Happy Birthday, Novel-of-Mine

IMG_20171105_205600.jpgThis morning I posted this picture on my Facebook page, and thought it deserved more comment.

You see, after sending my novel to beta readers, receiving their feedback and implementing it, this was supposed to be the final quick read-through to check for snags before sending it off to Karen Sanders for editing in the new year.

And yet… at only 39% of the document, I’ve already got over 200 edits! Wow. That’s a lot.

This book officially sprang into life a year ago, during NaNoWriMo 2016. My plan at the time was to take part in the challenge every year, but now I’m thinking that every two years will probably suit me better. I’ve definitely accelerated my writing process, which was part of the plan – now all I have to do is streamline how many times I actually have to edit the darn thing!

Good luck to everyone who’s taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year – it’s always a blast… a tiring, obsessive, chocolate-bingeing blast 😉

 

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? How’s it going, so far?

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Full Dark: An Anthology

It’s release day for FULL DARK: An Anthology, which includes some of my very favourite blog-friend authors!

What happens in the dark will come to light

Full Dark is a collection of eleven short works with impressive depth and range. Twisted tales of ghosts, villains, and the paranormal await you—mystery, heinous fantasy, and pure suspense. Acclaimed and award-winning authors as well as a few talented newcomers have joined forces to be your guide. Venture into the dark if you dare.

Just A Matter Of Time by Loni Townsend
Forerunner by David Powers King
Taking Care Of You by Carrie Butler
The Apartment by Lisa Buie-Collard
The Caricature by Nick Wilford
Shifting Sands by Elizabeth Seckman
Shadows Falling On Rainbows by Celeste Holloway
Meringue, Murder or Marzipan by Tonja Drecker
Haunted Lake by Michelle Athy
Soul Coin by Laura Rich
Retribution by Melissa Maygrove
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FULL DARK is a benefit anthology. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation, an organization that does many wonderful things for our country’s active military, its veterans, and the countless first responders who sacrifice so much to keep us safe.
 Buy on Amazon // Add it to your TBR list on Goodreads and read my review here  

 

Publisher: Obsidian Books
Official release date: October 30, 2017
Paperback ISBN: 978-0-9960397-4-1
Cover designed & donated by Dark City Designs.

 

To write a novel, don’t write a short story instead!

 

This month, I have mostly been side-tracked by the Commonwealth Writers Short Story Prize, which is a huge international competition that I’ve entered for the past couple of years.

Normally, I’ve had a story that I can refresh for this, and send off without too much fuss. But this year I had nothing. At the beginning of the month, I decided to write a new story for the 1 November deadline.

I sat with my pen in my hand, and an 82 year old woman who lives in a caravan, and who’s been in my head for a few months (I thought she might be a novel, at first), fought herself onto the page. And then a 16 year old boy walked past her van and they started talking.

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Celebrating the first draft…

I’m now editing. I have little notes, as I always do, littering the page that say More Here, and I’m trying really hard to describe the sound of helicopter rotor blades.

Scarily, it doesn’t have a title, yet. On the whole, the title comes first for me, and the story wraps itself into it. Because my octogenarian came first, the title was overlooked. And now I’m floundering a little. What if it never comes? What if I have to send it off with the title ‘Story’?

Deep breath, eat chocolate… ahh, that’s better.

By November, I’ll be back on my novel, which will at that point be officially not a novel in a year, because it began life during last year’s National Novel Writing Month… Where’s that chocolate?


 

Congratulations to George Saunders who has won this year’s Man Booker Prize, with his first full length novel, Lincoln in the Bardo. See, short story writers are awesome!

Nick Wilford’s Black & White Blog Tour

I’m delighted to welcome Nick Wilford – awesome chap and fantastic CP – who has just published his novel, Black & White. Take it away, Nick…

 

