ON WRITING

Remember writing doesn't love you. It doesn't care. Nevertheless, it can behave with remarkable generosity. Speak well of it, encourage others, pass it on. A. L. Kennedy

Wednesday, 5 September 2018

#IWSG post - Tripping along the publication path.

Hello all!

Time for the #IWSG again!

Top Site for WritersAugust has been an especially busy month for me, what with organizing the merging of WEP with the IWSG for the purpose of joint writing challenges. 

The inaugural August challenge is half over. We've had the sign ups on August 1, the posts on August 15, the winners announcement on August 26. The next post at WEP is the Guest Post. As well as winning an Amazon Gift Card, the winner, Tanya Miranda has been asked and agreed to write a guest post which is always a surprise treat.

If you'd like to keep in touch with what WEP/IWSG Writing Together challenges are up to, you can visit our site and subscribe to our email. If you have problems with that, email me and I'll add you manually.

On October 1, the new Halloween month challenge will go live and it's time to go through the process again.

It was great to see so many new writers join us in August. We hope even more of you will see the beauty of writing flash fiction, nonfiction and poetry to a prompt. Or taking the opportunity to get eyes on an extract of your WIP. Or just meeting a lovely, supportive bunch of writers to form new networks.

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the September 5 posting of the IWSG are Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!


Now, to the month's question - 

September 5 question for the IWSG- What publishing path are you considering/did you take, and why?

I went through the process of doing all the work myself and self-publishing with Amazon years ago just to see how it worked. It wasn't that hard, but it's not what I have planned for the future.

I'm no expert, but I'm following experts and have shared in previous  posts how I plan to publish when I'm ready...under a pen name which will be no secret. I don't want to bore you by talking about myself - my least favorite topic - but for the interests of adhering to the IWSG question, here's my pre-planned publication process. You'll note it is self-publishing. I have a contemporary novel with Avon books, but may end up self-pubbing that too. I am going to:

1. Write several books for what is called 'fast launch'. Having 1 book out there doesn't do you any favors. You need to grow a backlist quick smart (which is hard for a slow, perfectionist writer) which is why I'm writing several before I hit PUBLISH, probably using my friends at Draft2Digital.

2. Buy the best covers I can afford. As I'm writing a paranormal romance series, (I'm up to Book Three) I need to arrange for all the covers to be  made by the same artist so they look same-ish and stunning, of course. I have sketched them out...woo hoo.

3. Even though I'm a savvy editor myself, I work with 2 close critique partners mainly for plotting and structure which I suck at and have a great beta reader who's more like an editor but a fraction of the price. I'm the Grammar Police, Punctuation Police, Spelling Police, Sentence-structure Police  and the Thought Police (sorry, doing 1984 with my students) in one package, but still believe in hiring good editors. 

So, all these things cost money. Hopefully, down the track I'll see some return for the years of lackadaisical laptop joy - gosh I love alliteration don't I?

How about you, best-selling authors? I'd be interested in hearing your comments. Maybe you think I have rocks in my head. Maybe...who knows? We all make our own path in the end.

Have a great month, everyone!

If you like the challenge of a juicy horror, ghost, edgy, paranormal whatever story, or can find a way to write a 'normal' story or poem for this prompt, join WEP/IWSG Writing Together for the October challenge:


You're most welcome!

Denise 

When this goes live, I'm up in Northern Queensland visiting family. I will return the visit when I can. 




Tuesday, 14 August 2018

#WEPff - WEP August challenge - my #flashfiction - Carpe Diem.

Hello everyone!

My story for the inaugural combined WEP/IWSG challenge has a long history. I first wrote a much different version for my first #fridayflash entry in 2010 which was somewhat behind my idea to start RomanticFridayWriters, now WEP. I've since written a novel based on this original idea which is languishing in the slushpile at Avon Books. 
I present to you a snippet from the original Saskia and Raphael Parisian love story. 
I hope you enjoy my women's fiction. 

