Please release me blogsplash

Hey there,

Hope you are well today.

This is a different sort of post from me, but I’m very pleased to be taking part in Rhoda Baxter’s blogsplash for her new novel, Please Release Me, which is out today. You can find out more about Please Release Me below – it’s heading straight to my TBR pile and leapfrogging its way to the top because it sounds to me like a great read. 🙂

The three main characters in Please Release Me are stuck in some way, so Rhoda tasked her blogsplash participants with writing a post inspired by this. She kindly left the remit wide so, for a bit of fun, I thought I’d try something new. I appreciate I’m unlikely to become Poet Laureate but, Rhoda, I hope you like my own take on feeling stuck. 🙂

Stuck

 

PLEASE RELEASE ME

PLEASE RELEASE ME_high res mini

What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?

Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.

That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.

In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.

But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after …

myBook.to/PleaseReleaseMe

Tapestry – 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

In hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

 

 

 

Tapestry – let’s do this thing!

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

Over the past few months I’ve mentioned that I’m planning to self-publish a collection of short stories in the autumn. It looks like autumn is here, so I thought I’d tell you a bit more about the whole shebang.

This is a big thing for me. So big I’m tempted to call it a BIG THING, but I reckon that would get annoying pretty quickly. Nevertheless, it’s something that means a lot to me and I’m very excited about my first real foray into sharing my fiction with you.

When I made the decision to just do it, I thought I’d get more and more nervous throughout the whole process and that, by this point, I’d be a wreck. But I’m not, and that’s largely because the process to this point has been a lot of fun. It’s been my first experience of working with other people in a writing capacity (my editor and cover designer about whom I’ll tell you over the next few weeks) and it just feels right to be doing it. Obviously I’m concerned that the whole thing will bomb, but I’m not going to let a trifling worry like that stop me.

*wobbles and vomits in shoe*

Enough of that.

Can I tell you a little bit about the collection?

Tapestry is a collection of twelve short stories exploring the complexities of life and love.

In hope, in pain,

we lose, we gain,

but always and forever

the human heart braves life

in light and in shade.

Tapestry will be making its way into the world towards the end of September and, over the next few weeks, I’d love to tell you how it all began, progressed and arrived at this point. If you’d like to, please join me each week to hear about it! I’m excited to share this process with my best blog buddies. (That’s you, by the way.)

I guess we could class this BIG THING (sorry) as a risk. Have you taken a similar risk? If so, I’d love to hear from you. Any advice you have to offer would be much appreciated, so please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Let’s do this (risky) thing!

Elle. 🙂 xx

 

 

 

 

Writing update – June 2015

Hey there,

It’s that time again! I thought I’d check in with a writing update because it’s been a busy couple of months since the last one and it’s about to get even busier!

I’m wading my way through my edits of Book 4 so that it’s ready to send to the NWS before August. It’s going OK and I’m still on (self-imposed) schedule, so please keep your fingers crossed that that continues. As a reminder, here’s my elevator pitch:

What you want to see

Mark and Jenna’s ten year marriage is failing. When Mark receives a note threatening suicide from a woman he believes he doesn’t know, he’s certain this will end his marriage for good. Can he can find the woman in time to prevent her death and discover why she has implicated him in her choices? Can he do so without Jenna finding out, or is she already more involved than either of them know?

I’m excited to be going to my first RNA conference in July. I’ve wanted to go for a few years now and as it’s in London this year, travelling is more straightforward for me than to previous locations. I’ve taken the plunge and booked for the main conference, Friday to Sunday. If you’re an RNA online buddy and are going this year, let me know in the comments! Maybe we could grab a beer, shoot the breeze or, possibly, miss each other entirely in the crowd. 😉

I’ll update you separately on my short story collection because A LOT has been happening. Suffice to say for now that my self-publishing journey has well and truly begun. 🙂

*happy dance*

*stubs toe*

*tries to look nonchalant*

I think I mentioned last update that I’ve been working with an editor. We’re nearly at the end of that process and I’m cracking on apace with sourcing a cover designer, buying gin to get through psyching myself up for the formatting process and believing that, actually, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

One thing’s for sure, although it’s a nerve-racking process, it’s a whole lot easier because you’re here. 🙂

How are things with you? I’d love to know so, if you’d like to, please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

 

 

Upcoming reads

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

I’ve only gone and bought more books.

As if my TBR pile wasn’t big enough already.

I was going to call this a Five for Friday of upcoming reads, but there are too many.

And this was me being restrained.

2015-05-09 06.40.13

Anyway, these are my upcoming reads. The next decision is, in which order do I read them?