Hi, Annalisa. Thanks for letting me take over your blog as part of my tour. I’ve got something fun in store today and something out of the ordinary for me – a bit of sporting commentary. Let’s head over live!
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Hello folks, it’s Saturday 23rd August 2664 and it’s the big one, the one you’ve been waiting for, the Gravball Intra-School Final! We have the Magnificence team, headed up by the undisputed star player Wellesbury Noon, facing off against their rivals from Excellence Elementary, captained by the incomparable Howard Pralanko. The final spectators are taking their seats and the match is about to kick off here at the Whitopolis Stadium. In the very unlikely event that you’ve never seen a gravball match before, let me just explain the set-up. The stadium seating surrounds an enormous cuboid structure with see-through walls and ceiling. It almost looks as though those players are flying once they get into their game. Of course, it’s a one-way effect; to them, it’s just as if they’re running along white walls and ceilings. Far too disorienting to be seeing massive crowds from odd angles when you’ve got that goal in your sights! Each team has two goals, one on the floor and one on the ceiling, so they need to make sure they’re covering all bases. There you go, a potted introduction to the sport of gravball. Just wrapped up in nice time too, as the players are making their way into the arena through that little door in the corner of the cube. It’ll be closed by a steward once they’re all in position. Okay, looks like we’re good to go. Having won their last match, Magnificence get to kick off.
And here we go! Magnificence’s Finnister is streaking up the far wall, dodging players to left and right. Oooh, that’s a great overhead kick, the ball floating gracefully through the air to Noon, who’s waiting for it on the ceiling. He dribbles in between a couple of opponents and the goal’s in his sights, but – oh! – the ball’s been taken by Excellence’s Graston just as he was about to shoot. Never mind, better luck next time. Graston’s booted the ball out of the ceiling’s gravitational field and it’s falling to his teammates on the floor. That takes some welly, you know. Let’s take a minute to appreciate the skills of these players, putting in countless hours of training to learn how to play upside down without confusion. Got to deal with that rush of blood to the head, too, so they can’t stay up there too long. Anyway, back to the action – oh, and the ball’s been intercepted by Magnificence’s Salvo who’s taken a shot at the opposition’s Earthbound goal. Looks like an easy proposition. But he’s put too much into it and it’s been pulled in by the side wall’s gravity field. An occupational hazard in this game – it’s a fine balancing act when it comes to dealing with the complicated physics at play and Salvo’s misjudged it on this occasion. Never mind though, his teammate Finnister’s given it a belting header and the ball’s heading skyward again, as his boots leave the smooth surface of the wall. He hovers in the horizontal before being pulled inexorably back. But watch the ball as it arcs up – Noon’s bided his time on the ceiling and waited for it, now he’s got it in between those nimble feet. Excellence are too spread out, covering all surfaces – which you need to do because you don’t know where that ball’s going to end up – but they’ve left Noon with a clear path to that upper goal. He shoots – he scores! That was, indeed, magnificent – let’s watch it again. See him feign to the left – our right, although it depends where you’re sitting – misdirecting the keeper who’s all over the place. Another superb goal for the boy wonder, Wellesbury Noon. But the game’s moved on and now the ball’s bouncing from wall to wall. Let’s see what else this match has in store for us…


Title: Black & White
Author: Nick Wilford
Genre: YA dystopian
Series #: 1 of 3
Release date: 18th September 2017
Publisher: Superstar Peanut Publishing

Blurb:

What is the price paid for the creation of a perfect society?

In Whitopolis, a gleamingly white city of the future where illness has been eradicated, shock waves run through the populace when a bedraggled, dirt-stricken boy materialises in the main street. Led by government propaganda, most citizens shun him as a demon, except for Wellesbury Noon – a high school student the same age as the boy.

Upon befriending the boy, Wellesbury feels a connection that he can’t explain – as well as discovering that his new friend comes from a land that is stricken by disease and only has two weeks to live. Why do he and a girl named Ezmerelda Dontible appear to be the only ones who want to help?

As they dig deeper, everything they know is turned on its head – and a race to save one boy becomes a struggle to redeem humanity.


Purchase Links:

Meet the author:


Nick Wilford is a writer and stay-at-home dad. Once a journalist, he now makes use of those early morning times when the house is quiet to explore the realms of fiction, with a little freelance editing and formatting thrown in. When not working he can usually be found spending time with his family or cleaning something. He has four short stories published in Writer’s Muse magazine. Nick is also the editor of Overcoming Adversity: An Anthology for Andrew. Visit him at his blog or connect with him on Twitter, GoodreadsFacebook, or Amazon.


Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a copy of my collection A Change of Mind and Other Stories or a $10 giftcard!

