A peek at my WIP ‘Finding Immortal’ and my battle with ‘the pit’

For the last few days I’ve been in a funk. You know that point where you can no longer form a coherent sentence? Where any words you string together are a bit crap, or even a lot crap. And even those times where you seem to be able to kill it when writing dialogue but as soon as you need to add the action, reaction, emotion, you fall on your ass and pick yourself up only to rather unceremoniously face plant the floor? That stage of writing – that’s where I’m at. In that dark little pit trying to claw my way out. Of course, the faster I claw, the further I slip so maybe some quiet contemplation is needed. Hmm.

I keep reading and rereading my earlier chapters and thinking – hey, I wrote that, I like it – so why can’t I do it anymore? I dunno. We all get to this stage though, that’s for sure. Then, at some point, something strikes and we can do it again. I’m waiting for that moment, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a little bit of my WIP because one of my cp’s tagged me to do so. So here’s the opening of Finding Immortal – it’s still a little rough around the edges and there’s stuff I need to add per my amazing cp’s advice.

Finding Immortal

The text notification from my cellphone cut into my thoughts with the sharpness of a razors edge. Another message from Alex. I knew without casting so much as a glance at the screen. It was always him. Lana preferred email and sent me pictures of whatever country she’d chosen to gallivant through that week. I tipped my head back, staring into the sky above the Mallory estate. Clouds, heavy with the weight of unfallen snow, hung low, threatening to explode at any moment.

Lucas shifted next to me on the cold porch steps. “Aren’t you going to read it?” His breath billowed into the air, mixing with the muted light of the frosty morning.

Shaking my head, I pulled my phone from my jeans pocket and tossed it to Lucas. “No point.” Alex’s messages only ever consisted of one letter, a simple ‘x’, and though I’d replied on several occasions, asking how and where he was, he never responded.

Lucas slipped my cell into the front pocket of his green hoodie.

I tried to take a deep breath, but the familiar stabbing at my chest prevented anything more than a small inhale. For the past three months, the simplest of things hurt, opening my eyes each morning ranking amongst the most painful. My mind began to fog, pulling me back to the night of the ferocious battle with Sol and Selena. The night the colors in my world had paled to barely recognizable blurs of insignificance. Nathaniel’s face flashed and I clawed at the memory, desperate to hold it strong and unwavering, but as always, it faded to obscurity.

I raised my head as the crunch of hurried footsteps sounded across the yard of the Mallory estate. Kyle’s black hair lay flat and damp against his forehead, his maroon t-shirt and gray sweatpants bearing the sweat patches of his run. As he drew closer, he pulled his earphones from his ears and whipped off his top, then used it to scrub the moisture from his face.

Lucas rose from the steps to greet him. “Just in time, breakfast’s ready.”

Kyle slung his t-shirt across one shoulder and used his other hand to rub his taught stomach. “Good, I’m starving.”

Lucas pushed the front door open and stepped inside.

Kyle held his hand out to me. “You coming?”

I dropped my gaze to the ground. “No, I’m not hungry.”

One, two, three. I counted the maroon stripes on Kyle’s sneakers, at the same time, wondering when he’d begun to color co-ordinate his wardrobe.

“Tough shit, babe. You’re eating.” Kyle grasped my wrist and pulled me from my perch. I landed with a thud against his solid chest.


So I’ve kinda killed two birds with one stone(<<< ooo – a cliché, I should know better). I’ve talked about my feelings without talking about my feelings and I’ve shared some words. Now I’m off to stare out of the window. Hope the rest of you are coming along well in your writing endeavors!

The Life Stages of a Pantsers Manuscript

A friend of mine is faced with having to write her first full-length novel for a few years. It’s not going to be a problem for her – well, she thinks it will be, but her words are so epic that I know it’ll be fantastic once it’s done, even if she hits some rocks along the road. But it got me to thinking about the life stages of our books. I know we are all different, but for your amusement, here’s mine.

