Tapestry – how it all began

At the end of September, it’s the first anniversary of when I published Tapestry. How has it been nearly a year already?

Tapestry is a collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. This post from my blog archives first appeared on 8th September 2015 and explains how it all began…

Hey there,

I hope your day is going well so far.

Last week I posted that my short story collection, Tapestry, will be making its way into the world towards the end of September. (Eeep!) I made the decision to take the plunge just over a year ago. This is how it all began…

I first started to read short stories when I had my twins and found reading a whole book in any reasonable timescale went out the window. (A few pages every three weeks does not help you keep tabs on the plot, does it?) When I started to write seriously, it seemed natural to try short stories first. It seems natural too, therefore, that my first foray into self-publishing is of a collection of short stories. (Did I say eeep already?)

I decided that, for the collection, I wanted to write stories about love – love in different guises, whether romantic love, familial love or obsessive love. I found it was an opportunity for me, in some stories, to explore the darker sides of the emotion. By and large my novels are “hopeful ever after”. It was very freeing to take an “anything goes” approach (plot-wise) in my stories and interesting to explore how people react in more difficult situations.

When I started writing the stories, I wrote more than I knew I would use for the collection so I could see which ones sat together best. I’d previously completed the London School of Journalism’s short story writing course by distance learning, so I’d had some positive feedback about my stories and writing style in this medium. A couple of the stories I produced for the course are actually included in the collection.

I’ve chosen twelve stories, a mix of happy and less happy tales. Some of the characters appear in more than one story – I wanted to see what happened to them before or after their first story in the collection. I hope, if you read it, you find you wanted that too!

So, I had my stories and that’s all very well, but it was only the first step in the process. Cue the search for an editor, someone I’d never worked with before. What if it turned out that my stories weren’t good enough to see the light of day when a professional editor looked at them?

If you’d like to know how I went about finding an editor and my experience of the editing process, I’ll be posting that next week, so please come back and join me!

How do you feel about short stories compared to novels? If you have children, did you manage to read novels when they were small? If so, HOW?

I’d love to hear from you, so if you’d like to comment, please do so.

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

 

 

Merry Christmas everybody

Hey there,

Hope you’re well today.

Continuing with the Christmas countdown, I thought I’d re-post the first short story I allowed to see the light of day on my blog! I was so nervous about posting this originally and wouldn’t have believed that a couple of years later I’d have a whole collection out.

Thank you, online buddies, for all your support and encouragement this year both with Tapestry and just generally in social media land. I’ll see you again on Friday with my 2015 favourites but, until then…

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYBODY ©Elle Turner 2013

I hope you like it and thank you so much for reading.

Much love

Elle 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

No more broken hearts?

Hey there,

Happy Tuesday! I hope you are well today.

As I *might* have mentioned, a few weeks ago I published Tapestry, my collection of twelve short stories. I’m not going to go on about it (much), but I do have a question for you…

One of the stories, Not Everybody Hurts, is about Nilbreaks, a fictional fast acting wonder pill that cures and prevents broken hearts. If you’ve lost the love of your life, that’s no problem, Nilbreaks will stop the pain. If you’re scared of being hurt, it won’t happen. Nilbreaks will make sure your heart is protected.

That sounds OK, doesn’t it?

Violet doesn’t think so.  She isn’t happy, but she won’t touch the pills. The pills may stop feelings of pain, it’s true, but to do so it appears they stop feelings entirely. Violet looks at her friends and colleagues and fears that no one actually cares about anyone anymore. No one really looks at anyone or is prepared to make a connection. No one is capable of feeling love.

Violet would even go so far as to say Nilbreaks are damaging the structure of society.

So today’s (very tongue in cheek) question is:

Do you agree with Violet? I’d love to know!

 

And, of course, if you’d like to know how Violet gets on trying to convince her friends that she’s right, you can find out in Tapestry. 😉

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

 

It is where you start and where you finish

Hey there,

Blog buddies! Can I ask you a question about books?

Great! Thanks.

It’s about prologues and epilogues and, really, it’s just this:

Prologues and epilogues – yes or no?

