Thursday, February 22, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - No Filter Take Two - #lgbtqia

Another crazy-busy week, but not in a bad way. :) It does mean I missed my Monday blog post yet again, although the way I’ve been ranting, it’s probably for the best.

Anyway, I’ve finally re-opened No Filter today, and the first thing I did was change it from first- to third-person. Why? Well, a couple of days ago, I put up a FB status about omniscient narration, which a few people responded to (including some, erm, helpful explanations of what omniscient narration is and is not).

I’m OK with any kind of narration—even head-hopping—if it suits the story. But readers generally have their favourites, and there will always be someone who isn’t happy with how the story is told. Well, they can always write their own story if they so wish.

Thanks to Bonita for reminding me that, in the end, “we need to satisfy that voice inside that tells us our choice is the right one!”

So, third-person it is. :)

Brief story info:
No Filter is a crossover novella of the Hiding Behind The Couch and Checking Him Out series(es), featuring Libby (and others) from HBTC, and Matty (and others) from CHO.

WIPpet maths for 22nd February:
(I'm a day late)
22/2 * 18 = 198 words

And the WIPpet Snippet:
“Will you check through this email?” Matty started reading over what he’d typed. No squiggly lines. That was a good sign. “Noo?” He glanced behind him. “Oh! He’s gone.”

Noah had been lying on the bed when Matty started typing, he wasn’t sure how long ago that was. Writing emails took all his concentration, but maybe autocorrect would be enough. If he’d thought about it, he’d have used his laptop, which had text-to-speech, because his phone wasn’t that clever, but it was done now.

I’ll just send it as it is—did I tell Libby I was dyslexic? I think I did.

He went to click send, wavered, and hit ‘save’ instead. Noah couldn’t have gone that far, and a few more minutes wouldn’t make any difference.

Matty couldn’t believe he’d left it so long to get in touch. Nearly a year and a half had passed since he’d shown Libby around campus and they’d exchanged email addresses. Taking prospective students on guided tours was part of his mentoring job, and he’d given plenty in the past three years, to lots of interesting young people from all walks of life, but he’d only swapped email addresses the once.

* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Thursday, February 15, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - The Circle MkII #amwriting #lgbtqia

All of the news!

I've been so busy this past couple of weeks, I didn't blog at all last week, and my house is wall-to-wall dog hair, but...

Goth of Christmas Past is written, and alpha-read! Thank you, lovely husband :) Nige is a sound/lighting tech, which is very helpful when it comes to feeding back on a story that extensively features a recording studio ('you mean haze, not smoke, never tell them it's smoke or they cough and complain', and 'why is he up a tower when they've got programmable lights?' and 'try re-patching cables instead...' and so on and so forth), except that now he wants a job there, LOL. It's also with the first beta-reader, who tells me it's got a good start. Cheers, Al. x That's...a good start! :)

My next mission—aside from 'hinting' that I need more beta-readers—is to come up with a series title. Why? Well, this is part of Hiding Behind The Couch, but it's kind of a spin-off too...HBTC TNG? Or something like that. Not. I'm thinking along the lines of 'Assets' but catchier. I have time to decide, anyway, but feel free to throw suggestions my way.

Also, I've been playing around with the new version of the cover, which is—hopefully—more 'New Adult'. Again, the illustration is the work of the super-talented Emma Pickering. No doubt, I'll tweak and refine a bit more before I finally settle on it being right.

Any readers of HBTC will know the series centres on a group of nine(ish) friends – The Circle: Josh, Shaunna, Dan, George, Adele, Kris, Eleanor, Andy, Jess and Sean. Krissi in Goth of Christmas Past is Shaunna's daughter, and Jay is Krissi's best friend.

The setup for this series is much the same: although Krissi and Jay are the central characters in GOCP, there is a broader group of friends/colleagues who will be more prominent in future stories. Probably. Depends on them, really. ;)

I've posted snippets featuring Krissi and Jay, so...it's time to meet someone else. This snippet features Karen Deakin, Krissi's former assistant manager, and Karen's wife Bridget. That's an L and a B, in case you're wondering.