0 Words – Stark Beginnings

In the beginning – there was… actually, I don’t know what there was. The beginning of a book is not when you or I put pen to paper, it’s when that first little seed enters the brain. Who knows how it begins? I couldn’t tell you. I do know, that for me, it began with an image while listening to a song, but something must’ve triggered it before that? Maybe…

noidea

 

500 Words…of notes

So now I have the main characters name and a little background. But not much more. But I do know her hair color. Hell yeah!

2000 Words…still notes

Whoop whoop! – I now have names of LIs, Protagonist, and friends and a tiny bit of their background.

whoop-whoop-o
—— Words…I’ve lost count

My notepad doesn’t have a word counter, but it’s full up and I have everyone. Still…I have no plot.

200 Words…of my manuscript

So it begins. Kind of. Or is this complete crap. Should I delete it and start again? What’s going on. Anyone know?

hmm

 

1000 Words in.

I have main character, I have setting, I have action. I have…crap – which character should I introduce next. I should really know this by now.

0 Words in.

That was rubbish. Start again.

2500 words in.

I did it!!! I wrote a chapter. OMG – It’s fabulous. I can totally do this.

ican

10000 words in.

Still rocking it!

rockingit

12000 Words in.

That’s just….that’s just awful. I don’t even know what that is.

what

15000 words in.

I Wonder what everyone’s up to on Twitter.

think

25000 Words in.

And….I’m baaaack. I am the QUEEN of this place. Ooo, yeah. Look what I just wrote. How freakin awesome is that. Honestly…my own genius scares me.

queen

 

 

30000 Words in.

I am a total failure.

paper

 

40000 Words in.

Beginning – check. Middle – check. Ugh – what’s that chapter all about. CUT.

50000 Words in.

There’s a pigeon in that tree. And a squirrel in that one. Ooo – a dragonfly. *Runs off to have a look.

dfly

50005 Words in.

That dragonfly sure was pretty. I wonder what other colors they come in. Google has the answers….

60000 Words in.

I actually just don’t care anymore.

65000 Words in.

Oh yes, now I’m rocking it like the God that I am.

freddie

65002 Words in.

Wait…what? That’s crap!!! *Jams finger on delete key.

what1

30000 Words in.

I can’t believe I just deleted 35k words. *Sobs while jamming cake into mouth.

cry

30000 Words in and several weeks later.

*Peeks out from under pillow fort. Area seems safe. Snatches notepad from beneath junk food rubbish while swigging cola.

30000 Words in.

I guess I turned into a plotter somewhere along the way….

40000 Words in.

Yes. This is much better.

50000 Words in.

Is it really better? Is this too much? Are there too many twists? Consults critique partner.

scratch

60000 Words in.

OMG – I did NOT see that coming. Thank you character who shall not be named for guiding me toward the light.

70000 Words in.

*Stares at screen. Sniffles. Is it really over?

75000 Words in.

Of course not. Layer – you idiot.

80000 Words in. Several months later.

Draft one million and sixty finished.

77000 Words in and several weeks later.

CP’s have ripped it to pieces and I’ve put it back together again. Off to the editor it goes.

OMG – I’m finished. Now I can do all those things I wanted to when I was writing.

happy

A half hour later.

*Fires up laptop… Chapter One….

typing

And there you have it. My writing process. I would love to know yours!

People Appreciation

My amazing critique partner, Kathy, wrote a post this week about some of the things she’s experienced on the road to getting published. It’s a great article, and you can read it here.

Throughout most of Kathy’s writing life, she’s been flying solo, doing it all herself, with very little (as in zero) in the way of support. Her achievements are mighty and I’m in awe of everything that she’s done. Which leads me to think about my own experiences, which are not at all like Kathy’s.

When I started out writing Fractured Immortal, it was just me and a pad for maybe a couple of weeks. Then I found Twitter and met some amazing people on there who were all in varying stages of the writing process. Of course, I had the internet to run to whenever I ran into a problem too, so that was very helpful. Because of changing times, there’s a plethora of information on writing available to anyone who runs a search – which I did, on many, many occasions. This wasn’t the case for Kathy, she really did do it all on her own.