Letters to the Lost ­– Iona Grey

Looking for  Alaska ­– John Green

The Day we Disappeared ­– Lucy Robinson

Wild ­– Cheryl Strayed

Tiny Beautiful Things ­– Cheryl Strayed

The Visitors ­– Simon Sylvester

We are not ourselves ­– Matthew Thomas

What are you currently reading? What’s next in your TBR pile? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

My writing – an update

Hey there,

Hope your day is going well so far.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a update about where I am with my writing, so I thought I’d check in and let you know how things are going.

I recently finished the first draft of Book 4 and have scheduled a programme of edits up to the end of June. Even though the NWS deadline is August, I’d like to finish the bulk of the work by June because, as you’ll already know if you’re in Scotland, the school summer break begins then. I will have some time, but the priority then will have to be teenager wrangling. Eep.

Book 4’s working title is What you want to see and the elevator pitch goes something like this:

Mark and Jenna’s ten year marriage is failing. When Mark receives a note threatening suicide from a woman he believes he doesn’t know, he’s certain this will end his marriage for good. Can he can find the woman in time to prevent her death and discover why she has implicated him in her choices? Can he do so without Jenna finding out, or is she already more involved than either of them know?

I think I’m at the point in the process I enjoy the most, although I do like all of it (except proof reading. We’ve discussed before how I eventually get the comma blindness). Anyway, this is the point where I have the bones of the story, but there are so many holes and possibilities that where it’ll end up is still open. In a few weeks, though, I will have fallen down one of these holes and will be in how will this ever work? territory, so I’ll be coming back to you for tea and sympathy then.

I was in the same position this time last year with Book 3, but it did come together. I received *coughs and shuffles feet* a very positive NWS report, so I decided to get Book 3 to stick its nose into the agent world to see what happened. Nothing is the short answer, but it remains a priority this year to have it nosing about some more. Just for completeness, this is Book 3 – working title Sins of the Mothers.

Three generations of women are affected by the past in ways they don’t even realise.

Ashley Burton’s dysfunctional relationship with her mother is surpassed only by the generation above. Pregnant and questioning her own ability to be a parent, she believes she must mend the rifts in her family to stand a chance. Why is her grandmother Jeanne so unwilling to talk about her life as a young woman in occupied France? Will Ashley find out or will the Sins of the Mothers live on?

Although I would like to have an agent and pursue the traditional publishing route with my books (the reasons for this I can give you another day if you would like to know them – just let me know in the comments) I am keen to experience the business of self-publishing too. I like the idea of being in control of the process and I think it will be beneficial confidence wise to JUST DO IT, so I’m planning to self-publish a collection of short stories, hopefully later this year. I say hopefully, not because I’m being a wuss, but because I have a tangentially related adventure to tell you about later that is going to take up time this year. Both ventures will need my full attention and I don’t know yet which will come first. I heard someone say recently (not to me) If you’re going to be half hearted about something, make it something else which I think is a good philosophy to live by and I’ll be deciding on my initial focus soon.

I think that’s it for now. How goes it with you? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on twitter. Oh, and, elevator pitches can always be improved upon, so if there is anything bugging you about the ones above, let me know! Feedback would be much appreciated – thank you in advance. 🙂

Much love,

Elle. 🙂 xx

Christmas reads

Hey there

Hope you are well today.

December is nearly upon us and I’ve been planning my Christmas reads.

Here are the stories that will be keeping me company over the next few weeks:

Winter Tales: Stories to warm your heart – The Write Romantics and Guests

Winter Warmers – Carole Matthews

The Great Christmas Knit Off – Alexandra Brown

Married by Midnight – Talli Roland

I’ll Take New York – Miranda Dickinson

The Christmas Surprise – Jenny Colgan

What about you? What will you be reading this December? I’d love to hear so, if you’d like to, let me know either here or on twitter. 🙂

Much love,

Elle xx

Five for Friday – Recent reads

Hey there,

Happy Friday!

It’s been some time since I shared my favourite books, so here, as a Five for Friday, are my top 5 recent reads:

Little Lies – Liane Moriarty

Set in the worlds of the parents of Pirriwee public school, there is a death following the parents’ quiz night. Little Lies covers the six month period up to the death, until we discover who died and how it affects the lives of those involved.

The Rosie Project – Graeme Simsion

Don Tillman wants to find a wife and sets about using scientific methods to do so. Whilst intent on his purpose he becomes embroiled with Rosie, a young women the opposite of Don in every way, who is trying to find her biological father. Don is confounded by Rosie and starts behaving in ways very alien to him as he gets more involved in her life. It’s a lovely, warm, funny book and I’ve recently discovered a sequel, The Rosie Effect has just been published, so yay!