As for maths...erm...there are fourteen letters in the first line?

“You didn’t cancel.”

“No, I—”


Karen ended the call quickly before she eavesdropped any further. That put a bit of a downer on the evening, and it hadn’t even begun yet. She was surprised at Krissi, and disappointed. They’d worked together for five years and been friends since the start. In all that time—even when Krissi was her manager—Karen had never known her to not speak her mind.

Bridget’s car pulled up outside, which stopped her dwelling on it for the time being; she’d have to say something to Krissi later, though, or she’d drive herself nuts.

“That off-licence is rubbish.” Bridget marched past on her way to the kitchen. “They don’t sell crates of beer.” She brusquely tugged two four-packs from the bag and shoved them into the fridge.

“That’ll be enough, though, won’t it?” Karen said. “Krissi’ll be driving. I’m not even sure Wotto drinks.” She tried to recall if he’d been on the beer at their wedding, but it was a bit hazy.

“For tonight, yeah. But it’s nice to have it in the house at this time of year.” She closed the fridge and turned to Karen with a suggestive grin. “Especially as you’re not breastfeeding anymore.”

There was that, she supposed.

Bridget kissed her on the way past. “Going for a shower.”

“OK.” Karen watched her leave and sighed. She wanted to still be breastfeeding, but Molly had never latched on properly, making it unbearably painful, and there was nobody offering support. Or that’s how it felt.

* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Just because... #Valentine Hiding Behind The Couch


Not new material, or even a work in progress. It's Valentine's Day, which is also Josh's birthday, and it's been a busy couple of weeks. So here's an excerpt that's kind of a story in itself.



Bloody Valentine’s
14th February


Josh smiled, trying to disguise his unease with his current client—a man in his late fifties who, after twenty minutes of waffling about deaths in suspicious circumstances and violent gangland killings, had declared that he could see ghosts. But not any old ghosts. Oh no. Obviously, these were the ghosts of the victims, and in Josh’s head, he could hear them calling ‘Avenge my death!’ although these words had yet to pass the lips of his newest client. And he’d said he wasn’t going to take on any more. His phone vibrated against his leg for about the twentieth time in the past hour, and he shifted position. Ghosts. Good grief.

“When you say ‘see’, can you explain what you mean by that?”

“I don’t understand the question,” the man said. Mr. R. Forster. That was his name. No clues as to what the ‘R’ stood for.

“When the ‘ghosts’ make themselves visible to you, do you see actual people? Or do you just see lights, or—”

“Actual people,” Mr. Forster confirmed. “Full bodied, a bit wispy around the edges, but definitely people.”

“I see.” Josh’s phone vibrated again.

“Did you need to get that?” Mr. Forster asked.

“Oh, no. Sorry. It’s nothing important.” Josh smiled apologetically. He usually turned his phone off and put it away in the drawer, or left it in his jacket and hung that in the closet across the room, but today, he’d been typing a text message when Mr. Forster arrived, so he’d hastily shoved it in his trouser pocket, where it had been buzzing away ever since. “OK,” he said, “do these ‘ghosts’ talk to you, or can you just see them?”

“I can’t hear them, but they are talking. I can see their mouths moving.” Mr. Forster suddenly covered his face. “Oh God, it’s so terrible, the things these poor souls endure.” He uncovered his face again. “They’re screaming, crying out, unheard, across the void, calling for help.”

As a fruitcake. Josh’s phone vibrated again. He took it out, turned off the notifications and put it down on his desk. He glanced at the clock. Five minutes of this craziness left.

“Can you recall when these experiences first started?” he asked.

Mr. Forster pondered for a moment before he answered. “It’s been since the death of my wife.”

Josh started to make a note of this. “And when was that?” His phone screen lit up: call from Ellie. He turned it face down.

“Five years ago. Are you sure you wouldn’t like to answer your phone? It must be quite important, if they keep trying to call.”

“It’s not, I assure you.” Josh smiled—again. He was starting to get cramp in his jaw. “I understand this might be painful, and if it’s too painful, please don’t feel you have to answer. May I ask how your wife died?”