In June (I think) of last year, I dipped my toe in the slush comp pond and from that I met more amazing writers. Everything I thought I knew changed. Turns out I didn’t know very much at all. I partnered up with Kathy and Kate, Sarah cast her eyes over my queries too, then I partnered up with Tasha as well, who orchestrated a new critique partner group consisting of me, Kathy, Tasha and Diana – so I gained Diana too – I’m such a lucky girl.

This is us!

walrus

Then NaNoWriMo hit and Dena, who I’d been friends with for ages on Twitter (and someone I totally fangirled after reading her awesome book), took part in NaNo and we spurred each other on. From that, another new partnership was forged. So, on my side I now have: Tasha, Kathy, Sarah, Kate, Dena and Diana. These guys are all, in some way, responsible for my growth as a writer. Add to this the people who beta read my manuscript – Jake, Nancy and Nori, Kate too – (she can basically do everything, that girl, AND she edited Fractured Immortal!) as well as some others – wow, check out all the support I had and still have.

Years of learning and information was canned up and fed to me in a short space of time and the change in my writing because of it is massive. I still have a lot to learn, but I have so many people to lean on, it’s pretty amazing. I appreciate everything these guys have done and continue to do for me. I honestly don’t know how Kathy managed it all by herself – she’s flippin superwoman.

I can’t begin to express my gratitude to these guy’s, which is a bit crap – being a writer and all, but all I can say is that someone, somewhere, must’ve been watching over me to have brought these people into my life. So here’s some major people appreciation to the people who gave up their time to support me. Thank you. I love y’all dearly.

epic-hugs-friends-minion

 

 

How to: Format your book for Kindle

This week, I’m adding How To videos to my blog. Writing a book is a huge job, formatting it for kindle can be a real pain in the butt if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, it’s my aim to save you guys money. There’s no need to pay to have your book formatted if you learn these simple steps. I use Microsoft Word, therefore this video teaches you how to format using MS Word.

Also, at the end of this post, I’ve added a picture of a page that I sent to my Kindle app on my phone that displays the formatting used here.

By the time you’ve watched this video, you’ll know how to do two things.

  1. Format your book for Kindle
  2. Create a Chapter Heading that will be ready to use in the click of a button.

I advise you to full screen the video so you can see it clearly, then just pause when needed.

(If you don’t like Brandon Flowers, mute now)

kindletest

 

How to: Format your book for Createspace

It’s a tough world out there. There’s bills to pay, growing children to feed, clothe etc and necessities to buy. It’s really not that easy to wipe your butt with newspaper. Writing and publishing a book can be a costly venture. There are things you can’t avoid – an attractive cover, an excellent editor, and pens. Many, many pens to stow away along with a notebook so if inspiration strikes – you’re prepared. High Five.

But there are things you don’t need to spend money on and formatting is one of them. So, I made a little video to teach you exactly how to format your book for 5×8 on Createspace (I’ll bring you a 6×9 video too, if wanted). The video assumes you use word. I’m aware that many use Scrivener, so I will look into this and bring you an easy to follow video on that too. Again, I know some people like to convert to PDF’s so they can embed their font and chapter numbers. I will try to bring you a video on that too. However, I use this simple method for my own manuscripts. I don’t use fancy fonts and listed chapters/table of contents. My book is a New Adult fiction and us grown ups don’t need a table of contents.

The font you use is up to you. I use Times New Roman in 11pt. I just went with whatever for this video, though.

There are a number of things I will teach you.

  1. How to set your margin size
  2. How to set your page layout
  3. How to format your book
  4. How to have a Chapter Header ready to use, with the click of a button.

So, by the time you’ve watched this video (and I advise having a test document open already so you can follow it) – you’ll be able to do it all yourself – for free. I advise enlarging the video to full screen so you can see and just pause when needed. Here goes:

(If you don’t like Greenday, mute now)


I hope that helped!

