Planning and preparation for novel number three underway

As some of you know, in October 2012 I embarked upon a new adventure when I left the world of Monday to Friday, nine-to-five, in favour of becoming a full-time mother, and writing at every available opportunity (usually when my daughter slept, which gave me a good two and a half hours each day).

In November 2012, I wrote my first novel, during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). What then followed was months of many, many revisions until I felt the story was finished and ready. The problem was, what started out being a contemporary romance novel, turned into what some might call a time-travel romance, which was never my intention. This, of course, complicated matters as there began lots of shifting back and forth to make sure dates and times and scenes corresponded with each other. Then, finally, at the beginning of the year, I decided to put it out there via a contest, and had some wonderful feedback, albeit along with a polite rejection. I’ve since had further feedback, suggesting that the pacing needs some work. So, I decided to sit on it for a while, and begin revisions on my second novel, Labour of Love, which I also wrote during NaNoWriMo 2013.

Novel number two was a fully planned and executed contemporary romance, and I have to admit, I absolutely loved writing it. I had my moments when I wondered if the dynamics would work, but two very wise women both told me, write what you want to write. In honesty, my hero and heroine are more true-life than glitz and glamour. I’ve been informed several times over that the rich alpha male is what sells – the happy ever after that romance readers aspire to. Except, I live in the real world, and people have real problems and have to find ways to overcome them. I’ve read plenty of romance/women’s fiction novels in my time and always love the books I can identify with – the ones where I’ve been there, lived that, had that type of relationship. I’ve never aspired to fall in love with a rich man and live happily ever after. Just a good, honest, loving man, who would take care of me (and he certainly does). So I’m going to stick with it, but will let it rest for a while before I return to it and read it objectively. After that, I might – just might – think about sending it ‘out there’.

In the meantime, novel number three is the sequel to my first novel, Time for Love, which is set in two different time zones and has the customary antagonist. The thing is, the antagonist became so much fun to write and literally jumped off the page, that I felt it necessary to give him a story of his own, along with his very own heroine. So, the planning has begun. Since I finished the second draft of Labour of Love, I’ve been drafting a synopsis and character profiles, and am about to delve into research into the 1930s (the time of The Great Depression). Incidentally, this one won’t be an easy task, much like its preceding story, but I’m going to have a lot of fun writing it.

While I’m busy squirreling away, I’d like to say a little thanks for your continued support. I know there are plenty of you desperate to read Time for Love, and your patience is gratefully noted. I look forward to being able to deliver it in time and equally hope it’s worth the wait. 🙂

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Prologue vs Chapter One

I attended my critique writing group last night, which was free manuscript evening, whereby we all read one of our current projects. So I took the opening chapters of my work in progress, consisting of a prologue and the first chapter.
I had some great feedback and with one suggestion in mind, I have a question:

One of the group commented on my use of a prologue and suggested I make it the first chapter, as she said some people don’t bother reading a prologue. If it’s skipped in this book, it could cause some confusion as it’s fundamental to the story, but I feel it’s too short to be a first chapter. The second chapter is a completely different scene so they’re not appropriate to be placed together in the first chapter. What are your thoughts? Do you read a prologue? I do, but thought it would be prudent to check with other fellow readers.

Look forward to hearing your responses 🙂

Has it really been a year?

A year has passed since I gave notice to leave my safe, full-time, permanent position as a customer service executive, to concentrate on bringing up my young daughter and focus on building my writing career.

This morning, I’ve been looking back on what’s passed in this last year as I head towards the end of the rewrite of my NaNoWriMo novel, the first draft of which I completed in November 2012.

So, what have I achieved?

I wrote a novel.

I really did, from start to finish, just over 50,000 words. It doesn’t seem like much of an achievement now – as I’ve been spending the last year editing it – but it was back then. There’s not many (apart from those who have enough passion and dedication to finish one) who can say they’ve written a novel. Plenty of people are really impressed when I tell them I’ve written a book. Then I get embarrassed because I know that it’s nowhere near ready to be unleashed on the world.