“She was killed in a car accident.”

“I’m sorry to hear that.”

“She’s been visiting me ever since.”

“Did you ever have any bereavement counselling?”

“No. My doctor suggested it, but I told him I didn’t need it. She’s still with me, isn’t she?”

Josh shrugged. “Depends on your beliefs.”

“Do you believe in an afterlife?”

“I’d prefer not to comment. This is, after all, about you.”

“I do. And I believe that troubled spirits—the ones who were not ready to leave—get lost in between this world and the next. That’s where my wife is, and all the others calling out to me. I think she may be directing them towards me.”

Josh glanced at the clock again. Time up. He slid forward on his seat and uncrossed his legs.

“That must be some solace. That you feel your wife is helping other lost souls?”

“Yes.” Mr. Forster nodded. “I do take some comfort from it. However, I’m exhausted. I need to block them out, silence them. I’ve asked them to leave me alone, but they won’t listen. They just keep coming, again and again, ‘Avenge me! O, avenge me!’”

And there it is. Josh rubbed his nose, trying hard not to laugh. He cleared his throat.

“All right, Mr. Forster. We have another appointment booked for the same time next week, don’t we? That will give me time to consider our options, which we can discuss then. How does that sound?”

Mr. Forster stood up. He was distracted, as if watching something going on across the room. Josh couldn’t help himself; he glanced in the same direction and back at his client. Mr. Forster smiled and shook Josh’s hand.

“Thanks,” he said, indicating with a nod across the room. “My wife,” he explained. “She’s blowing out the candles on a birthday cake.”

“OK.” Josh could feel his eyes growing wide of their own accord.

“Is it your birthday?”

“Erm…”

“She’s nodding to say it is.”

Josh laughed in disbelief and combed his fingers through his hair. “Yes,” he confirmed, “it’s my birthday.”

“Have a good one,” Mr. Forster said. “See you next week.”

And then he was gone, leaving Josh standing in the middle of his surgery with his mouth hanging open and wondering if he was staring rudely at—or right through—the invisible, late Mrs. Forster. He shook himself out of it and picked up his phone—lots and lots of text messages, missed calls, emails and online notifications—there was nothing like social networking to make one feel extraordinarily popular.

* * *

Excerpt from In The Stars Part I: Capricorn–Gemini (Hiding Behind The Couch Season 4)

Thanks for reading :)
Deb x

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - And Without Hot Chocolate #amwriting #lgbtqia


WIPpet numbers for 31st January, 2018:
3+1 = 4 paragraphs  Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past. This follows more or less straight from last week’s snippet in which Jay was contemplating vending machine soup. Note (to explain the second paragraph): Hadyn has OCD, although he has just been handling a dusty Christmas tree…

Emma—my wonderful illustrator—has come up with a second version of Jay and Krissi, which is awesome, and now I’m in a dilemma whether to keep the original (pictured) or go with the new one. I think I know what to do, but I”d appreciate your thoughts.

QUESTION: Based on the current cover, what kind of story would you expect?

* * * * *

Here’s the snippet:
[Jay] “Is the hot chocolate working?”

“It was earlier.” Hadyn was already on his way upstairs and continued in a hasty but controlled manner all the way to the toilet.

Jay eyed the machine and then the coins in his hand. He’d either get a half-decent hot chocolate or lose 50p. He decided to risk it and fed three twenty-pence pieces into the slot. The display registered 40p. He added another 20p. The display remained unchanged. On the off-chance it was a glitch in that rather than the mechanism, he pressed the ‘dispense’ button. Please insert the correct amount. Jay hit the ‘return money’ button, but the machine wasn’t having that, either.

