A new sunrise

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Greetings from the great beyond!

Firstly can I apologise for the non-existent posts over the last year or so. My life has taken a dramatic twist and I am still running to keep up with it all.

After many years of crying and stalking publishers on the net, I had my first short story published. More details on that to follow.

I am now a single parent, and as such I am finding new meaning in the word ‘tired’.

I’ve gone from employed to, ‘oh my god is that beans down your shirt, and please not another episode of Paw Patrol’.

And for the most recent, I am embarking on a business idea with my friend and co-writer Heidi Busby Brown. It could be something extraordinary, or send us into a obliterating despair spiral leading to diabetes and drinking in the day.

All in all, it’s working out to be an interesting and fun-filled year so far.

So now I’m finally able to return and take up the mantle that is my blog. I look forward reacquainting myself with you all and hopefully having some fun along the way.

Please watch this space for all the magnificence and absolute (guaranteed) train wrecks to come. Can’t wait to throw myself back into the writing world and feel like me again.

Happy Writing!

 

 

 

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The Devil’s Cry

A bit late with this one. It’s official. My children believe that I live to clean, sweets have been re-classed as a breakfast food and communication only comes in the form of hitting each other with a fake, rubber horse head mask…(don’t ask!)

So please find my offering for this weeks Friday Fictioneers. If you’d like to have a go, pop onto Rochelle’s page and take a look at this weeks prompt, write a story in 100 words or less and press the blue frog to add your link. Good Luck!

Thanks to Piya Singh for this week's photo prompt.

 Thanks to Piya Singh for this week’s photo prompt.

Pieces of slate covered the ground like the scales of dragonhide. She pushed one aside. Black shone from amongst the undergrowth. Her eyes filled with tears.

The glass was smooth and still warm. She threw her head back and screamed.

A guttural rumble shook the earth. Pieces of volcanic glass flew upward, melding together, one by one till it hung in all its former glory.

She gazed into the mirror.

‘There you are.’ She smiled sweetly. ‘Just where I left you.’

His eyes widened. ‘How? No, not again.’

She laughed, a cruel, mocking sound. ‘I promised you forever, brother.’

99 words

The Return

It’s been a while, but anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for a sea picture.

So here’s my contribution for Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle. If you fancy having a go, write your story, approx 100 words, to the prompt on Rochelle’s page. Then add your link. If you’d like to read the other stories in this weeks story challenge, click on the blue frog 🙂

WavesPHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Tara shuffled her feet forward. She teetered on the edge of the large granite rock, pockmarked from centuries of saltwater.

Air rushed through her, the type that washes you clean, as if everything she’d done was forgiven in that moment.

Waves fell over each other, rushing, racing, desperate to be the one to consume her.

She stepped in. The icy water sent shockwaves through her body. She shivered.  Her skin turned a silken deep brown and her eyes flashed lilac.

‘Seven years gone, to the sea I return,’ she sang. ‘For the life of a Selkie and the ocean I yearn.’

101 words.

Poetry Challenge #26 – Constanza

If you’d like to have a go at this week’s Poetry Challenge head over to Jane Dougherty Writes and take a look at this week’s prompt, and good luck!

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Maybe Tomorrow

Maybe tomorrow.

We could pick the pieces up,

tell ourselves that we’re enough.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

Our world won’t seem so dark,

or the smiles so far apart.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

We could catch ourselves a break.

Convince the crowd we’re not too late.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

We will hold our hands up high

and confess, we really tried.

Don’t Do That! – Five for Friday

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I’m running so late today.

It’s been a frantic week as we’ve had builders working on the house.

‘The noisy one’, was sent home from school with chronic earache and ‘The bitey one’, is teething and as a result, extra bitey. He has also become a fan of early wake up calls, the most recent being 3am.

So I apologise as this may well become Five for Saturday which really doesn’t have the same ring to it, but at least my intentions were good and my caffeine levels high  🙂

I’m currently knee-deep in editing my novel and really enjoying it, even if I am lacking a little in time and focus.

I began reading my draft I’d completed in November during NaNoWriMo. This brought me to the horrible conclusion that I’m a terrible writer and should probably take up woodworm breeding as I seem to have little talent for anything else.

Therefore, I decided I would make this week’s Five for Friday about,

5 Things to avoid when Writing a Novel.

1. He grinned, he shrugged, he smiled…

Apparently I seem to write first drafts full of these. Everyone is shrugging, grinning and smiling at each other so much that it’s a wonder they haven’t all been committed. All that’s missing is a little maniacal laughter a maybe a shopping trolley full of tins.

