, and the programme due to start the next day. I was going to be a STAR's side-kick: gulp!


Day 1: meet the lead actor and go over the script.

Easy peasy: or so I thought.

To say I was tongue-tied would be understating the obvious. You know how it is when something delectable is put on the table in front of you and you can’t wrench your eyes away from it, and you start drooling (metaphorically). Well, I was drooling big time! How we got through the script, if we did, is still a blur.

Bearing in mind this was a reality TV show, my real-time phone-in rating dived!
It looked like I had to go some to get the public on my side, but there was always tomorrow

Day 2: dress rehearsal and run through of scene takes.

At some unearthly hour of the morning someone hammered on the door of my home from home, which I must say was a relatively luxurious tin box. Hence I turned over and buried my head in a pillow: the hammering by now, much louder. Jeez, what time did these people start work? The sun was barely showing its nose.

I had ten minutes to get out on set according to voice ‘tother side of the door.

Oh what?

I closed my eyes and must have dozed off again.

I woke to hammering on the door, and it resonated impatience, as did the voice: “Get out here, now”.

Oh hell. I was late.

I leapt out of bed and ran out on set.

Cheers erupted all around. I was popular, my real-time phone-in rating soared.

I fled back inside to get dressed. Girls from the costume department, hair and makeup let themselves in to my tin box boudoir, and apparently the schedule had changed. The dress rehearsal of scene takes had been changed to live shoot. Going by the gown she had in her arms, I envisaged the scene to be the one where I would walk gracefully into a ballroom fan to face. How wrong could I have been?

As soon as I stepped outside I just knew it was going to be one of those days, the sort of days an actor must dread.

This was not the scene take I had anticipated. A mock-up Palace had been set ablaze, a black pall of smoke darkening the sky. Before I could make a run for it, the star rode on set looking like he’d been dragged through the ashes of a bonfire, so this was definitely the rescue scene. Oh well, at least I was destined for an up close and personal with SB. Hee hee.

SB reined in some distance away, and something about a chap holding a bucket of soot, and another bloke with bucket of something resembling ashes implied things were about to get messy for moi. How right I was, the contents of the buckets were showered over me! Then, some idiot with a massive fan (wind-maker) switched the damn thing on. The ordeal of being blasted was fleeting yet I felt I’d been to hell and back, and looked like I had, too.

By the time I’d regained my breath, the action scene was underway and I still a tad dazed from experience with the wind-maker. Next thing I’m hoisted in the air by one of the bucket-men, slung across the saddle of SB’s horse, and his hand on my arse as we sped past the blazing palace.

Scene shot over, the horse slowed to trot and thence to a halt and I slid off. I can tell you, once my feet hit solid ground I’d had it with this damn reality TV show. I walked away, thinking to hell with my real-time ratings, to hell with the chance of being a scriptwriter. I’m out of here, but . .. but something that happened in passing from saddle to ground left SB with a big grin on his face, and me a happy bunny, too.

Needless to say I was voted off the show for walking off set; index finger solidly aimed at the director and the jerk who'd created the "make-a-fool out of wannabe scriptwriters".

Sometimes nightmares can turn out better than reality, even if in the last few moments!

To read entries by other participants go here.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Beware - Sexual Content!

Wanna know why I'm wearing the fashionable new-look crinckle Dunce Hat? Go here

Oh, nearly forgot: SEX!!!!!!!! Ah, that fatal word.
The word that conjurs different things for different people.

Sex scenes in literature: like 'em or loathe 'em?  

Some are great, some are diabolical, some are so hilarious one wonders where and with whom the author lost their virginity.
Anyhoo, look out for my Sunday post - it's going to have a bit of all the above and you can rate/vote or condemn what you care to read. It will include the worst sex scene I've ever read.    

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

New-Creation Blogfest & Happy Birthday Summer!

This blogfest is kindly hosted by Summer, and it's her birthday today 5th Jan 2011.

The rules for this blogfest as follows:

1)Pick one ending sentence from last years stories, your favorite one that you wrote. (Only one, and yes it has to be an ending sentence)

2) Write one brand new starting sentence for a story you have been thinking about, or something off the top of your head. But it must be your first sentence. (Yes only one, and yes it must be new.)

Last Sentence 2010 project: 

She let fall her eyelids, his thoughts no doubt as hers: God forbid England be subjected to Civil War again, for King Charles II, albeit in exile, would surely raise an army and endeavour to reinstate monarchical rule.

Sequel to above - First Sentence 2011 Project:

Elizabeth Mountjoy rose from her seat, sense of rage enveloping.

To see other participants in this blogfest go here

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Eye-Candy Blogfest!

This eye-candy blogfest is kindy hosted by Vicki Rocho.

This pic always brings a smile to my face!
Meet "Jumbo" my youngest daughter's first pony.  

Note he barely reaches the window's sill: absolutely 100% bombproof and never flinched when trucks passed him by even though he was no taller than the wheels! He was adored by everyone who met him.

To see other participants' go here.