I’ve heard and read much criticism, particularly of prologues – that they are forgotten by the time they become important to the story, that they jar with the first chapter because the reader is whipped from one thing to something completely unrelated or that they are used as an information dump to support a weak beginning. Similarly, epilogues are criticised for being a way to tie up loose ends that the writer wasn’t able to do in the main body of the story or are used because the writer doesn’t know how to stop.

It sounds, then, like they don’t have much going for them. But that’s not the fault of prologues or epilogues, just prologues or epilogues that are not used well, and that’s not the same thing.

The reason I ask is that I don’t have anything against them. I would go so far as to say I actually like them.  Prologues can add a bit of intrigue and, if well done, you can see the point of them emerging as you go along. Or they can be useful for orientation. In the case of epilogues, I like to get a bit of information about what happens “after”. If I have a gripe about a book, one of the things it might be is that it finished too abruptly. I appreciate this is in an attempt to “finish when the story’s over” which is the right thing to do but, sometimes, I feel like someone took my plate away before I finished the last mouthful of my lunch.

This could be debated at some length, I know, but I was really just wondering:

Prologues and epilogues – yes or no? What say you?

Thanks!

Elle 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry. A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

 

Tapestry

Hey there,

Happy Tuesday! Hope you are well today.

This is a big day for me! It’s over a year since I started seriously considering self-publishing a collection of short stories and today, it’s happening. Tapestry, a collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love, is available now.

TAPESTRY

In hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love.

Available now. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

 

Thank you so very much to everyone who has supported and encouraged me about Tapestry’s release. You’ve been lovely, joining in my excitement over the past few weeks and helping to spread the word. I have the best blog buddies. 🙂

Much love,

Elle xx

Tapestry – the stories:

Never-ending

Imogen is unhappy in her brief marriage. She feels guilty because there is no “acceptable” reason to leave her husband, but she still wants to go. One day when Neil leaves for work she resolves to make her decision once and for all. Can she break free or are the ties of her marriage too strong?

Crush

Gemma’s love for Nicky is unrequited, but everything she does, she does with him in mind. Her feelings for him have ruled her life for years, any happiness she feels is short-lived because she recognises and is ashamed of her predicament. What will it mean for Gemma when Nicky finds out how strongly she feels?

The Letter

Maggie’s life collapsed when her daughter, Mia, was sent to prison. Her marriage crumbled under the strain, she was unable to face Mia or deal with her guilt. But when she receives a letter from Mia explaining she is due for parole, Maggie cannot hide from her daughter any longer.

Fifty pence for the first step

Gemma turns to her boss, Andrew, for advice when she needs direction. Despite much soul-searching she finds that, sometimes, the most insignificant event can be the catalyst for positive action.

Never Let Go

Andrew may have given Gemma good advice, but he is unable to recognise the obsessive love his ex, Leanna, feels for him. Leanna is determined to get Andrew back from his new girlfriend, Merin, but what lengths will she go to?

Not Everybody hurts

Nilbreaks is a fast acting wonder pill that cures and prevents broken hearts. Violet despairs that, as a result of taking the pill, no one actually cares about anyone anymore. She resolves to get Nilbreaks taken off the market but meets resistance from her friends and colleagues.

Again

After the end of her marriage, Freya finds love unexpectedly with Aidan and feels her life has begun anew. Everything is perfect until Aidan’s ex-girlfriend, Melody, returns to his life leaving Freya’s future uncertain. Again.

I hope you get your rabbit

A teenage mother makes a heart-breaking decision about her new born baby. This is her opportunity to tell him why.

Meeting Eric

After years of waiting, Kate nervously prepares for the day she will finally meet Eric.

Lost

Gerry is the love of Chrissie’s life, but they didn’t stay together. She thinks of him a lot, her past is always in her present and she expects it to stay that way. That is until her friend turns up with news of Gerry. What happens to the future when your past isn’t there anymore?

Living Without

Claudia starts to become her own person after years of living in her parents’, then husband’s and children’s shadows. She has her own flat; her professional life is going well, but is her newfound independence all that she expected it to be?