Image result for images of paris rooftops

Carpe Diem

It happens every morning. That seeping dread. Jolting her feet until they burn from toe to heel. Creeping up her limbs like a colony of ants, enflaming her throat. Finally, it settles like a leaden ball in her chest where it maintains its constant slow burn.
As the room washes with the first glimmer of light, Saskia lies in the bed of her third-floor Parisian apartment, whispering her mantra over and over – Carpe diem, carpe diem, carpe diem, willing the dread to pass.
She has always loved this golden hour when the world holds its breath, hoping the new day will disperse gifts from a benevolent god.
What will be my gift?
Will He send the angels for me today?
Or will Raphael come back to me today?
She spies a dove at the window, silvery wings fluttering, ‘Get up. Get up. Get up.’
Ignoring the leaden ball in her chest, she throws aside the sheet and pads across the carpet to the open window.
Satisfied it now has an audience, the little dove dives into the ornate bath in the courtyard, shaded by purple wisteria which creeps restlessly along the exposed ledges as if it knows time is short, that in winter it will become an ungainly skeleton.
From the spindly branches of the pretty tree, the bird begins its morning song. The joyful notes thrum like a soaring solo in a Beethoven symphony.  
Song over, the silver bird soars into the sky.
She stands at the window clutching the sill. The beat of every passing moment pulses in her ears.
Carpe diem.
She must seize the day.
I will not think of all I have lost.
Raphael. Raphael. Raphael.
I will not think of the glory days.
Raphael. Raphael. Raphael.
She puffs out a breath and decides that a pure blue sky demands a walk over the bridge in front of Notre Dame.
Today she will miss the ecstatic sounds of Eloise and her lover in Apartment 2 who like to make noisy love in the afternoon, all afternoon, reminding her of herself and Raphael in the flush of first love.
Before he had a change of heart.
Before he found someone he loved more than her.
Why does her heart still pine for him?
Perhaps she can blame Eloise.
Get out of my head, Raphael.
She studies the glorious golden sun cresting the horizon. She watches the orb creep over the beautiful old sandstone buildings like a playful giant, blowing fire onto the zinc rooftops, transforming them into molten gold.
She completes her salute-to-the-sun routine, bathed in the warming rays.
While she dresses, she glances at her bed. Their bed.
One morning she woke and his side of the bed was cold, the sheets unwrinkled. He has never shared her bed since. According to the social pages he has warmed the bed of many of Paris’ young women and broken their hearts like he has broken hers. She wonders how he finds the time.
Today, if she can manage the short walk from la Tour Eiffel, she will surprise him at his latest art exhibition at the Musée du quai Branly. She must give the gods a chance to bestow on her a last wish.
To see Raphael one more time.


Leaning over the wide cement ledge, her vision fills with the Gothic splendour of Notre Dame. The sun-bathed brick structure stands proud and golden on the Île de la Cité, her buttresses grasping the edges of the Seine. Taking a deep breath, she inhales the river smell − reedy, thick, brackish.
She averts her eyes from the thousands of glinting golden padlocks that lovers have attached to the bridge’s mesh sides, signifying undying, unbroken love.
Hers and Raphael’s lock is lost amongst the thousands of metallic clasps engraved with initials and love symbols, rusting away, short-lived like their marriage, soon to be cut loose by Parisian councilmen.
Why is Raphael clouding her mind today of all days? She closes her eyes and imagines him running across the bridge as he used to do, wrapping her in his arms, spinning her around, making her feel safe.
How she would love to feel his arms around her again.
She stands glacial, immobile, a Rodin sculpture. 
Tomorrow.
Tomorrow she will leave all this beauty to enter an entirely different world.
A world of hospitals, doctors, nurses, prodding, jabbing, priestly prayers and last of all, hope.
She steps away from the rails, Mahatma Ghandi’s words giving wings to her feet: ‘Live as if you were to die tomorrow.’
She whispers her mantra over and over.
Carpe diem.
Carpe diem.
Carpe diem.
A pain stabs her heart, throwing her against the concrete rail. She clutches her chest with both hands. No, not yet!  The ground rushes to meet her. Warm concrete slaps her face. A dog yaps.
Then black envelops her.


She hears him.
A much-loved engine purrs in the distance.  
A huge black motorbike is propped against the kerb.
Her angel. Her Raphael.
He stands at the end of the bridge, hands in pockets, watching her, his studded motorcycle boots planted firmly on the timber.
Her heart beats so loudly the sound chokes her throat.
If only she could get out from under this block of concrete and run to him.
Oh, those capricious gods!
Why is he wearing black?
He opens his arms.
She stands, but is rooted to the spot, hands pressing her heart, feeling the throbbing joy.
He beckons her … come!
She whispers her mantra over and over as she staggers into his waiting arms.
Carpe diem!
Carpe diem!
Carpe diem!
‘Saskia.’ The aching note in his voice moves her more than his words.


WORDS - 948
FCA - as per preference list below

STATE YOUR FEEDBACK PREFERENCES

This is my entry for the WEP/IWSG August challenge.

WEP CHALLENGE FOR AUGUST....CHANGE OF HEART~

Please CLICK on entries at WEP to read more stories. 

Thank you for reading. If you're not joining the WEP/IWSG challenge this month, perhaps you'd consider joining us in October for Deju Vu Voodoo - (((shiver))) (((shake)))

eyes




Wednesday, 1 August 2018

August 1 #IWSG, including the question - What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Hello all!

Another month, another IWSG. Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for this group and for a great place to turn up each month and read awesome posts!

