The Post Where I Feel Like A Dumb Ass


I didn’t make it to class yesterday as I’m feeling proppa poorly. Have a stinking cold, spent the day drinking tea in my jim jams *sob* So no class means no cake either! :(

So instead, lets talk about, as we’d say here, what a “dumb arse” I am ;)

I’ve been reading Fred White’s The Daily Writer and recently he talked about re-writing. A good entry in the book, but, he mentioned a few abbreviations, the scribbled red words that teachers would add to our homework. Now, these particular abbreviations have had me scratching my head. Even a Google search didn’t give me great answers. So I can only conclude that there are 3 possible reasons why I don’t know what he’s on about.

1. I never did any homework.
2. Teachers in the UK never used these.
3. My homework was so goddam good that my teacher never needed the red pen! Yeah right ;)

These are the abbreviations:

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Ok so I think I’ve worked out:

GR means grammar (that’s simple)
DICT means dictionary (spelling?)
SP means specific, or starting point, or security police or swimming pool (I would have thought it was used to mean spelling personally, but apparently not lol)
MECH means mechanism?
FRAG means fragment?
AWK means awkward (ahhhhh, another easy one!)
WEAK well this one is either The Water & Enviromental Agency in Kansas or, and I think much more plausible, just the word “weak” written in capitals lol

Help me out guys….do you know what these mean and were they written on your homework in red pen?

Now I have an acronym for Mr White…. WTF? ;)

Must Do’s 25th Feb to 3rd March


Apologies to those of you who have already seen this post. They’ve changed the way the WordPress App works on my iPad, so when I asked this post to be scheduled, oh no, WordPress decided to post it instead :(

After my mini melt down, last week was a bit more productive :)

1. Catch up with 100K. Sort of lol…I’m still ahead of schedule, but have missed a few days. I’m really missing my daily prompts that’s for sure ;)
2. Faber homework. Yep! lots of reading for the critiques and editing my submission. I sent that over yesterday afternoon.
3. Catch up with Blogs and e mails etc. I did, lol, but it’s so easy to get behind again :( What I’ve decided to do is allocate two half days a week. I think that might work lol
4. Tidy desk. Done!
5. Finish book. Done and I’ve started a new one.
6. Do some studying. I did, but I need to get into a regular routine. I still have so much to learn ;)

So what am I up to this week?

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I’ve also got to send my payment off to the RNA Conference and sort out my application for Swanwick. Hubby is out at a chess match all day Saturday so I’m planning a Mini Retreat :)

What are your writing plans for the week?

Faber Session 22 – Linda Grant


Good evening :)

Wow, this is weird posting at 7.30 at night lol

Today’s class was with author Linda Grant who’s work has won the Booker prize and been nominated several times.

Linda had some great words of advice, so here are a few of my notes:

Reading is your apprenticeship to becoming a writer. Read indiscriminately, a wide variety of different books.

The thing about writing a book is that you’ve just got to get on with it!

Sometimes, the plot has to be dumped. If the characters are good then just put them somewhere else.

The first novel she wrote was just for fun. the more novels she’s written, the more like pulling teeth it’s become.

Most writers would die before they let anyone see their first draft.

Edit, revise, rewrite, until you are completely sick of it.

If a novel you’re writing just isn’t working, and you’re boring yourself, just abandon it!

She loses faith in a WIP if she has a break from it, so tends to work on one project at a time.

The book is finished when you have exhausted every possibility to make it better.

When asked what motivates her to write, she replied “A determination to write a better novel than the last one.”

This made me think about my own motivation, why do I write? I guess it’s because I love it, and to improve my skills.

Oh, and of course, there was cake involved ;) Two mini cupcakes to be precise!

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So what motivates you?