“Keep it,” he muttered and walked off before his fantasy of taking a sledgehammer to the thing became reality. He didn’t even want hot chocolate that much, but the choice would’ve been nice.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Book Review: The Rose Thief by Claire Buss

Title: The Rose Thief
Author: Claire Buss
Publisher: CB Visions
Published: 10th November, 2017
ISBN: print: 1549982443 / ASIN: B076FT93YN
Link: http://cbvisions.weebly.com/the-rose-thief.html
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36438619-the-rose-thief

Blurb:
​Ned Spinks, Chief Thief-Catcher has a problem. Someone is stealing the Emperor's roses. But that's not the worst of it. In his infinite wisdom and grace, the Emperor magically imbued his red rose with love so if it was ever removed from the Imperial Rose Gardens then love will be lost, to everyone, forever. It's up to Ned and his band of motley catchers to apprehend the thief and save the day. But the thief isn't exactly who they seem to be, neither is the Emperor. Ned and his team will have to go on a quest defeating vampire mermaids, illusionists, estranged family members and an evil sorcerer in order to win the day. ​What could possibly go wrong?

Review:
What's the worst thing about reading a book like The Rose Thief? Not having the time to stay in bed all day and read, read, read until it's all gone. For that reason only, it has taken me two weeks to read, although I'll admit I did intentionally 'Oh, dear...I'm so tired, I simply cannot read anymore tonight' a couple of times to stretch it a little bit longer.

From that, you hopefully get a sense of how wonderful it is to become immersed in the world author Claire Buss has created. This is science fiction/fantasy with giggles - of the same ilk as Terry Pratchett and Tom Hot (who, for the longest time, was my favourite author). It's that mix of the extraordinary and the mundane, the sublime and the utterly disgusting. The characters are kind of ordinary people doing kind of ordinary jobs (well, apart from the Emperor, may he live for ever and ever), and there's magic.

Now, I'm no aficionado of magic in fiction. I've read a few boffin reviews that are full-scale critiques of how the author should have done this or shouldn't have done that. I don't care. If it works, it works, and The Rose Thief works brilliantly. I couldn't tell you how long it is without looking, but I can tell you the length is just right. There wasn't a single moment where I felt the story dragged or went too fast. Plot-wise, it's plausible and well-paced with a few little twists along the way, and the world-building just happens. I didn't even notice it, which is exactly how it should be.

As for the characters...well, that's my thing. I love character-driven fiction, and while The Rose Thief isn't really that, the characters are well fleshed out with distinct personalities, qualities and talents. Ned - our intrepid chief thief-catcher - is wonderfully humble and down-to-earth. Jenni - Ned's right-hand sprite - is singularly awesome (and maybe a bit stinky). She is my absolute favourite character in this story. I'll leave you to meet the rest of team for yourself. Think CSI on LSD?

All in all, this is a fantastic novel, and there's at least one more story from this world in the pipeline, which means I'm off now to sign up for Claire Buss's newsletter so I can get in line to one-click that beastie as soon as it shows its face.

About Claire Buss:
​​​​Claire Buss is a science fiction, fantasy and contemporary writer based in the UK. She wanted to be Lois Lane when she grew up but work experience at her local paper was eye-opening. Instead Claire went on to work in a variety of admin roles for over a decade but never felt quite at home. An avid reader, baker and Pinterest addict, Claire won second place in the Barking and Dagenham Pen to Print writing competition in 2015 setting her writing career in motion.

The Gaia Effect, the winner of the Favourite Fantasy/Sci-Fi book Raven Award, was published in 2016 and Tales from Suburbia in 2017. Claire has short stories in sci-fi & fantasy anthologies Tales from the Underground and Quantum Soul. Her latest novel, The Rose Thief, a humorous fantasy, is out now.

Website: cbvisions.weebly.com/ (From here, you can read the first chapter.)
Buy The Rose Thief: mybook.to/rosethief (Kindle/KU; paperback)


Thanks for reading,
Deb x

Sunday, January 28, 2018

HBTC Box Sets - an Andy moment #RainbowSnippets #LGBT

I'm posting as part of Rainbow Snippets, which is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, readers, and bloggers to gather once a week to share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation.

At the tail end of December, I said I'd try to post more regularly to Rainbow Snippets, but then a spider chomped me, and there was just so much life happening. So, more realistically, I'm going to aim to get in at least one post a month.