I wrote and self-published a mini e-book. 

After I left the security of working in the corporate world, I threw myself into researching self-publishing – the revolution of the publishing industry – and spent the first month working on writing a little e-book about living on a budget, inspired by my decision to relinquish an income of my own. I surprised myself with the tips I came up with, and found myself wondering why we didn’t use our own advice more often. An article I’d read in Writing Magazine gave me the confidence I needed to go ahead and publish the book. It’s easy enough to self-publish, but what many probably don’t realise is the formatting involved – this took up a massive amount of my time as I played around with Word, Adobe and another e-publishing program. The book is now live on Amazon and I’ve sold quite a few copies, which I’m rather proud of. Not as many as I would have liked, admittedly, but I’ve since discovered that marketing isn’t my strong point. I’d much rather be writing and chatting with the wonderful group of writing friends I’ve met on social media.

I joined the group of The Rejected

After pouring my blood, sweat and tears into a proposal and partially written manuscript, I received a very encouraging rejection from a major publisher. Of course I was deflated, but I was also over the moon – a publisher had taken the time to read my submission and respond, even giving me some feedback. They told me it was quite clear that I’d spent a lot of time and effort on the submission however they didn’t feel the story was developed enough to be able to proceed with it. This gave me the excuse I needed to press on and make my work even better. I put that story away and decided to focus on my completed manuscript, to make it as good as it could possibly be.

I had an article published in Cat World

It might only be one article, and I didn’t get paid for it, but it was a huge achievement for me. I’ve had fillers published and am due to have another article printed in Evergreen –  sister publication to This England – this autumn.

I joined a Writers Circle

A lovely little critique group in Northampton. We all get together and read aloud our work and listen to each other, offer advice, then have a nice cuppa and a biscuit. If you haven’t joined a writers group, do it. It’s the best advice you could ever have. Writing is a lonely profession in the real world, and although I have made some wonderful friends online, sometimes we crave human contact and adult conversation. Especially us full-time mothers who spend the majority of their day with little people.

~

It’s clear a lot can happen in a year, and it’s been educational. So, what have I learned?

My first draft sucked

I wrote The Gateway (temporary title of my work in progress) in the first-person viewpoint. I sat on it for a few weeks. I read it. I cringed. So the whole thing is being re-drafted in third-person viewpoint.

The first draft is easy

It really is. You just have to get the words down on the paper. The hard part is the second draft. Bringing your writing to life. Getting rid of the cliches. Wondering if your work is ever going to be good enough. I have days where I bounce with enthusiasm over my writing. Then the self-doubt descends like a black cloud and I wonder how my work is ever going to get published.

Editors are very busy people

And sadly rarely reply to queries. I’ve lost count of the amount of emails I’ve sent with a proposed article, only to still be waiting weeks later for a response. It’s so disheartening. Imagine sending out several job applications and not having one reply? It’s hard, it really is. And definitely up there with rejection. Which leads me on to my next lesson.

I’m an eternal optimist

I’ve spent a year trying to break into the market, in both article writing and fiction writing. I’ve faced lots of rejection, I’m still writing my novel, yet I’m still going a year later. Rome wasn’t built in a day, you know.

The world of writers is a fabulously supportive place

I’ve discovered some great networks, made some wonderful friends and had enormous support from some really special people. Earlier this year I shared the news that I was expecting. Fate dealt a cruel hand, and our little baby girl couldn’t survive in this world. If it wasn’t for the wonderful support some of my writer friends have bestowed upon me, I’m honestly not sure when I would have picked up my laptop again, and I’m so grateful to them.