Goodbye Ruby Tuesday


Or rather hello Ruby Morgan ;)

I’ve always loved the name Ruby, so it was a no brainer that one of the main characters in my novel would end up with that name ;) And as The Stones released Ruby Tuesday in 1967 it fits perfectly :)

Ruby was born in 1972 to single mum Laura who still lived at home with her parents above a café in Blackheath, South East London. A happy pretty child with chestnut curls and deep brown eyes she was adored by her grandfather until his death when she was two years old.

When she is a little over one her mother marries her stepfather and all 3 move into a flat a stones throw from her grandparents. She is registered with her mother’s maiden name as her own surname.

Ruby doesn’t remember much of her early childhood, apart from the arguments between her mother and stepfather Daniel. Her stepfather virtually ignored her unless she was naughty, then he would take off his belt. Her mother came between them and always saved Ruby from receiving a beating.

A bubbly talkative child she was made to spend her time in her bedroom when Daniel was about. She had an imaginary friend at home and although popular at school, she was never allowed friends round for dinner. She becomes a rebellious teenager, staying out all hours and getting drunk.

She spends lots of time with her grandmother, preferring to go there after school than to her own home. As a small child she didn’t really notice that she hadn’t got a father like the other children at school and when she asked her grandmother she was told, “Ask your mother”. When she was 14 her mother had a nervous break down and ended up in hospital. Ruby goes to live with her grandmother and refuses to go back home when her mother is well again. She realised that her mother was in no fit state to be asked about her father.

When she is 18 her grandmother dies and she managed to persuade her mother to leave her stepfather. The two move in together but her stepfather convinces her mother to go back to him. Ruby refuses to go back to her stepfather’s house and her relationship with her mother deteriorates. They have a huge argument and Ruby walks away from her mother, travelling to Kent where she makes a new life for herself. With the money her grandmother left her she is able to rent a flat and gets a job at a local restaurant as a waitress. Whilst working one evening she meets Sam Townsend and they start dating.

As an adult Ruby has turned into a beautiful young woman with a clear English Rose complexion. Full of energy and always smiling, deep down she is insecure and finds it hard to accept love. She gave Sam a hard time for the first year of their relationship. But now, once shes accepted Sam does actually love her, what she wants more than anything, is to get a nice little house and have a family. Determined that her child will have a loving upbringing.

When they are engaged and organising the wedding Sam can’t understand why Ruby wants to go away and get married abroad on their own. She tells him about her mother and stepfather but Sam thinks she should get in touch with her mother. Ruby can’t stand the thought of going through the hurt and disappointment again. She realises that she has no one to give her away at the altar, but knows, to contact her father, whoever he may be, will mean having to speak to her mother. Who, she is convinced, doesn’t care about her.

Out of the blue she receives a large Jiffy bag. Inside is a letter from her mother and a notebook. She reads through the notebook, which tells her all about her father. After much soul searching and with Sam’s support she contacts her mother and visits her in hospital.

She decides to find her father and after much searching finally tracks him down. He denies knowing of her existence but is thrilled. They arrange to meet and get on well. Her father would like to arrange a meeting with her mother, but her mother refuses.

Ruby plots to bring her parents together.

Next time I’ll tell you about Ronnie :)

Tomorrows post will be a bit later than usual, as I’m off to Faber. Tell you all about it tomorrow evening :)

A Guest, A Give-Away and A Recipe!


You lucky lucky people :)

I don’t normally post on Wednesdays (apart from the IWSG) but, today, I have a very special guest for you :)

Nicky Wells writes fun and glamorous contemporary romance featuring a rock star and the girl next door. A signed author with U.S. publisher, Sapphire Star Publishing, Nicky is in the throes of publishing her Rock Star Romance Trilogy. Nicky loves rock music, dancing, and eating lobsters. When she’s not writing, Nicky is a wife, mother, and occasional teaching assistant.

Originally born in Germany, Nicky moved to the United Kingdom in 1993, and currently lives in Lincoln with her husband and their two boys. In a previous professional life, Nicky worked as a researcher and project manager for an international Human Resources research firm based in London and Washington, D.C.