Poking an Editors Brains: Kate Foster

A few weeks back I wrote a post called The Army Behind the Writer. Scores of people from beta readers, critique partners and editors work hard to help knock each book into shape. With that in mind, I decided I wanted to hear from one of these people.

Editors spend a huge amount of time reading a huge amount of books, it’s what they do. For this blog post we hear from Kate Foster, editor of all genres (and editor of Fractured Immortal!). A writer herself, Kate is aware of the trials and tribulations writers face. As well as writing and editing, Kate also dedicates her time to Freshly Squeezed as an Industry Pro where she helps to run a first page competition.

1.       How to you approach that first edit?

I always always read the book first. I send it to my Kindle and pretend it’s a book I’ve bought online. That way I get to enjoy the story, but also to trust my first instinctive reactions to the book; the writing style, the flow, the structure, etc. There’s no pressure that way, just me and the book getting to know each other.   

2.       Do you have a preferred genre?

Not at all. I love all books, fiction and non-fiction, children’s and adults, crime and romance. Being an editor allows me the beauty and privilege of reading books I ordinarily wouldn’t select from a bookstore when I’m spine shopping.  

3.       Editing seems a painstaking process that requires intense concentration, do you use anything to help you concentrate?

Not really. I’m a seriously self-motivated person. The only thing I have to do is have regular breaks from the laptop so my eyes and brain can refocus; a circuit of the garden with the dog, make a cup of tea or something to eat, tidy one of my kid’s bedrooms, etc. Things get in the way, I do get distracted, but I care about the books and authors I work with, so it becomes a natural priority.

4.       What are the main mistakes that seem to crop up over and over across lots of manuscripts?

Apart from the usual too much telling, not enough showing, overloading of back story is the main issue I see. Whether it’s in the narrative or via dialogue, it’s definitely a comfort blanket most authors wrap their manuscripts in. It’s the hardest part, in my opinion as a writer as well, to find the perfect balance. It always comes down to believing in and trusting your readers. Throw in a back story snippet or clue through a character’s thought or action. 

5.       What, do you feel, makes a good book?

So many things. I think that’s an impossible question to answer, in all honesty, like how long is a piece of string. But I believe all brilliant stories are told with passion, where every twist, character and sentence has been created with emotion, love, pride and attention. And this feeds into the reader. It’s not something tangible that can be described because it’s magic, shared pieces of soul.

Thank you, Kate for answering my questions.

Follow Kate on Twitter or visit her blog, you can find out about her excellent editor services over there too!

Slug Spaghetti

There are some things I do well (The Vulcan salute), some things I excel at (forgetting to tell my husband important things) some things I’m just okay at (Staying vertical for any length of time) and a lot of things I completely suck at.
Imagine the scene: You’re standing in the school playground, you’re hairs a mess, no make up on, odd socks and whatever shoes were closest to the door, whether they match or not (that’s a fib, I wear matching shoes, honest). There are hundreds of little children running around, the little girls have amazing hairstyles, some have cute bows in their hair but your children’s hair is wily and refuses to be tamed, and that bow you fixed to their hair earlier that morning? Well, that’s tossed on a surface somewhere at home because you didn’t do it right.

All of the above, in case you haven’t guessed, that’s me. Look, life is too short to match socks, okay?! And my hair is wavy so can totally get away without a brush first thing in the morning – it’s the wind that messes it up. And my children’s hair – both have them have crazy curls around their foreheads that cannot be controlled. Also, I am not a morning person.

A domestic goddess I am not in fact, I’m the FURTHEST thing from a domestic goddess, honestly, how my husband puts up with me, I don’t know. My daughters keep showing me hairstyle’s on the internet, asking if I can do that to their hair and I try, I really do, but inevitably, by the time I’m finished, they look like this: (Please note, that is not my child)

Crazy-Hair

I am SO jealous of the polished mother’s that style ‘Amelia’ or ‘Oscar’s’ crop of sunshiny glory until not a hair stands out of place. And how do these mother’s get their faces to look like that? Do they get up at 4am to buff, polish and paint their nails and faces until they exude perfection?