I’m not superwoman

I can’t do everything. Just like I couldn’t do everything when I was working full-time. Being a mother is a full-time occupation. It’s not easy to fit your own work in around looking after an inquisitive, demanding, hugely energetic toddler. Especially when you’ve spent most of the day (literally) running around after them as well as trying to keep the house clean, and cook a nutritious meal every night (on a budget at that). It’s a wonder I have any energy left. Actually, forget that. I don’t have any energy. I’m exhausted. 😛

~

So, what now? I still firmly believe this was the best decision I ever made. Writing is my dream and it might not be providing me with an income at the moment, but I love it and it makes me happy. A few months ago I was torn between choosing to self-publish, or try to get [The Gateway] traditionally published. I’ve read many articles and viewpoints on the debate and for now, I’m going to try the traditional route. I’m not saying I’d never self-publish, but I want to be sure my writing is good enough for a publisher to want to buy it. Several people have told me they love the first three chapters of this story and the concept, and that’s really encouraging. That’s what’s given me the confidence to proceed with this project and put the article writing on hold, so thanks to all those who have supported me so far, cheered from the sidelines and waved their pom-poms.

I have set myself a deadline to finish the second draft/rewrite of The Gateway by the end of this month (six days left!), after which I’ll be taking down the first three chapters, which are currently on the blog. I then have until the end of September to polish it, after which I’ll be submitting, with everything crossed, and my breath held in anticipation.

Wish me luck! 🙂

Progress update and news

I’ve been steadily working on editing The Gateway these past few days, now that things have calmed down on the home front. I’ve even been able to work a little on my studies, slotting in a bit here and a bit there. Although it’s quite possible I’ve overdone it slightly, trying to squeeze daily tasks and puppy walks and writing in, on top of everything else, including being pregnant. A few people have commented that I’ve been a bit quiet lately, and that is my reason. I’m now 20 weeks gone, and just starting to feel “normal” again (although slightly anaemic; but some iron tablets have rectified that). Since January I’ve been rather fatigued and was knocked sideways by a virus in February which my daughter and I both had, her bouncing back like Tigger on a summer’s day and me taking three weeks to recover from it. As I started to regain my energy, we welcomed another bundle into our home in the form of Charlie, who has certainly not been without his challenges. Patience is a virtue, they say, and I can’t say I’ve ever been the most patient of people. But when you become a mother something happens to you and you become instinctively able to cope with whatever stresses life throws at you, because you simply get on and deal with it.

We’ve had Charlie for five weeks today and I’m pleased to say that he’s settled in well. He’s nowhere near as calm as I’d like (of course not, he’s a puppy) but he’s happier to entertain himself now and with the aid of a baby gate and a puppy crate, we have a little more order in the house.

Anyway, as my father used to say, I digress.

A few more of you have been asking questions about where Chapter Four of The Gateway is. I won’t be posting any more chapters on here, as I haven’t decided whether to self-publish or try the traditional publishing route yet. However I did promise to deliver some snippets and deliver I will.

If you’ve read the first three chapters, you’ll be wondering what happens next with Emmeline and her ticket officer from the train station.

So here’s a little teaser for you…

Emmeline leaned back against the red padded leather of the booth they had chosen at the back of the club, and observed the setting before her. Round tables circled by bistro chairs were strategically placed around a modest stage, which was currently in the process of being set up for a function. Each table was covered in stark white table cloths with candelabras standing centrepiece. The club was empty of customers except for Jack and Emmeline.

‘So, you’re from the future,’ he sat back with one leg crossed over his knee, his arm resting across the back of the booth.

‘Or,’ she looked at him over her cup and saucer, searching for that glint of amusement on his features. It wasn’t there. ‘You’re from the past,’ she decided.

‘Well, Emmeline, I don’t think I am in your future right now,’ he gestured with his arm to demonstrate the very real establishment they were sat in, jazz music playing softly in the background in the absence of a live performance.

She drummed her fingers on the table thoughtfully. ‘Perhaps this is all part of your master plan to continue to mock my plight and this is actually a retro-bar, frequented ordinarily by the locals, who appear to be lacking at present.’ said Emmeline.

‘Please, excuse me for a moment,’ Jack stood and adjusted his waistcoat and jacket and disappeared to the Gentleman’s lounge. When he returned, he sidled into the booth and rested his arm behind Emmeline’s head on the back of the seat. His face was level with hers and she could hear the steady rhythm of his gentle breathing. Jack’s gaze rested on her features for what seemed like an age, until she tore her eyes away and focused on her coffee, desperate to break the intimacy. 