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Visit Nicky on her blog where you can find articles, interviews, radio interviews and, of course, an ongoing update on her work in progress. You can also follow Nicky on Twitter and find her on Facebook. Nicky is a featured author on the innovative reader/author project, loveahappyending.com and has joined the Romantic Novelists Association. Nicky also has author pages at Sapphire, Amazon and, of course, Goodreads.

Her newest publication, Sophie’s Run was published earlier this month, the follow up to Sophie’s Turn which was published last September.

Her famous star remains her rock while life takes her on a little detour…
Who says that the road towards true love is straight and even? Sophie is certainly discovering that it is anything but.

So she has finally found the man of her dreams! Well… she knows who he is, even though she hasn’t actually quite met him yet. But she misses her opportunity, and then her life goes crazy. Rock star and ex-fiancé, Dan, keeps getting in the way of her new romance—even if he is just trying to be helpful. A fire, an impromptu mini-trip with Dan, and a dreaded wedding later, Sophie is still struggling to meet the love of her life. Then, just as she is getting it together with her perfect man, best friend Rachel commits an act of unspeakable betrayal.

Sophie has had enough. Confused and distraught, she decides that it is time for radical change. Surprising herself and shocking her friends, she embarks on a secret journey and eventually gets her life back on track.

Sophie’s Run is now available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk You can also get the paperback at Barnes & Noble, or download Sophie’s Run onto your Nook (coming soon).

Come dine with Sophie and Dan: Today’s treat is… Fabulous Drunken Prawn Pasta!
Sophie’s Run Blogtour 2013

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Hey, you! My name is Sophie, and I’m so excited you’re visiting me here today at Vikki’s blog. I’m the heroine (God, that sounds weird—I still blush when I say that) in the Rock Star Romance Trilogy by Nicky Wells. Nicky and I, we’re currently taking her second book, Sophie’s Run, on tour, and we’re taking you to all the places and sharing all the food that features in the books. My love of seafood is legendary ever since Sophie’s Turn hit the shelves…

“And for mains,” Dan announced, “Sophie will have the seafood platter.” He winked at me over his menu.
“I will?” I said, astonished.
“She will?” Jack and Mick asked at the same time, also astonished.
Dan hesitated for only a second. “Sure.

(Excerpt from Sophie’s Turn)

… See? I had so many people commenting on my seafood consumption in the first book that Nicky toned the seafood references down just a little in Sophie’s Run, the second book… lest people think I’m obsessed. However, my essential shopping list remains the same:

At some point, I got hungry and did a mercy-dash to the supermarket by the Tube station, stocking up only on essentials for now. Milk, bread, butter, honey, chocolate, crisps, wine, a bottle of cava, pizzas, prawns, pasta…

(Excerpt from Sophie’s Run)

Prawns and pasta… oooh, a favourite combination and one that only takes minutes to make! Plus, it can be a healthy dish too—if you go easy on the crème fraiche and the wine, LOL!

For Fabulous Drunken Prawn Pasta (for two) you need…

~200 grams Spaghetti or Linguine
~200 grams of King prawns (raw or cooked)
~200 grams of white fish (cod, haddock, coley)
~1 garlic clove, crushed or chopped
~1 small onion, finely chopped
~a tablespoon of butter
~a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley
~a big glass of white wine
~a couple of spoonfuls of half-fat crème fraiche
~salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste
~a handful of rocket (arugula) to serve (optional)

And here’s what you do. It’s quick and 100 percent foolproof!

Cook the pasta. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, add salt, put your pasta in, make sure it all submerges, and add a glug of olive oil (this may help stop the pan from boiling over). Follow packet instructions regarding cooking time!

While the pasta is boiling, fry the onion in a big frying pan in a knob of butter until it turns glassy. Add the fish (fresh or frozen; if frozen, fry until fish is just starting to flake). Add the prawns and cook until they turn pink (if cooking from frozen) or warm through (if pre-cooked). Don’t forget to keep an eye on your pasta pan!