Don’t do it. It’s not clever. It’s repetitive and lazy writing. Instead hit yourself on the head with your keyboard twice and go lie down with a damp flannel over your face.

2. She decided to run as he would probably kill her. 

Okay, this one’s a little clunky, but you get the idea. I see this a lot and it’s just bad, bad, bad.

NEVER warn the reader what’s going to happen before it happens. It’s annoying and WILL result in me flinging the book across the room, or, if it’s my kindle, trying to close the page down, miss, and end up hitting the screen repeatedly like some kind of zombie typist.

3. Really, very, suddenly…etc,

…and a number of other weasel words.

If you ‘d like to see a list, that’s by no means exhaustive, take a look under ‘Writer’s Resources’ on my page.

My first drafts are littered with these and I pull out every single one unless they are absolutely necessary. Especially ‘Suddenly’. This word should be tied to a chair and left watching re-runs of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, until it’s very sorry.

4. Bad formatting. 

I have read so many kindle books where the words stop abruptly and begin again half way down the page, or they have large random spaces between words like the book suddenly forgot what it was talking about.

Go through your book again and again. Re-check when you add it onto kindle and then bore all your friends to death by making them check it too. It’s worth it.

5. I don’t know/I think you should/Why is that?

I hate wooden dialogue.

There’s nothing worse than wading through a page long conversation between Data from Star Trek and The Terminator, or worse, a book full of characters that ALL sound the same.

I have a wonderful acting friend who helps me with mine. She runs through it over the phone or highlights potentially hazardous wording via email and returns it to me, accompanied with a recent entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, to teach me a lesson.

Either way, read through all your dialogue out loud. Get a friend to read any opposing parts and it will become clear where needs work.

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That’s it for today. It’s now 1am and officially Saturday.

Thank you so much for reading, and good luck to anyone else on the long road to Editville.

Have a great day and Happy Writing!

 

 

Friday Fictioneers – A day in the Life

It’s been a while.

This will be my last post of 2015. I hope everyone’s had a fabulous Christmas and gearing up for an even better New Year.

If you’d like to join in the latest Friday Fictioneers run by the lovely Rochelle, please find the latest photo prompt and rules here. Just write to 100 words then stop!

Add your link to the blue frog when you’re done.

Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2016!

Copyright Jean L. Hays

Image courtesy of Jean L. Hays

A Day in the Life

Sunlight shines through the stained glass window. I study the list of names, tracing my finger over the first.

It disappears.

A form appears in the chair opposite me.

‘It’s a little disorientating at first,’ I say.

He spins round, scanning left and right. ‘Where am I?’  Panic stings his eyes.

‘I’d like to collect everyone personally, but with population numbers this is more…convenient.’ I smile, touching his head.

His mind fills with his final moments.

I hand him a note, two words – ‘Rebirth or Serve’, written on it.

‘Choose,’ I say.

He points and disappears.

I move onto the next name.

102 words

Five for Friday – Things I’ve learned so far!

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Nope I haven’t left the country, fell down a well or been eaten by cats. I’m doing NaNoWriMo and am sooo behind I’ve taken to drinking more wine and walking round graveyards to prove to myself that things could be worse.

The first week was fantastic, I was full of energy and enthusiasm and flew along, each day creating more than I did the day before.

Then…

I slammed into the wall.

Some days I do above and beyond and others I do nothing at all which translates to me barely making the daily quota and me thinking I should have probably stayed in bed and watched Come Dine with Me.

I am terribly late in my Five for Friday today, but determined to do it anyway I thought I would write a note on Five Things I’ve Learned So Far!

  1. 1667 words are more difficult to write than I thought. Especially when you’re managing on three hours sleep, not brushed your hair in two days and forgotten where the children are.
  2. Some days the words just aren’t there. In which case, I make another cup of tea and write absolute rubbish till something manifests. And if it doesn’t at least I’ve added to my word count. Result!
  3. I love word sprints. It’s possible that I have become an addict and that will probably be the main thing that gets me to 50k.
  4. I need short term goals to keep me going. Just the act of going onto the NaNo site and updating my word count or adding a badge gives me a sense of satisfaction and helps when I’m really struggling to find the motivation.
  5. There’s lots of writers out there like me. You’re not all poised with quill in hand staring off into the distance with a look of the muse about you. Your in your pyjama’s, eating dry Coco Pops, possibly crying, just trying to get through the next 500 words.

So that’s my Five for Friday, rapidly written as I’m still behind and the wine’s running out.

Speak to you soon and Happy Writing 🙂