Thanks for reading, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to ask, I always love to hear from readers. 🙂

Read the first three chapters of The Gateway here.

The Gateway – Chapter Three

As promised, I’ve just uploaded the third chapter of The Gateway.

At present, I’m not planning to post any more chapters on the blog, but will be posting some snippets and extracts as I continue the editing process, which I hope will keep your interest until I decide on my publishing route.

If you’ve not read the first two chapters of The Gateway, or if you want to refresh your memory of what has happened so far, you can do so here.

Or, if you’ve got a great memory, you can find the next installment – Chapter Three – on this link here.

I also have a Pinterest board which I’ll be using for research purposes and adding to as I progress through the story. Pop over and take a look if you have time.

Please feel free to comment, I’d love to hear what you think.

The Gateway – Chapter Three

The Gateway – Chapter Two

Following on from my last blog post, as a little taster, I’ve made the decision to publish the first three chapters of The Gateway on this blog and also on Wattpad, after completing the second draft on each. I hope you enjoy, please feel free to leave any comments or if you think there are any improvements required.

Otherwise, Chapter Three will be up next 🙂

You can read Chapter One here.

Chapter Two

‘All aboard!!’ yelled the guard as the last of the passengers alighted the train. The automatic doors closed with a hiss and Emmeline settled back into the blue and black speckled seat, clutching her holdall on the seat next to her as the carriage shuttled her off to the coast. Hills rolled by as the train gathered speed and she felt the tension seep from her shoulders, until she noticed the shaggy-haired young man opposite her. He was staring with a strange expression on his face. Emmeline eyeballed him back but he smirked, so she turned her attention to the passing scenery and ignored him.

The last two weeks had been an eye opener. Geoff Sweetman was actually on the wagon, and Joan seemed to have had a personality transplant, bossing both of them about and taking no nonsense. Emmeline wasn’t sure which was worse – the tension from before, or being at the mercy of the imposter who had possessed her former mouse of a mother. Her eyes flickered over the fields as they sped by, and Emmeline’s thoughts drifted to her sanctuary by the sea. It was a dilapidated mess, with seventies wallpaper and grubby carpets; but it was hers and she loved it. She didn’t have much interaction with anyone there, apart from her dear elderly neighbours. But that suited her.

Less than an hour later, the train announced its arrival at Parnham Sea Station. She stood and gathered her things.

The train came to a halt and after waiting for the throng of passengers to disembark first, Emmeline stepped onto the platform inhaling the fresh, coastal air, feeling clean and carefree. Home at last.

As she meandered along the platform, a man dressed in a grey suit rushed past her, shoving her aside. ‘Hey!’ yelled Emmeline, as he ran for his train. She rubbed her shoulder and grimaced as the bruising in her ribs throbbed. Ignorant sod! Then, to her surprise, he turned to look at her, shock frozen on his face.

‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you there!’ he said as he continued to back away briskly, then turned on his heel and hopped on the train, pulling the door shut behind him. Emmeline blinked, sure that the doors had been automatic. The shrill blast of a whistle rang nearby to indicate their imminent departure, and she shook her head in confusion.

As she entered the station a guard tapped her on the shoulder. ‘Can I see your ticket, madam?’

She spun round in bewilderment, searching for the automatic gate, which would hungrily swallow her fare in return for letting her off the platform.

‘Yes,’ she frowned, reaching into her pocket and pulling out a thick, cardboard coupon. ‘Where are the gates?’ she asked him.

‘Gates? The station gates are where they’ve always been, at the front of the building.’

Emmeline whipped her head round, taking in her surroundings. A young platinum-blonde woman with rouge lips stood casually near the door, patting her wavy set hair with a white-gloved hand. A round suitcase stood at her feet and her other hand displayed a cigarette holder, its smoke trailing upwards as the ash burned idly.  To Emmeline’s right, perched on a wooden bench, was another young lady with black, bobbed hair tucked under a red berry cloche hat, checking her watch and fiddling with a string of pearls. On closer inspection the station was filled with commuters looking like they were dressed for a 1920s film production.