When the fish and prawns are about ready, add the white wine, parsley and crème fraiche. Season with salt, pepper and a dash of lemon juice to taste. Turn down the heat but leave on stove until ready to serve.

If desired, shred some rocket (arugula) and distribute over two plates. Drain the pasta, then put it back in the pan and pour the prawn sauce over it. Stir through until the pasta is coated in the lovely, gooey, creamy, drunken sauce and spoon out over the two plates. (If you’re me, you’ll have to count out the prawns to ensure there’s fair shares!).

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And now you’re all dribbling, here’s the giveaway!

Sophie’s Run GIVEAWAYS

1) Standard Giveaway
Nicky Wells is giving away one delicious chocolate gift to a lucky winner in the UK or North America!

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The small print: This Gift prize is a product of Unique Chocolate. The Gift prize is subject to availability in your country. If the Gift prize is not available in your country, Nicky Wells reserves the right to offer a substitute gift prize of a similar nature at her discretion. Nicky Wells will require the winner’s postal address for shipping purposes.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2. Bonus Giveaway
Nicky Wells offers a giveaway of one Amazon gift voucher worth $20/£15 for one lucky winner. To enter, simply share your thoughts on Sophie’s Run with Nicky. Email your comment to nickywells@sapphirestarpublishing.com and your name will be entered into the draw. Competition closes 1 May 2013.

CONGRATULATIONS Nicky! :)

I’m looking forward to reading it! Do enter Nickys free giveaway….you never know, you might just win!

Faber Session 21 – Voice


Ok, so lets get the cake porn out of the way first ;)

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This is Orange & Almond cake with Creme Fraiche at The London Review Cakeshop. It had a tiny hint of ginger….mmmmm ;)

Ok, tonight’s session was about Voice….some snippets from my notebook:

Voice is the personality of the narrator, how the narrator (authorial voice) sounds.

The ‘voice’ of a character is different to the ‘voice’ of the author.

New writers worry too much about their voice. If you write with passion, believe what you’re writing and it comes from the heart, your voice will shine through.

Don’t try to imitate other writers, be yourself.

Think about what you’re saying and why you’re saying it.

Voice is difficult to define….but think Roth, Amis and Anne Tyler.

Your voice echoes through everything you write.

Voice is fairly easy to recognise in others work….it’s when you pick up a book and think this is different to anything I’ve ever read.

A very good example of a distinct voice in a new writer is The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I’ve only read the first page of the piece we were given but immediately I was struck by the unique voice used. Check out the free Kindle sample if you’ve not read it and you’ll see what I mean.

I’m not sure that I’ve developed my voice yet. I can see that most of my 1st person characters all sound like me though lol ;) Do you feel that you have developed your voice?

Homework for next week: *gulp*
What is the theme of my book?
What is it really about?
What am I trying to say?

Must Do’s 18th to 24th Feb


I’ve had a pretty bad week :( Not much writing, feeling a bit uninspired to be honest, or am I just tired? Focusing seems to be an issue.

So last weeks Must Do’s were a bit if a disaster :(

1. Faber homework. No class = no homework.
2. Edit first 5000 words of Still. I did some of it, but my critique has now been put back until March so I’ve been very lazy and left it :(
3. Submit to Faber. See above!
4. Keep up with 1000 words a day. A complete wash out! *sighs*
5. Catch up with other blogs. I was up to date but I’ve fallen behind again.
6. Tidy desk (again!). Nope and now it’s worse lol

Well, I haven’t had a week that bad in ages! I’m even behind replying to your comments on my blog! I’ve really gotta pull myself together, somebody kick me up the arse ;)

This weeks list looks like this:

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But I’ve got a really busy week…..

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Keep your fingers crossed for me that I can pull myself out of the mood I’ve found myself in.

What are your writing plans for the week?

Today…..An “Author” Is Born!