The Beginning

No matter how hard life gets, there is always hope and the memory of what love can be like, especially what it’s like in the beginning.

Tapestry, a collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love. Available now.

Additions to my TBR pile

Hey there,

Happy Friday! It’s nearly the weeeekend! 🙂 🙂 🙂

I’ve stocked up my TBR pile! Not that it needed it, but I couldn’t resist. That happens, right? 😉

These lovely fellas are in my sights for the next few weeks:

IMG_1444

 

The Little Flower Shop by the Sea – Ali McNamara

The Best Thing I Never Had – Erin Lawless

The Great Village Show – Alexandra Brown

Us – David Nicholls

Plus on my kindle:

Please Release Me – Rhoda Baxter

After You – Jojo Moyes

A Parcel for Anna Browne – Miranda Dickinson

They should keep me out of mischief for a bit.

I’m sure your TBR pile is sky high too but, if you have room for one more *coughs and shuffles feet* can I interest you in Tapestry? Just a thought. 😉

Happy Reading!

Elle 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websitesIn hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry, available 29 September 2015. To pre-order, click here. 🙂

 

Tapestry – the stories

Hey there,

Hope you are having a good day so far.

Well, I’ve been banging on about Tapestry, my collection of short stories, for a few weeks now and I’m conscious that although you’ve read the blurb:

In hope, in pain,

We lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade

and know the strapline:

A collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love

I’ve not said anything much about the individual stories. So here goes. *hides behind curtains*

Never-ending

Imogen is unhappy in her brief marriage. She feels guilty because there is no “acceptable” reason to leave her husband, but she still wants to go. One day when Neil leaves for work she resolves to make her decision once and for all. Can she break free or are the ties of her marriage too strong?

Crush

Gemma’s love for Nicky is unrequited, but everything she does, she does with him in mind. Her feelings for him have ruled her life for years, any happiness she feels is short-lived because she recognises and is ashamed of her predicament. What will it mean for Gemma when Nicky finds out how strongly she feels?

The Letter

Maggie’s life collapsed when her daughter, Mia, was sent to prison. Her marriage crumbled under the strain, she was unable to face Mia or deal with her guilt. But when she receives a letter from Mia explaining she is due for parole, Maggie cannot hide from her daughter any longer.

Fifty pence for the first step

Gemma turns to her boss, Andrew, for advice when she needs direction. Despite much soul-searching she finds that, sometimes, the most insignificant event can be the catalyst for positive action.

Never Let Go

Andrew may have given Gemma good advice, but he is unable to recognise the obsessive love his ex, Leanna, feels for him. Leanna is determined to get Andrew back from his new girlfriend, Merin, but what lengths will she go to?

Not Everybody hurts

Nilbreaks is a fast acting wonder pill that cures and prevents broken hearts. Violet despairs that, as a result of taking the pill, no one actually cares about anyone anymore. She resolves to get Nilbreaks taken off the market but meets resistance from her friends and colleagues.

Again

After the end of her marriage, Freya finds love unexpectedly with Aidan and feels her life has begun anew. Everything is perfect until Aidan’s ex-girlfriend, Melody, returns to his life leaving Freya’s future uncertain. Again.

I hope you get your rabbit

A teenage mother makes a heart-breaking decision about her new born baby. This is her opportunity to tell him why.

Meeting Eric

After years of waiting, Kate nervously prepares for the day she will finally meet Eric.

Lost

Gerry is the love of Chrissie’s life, but they didn’t stay together. She thinks of him a lot, her past is always in her present and she expects it to stay that way. That is until her friend turns up with news of Gerry. What happens to the future when your past isn’t there anymore?

Living Without

Claudia starts to become her own person after years of living in her parents’, then husband’s and children’s shadows. She has her own flat; her professional life is going well, but is her newfound independence all that she expected it to be?

The Beginning

No matter how hard life gets, there is always hope and the memory of what love can be like, especially what it’s like in the beginning.

 

So there we have it. *nervously peeps out from behind curtains* What do you think? I hope you like the sound of the collection.