Luckily, you don’t need any formal qualifications to clean the house, so I’m pretty badass at pushing a vacuum around and can even extend that badassery to polishing, washing clothes, drying clothes(<< that one took a while and many, many shrinkages) and I can nail making the beds.

One thing I am particularly bad at is cooking. Unless you like things overdone, then I excel. I can make a few things, beef stew, roast chicken beef and pork, and steak, and a few other minor things. I do bake a mean jacket potato and I can make a pretty decent salad (just let that slide, okay?)

The other morning I woke up and for some unknown reason, I fancied a spaghetti bolognese. By the evening, I stood in the kitchen surrounded by the ingredients and got to work. Needless to say, I didn’t make the sauce from scratch, I bought it ready to go from the jar but I chopped fresh veg and squirted some tomato puree in, added some herbs, and, man alive, I felt like Gordon Ramsay. Until I ate it. It was okay, it wasn’t terrible. It looked worse than it tasted, that’s for sure. (It looked like I’d added slugs at some point through the cooking process) But that wasn’t hard because it didn’t really taste of much.

cook cooks

Hopefully, my children will be able to forgive me when they’re older for only being able to cook things from a box, tin or jar. I have some redeeming qualities, I make the BEST hot chocolate for them when they get home from school on a cold day. I know it’s the best because they told me so. Hopefully, the stew and the roasted meats scored me enough points.

To all those super organized mother’s and father’s out there, I salute you – how do you do it? Because I have no idea!!

Please come back Monday where I will be revealing the cover for my new book, Fractured Immortal! Thank you.

The Army Behind The Writer

About a year ago, I sat down and started writing a book based on a scene that played in my head. It took a long, long time to write it. Eleven months, to be exact and boy oh boy, did I learn A LOT along the way.

I feel bad for my early Beta’s – they had to read it! But they were so awesome. I really do love them – (yes Nori and Tricia, you guys!)

When I began, I had a little bit of writing experience. I was editor for two of my school newspapers, won some writing competitions at school and ripped off a point horror book when I was about twelve. I wrote a dissertation for Uni – and where that’s proved helpful in some cases, for the most part it’s proved to be a pain in the butt.
Take a look at some of my blog posts, particularly the earlier ones. Notice anything? I do, at times (most times) my writing style is very formal. I tend not to use contractions and every now and then, I use big words, words you usually need a thesaurus to find. I do it when I talk too. Instead of saying – ‘your new house looks lovely’ – I say ‘it’s aesthetically pleasing’, and instead of saying ‘we have to let the kids be independent’, I say ‘we need to allow our children a certain degree of autonomy’. I don’t do it all the time, I’m pretty flexible, varying my language to my audience so you’d think I could do the same when I write – right? Nu uh.

My manuscript was absolutely littered with formal writing. From not using contractions to using words that were too flowery, it was a mess. Worse still, I entered into a slush competition not even noticing. But it was there that I met my super duper awesome critique partners, Wonder Tash and Super Kathy.

Wonder Tash picked up on my formal language from the get go, insisting I use contractions and man alive, was she right! Once I amended these I brought the story into this century – well the chapters that take place in this century anyway. Another thing she spotted, and for a seasoned writer like Tash – it wasn’t that hard, but for a novice like me, easily overlooked. Bloody adverbs, they are now the bane of my existence. They were EVERYWHERE. I hadn’t realized this was lazy writing, I just thought the words sounded good, and you have to admit – adverbs do sound good, but when writing, they are not your friends. So the vast majority of these have been outed and replaced with sentences that don’t require an adverb. I could waffle on for ages about all of the things Tash found – because there were THAT MANY errors, but it would require probably a months worth of posting daily. <<Argh, evil adverb, poke it with sticks, burn it with FIRE!!! Tash is also an expert at finding ways to eliminate backstory without losing the details.