‘Is someone filming here today?’ she asked.

‘Filming? Not that I know of. I think we’d be inundated with people wanting to get in on the action.’ He chuckled and then bent his head forward to peer at her face. ‘Are you OK?’ he asked. For a brief moment, Emmeline found herself rendered immobile by the intense blue eyes which were studying her own. She tore away from his penetrating gaze and looked up at his cap, PSS – Parnham Sea Stationimprinted above the peak, and took a step back to survey his dated uniform. Sure, she’d not visited for a couple of weeks, but what on earth was going on?

‘I – um –’ she squeaked as she backed away from him. He handed back her ticket with furrowed brows and Emmeline studied his gentle mouth, perfectly set on his clean shaven face, the lines of his jaw clenching as he watched her, bewildered.

After one last glance at the ticket detective, she shot through the station, clutching her coupon, suddenly aware of its thick cardboard presence. Wasn’t the ticket she’d purchased a credit-card sized, flimsy piece of cardboard? Or had they changed them? She would have noticed when she’d bought it, surely. She thrust the little tag into her pocket and burst through the front door to the outside world, inhaling a lungful of fresh air. Either she had fallen asleep on the train and was dreaming, or something was very, very awry. A woman dressed in a pencil skirt and tailored jacket approached the door into the lobby.

‘Excuse me,’ Emmeline stood with her hands on her hips and steadied her breathing, taking in the woman’s more modern attire. ‘What is the date today?’ she asked. The other woman stopped and looked at her watch. ‘It’s 27th September,’ she smiled.

‘Thanks,’ replied Emmeline, watching the woman’s retreating back. Obviously. She bit her lip and looked around, then spotted a paper sitting on a green iron bench outside the entrance to the station and wandered over, picking it up and peering at the top. September 27th, 2012. Of course it was. She cupped her hands gently around her face and looked through the window into the station. The automatic ticket gates stood evidently at the entrance to the platform, indifferent to the little game they had just played with her mind. There was no sign of the ticket officer. She shook her head in confusion and walked over to the bus stop, and boarded the waiting bus which would take her home.

Striding up the garden path towards the front door, Emmeline made a mental note to pull some weeds up from the concrete path edge and was suddenly accosted by a silver tabby cat, snaking its way around her legs in a greeting. She dumped her bag on the doorstep and fished her keys out of her purse.

‘Hey, Herbie!’ She stooped down to collect the bundle of fur into a cuddle, being careful not to prod him with the keys. ‘I missed you too, fella!’ Herbie purred and dribbled on her wrist as she stroked his excited head. She opened the door and the cat shot through, meowing frantically and darting back and forth from the kitchen. ‘OK, OK!’ she laughed, then pulled out a tin of cat meat and filled his bowl.

Emmeline had a cat-share arrangement with her next-door neighbours. She’d fallen in love with the tabby a few months ago when the cat belonging to the Bennett’s other neighbour had had kittens. Mr and Mrs Bennett had agreed to care for Herbie during the week while Emmeline was working and Emmeline supplied the food and the cost of the veterinary care.

She climbed the worn, dull green carpeted stairs to her bedroom, hauled her bag onto the bed and proceeded to unpack her neatly folded clothes, placing them carefully into a vintage chest of drawers.  The only sound in the house was the bedside clock as it ticked away noisily. She shoved her bag across the wooden floor and took a deep breath, and then opened a window to let some fresh air in to dispel the mustiness. She sat down on the bed, fondly stroking the green gingham bedspread. The muslin curtains billowed in the breeze as she took off her shoes and socks and spread her toes through the sheep-skin rug she’d found at a flea market in Parnham a few weeks ago. Her eyes swept the room as she admired the wooden floor. Bit by bit, she was getting there. On her last visit Emmeline had been busy refurbishing the bedroom and had pulled up the carpets, hired a sanding machine and stripped the floor boards before protecting them with a light wood varnish. The curtains were her handiwork, crafted on the second-hand sewing machine Mrs Bennett had donated to her.