Today is the official publication day for Foxden Acres, the book written by my friend and fellow writer Madalyn Morgan. Maddie has thrown her heart and soul into this book, deciding to self publish via Kindle. I’m so pleased for her….she is an inspiration!

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So before she gets all rich and famous, I’ve had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about her experience of self publishing and the book that will turn her from writer to author…

Where did the idea for Foxden Acres come from?

It was a combination of things. My mother inspired me to write about the Second World War. The year before she died, mum said she’d like to give back a brass airplane to the young Polish pilot who had made it for her in 1940. Unfortunately, he had died, but I found his son. He was delighted to have the plane because it was a Wellington Bomber, which his father had flown in the RAF. It was this, as well as stories she told me about her siblings and the groom’s cottage she lived in on a country estate. She told me about the work she did in a factory, the RAF aerodromes, Bruntingthorpe and Bitteswell, the music she liked and the village dances she and her friends cycled to. I found it all fascinating.

I called the book (and the estate) Foxden, after a fox’s den. I was brought up in a pub called, The Fox Inn, and the first book I ever read was, Gone To Earth, by Mary Webb. I like Foxes. I hate foxhunting.

It’s the first part in a quartet isn’t it? Where will the story be going?

Foxden Acres is the first of four novels about the lives of four very different sisters during the Second World War. Each book is carefully time-lined with the events of WWII, as well as the other stories in the quartet. However, each book will stand alone and can be read in any order.
Foxden Acres is Bess Dudley’s story. On the eve of 1939, twenty-year-old Bess Dudley, trainee teacher and daughter of a groom, bumps into James, heir to the Foxden Estate. As children, Bess and James played together as equals, but now James is engaged to the socially acceptable Annabel Hadleigh. Bess takes up a teaching post in London but when war breaks out and the children are evacuated she returns to Foxden to organise a troop of Land Girls. Traditional barriers come crashing down when Flying Officer James Foxden falls in love with Bess. But by this time Bess has come to know and respect Annabel. Can she be with James if it means breaking her best friend’s heart? Besides, Bess has a shameful secret that she has vowed to keep from James at any cost…

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The second book, Applause, is about ambition – and is Margot Dudley’s story. At the beginning of the war, Margot leaves Leicestershire to live with her husband in London. Fiercely ambitious Margot works her way from being an usherette in a West End theatre, to leading lady. However, she soon finds herself caught up in a web of deceit, black-market racketeers, Nazis, drugs and alcohol.

The third book, China Blue, is about love and courage – and is Claire Dudley’s story. While in the WAAF Claire is seconded to the RAF’s Advanced Air Strike Force. She falls in love with Mitchell ‘Mitch’ McKenzie, an American Airman who is shot down while parachuting into France. At the end of the war, while working in a liberated POW camp in Hamburg she’s told Mitch is alive. Do miracles happen?

The fourth book, working title, The Bletchley Secret, is about strength and determination – and is the story of Ena, the youngest of the Dudley sisters. Ena works in a local factory. She is one of three young women who build components for machines bound for Bletchley Park during World War II. The Bletchley Secret costs her the love of her life. Some years after the war has ended, Ena, now happily married, is running a hotel with her husband when she encounters someone from her past.

So what made you decide to go down the self-publishing route?

I have submitted Foxden Acres to eighteen literary agents, and come close to getting representation three times. In between the second – who was very helpful – and the last agent, who kept me exclusive for five months, and still hasn’t committed, I met Jonathan Lloyd of Curtis Brown, at Foyles. I asked Jonathan if CB would consider representing a writer who had self-published their first novel. The answer was an unreserved, yes! “Self-publishing is very much part of the future and we need to embrace it. There are some great writers out there and we want them.” So, rather than wait another five months, with no guarantee that the agent will take me, I decided to go it alone. Having said that, I edited and proofread, edited and proofread, and when I felt the novel was ready for publication, I sent it to the professional proofreader that you recommended, Alison Neale, The Proof Fairy. It is being professionally uploaded to Amazon – books and Kindle – by Rebecca Emin and will be available on February 16th. Many books out there have not been edited, proofread, or formatted. Foxden Acres will not be one of them.

