Z is for … Zilch

Today’s the last day of the AtoZChallenge, and I’m all blogged out – I’ve got zilch left to add.

Other than to say, if you’ve read / liked / shared any of these posts, left a comment, joined my mailing list or even bought a book of mine, then from the bottom of my heart, I send you my greatest

Courting Danger has been well and truly exposed, in readiness for its cover reveal in the summer and book launch soon after.

If you have any space on your bookshelf or reading device, then you can always check out my other books

 Lacey’s Law, The Fifth Wheel or Magic O’Clock

Thank you for joining me during this month of blogging – it’s been fun, exhausting, thought-provoking, tiring and wonderful to be engaging and interacting with you all.

See you soon 🙂 x

 

Y is for … YouTube trailers

I’ve been dabbling in creating book trailers for a while now, but not with any great success.

In fact, I’m rubbish at the whole thing. There’s so much to consider.

From picking out the juicy bits of the story to entice readers, to finding the right images and then picking some appropriate music, it’s a whole new world.

The first one I made was for my very first story – my NaNo novel from 2012 – The Nasrid Charm. I was so engrossed in the story, and wasn’t trying to write fifty other books at that time, so it was easier to focus. I had all the time in the world then. But it all came to nothing when I found the exact song to accompany the video, only for it to be unavailable due to copyright. With my dreams dashed I gave up.

Although, as I said at the start, I have dabbled since, but not with the same dedication. I’ll probably seek out someone more creative should I ever feel the need for a trailer in the future.

If you fancy a laugh, check these out and be grateful that I’m not any kind of threat to other creatives 🙂

The Fifth Wheel trailer

Lacey’s Law trailer

X is for … X-roads

Dilemma, dilemma, dilemma – when will my book be done?

I’m at the crossroads, trying to get my book in shape and ready for release, but there always seems to be ‘one more edit’ or ‘one last glitch to check’ or ‘one final proofread needed.’

I’ve got to the point where I know more about the plot and story line of my fictional characters than real life family and colleagues.

It’s a sure sign that it’s time to move on.

Just looking at the last few edits I made begs the question: Did I improve it, or did I just change it? If I’m not adding value at this point, or making it more interesting or richer or even more readable, then surely it’s time to stop. Am I simply delaying the inevitable? Quite possibly.

It’s time to put Courting Danger to the test, let the betas to have their say. I can put it aside for a while and come back to it in a couple of weeks. Armed with their feedback – good and bad – I can read it again with fresh(er) eyes.

The last thing I’ll do is to read it backwards. Yeah, that’s right – not word for word, but a chapter at a time.

Then I can do no more: Time’s up. There’s a deadline to be met.

Courting Danger will be ready in time. It will be. I made that promise to myself.

Farewell crossroads – I have a real path to follow.

W is for … Who, What, Where, When & Why?

The 5 Ws of storytelling – as applied to my  next release Courting Danger 

  • Who

Who’s involved? From the character profiles already posted, this should come as no surprise that the story revolves around the four lives of Fern, Raven, Nessa and Stefan.

  • What

What’s it all about? Principally a court case, following on from Stefan’s attempt to kill Fern last summer. The story aims to look at both sides of the case and deliver the reasons behind each character’s actions and motivations.

  • Where

Where is it set? Primarily in Portugal for the trial, but then it’s back to England and the fictional town of Framleigh.

  • When

When does it take place? It picks up eight months after the girls’ summer holiday. Since that time, Stefan has been in the remand centre awaiting trial, and plotting for his freedom. Fern & Raven returned to Framleigh after the attempted drowning and now make their way back to Portugal for the trial. Nessa had also returned to England, but kept away from the others and soon found herself back in the Algarve, renting a villa near to the remand centre to be close to Stefan.

  • Why

Why am I telling this story? The summer holiday tale was originally planned as a short story for an anthology, and is told in The Fifth Wheel. But I soon realised I couldn’t leave it unresolved. The pursuit of justice meant there had to be a follow-up story. Then, the characters took over and wanted more attention. So much so that there is another story (or three) to follow – Heirlooms & Heiresses being the first one that sees the girls start up a new venture as Private Investigators in their very own business: The Blackleaf Agency.

V is for … Village life

 Framleigh: a profile.

Framleigh, where Raven, Fern & Nessa grew up is a fictional village in rural England

Here are some facts to fill in the blanks regarding the girls and their village.

  • How does the setting uniquely belong to your characters?

It’s their birthplace and home – although Nessa moved to the city a while back, before the holiday in Portugal. All three girls grew up in the area; Raven and Nessa attending the same school while Fern lived on the outskirts in one of the modern estates.

  • Why is this setting important to them?