There was a knock at the front door. ‘Emmeline? Yoo hoo!’ Elsie Bennett’s voice called up the stairs. ‘I brought you a casserole, love! Ernie said it’s top notch!’ Emmeline left the vintage beauty of her bedroom and descended the stairs slowly, still feeling bruised and battered from the accident.

‘Elsie!’ She enveloped her in a warm embrace. ‘How lovely to see you,’ Elsie gave a little squeeze in return and Emmeline gave a small cry as she pulled away, wincing.

‘What’s wrong, dear?’ asked Elsie.

Emmeline smiled meekly at her and shrugged her shoulders. ‘I had a bit of an accident a couple of weeks ago; my car was hit on the motorway on my way here,’ She confessed as warming, pungent aromas of thyme and chicken filled her senses. ‘Mmm, that smells delicious!’ she said, changing the subject.

‘What?’ Elsie’s eyebrows shot up in a state of distress. ‘Oh my goodness, you poor thing!’ she gasped.

Emmeline waved Elsie’s concern away. ‘I’m fine, honestly! Just a couple of broken ribs which are healing slowly and a black eye – which is now yellow, underneath some cleverly applied make-up.’  She lifted the lid off the casserole. ‘That looks amazing,’

Elsie looked at the casserole. ‘Just pop it in the oven, dear, on a low heat, until you’re ready for it.’ She looked back up at Emmeline and frowned. ‘So – that’s why you haven’t been here for the last couple of weeks then?’ she probed. ‘Only we didn’t get your message until last weekend and we’ve been worried! Herbie’s missed you terribly.’ She smiled kindly.

At that moment, Emmeline wondered why she didn’t just move here permanently. She was missed. Even if only by my cat and my neighbours.  She sighed, and thought of Geoff and Joan, wondering how long this strange pretence could last before her father buckled and started drinking again and her mother crumpled under the disappointment. They needed her. How could she even be so selfish as to think that she could put herself first like that? Besides, she earned good money at work; when I’m hitting target, she thought. A picture of her boss’s face appeared and she shuddered in irritation at Louisa’s existence infiltrating her refuge. ‘Go away,’ she muttered under her breath as she mentally watched Louisa pace the meeting room, flinging buzz words and wasted enthusiasm around.

‘What was that dear?’ Elsie brought Emmeline back to the present.

‘Nothing, sorry, I’ve been in an odd frame of mind today,’ her thoughts wandered back to the confusion at the train station.

‘Well, if you need anything, you know where we are,’ Elsie studied Emmeline, concern creasing her papery face.

‘Thanks, Elsie. I think I’m just going to open a bottle of wine and enjoy your lovely cooking with some old black and white movies on the TV!’ She stretched pleasantly at the thought, feeling exhausted already and looking forward to curling up with Herbie and shutting the world out. Tomorrow was a brand new day; perhaps she might go for a browse among the second hand shops and take a stroll along the beach before tea time.

‘You enjoy, Emmeline,’ she paused, her hand hovering on the door knob. ‘Do you know, there’s something different about you today?’

‘Huh?’ She had been watching Herbie curling himself round and round, trying to find a comfy spot on the sofa.

‘I can’t quite put my finger on it,’ she tapped her lip with her forefinger. ‘You seem, I don’t know… stronger somehow,’ she said, then shrugged. ‘Well, enjoy your evening dear; holler if you need anything at all. I must get back to Ernie.’ She kissed Emmeline on the cheek before closing the door behind her, leaving them both in peace.

Stronger? Who was she kidding? Emmeline was clearly losing the plot.  She put the casserole in the oven on a low heat and lit the fire, then popped open a bottle of Shiraz and joined the cat on the sofa to see what the television had to offer.