What Lessons have you learnt along the journey to publication?

Gosh! There are so many. Research is one. I don’t believe you should write about what you know, but I do believe you should know what you’re writing about. In other words, you must research your subject. I learned the importance of research when I chose to write novels set in the Second Wold War. Another lesson was learning to take criticism. Rejection I was used to. It’s an occupational hazard for an actress to be too tall, too short, too big, too small, but criticism… However constructive, criticism is hard to take, but it’s necessary if you want your writing to improve. Then there’s time. Learning to manage your time is another hard lesson. I was working long hours to pay the mortgage, while I was doing a writing course, and didn’t think I had time to read. “Then make time,” my tutor said. And she was right. It wasn’t long before I realised the importance of reading. So, managing your time is a great lesson to learn. There are many lessons to do with story and characterisation, but one of the most important is, plot. If you’re going on a journey you plan the route. So why would anyone think they can go on a journey through life without a plot? It’s only my way of working – and half way through the novel the plot will probably change – but that’s all right. Lastly, keeping character descriptions and notes. If you don’t, the jeans you so lovingly describe as midnight blue when she enters the restaurant, will come back to bite you on the bum, when you say she leaves the restaurant in black jeans.

What’s the best piece of writing advice anyone has given you?

Read, read, and read. Read well written books. There are millions of good books to choose from, why read rubbish.

Thank you soooo much Maddie, some great advice there, and CONGRATULATIONS! Honey!!!! I wish you every success :)

Foxden Acres will be available through Amazon – Books and Kindle – and Lulu from today.

Please drop in to the virtual launch party and say hello, anytime between 9am and 11pm (GMT) today. There will be a raffle and giveaways :)

The Influences Of Childhood Books


I came across an exercise recently in The Daily Writer which asked the following questions:

Think back to a favourite book from your childhood.
How did it affect you?
What did you learn?
Has it influenced your life?

I scoffed, I truly did! Yeah, like a book I read as a child could still be having an impact on me now? Ha ha ha, influenced my life? *mutter grumble* And then I wrote down in my notebook the 3 books that I loved the most in my childhood…

The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M Boston

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Toms Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce

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I had to go and reacquaint my self with these books. Gawd, I haven’t read them for 30+years! So I checked them out on Amazon and Wikipedia….and wow, it all came flooding back!

Ok, you may not be familiar with these so I’ll give you a brief outline of each…

Green Knowe is about a young boy, Tolly, going to live with his grandmother in a big old stately home (Green Knowe) where he meets the ghosts of children who lived there before.

Secret Garden, written in 1910, is about a little orphan girl, Mary who goes to live with her uncle in a big old manor house, where she finds a secret garden and a cousin who lives in the attic.

Midnight Garden is about a boy, Tom, who goes to live with his aunt in a big manor house built in the 1880’s and when the clock strikes 13 he discovers a beautiful garden and a little girl to play with.

There is a lot more to these stories but I don’t want to bore you…..check out the links if you want to know more :)

Those who know me (in real life) will know the following about me:
1. I wasn’t brought up in a traditional family environment.
2. I’ve always had a fascination with big old houses and stately homes.
3. I love the whole idea of ghosts, I’m always watching documentaries or reading books about them. I love ghost story films especially!
4. I find myself drawn to anything Victorian or Edwardian. I can have a table full of items and always pick the Victorian or Edwardian one without even knowing it is, because I like it the most.
5. I LOVE walled gardens! The last couple of houses we’ve lived in have had them and it was one if the reasons I liked them enough to live there!

Spooky huh? I’m sorry I scoffed now! Lol.