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Novel in a Year, plus another year

With the chill autumnal air approaching, and the kids back to school and – sigh – university, it’s time to get back to my novel.

Over the summer, three wonderful beta readers (Nick, Liz and Ruth) read my draft and gave some awesome feedback. There’s a lot to do. I realised, while scanning through their comments, that I need to go deeper into my main character, and that some of the less engaging parts of her are actually based on me (lol, I think). That said, I should be able to explain those parts much more clearly, and hopefully sympathetically.

Since I received their critiques, I’ve had a lot of extra shifts at work; I was away last weekend and also this coming one; and then another heap of extra shifts after that. It might be October until I get into them properly.

Moments beta comments

These are the merged comments, with all their agreements and conflicts. Doesn’t it look awful? You send off something you think is perfect, and get this back. Then you read them, and find yourself nodding and sighing and wondering how the heck you thought you were ready to send it in the first place.

I’d hoped to have this book ready to query in November, a year after writing the original idea during NaNoWriMo last year, but – as the title of this post suggests  – that probably won’t happen.

But that’s okay. Two years is still far shorter than my previous attempts at a novel 🙂

So, how are you?

The nature of short stories

Some bloggers excel at sharing with guests who bring their extensive knowledge with them, while others dive into the deep and meaningful, with carefully researched quotes to back up their argument. When I decided to start a blog, I had no contacts, no author friends at all – I was a complete writing loner – so I didn’t anticipate anyone reading it at all. I basically use my blog as a diary.

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My new book stand!

So, when I have a deep and meaningful thought, and decide to write a blog post about it, I fall short – my entire deep and meaningful thought took a single sentence… which is not a blog post, it’s a tweet!

Hence, I’m writing a long and rambling intro, in the hope that it will distract from the shallowness of my thought.

The nature of short stories (starting here properly)

Short stories written for collections are written in a completely different style to short stories written for competitions.

Recently, I’ve been writing stories to submit to online journals and competitions, while reading a short story collection.

My own work has been geared to jumping off the page, attracting the editor/judge’s attention from the off, and holding it until the very last sentence. And, preferably, having it linger in their mind while they move on to the next submission.

The collection, however, has been more placid, like a warm chocolate brownie rolling around in your mouth, slow and precise and a little bit meandering until it hits the crescendo, the crux.

21151201_1860500257298687_4500366284704478189_nThis might, of course, be completely obvious to you. Probably very obvious to authors who write commissioned pieces – looking at the market before the consider the execution of their story – but I don’t think I’ve ever really considered the difference. When I write a story, the idea comes, then the title, then the first line – usually in that order, and usually pretty quickly. Bam, bam, bam! The story is on the page before I consider what I’m going to do with it.

I intend to use this revelation wisely!

 

What have you discovered about writing, recently?

As a reader, have you considered the differences in the stories you read?

Am I really the last person to have figured this out?


 

You can read my 1st placed story The Fear of Ghosts on the Dark Tales website for another couple of weeks, until next month’s winner is announced. I’d love to know what you think of it, if you haven’t told me already! And if you loved it, you can always tell me again 😉

 

Kyra Lennon’s Reasonable Doubts, without doubt!

Huge congratulations to Kyra Lennon, whose new book, Reasonable Doubts, hits the shelves, Kindles and all other ereaders today! I’m so excited to be taking part in the release blitz – don’t you just love it when you see your blogger friends featured all over your favourite blogs!

Blurb: Darcy Ryan is a woman on a mission. A mission to take down the corrupt cops who ensured her best friend, Matteo Torres, went to jail for a crime he didn’t commit – the murder of his wife, Rebecca.

Darcy is willing to do just about anything to prove his innocence, including getting up close and personal with lead detective, Finn Drake.

She knows she’s playing a dangerous game, but it gets more dangerous than she could have ever imagined when she discovers everything she thought she knew about Rebecca Torres was wrong, and Finn Drake isn’t the man she thought he was either.

Darcy’s life and her best friend’s freedom are on the line. With her entire world turned on its head and time running out, she has to decide. Should she take a chance on Drake and go against her gut instincts, or go it alone and pray she can find the killer before he finds her?

Amazon US // Amazon UK // iBooks UK // iBooks US // Kobo // B and N

Stalker Links…

Website: http://www.kyralennon.com/

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KLennonWrites