Update – The Gateway

I had some really nice feedback on The Gateway today, and the reader told me she’s interested in seeing more (thank you, Jane!:-) ). I’m still working on the second draft (practically rewriting, actually, as I’m changing the viewpoint) and have already been debating whether to post the second chapter on the blog and also on Wattpad. I have reservations about doing this simply because I still have a large amount of research to do and feel unsettled at the thought of putting something out there which is as yet unfinished. Of course the novel is written, in the first draft stage, but there are plenty of loose ends and anomalies which need to be tied up too. On the other hand, it’s really encouraging that people want to read more and I find myself wanting to polish up Chapter Two and get it out there. Because hopefully more of the story will increase interest. But then there is the other dilemma I’m faced with; I’m still not sure whether I want to try the traditional publishing route first or head straight to self-publishing. Both have their pros and cons. I’ll think on it a little bit more but hopefully I’ll be in a position to supply you with more of the story in the near future,
even if it’s only the next two chapters.

In the meantime, I’m working on an interview with a new upcoming author, of which I hope to have more details to share soon.

If you haven’t yet read the first chapter of The Gateway, you can do so here: The Gateway – Chapter One

Back in the land of the living

I feel like I’ve been out of the loop for ages, but I’m sure it’s only been a week.

Apart from some precious time spent in the library, last week was pretty much a write-off, as most of the time I felt really, really lethargic. My daughter had a nasty cold virus, which of course was the reason for my lethargy, as it attacked me next. The introductory pounding headache totally killed off Wednesday and Thursday. I struggled even to read, so had to make-do with TV dramas and other daytime TV. Some may think that’s a luxury, but trust me, it isn’t. I hate daytime TV. Thank goodness for Netflix, is all I can say. In the meantime the washing has been piling up, the nutrition in our meals has depleted and the dust bunnies are on steroids. All I’d planned to do last week went untouched and an overwhelming sense of guilt began to creep up on me.

I hate being ill. I’m more of a ‘get on and do it’ type of person, so when I’m floored in such a manner (or more to the point, resigned to the sofa with an 18 month-old kicking me in the head as she climbs all over her poorly mummy), it throws me and causes unease.
Fortunately, after a couple of days of doing nothing (and half a bottle of lemon squash), I’m starting to feel a bit more normal. You know, like a human. A human being with a purpose.

More importantly, I’ve got solid plans to work on.

For those who don’t know, as well as working on becoming a published novelist, I’m doing a long distance writing course. My latest assignment is to write for a trade publication. This involves knowing (or knowing someone in) the trade or profession you have chosen to write for. I came up with several ideas, all of which turned out to be dead ends. Until I got talking to an associate of mine and suddenly I had a lightbulb moment. Why had I not thought of this before? It was obvious! Anyway, I won’t say any more on the matter as it’s unfinished work (and we never talk about our work unless it’s complete). But providing it’s successful I will of course be supplying details at a later date. I’m reading again now too which means I can travel anywhere I feel like once more. You’re probably thinking ‘so what?’ The thing is, now that I no longer rush around like a crazy person I’m more aware of time and when it passes. So when I’m unable to use that precious time to the best of my ability it feels like eons until normality resumes.

So if you are suffering with this vicious virus that’s doing the rounds, you have my deepest sympathy. Give in to it and wrap yourself in a duvet, drink plenty of water and watch trash on telly. Hopefully you won’t have a toddler clambering all over you. 🙂

The Gateway

For those of you who missed it the first time around, the following is the ‘Blurb’ for The Gateway. The first draft was completed in November during ‘National Novel Writing Month’ and revisions are currently underway.

I’m currently planning to post the first chapter on here and on Wattpad when it’s ready, so watch this space for further information.

Any questions please feel free to ask 🙂

The Gateway

Imagine a concept where your emotions are so powerful, they can open a gateway to another world? A portal to another time zone. Not time travel, but just another place in time where you can meet your soul partner to show you the way, the way to find your true self? The gateway to happiness and to the love of your life…

Emmeline Sweetman is fed up. Her job is demanding, her social life is non-existent, and her father is an alcoholic. Lumbered with supporting both her parents financially and emotionally, she lives for her weekends, where for two days each week she escapes to her sanctuary by the sea. Emmeline lives a lonely existence, until a near fatal car crash leads to her meeting a mysterious stranger…