As an adult I find myself drawn to books that are based on historical events, people and settings. A fictionalised account of something real, or someone that once lived. I really should try to write one! Lol. Or perhaps I should try my hand at a ghost story? This has given me lots to think about ;)

Has a book from your childhood influenced your life?

No Faber, But Cake & A Sneak Preview Of The WIP


Well, I didn’t make it up to my Faber class last night :( A combination between snow, freezing temperatures and my tutor being called away to Wales on a family emergency. We were offered the opp to sit in with the other class, but I decided not to go.

But hey, it wasn’t all bad…there was cake!

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So instead, today’s post is some character work. I’ve been working on the new version of the WIP, Still and because I’m trying to edit the first 5000 words for submission for my critique I’ve decided not to write any more until the editing is done. So I’ve been working on the characters instead, which is one of my favourite parts of writing to be honest.

Here is Laura’s (Still has 2 main characters, mother and daughter) story with dates so I can keep track ;)

Laura was born in May 1954 in Blackheath, South East London to parents William & Rose Morgan. William was a Black Cab driver and Rose ran a small café/tea shop in the village. The family lived above the café in a flat.

Laura was a loner as a teenager with no real friends and worked in the café when she left school at 15. She liked listening to music but wasn’t fashion conscious. A plump girl (she had a healthy appetite) with perfect pale skin, her eyes are the colour of a copper coin, her hair, muddy brown. She was shy, quiet, and spent her evenings reading. Bullied at school she bites her nails and has a tendency to allow people to walk all over her.

At 16 (1970) she met Ronnie Quinn, her first boyfriend and became pregnant. But Ronnie became involved in drugs and they split up. Laura’s parents were supportive and she decided to keep her baby. After her daughter Ruby was born (1972) she married Daniel Hopwood, a friend of Ronnie’s and they moved into a rented flat.

Initially, things were great, and Laura discovered herself pregnant again. Unfortunately, Daniel had become increasingly verbally abusive and during a fight he pushed Laura down the stairs, which resulted in a miscarriage and Laura unable to have more children.

Life with Daniel was emotionally exhausting and after her father’s death (1974) Laura sank further and further into herself, neglecting her daughter Ruby who spent a lot of time with her grandmother. Daniel manipulated her quiet gentle nature and lack of self-esteem to the point where she felt that there was nothing in life that she was good or successful at. She lost all will to even get out of bed.

As an adult, Laura still bites her fingernails, chain smokes and has developed deep wrinkles around her eyes. Her hair remains shoulder length with a fringe (she cuts it herself) and she rarely eats. Preferring to live on tea. She loves animals but Daniel won’t hear of having a pet. She feeds the stray cat who hangs around the garages without her husband knowing.

At the age of 32 (1986), with a teenage daughter to cope with, no money of her own, no job, not even her own bank account and constant threats of violence from her husband she had a break down and became hospitalised. She recovered but her daughter Ruby had gone to live with her mother.

When her mother died (1990) Laura summoned the courage (with Ruby’s help) to leave Daniel and move into a small flat with Ruby. Unfortunately Daniel persuaded her that he loved her, needed her, and that he would change. She goes back to him but Ruby refuses to live under the same roof as her stepfather and after a huge argument the mother and daughter fall out (1994).

Laura left Daniel again after she discovered he was having an affair and tried to rebuild her life with the encouragement and support of a friend (neighbour) she’d made. She tried searching for Ruby several times.

Diagnosed with breast cancer (1997) and the prognosis looking grim she asks her friend to help her find Ruby so that she can try to sort things out. The friend manages to track Ruby down and Laura sends her a letter, along with a notebook she has been writing in, recording events of her life since before Ruby was born.

Ruby receives the package while Laura is having chemotherapy, the double mastectomy having been a success and the two women are reconciled.

Awwwww, that all seems really sad doesn’t it lol, ive really put her through it ;) But….that’s not the end of Laura’s story….if you want to find out exactly what happens you’ll have to buy the book lol ;)

Next week…Ruby’s story ;)