Top Site for Writers

Alex's awesome co-hosts for the August 1 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery! Please visit if you can.

  And be sure to visit the
Insecure Writer’s Support Group Website!!!

Most of you will have heard/will soon hear that from today, the IWSG has partnered with WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) for the bi-monthly writing challenges. I will be guest posting on the IWSG website on August 6 to tell you more about WEP and how you might like to join the writing challenge. We hope you do.

The WEP team is guest posting on the IWSG website on August 6 where we explain more about WEP. I invite you to swing by and say hello.

Here is the permalink which will go live on August 6:

 http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/2018/08/writing-together-with-wep-and-iswg.html

Sign ups begin today for the challenge, CHANGE OF HEART. I'm neither insecure nor secure about how this partnership will work out, but many in the IWSG are friends, so I see it's got the potential to make both WEP and the IWSG stronger. 

Follow this link to learn more about it, and/or to SIGN UP for the August challenge.

WEP CHALLENGE FOR AUGUST....CHANGE OF HEART~

THE IWSG QUESTION OF THE MONTH:

By writing together we can help each other avoid the pitfalls that are waiting to entrap the unwary emerging writer. Here's just a couple I've learned/am still learning...
  • Sending a work to a publisher without having it beta read/edited/edited/edited/re-written/re-written...etc


  • Self-publishing without sourcing the best cover you can afford, the best blurb you can create, flawless formatting, clever launching of bulk titles - there's Farcebook groups to help with all of these...
That's enough for now. I must race over to Write...Edit...Publish and see how many of you have signed up for the challenge!


Here's some chocolate for you while you rearrange the words in your manuscript!



Wednesday, 4 July 2018

#IWSG - I'm scrambling!



Hi all!

I had to go into the IWSG website to check something and realized, gulp, that the posting was today US time, not tomorrow. Sincere apologies. Here are my excuses if you want to read something after wasting your time clicking on my name on the list:

1) It's school holidays. As a teacher, my brain has a little rest and forgetting dates is one of them!

2) Had trouble with our solar power and battery set-up, which at our place is a disaster. The company that installed the batteries for our system has declared bankruptcy so no warranty. However, since hubs used to work for them, the owner of previous/a current company under a new name (go figure) at least gave us the new battery which hubs installed himself. Meanwhile, have been tripping over extension cords and double adapters as we had everything plugged into the mains. Sorry, most of this probably went right over your head. Needless to say, a few hours ago, hubs finished the installation and we're all good, powering away from the winter sun.

3) I'm wracking my brains on how to start Book Three in my vampire trilogy. Hmm. But I feel it coming. I'm not a great plotter. This to me is the hard part of writing. Once I'm away, I fly like my vamps!

4) I've been choosing winners for the WEP writing competition! Getting a post ready to go on the website! Finally done!

Think about joining us in August! Exciting things are happening at WEP! More news coming soon!

heart


So, enough excuses. Hope all you guys are doing well. 






Tuesday, 19 June 2018

#WEPff challenge - UNRAVELED YARN - My yarn, A Thirst Before Dying.

It's time for the Write...Edit...Publish challenge again. Open to all, this month the prompt is UNRAVELED YARN.


I've chosen to re-post a story I wrote for #FridayFlash several years ago. I've done some re-imagining as I thought of it right away when I saw the challenge.
A Thirst Before Dying is a TALL STORY set in the Queensland outback. I was actually born on the edge of the Queensland Outback, so I love writing about it.
I've added some images of Australia for you, which will be helpful if you know little/nothing about our culture, especially our indigenous culture.

Indigenous Australians are not only the most profoundly disadvantaged group in Australian society, some say in the world, but they're certainly the most discriminated against because they're misunderstood. 
There are some references in this story you may not get, but suffice to say in Colonial Australia, Aboriginals were often referred to by a collective title, 'Jacky-Jacky' and Aboriginals used to wryly call themselves 'King George' after the English king at this time. Of course, Indigenous Australians ran rings around the 'white ghosts' when it came to surviving the outback. 
If you want to know more about surviving in the outback, watch the Australian movie, Rabbit-Proof Fence, the true story of three little girls who followed the outback rabbit-proof fence for nine weeks, covering 1,500 miles (2,400 klms) to return to their community after being snatched during the Stolen Children debacle.
So, here's one of my favorite stories, told in a sort-of stream-of-consciousness way...
Aboriginal Rock Art

A Thirst Before Dying

You don’t want me to stay with you?

No. I’d prefer to be alone.

I could stay…until…

No, it’s best to leave now, Herb. Find a way out of this god-forsaken country.

Look, Paddy, there’s water down the valley. I know it. I’ll come back with some.