If you do, it will be released on 29 September (Eeek). It’s available for pre-order now (Pre-eeek).

I’ll be posting soon about the inspirations both for Tapestry as a collection and some of the individual stories. I’d love you to pop back if you’re interested. 🙂

In the meantime, enough about me and my book. How are you? If you’d like to share with me one fun thing you’ve done this week so far I’d love to hear about it, so please do so either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websites

In hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry, available 29 September 2015. To pre-order, click here. 🙂

Tapestry – let’s call the professionals

Hey there,

Are you playing the tune in your head? Are you? Dah dah DAH, dah dah dah dah, dah-dah-dah-dah dah dah, dah dah dah DAH.

Anyway, whether you’re singing along or whether you don’t know what the heck I’m talking about, I hope your day is going well so far. 🙂

Next week I’m self-publishing my short story collection, Tapestry. I know you know this already, but I need to keep repeating it to myself because at the moment it all still feels a bit unreal.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how it all began up to the point where I had my stories but wanted and needed to bring in a professional editor to ensure they were up to scratch for public consumption. Read on if you want to know what happened next…

Choosing the right editor seemed a bit of a boggling activity when I first started looking on t’internet. Not all editors deal with short stories which cut down the field, but it was quite hard to determine levels of experience and ability straight off the bat. I also had to try to button down what “type” of editing I wanted. Some of the editing terms seemed to be used interchangeably, some used the same term as others, but meant very different things.

I wanted an edit of the sense and content of the stories. I wanted comment on “that doesn’t make sense” and “I don’t think the character would do that” and “that would never happen” plus a proof read because, although I am diligent and attention to detail is important to me, I find eventually I suffer from invisible comma syndrome.

What? It’s a real condition. 😉

When it came to choosing who to work with, I therefore looked for someone who did different types of editing. I also wanted someone who came recommended in some way. My search led me to John Hudspith who had previously worked with an online buddy whose views I trust. Johnny gave some very wise and wonderful advice throughout the process. He commented on everything from big picture “that wouldn’t happen like that” to swapping word order and shifting commas. He was also extremely encouraging whilst still managing to make it clear what he didn’t like. You can find out more about Johnny here.

After editing came the cover design. I only had a vague idea about the cover design process in practical terms, so I set the ball rolling to get quotes as we finished the editing process. I searched the internet but, again, I wanted someone I’d heard a bit about. I was very happy and lucky to ultimately work with Berni Stevens, a cover designer and author. I sent a brief bit about my stories to Berni along with a few of my personal preferences for book covers and she produced the beautiful cover for Tapestry that you see below. We had, I think, very little “back and forth” as I loved Berni’s suggestions from the start. As I said before, she just seemed to get what I wanted, even though I wasn’t sure myself.

I really enjoyed working with these lovely people and it has definitely made the whole process more exciting. If you’re around tomorrow, I’ll tell you more about each of the twelve stories that make up Tapestry.

In the meantime, I’d love to hear how you are getting on so please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

TAPESTRY_front150dpi copy Amazon and websites

In hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry, available 29 September 2015. To pre-order, click here. 🙂

A return to book spine poetry

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

Not long after I started this blog I discovered Book Spine Poetry on the wonderful website Brain Pickings. Inspired by this post, I tried it myself and posted several of my attempts (June, October, November and December 2012 if you would like to take a look – check out the Archives menu on the right 🙂 ). I remembered recently how much I enjoyed it, so I’ve had another go:

The Girl you Left Behind, Wild. Past Secrets, Before I met you.

IMG_1433

 

What do you think? Have you tried Book Spine Poetry? If so, I’d love to see so please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

The Girl you Left Behind – Jojo Moyes

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Past Secrets – Cathy Kelly

Before I Met You – Lisa Jewell

Tapestry – the cover

Hey there,

Hope you are well today. I’m VERY excited, because today I get to share with you the lovely cover for Tapestry.

 

TAPESTRY

 

What do you think? I love it. It was designed by Berni Stevens who just seemed to get exactly what would be right for Tapestry from the word go. Thank you, Berni!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Elle. 🙂 xx

Tapestry

In hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.