11/22/63 – Stephen King

I don’t like reading horror, so when I realised this was a Stephen King book that I would actually be able to read, I was chuffed. 11/22/63 is about a man going back in time with the goal of preventing Kennedy’s assassination. Jake Epping leaves 2011 to live a life that will lead him to the crucial day in November ’63. It’s a lengthy book and I’ve read a lot of criticism of it because of that, but I didn’t find it too long.

What Alice Forgot – Liane Moriarty

Alice hits her head at the gym and wakes up worried she has damaged the baby she has been carrying for three months. The trouble is, she’s nearly 40 and the baby is now a teenager with two younger siblings and she can’t remember the intervening period. Liane Moriarty is fast becoming one of my favourite authors as she always provides an unusual and interesting story.

Apple Tree Yard – Louise Doughty

Yvonne Carmichael is a respectable, middle-aged scientist who embarks on an affair that turns out to be the catalyst for a series of events that land her in the dock at the Old Bailey. At first I thought this book was moralising along the if a woman does bad things, worse things will happen to her lines, but is was cleverer than that. It’s one of my top five reads because it was so well written and was a genuine can’t-go-to bed-till-I’ve-finished- it page turner, which doesn’t happen often, but I didn’t find it a comfortable read.

I’d love to know about your favourite recent reads, so if you want to tell me, please get in touch either here or on twitter.

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

Five for Friday – Anticipated Books

Hey there

Happy Friday! Hope you are well today.

This post from Novelicious got me thinking. Which soon to be released books am I looking forward to reading? There are many, but in the spirit of my Five for Friday posts, here are my top um…five.

Us – David Nicholls

One Day is the only book by David Nicholls that I’ve read so far. Us is about difficulties in marriage mid-life as a husband finds out his wife plans to leave him. If One Day is anything to go by, I’m sure tears will be shed and the characters will stay with me long after I’ve finished reading.

The Night Falling – Katherine Webb

Katherine Webb is one of my favourite authors. I have enjoyed all her other novels so far, particularly The Misbegotten and A Half Forgotten Song, so I’m looking forward to what The Night Falling has in store. It’s set in 1920s Italy, a story of disparate lives coming together one hot summer.  It’s sure to hold plenty of mystery and have a vivid historical setting – perfect reading for an autumn weekend.

The Last Anniversary – Liane Moriarty

I get the impression that this has been released elsewhere already, but that UK publication is not until October? The first book of Liane Moriarty’s that I read was very popular The Husband’s Secret, but that was probably my least favourite so far. Little Lies and What Alice Forgot are on my list of top reads during 2014 and I know from now on I’ll be waiting not-so-patiently for each new release.

The Christmas Surprise – Jenny Colgan

The Christmas Surprise revisits Rosie Hopkins of Sweetshop of Dreams fame. It’s released in October, but I’m going to try to wait till December to read it. Good Luck me.

I’ll Take New York – Miranda Dickson

As well as introducing Bea and Jake,  I’ll Take New York revisits characters from Miranda’s first book Fairytale of New York. I look forward to Miranda’s books every year, so roll on December.

I’m looking forward to Christmas already. 🙂

I’d love to hear your recommendations for upcoming releases – let me know which you’re looking forward to most either here or on twitter!

Much love,

Elle 🙂 xx

Book benches

Hey there,

Hope you are well today.

Thanks to twitter (what else?) I found out about Books About Town, a project by Wild in Art and the National Literacy Trust.

Fifty benches shaped like open books can be found around London this summer. There are four trails – the Bloomsbury trail, the City trail, the Greenwich trail and the Riverside trail – maps are available on the Books About Town website. You can see the benches in London until 15 September and even bid for one if you like, as they will be auctioned in October to raise money for the National Literacy Trust.

I saw a few benches recently – it’s quite hard to get a photo because, given that they’re benches, someone’s behind is usually parked on them. However, as it was a bit rainy in Greenwich, I managed to snap this:

 

Frozen in Time – the Captain Scott BookBench.

Frozen in Time – the Captain Scott BookBench.

 

Bee-yoootiful! You can find out more about this bench and its artist here.

I love public art events, not only for their fun and aesthetic value, but also from an educational and engagement point of view. If you miss the benches, Wild in Art are working with Transport for London to bring bus sculptures to the city in September for seven weeks. You can find out more here.

Have you seen the benches? Have there been any public art events near you? I’d love to know, so please get in touch either here or on twitter!

Enjoy the rest of your day.

Elle 🙂 xx