So with all those mistakes, you’d think there couldn’t be that many more. Oh, there SO was. My dialogue was as dull as a thousand year old tailor’s needle. Flat as a pancake driven over by a fleet of army tanks then stamped on by the stay puft marshmallow man. He said, she said, I said, he said, she said, I said blah blah BLAH. On and on the dialogue went with no action, thoughts or emotion in between. Dull. You could probably get even the most cantankerous teething baby to sleep just by reading them an excerpt of my dialogue. Enter Super Kathy. Zap, zap, zap – GIVE ME MORE! She found every bit of dialogue that needed emotion and action. She helped me bring my characters to life. She also forged a connection between character and reader by saying ‘keep me in your characters head’. My book is written in 1st person passive, yet for pages on end my main character disappeared and became a robotic observer. No more, now she tells you everything she’s feeling and everything she’s thinking.

Between Tash and Kathy – sorry, Wonder Tash and Super Kathy, my book has grown muscle and skin to go with the bones.

Once the amendments were made, I then had to focus on the blurb. Ugh! No matter how good you are at writing blurbs for others, sometimes when it comes to your own, it becomes very, very difficult. That’s where Awesome Kate came in. Actually, she came in long before that. She Beta read Fractured Immortal, helped shape my query and provided untold support. That girl can wave pom-poms, actually – she really can. She’s always there to listen, lend support and she wrote the blurb for Fractured Immortal. Which I think is awesome. She is also the editor that Fractured Immortal is currently with and I highly recommend her. You can find her website by clicking on the link to the right of this page or the link at the end of this post.

My experience has been, that as much as I thought my book was good, there is no better tool a writer can have than excellent critique partners, and I really feel like I’ve struck gold with mine.

Since they helped me to shape Fractured Immortal, the beautiful Dena has read it and her feedback made me squeal with joy. She also found some hilarious mistakes that I have been able to rectify.

One of the best things I did was start up a Twitter account. There you’ll find an army of people to keep you company and make you laugh and guffaw during the hours that you are sitting alone writing. I feel the need to salute Amber, Bill and Jake at this point.

It’s a joint effort to write a book, it really is. For every writer, there is a team of people behind him or her, helping, advising, cheering and offering virtual cake. That has certainly been the case for me and I owe my thanks to so many, many people. Thank you, all of you, so very much.

To follow any of the amazing people that I mentioned here, either on Twitter or their blogs, click on the links below!

Wonder Tash Twitter Blog

Super Kathy Twitter Blog

Awesome Kate Twitter Blog

Beautiful Dena Twitter Blog

Amazing Bill Twitter Blog

Hilarious Jake Twitter Website

Fabulous Amber Twitter Blog

Amazing Beta Readers:

Nori Twitter Blog

Tricia Twitter Blog

A rare glance inside my WIP 7.7.7

After the craziness of PitchSlam it’s nice to focus on something else. PitchSlam was great fun, full of amazing people and you’ve just got to love the slush readers and captains for providing feedback to ALL of the entrants. Slush competitions are awesome opportunities for people looking for an agent. I have met some truly lovely genuine people through slush competitions  – actually, that’s where I met my fabulous CP’s. Honestly, the benefits far outweigh the stress of the submission and the wait!

Now that PitchSlam is over, I am pleased to be taking part in 7.7.7. First of all, thank you to my amazing friend Bill. We have been friends on twitter for quite a while now and I very much enjoy chatting to him about writing, his travels and life in general. If you don’t follow Bill on WordPress or Twitter, you are missing out on talking to a great guy. I hold him in very high regard. You can check out his blog HERE and follow him on Twitter HERE.

What is 7.7.7?