* * * * *

Last time, I posted from To Be Sure, which is a novella from the Hiding Behind The Couch series. I'm not posting from it today, because I have a (kind of) new release available (on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited) that incorporates To Be Sure and Red Hot Christmasthe novella I'm snipping from.

I'll come back to that after the snippet, because the context for my choice is actually a conversation on a thread on the Rainbow Snippets page, where I mentioned that Andy (from the series) is pansensual.

For today, I wanted to snip from a story that includes Andy, expresses an aspect of his pansensuality and does not revolve around an M/M or F/F romance. Thus, even though the two characters in this scene are bisexual and pansensual, they are not romantically involved with each other. What they have in common is lifelong friendship and strong feelings towards the same woman.

Beyond that, I'm not going to attempt explaining all the events that lead to this particular moment, but directly preceding it, Kris tried to intimidate Andy and it involved some really shady sex talk (it's complicated, as you'll discover when you read the series, or already know if you have read it ;) ).

Kris is building up to an apology, and complimented Andy's good looks along the way.

* * * * *

The Snippet:
[Andy] “I’m kind of flattered, if I’m honest.”

That didn’t ease Kris’s embarrassment. Trying to make light of it, he said, “Well, you’re safe, I promise you. You’re actually not the sort of guy I usually fall for, but that is one hell of a…fear response.”

“Yeah, tell me about it,” Andy grumbled. Danger excited him, a little too much.


* * * * *

The New Release!

The new release is a box set of the first ten novellas and short stories in the Hiding Behind The  Couch series. NOTE: these stories fall in between the main novels (or 'seasons') and there are also other full-length novels. It might help to think of it like a TV series with seasons plus special episodes about specific characters, events, holidays, etc. Most work as stand-alone stories, but will make more sense in context.

The novellas/short stories box set includes the prequel Beginnings, but if you're going to read the series in order, you might also want to pick up Hiding Behind The Couch Box Set One.

Both box sets are available on Amazon only (including Kindle Unlimited). All of the stories are available separately from various vendors. Links can be found on each book's page on Beaten Track Publishing.

Box Sets on Amazon (Kindle):
To help you navigate the series, there's a diagram and suggested reading orders on the HBTC Timeline page, but here's the start of it and the volume in which you'll find each story:
  • Beginnings (both)
  • Ruminations (Box Set One)
  • Class-A (can be left until much later) (Novellas/Short Stories)
  • Hiding Behind The Couch (Season #1) (Box Set One)
  • No Time Like The Present (Season #2) (Box Set One)
  • The Harder They Fall (Season #3) (Box Set One)
  • Crying in the Rain (Box Set One)
  • First Christmas (both)

Box Set Two will be out in the next month or so, and includes Seasons #4 and #5 (In The Stars Part I and In The Stars Part II—already available separately).

* * * * *

Thanks for reading,
Deb x

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - Without Soup #amwriting #lgbtqia


WIPpet numbers for 24th January, 2018:
24-1=23 || 8-1=7 … 237 words Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past—another snippet of Jay. I’ve moved on quite a bit to skip over Jay’s reminiscence of goth adolescence. In this snippet, Hadyn—Jay’s flatmate and sound engineer—has dug out the fibre-optic Christmas tree at the studio…

* * * * *

And here’s the snippet:
Hadyn unwound the cable and plugged in the transformer. The tree illuminated in a brief, glorious wave of purple verging on ultraviolet…and went off. “Poop. I’ve got my soldering iron upstairs.”

“Wouldn’t it be easier for us to buy a new tree?”

“Easier, yes, but they’re mega-expensive.”

“How much?”

“A hundred and fifty quid.”

It was a lot for a tree, but the studio could afford it. “Order one,” Jay said. Hadyn took out his phone. “Actually, order two. We can have one down here and one upstairs.”

“You’re full of festive spirit this year,” Hadyn ribbed without looking up from his phone screen.

“No more than usual.”

“Christmas trees, Boxing Day gig—what’s next? Secret Santa?”

Jay fished in his pocket for change and went over to the vending machine. “It wouldn’t be much of a secret with only three of us.”