Fern sees the village as a secure place, somewhere she can avoid life and restrict her time to her family and Dougal. For Raven, the village is all about family ties, childhood memories and community spirit.

  • How do they feel about this setting?

Fern considers it to be her safe haven, calm and steady. No nasty shocks or unexpected dramas. Raven, on the other hand, does feel a sense of claustrophobia at times. Yet, she also appreciates how it makes her feel comfortable and competent.

  • What does the setting look like?

Framleigh is centred around a village green. The old Tudor Manor House is now a hotel. The village pub and the community centre at the church are the regular haunts for Nessa and Raven. The river Sreve skirts the village, marking the boundary between the hamlets of Frampton and Tonleigh. To the west is town of Gaukwich, where other facilities exist (police station, Post Office, Library)and the ‘big’ city of Worford lies approx twenty miles to the east, through arable land and midsized farms boasting award-winning livestock breeds.

  • What does the setting smell like?

The village now boasts a mix of old-world charm, farm land and the occasional office block giving a nod to more modern times. Traffic has increased, bringing pollution to the area and smog, which together with the stench of farmer’s spraying crops, animals and hops gives the area a unique and varied perfume. On top of that, the villagers partake in traditional activities such as cook-offs (cheese, jams, cakes and local ale  all feature heavily.

  • What does the setting sound like?

Generally peaceful, except on market day or during fetes, when the local hotel and shops are filled with tourists and competitive stallholders vying for prestigious rosettes.

  • Is there a taste or touch sensory experience related to this setting?

The experience is one of overwhelming peace and quiet,except during rush hour or when the schools end for the day.

  • What role will this setting play in your story?

The setting provides both background and back story and memories. In future stories, for example in Heirlooms & Heiresses, the village and its residents, facilities and layout feature more heavily.

  • How would a stranger coming into this space feel?

The vibe is calm and unsuspecting, homely and comfortable, quaint and traditional – but with modernity advancing at a steady pace in future tales.

Welcome To Framleigh – Have a Good Stay 🙂 

U is for … Re-United?

Repairing a friendship is easier said than done.

Fern Mortimer turned her back on her old life after a hit-and-run accident, and it was only years later when she rejoined the workforce that a persistent redhead – Nessa – made the effort to be her friend. The invitation to join Nessa and three others on a summer holiday offered Fern the chance to start afresh.

What followed was supposed to be a relaxing holiday in the Algarve, but meeting the other girls – particularly Raven – only fuelled her self-doubts, sending her scuttling back into the safety of her shell.

Yet, when Fern became the victim of an apparently unwarranted assault – albeit an unsuccessful attempt to drown her in the Med – it was Raven who came to her assistance. The question arose regarding Nessa’s whereabouts and the answer was hard to stomach.

Supporting Fern throughout the trial months later back in Portugal, Raven showed herself as a loyal friend. But Nessa had all but ostracised herself from the girls, taking the side of the attacker – her boyfriend, Stefan Pereira.

Could their friendship ever be repaired?

Read the prequel – The Fifth Wheel – now and sign up for my newsletter to find out what happens before, during and after the trial when Courting Danger is released later this year.

T is for … Thrillers, Series and Cliffhangers

First up, let me admit that thrillers are by far my favourite books to read. However, that said, I love, love, love a series and will choose those over stand-alone stories in many cases.

So, based on my reading preferences alone, here are the top 5 elements that will draw me in to a story.

  1. Setting – I’m a sucker for a great setting. But not just the visual aspects. As a reader i want to feel as though I’ve been parachuted into the scene – wearing an invisibility cloak, of course. I want to feel the scorching sun or biting wind, smell the smoke , hear the footsteps behind me and touch spiky thistles or slimy walls.
  2. Clues – Let me be part of the investigating team, piecing the puzzle together, screaming at the protagonist when he/she misses something obvious or cheering when some minute detail garners importance.
  3. Twists – Not just an obstruction that frustrates the MC (although those are necessary too) but a twist that takes my breath away, making me turning that page filled with anticipation and dread.
  4. A simple solution – Along the way, there should be triumphs and pitfalls, teasing and confusing the plot, but a simple solution at the end is sublime. An outcome that is so elegant and effortless you can’t believe you missed it.
  5. A killer hook (not a cliffhanger) – I want a story that engages me with the characters, makes me interested in what else they have to offer and convinces me to want to read more about them. Of course, the story itself must be resolved – because to not do that just makes me switch off and never pick up another book by that author. If I have invested time and grown to care for these characters, then I want more. Give me a killer hook that will placate me until the next adventure is available. Don’t leave me in limbo.

Don’t leave me dangling … give me hope 🙂