7.7.7 is simply: Go to page Seven on you manuscript. Scroll down seven lines, then share the next seven pages of your WIP. As Book One is going through its final edit, I’ll be sharing seven lines of Book 2. I don’t generally do this but, it’s just a bit of fun! Please be aware that this is still a very raw WIP only in its first draft so I have yet to layer the emotions and thoughts into the dialogue! So, here they are!

 

7.7.7

“It didn’t go down very well,” I said, heat climbing my cheeks.

“It didn’t go down at all. It was disgusting,” Lucas said, leaning into me as if he were telling me a secret. I couldn’t help but laugh at him.

I pressed my hand to my mouth. I hadn’t laughed for two months. Maybe being out of bed would do me some good.

“Did I just hear the sweet sound of our Ili laughing?” Kyle asked, walking into the kitchen.

“You did,” Lucas said. “I’m giving her a cooking lesson. Care to join?”

“I’m in,” Kyle said. “What are we cooking?”

“Beef Stew,” Lucas said.

 

There you have it. As you can see, it still requires a LOT of work, but the bones are there!

 

I will update when I have a couple of people ready to share their 7. Thank you for reading and Bill – thank you for asking 🙂

 

Today is October – not November

My brain is mush. I would love to tell you this is temporary, but that would be a big porky pie lie. But I do think it’s selectively mushy. I can function every day, I can write, I can look after a family of four, I can cook…okay, that’s another lie, but I can follow cooking instructions and I can make a mean roast dinner. Yup, I can do those things but the one thing I cannot tell you, is what day it is. Not unless I look it up, check the calendar or work out when the last time I knew what day it was and work from there.

It’d be great to keep this slip of brainpower to myself but as my twitter followers know, I often embarrass myself by sending out a follow Friday on Thursday, once on a Wednesday. There was definitely a Sunday too which is beyond stupid because the children didn’t have school that day so I should have known!

Tonight I reached a new low, I tweeted out that a book I’m waiting for is going to be released in four days. Which, in a way, is truenottrue. It’s being released in a month and four days. So not in four days. I knew it was being released in November but somewhere along the way, I forgot about October.

autumnForgetting about October is a crime. It’s one of the most beautiful months of the whole year. The changing leaves as the trees go through their varying stages of abscission, the smell of people burning garden debris, the darkening days – I love them. Tomorrow I’m hoping to visit the nearby forest so I can walk amongst the magic.

Soon I’ll be trawling through the shops to find my daughters a costume for Halloween, maybe one for me too this year. Lara Croft? Or maybe Maleficent. Or maybe none. A couple of years ago I decided I’d dress up as a vampire. I bought some contacts to wear and everything. It did not go down too well. I ripped a contact without realizing then put it in my eye. OW!! That hurts – I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’ve promised a Halloween party for the children this year and I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t informed my husband of this yet…. Must do that. Another thing I often do, forget to update him on plans that no doubt affect him, oopsie. Hopefully he finds it endearing, though I expect it’s nothing other than annoying. To be fair though, he can stay upstairs and watch TV, I’ll arrange all the fun stuff for the kids. I’m thinking apple bobbing (of course) jelly worms, brain lucky dip and the annual pumpkin carving, which we love. Every year we give the pumpkin a name. One year I called it Hilary, because that was the name of the dragon that ran the kids nursery. I am such a bad influence. Luckily, it’s my youngest daughters turn to name it this year.

One of the other fabulous things about October is the display the local garden center puts on. It’s terrific. We take the girls every year. They decorate a big outdoor tent with graveyards, fake dead trees, corpses and witches. They even have a water display covered in mist and lots of eerie noises that echo through the tent.

So, how could I forget October? A minor lapse. I only forgot it for a moment. Aside from Halloween there is also Nightmare on Query Street coming up which I have been getting my MS ready for, just some final edits to polish it to perfection.

And how do I forget which day it is? Simple, I don’t really care as long as I’ve done what I need to do. Oddly, I’m pretty organized, thanks to google calendar reminding me of things I have coming up. I’m just scatty right now as I edit and edit and edit.

Forgive me October, I’m sorry!

firetrucks