Don’t worry about me, matey. Listen to me croak. Let’s invent our own bush lore — every man for himself. None of this laying down your life for your mate…

I feel bad…

No need, Herb. Just go and let me get on with it. You’d be a silly bugger to stay here. You’re the lucky one. You know I haven’t got a snowflake’s chance in hell of surviving. I’m roasting from the inside out. I’m done for…

But…Paddy…

Go, you ugly bugger. Wipe that doleful look off your face.  Get on with it. At least one of us silly buggers will survive.

Look, it’s my fault. I was the one who got us lost. I thought I knew where I was...

Turns out you didn’t, but we aren’t the first and we won’t be the last to be tricked by the Australian bush. We broke every rule—walking away from the car, not enough water, then I go and break my bloody leg to boot. No chance of me getting out of here. Think about it. Go!

***
I woke to throbbing in my busted leg. I screamed as I rolled over, took deep breaths, tried not to pass out. How fat it’d gotten while I drowsed. I lay there, trying to will myself to feel nothing even though the sun was frying me like an egg on a car bonnet.

How will it feel to die of thirst?

I read in National Geographic about an old salt who survived seven days in the Arizona desert without water. Well, it’s about three days for me so far and I know I’m not going to break Mr Valencia’s record.

I ran my tongue around my mouth…saliva thick as paste. My tongue clung to my teeth and the roof of my mouth. A golf ball in my throat. My head and neck throbbed like I'd been hit with a golf club.

I started working on the strokes to perfect my golf handicap. A completely useless activity, but it helped take my mind off the pain.

My face felt like a full moon and my skin was like crackly parchment. Before long I’d be a raving lunatic. Hallucinating. Please don’t let me be around when that happens.

It was a tossup between pain and thirst. 

Which would kill me?

***
I’d fallen to my side while I slept. Was I going to die lolling around like some old abandoned guy in a nursing home? With a few grunts and groans I managed to heave myself up and prop my back against the red sandy rock.

The dry valley spread before me, shimmering in the heat. I swore I saw water, but I knew a mirage when I saw one.  The red and ochre of the steep gorges soothed me, taking my mind off the possibilities of that inland sea.

I’ve always loved this country, especially the outback. Unforgiving though. Only the toughest survive. Add smartest to that. Not smart to get lost, run out of petrol, run out of water.

Old Herb. I hoped he’d been smart enough to find water by now or he’d be propping up a rock too, or roasting in the sand like a pig on a spit.

***

My eyes were just slits, but I watched a pair of wedge-tailed eagles fly between the harsh blue sky and the ochre cliffs like children at play. I kept vigil like a protective parent.

It was a brutal world out here in the desert. I waved my arm around the red valley: I hereby name you ‘Tarrangaua’. It meant ‘rough red hill’ in Aborigine. I smiled to myself, feeling smart as King George.

A thick pain punched my chest. There was a whooshing in my ears. 

Here comes the deafness...

A crunching sound reverberated around my head. I swear the rock shook, so I must have reached the hallucinating stage. Didn't even need a pill! Gave them up years ago. I grinned, feeling my gums and teeth protrude like some zombie's.


‘What you doin’ sittin’ here in the sun, you silly bugger? Hardly Bondi Beach, you bum.’

My time had come. Looming over me was the Grim Reaper. A wobbly outline of a face. I blinked and it morphed into the ace of spades…with hair and beard white as snow. Topped with an Akubra hat with silver studs glinting in the sun.

‘Jacky-Jacky?’ Every Australian knows an Aboriginal tracker is called Jacky-Jacky, even a city slicker like me.

‘No mate, I’m not Jacky-Jacky. I’m Mr Theodore White, but who’s askin’? Looks like you could use some help before you turn into one tough piece of steak.’

‘Hey, I’m King George,’ I said only half-joking. Who am I again? 

‘That's my line. He died long ago, mate. You don’t wanna be him.’

He cradled my head in one of his massive black hands and let me take a few sips from his coolamon.

Coolamon
The water tasted real enough. Its coolness was the most beautiful thing. But I had trouble slugging it past that golf ball in my throat.

‘That’s enough, King George. Only a drop at a time or it’ll kill ya.’

I tried not to cry like a baby when he took the bottle away.

‘Found ya old mate.’ He tended my leg with ancient Aboriginal lore guiding his hands.

‘What? Who?’ I rasped. Oh no. Old Herb.

‘Poor old bugger. Roasting in a dry riverbed down there.’ He pointed into the red valley. ‘Musta gone to sleep thinkin’ he was in the water, seein' a mirage. No savin’ him. His face was burned to a crisp. But looks like you’ll make it. Ain’t you the lucky one? No one should die alone.’

I hope you enjoyed my story. Please click on names at the top of my sidebar with DL (Direct Link) after the name. This means the story is up and ready.

Thanks for reading and commenting and sharing if you would be so kind.