Yesterday, I watched my dog, George, chewing on a nut shell. As a result, this is the story that came out of my brain! It’s a bit…er…nutty.
Once upon a time, there was a dog named George. He was a fat little bugger because he kept eating nuts. Human nuts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean testicles so get those nuts out of your mind right away. I mean crazy people, those kinds of human nuts, and let’s be honest, there are lots of them.
Picking up my rather unattractive copy of the novel with yellowing pages and an ugly font didn’t exactly fill me with joyous anticipation. The beginning of chapter one certainly didn’t help. As one book club member pointed out, a great first line is necessary to capture attention right from the beginning and this book is far from achieving that. In fact, as another member added, the first line of the novel is an extended version of the first chapter heading – “Who will be the new bishop?”, which inspired little interest in the first instance, let alone the second. Thus, the first few chapters fail to pull you into the story and I found myself zoning out. This certainly didn’t bode well for the next 520-odd pages.
Sharpie stood awkwardly behind his wife. He had his hands behind his back and he jiggled from foot to foot uncertainly. He looked distinctly like he was up to mischief. He wasn’t of course, but he looked that way.
“’Appy Christmas,” he said, his Cockney twang bouncing around the room and making her jump.
I’ve seen the name ‘China Miéville’ bandied around for a while now and have often wondered. It’s difficult not to wonder when you see a name like that. I have to admit though; I always assumed it was a woman. “Will her writing stand up to her name, though?” I found myself asking, like the blatant and presumptuous fool that I am. Turns out, of course, that Miéville is part of the ‘dangly bits’ half of society – not even lightly either, he is firmly there in a way that I could never quite experience. Not that I’d want to mind you, I imagine ‘it’ would get in the way and drive me slightly bonkers. Aaaanyway…he is definitely not a woman and therefore, her writing couldn’t possibly stand up to her name – but did it stand up to his?
Friday feels…destructive: should I really write what I know?
Write what you know…write what you know. What would I write if I only wrote what I knew? I know how to burn toast (it’s how not to burn toast that I struggle with). I know how to trip up the stairs. I know how to stay up way past my bedtime reading (or writing) – and on that note, I know how to wake up dishevelled and late for work. Of course I know all the every-day stuff too: walking and talking, dressing and eating, peeing and…let’s not go there. Write what you know, ey? Read more
I know Wednesday is short story day, but honestly, what with moving this week, I just can’t find the time. I was also nominated once again to take part in the 777 challenge (thanks jhbooksblog!), which involves sharing an extract of my WIP. So combining my lack of time and my invitation (since I’ve already done it once), I thought that today I’d share an extract of my WIP instead of a story. This comes from somewhere near the beginning of my next Underworld book, which has a working title of Queenie’s Return. Enjoy!
“Holy crap! What was that?” Ed nearly jumped clean out of his skin when it happened. He had been asleep on the sofa after a long morning doing pretty much bugger all (the best – and often most tiring – of all mornings). He was convinced, momentarily, that the end of the world had begun. It was ever so loud after all, the bang that had woken him up. Things always seem worse when you are asleep, don’t you agree?
The 12 Days of Christmas is a collection of short stories loosely based on the Christmas carol of the same name. I say loosely because the titles of each story are about the only thing Christmassy about them. From ‘A Partridge in a Pear Tree’, about Emma Partridge and her desire to protect a pear tree all the way to ‘Twelve Drummers Drumming’, the story of 12 small tin soldiers, these stories swap genre, setting, and characters but never once lands on Christmas. I can’t lie, I was intrigued by this premise of non-Christmassy Christmas stories and drawn by the fantastic cover but often it’s the case that the contents of the book doesn’t stand up to my excitement. Did that happen with this book? Well that’s an easy answer: no, it absolutely did not happen with this book.
Have you ever seen the film Limitless? You know those pills he takes to unleash the full potential of his brain? Well, I don’t take drugs but I’m not going to lie – I’d find it really hard to turn down some NZT. (As an aside, there are medications on the market that purport to provide a similar service but they’re not quite there yet: read this for more information).
Well I had a pleasant surprise this week when I was nominated to take part in the Beautiful Blogger Award by Julie Haiselden, over at her blog. It’s an honour to be nominated and it put a great big smile on my face. And whilst we’re on the topic of jhbooksblog, it’s definitely worth checking out – it’s full of author musings and a gentle humour that’ll have you going back there time and again.
Jack’s a reindeer. Like all reindeer, Jack has one goal in life: to be famous. When he was just a little calf, he dreamt of becoming like his old favourites: Dancer and Prancer, Donner and Blitzen, Comet and Cupid too. He imagined himself stood in front of Father Christmas, the conductor for their biggest performance of the year. He always thought he’d be in the front row, guiding the way, looking down on his own little excited calves and waving with pride. Except life hasn’t turned out that way. Jack is getting on a bit now and he hasn’t achieved his goal. He isn’t famous, and he’s never pulled the magnificent sleigh. He’s never even seen the sleigh, let alone met Father Christmas.
Elaine Chissick is a Yorkshire-born, cat-loving, romance-writing author who is currently working on her third book. Her first, Willing and Able, is a true story of the adoption process. Her second book, Ties That Bind, is an erotic/romantic fiction (see the post before this one for my review!). She is currently working on her third book, Ties That Harm. She kindly let me pick her brain about a thing or two!
Ties That Bind is erotica. No, that’s not right. It’s a love story. No, that’s not quite right either. It’s an exciting drama complete with family feuds and a ‘will they-won’t they’ romance. Nope, not that either. Actually, it is that – it’s all of that, rolled up into a tightly wound and seamless ball of excitement and fun, with just the right amount of tension. It’s the story of Alex and the family she is trying to escape. It’s also the story of Alex and her new boyfriend, Gabriel. It’s also the story of Gabriel, his career, and his past. These threads are weaved as seamlessly in the book as they would be in life – all the individual aspects of these character’s lives bumping up against each other and merging into a single tree with many branches.
So a few weeks ago (20th September to be exact), I announced that it was time to make some changes in my life. Whilst everything is good (great job, nice flat, wonderful people around me), I wasn’t moving forward with my ‘ultimate life goals’ (as cheesy as that may sound). In that post, I said that making the decision was step one, and that I hadn’t worked out what step two was yet but – and here’s my confession – that wasn’t quite true.
Today was four years long. Not metaphorically of course. Literally. Each second stretching on for twenty four minutes, each minute lasting just over a day, each hour ballooning into two long months. Tomorrow – well, tomorrow will be four years too. Four long years, but that’s tomorrow and at least I get a good long sleep in between.