“Unless we broadened the pool.”

“To include?”

“Krissi, Wotto—oh! We could combine with the Milky’s crew.”

“We could,” Jay said absently, still contemplating the vending machine. The soup was out of order again. “I’m going to have to call them.”

“Who? Krissi and Wotto?”

“Krissi… What? No. The vending machine people. No way has all the soup gone already. I only filled it on Friday.”

“Nobody’s been here.”

“That’s what I mean. Unless we’ve got a ghost.”

“A ghost that drinks soup…”

“Yeah. Seen any orbs lately?”

“Only of the dust particle variety.”
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 22, 2018

Other Worlds: Rose Montague - Magic, Mayhem and a Kindle Countdown offer #LGBT #YA #heroine #UrbanFantasy

I'm going to be totally up front here. I've not yet read any of Rose Montague's books, but I'm going to be rectifying that very soon, and I'll tell you why.

What you're getting is my first impression of an author who is new to me, of whom I know nothing. No interview, no review tapping; I'm going in cold.

Before I go any further, I should mention that one of Rose's books is on a Kindle Countdown deal, and it's available at $0.99/£0.99 until 27th January, 2018.

For the impatient who aren't interested in reading on, here are the links:
Teaser:
A presidential election. A witch with a target on her back and a magical arrow. A shadowy government agency made up of witches with unusual abilities. A game called Witch Pong. The Mighty Thor?

See how it all comes together in a school you will never forget.

Blurb:
Jewel has a problem. She's in a witch school and can't get the most basic spells to work. Her true magical talents must remain hidden. That might be hard to do with a killer on the loose. Murder, mayhem, and magic with a little romance along the way.

Now that's done, let me backtrack to earlier today...

[cue flashback effect]

I'd seen the series title on Twitter, but I hadn't seen the cover or the blurb...
Norma Jean's School of Witchery

And I thought...Harry Potter.

Turns out I was a tiny bit wrong. All right, I was very wrong, because guess what!

Rose's tagline:
Urban Fantasy/YA featuring strong heroines, non-stop action, over-the-top humor and FUN
Heroines.

Heroines!

How good it that?

And there's more!
More books...

Rose advises:
The chronological order is Jade, Jane, and Jill followed by the Norma Jean’s School of Witchery series, Jewel and Ghost School. Jill bridges the gap between the Three J’Amigos and Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. The way I have written these books you can however, start with Jewel and Ghost School and then read the Three J’amigos series to get the back story on Jewel’s adoptive parents, Jade and Jane as well as her Godmother, Jill.

Well, what do you know!

✔ Heroines
✔ LGBT
✔ Fantasy
✔ Young Adult
✔ Humour
✔ Series

That'll do nicely, thank you. 🙂

Here's the montage of all five books to date (all images copyright Rose Montague):


And here are those links for Jewel again:
Lastly, here's where you can find Rose Montague: https://fantasyfunreads.blogspot.co.uk


Thanks for reading,
Deb

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - The Black Charade #amwriting #lgbtqia


WIPpet numbers for 17th January, 2018:
(18-17) + 1 = 2 paragraphs from Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past—and also still playing around with the cover to see if I can increase the readability of the title. I might get it to something I’m happy with before December…

This is another snippet of Jay. It comes a few paragraphs after last week’s, so again, there is passing reference to self-harm.

Here’s the blurb for further context:
Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

That day, eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one of them is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Worse still, it’s Christmas—happy joy joy everywhere! Yay. >.<
* * * * *
And here’s the snippet:
When Jay got caught out, they—the all-seeing, all-knowing, ‘because we care’ do-gooders—said they understood he was in pain, but he needed to find safer ways to address it. Take a cold shower, squeeze ice cubes in his fists, hit the wall with a pillow, and sometimes those things did work—for a little while. When they’d found out he was still doing it, they’d decided he was like all the others, doing it for attention. A few surface scratches—oh, look, I rolled my sleeves up without thinking, quick, push them back down, check if anyone saw… But attention was the very last thing he’d wanted.

Krissi knew. She never actually came out and said so, but Jay could tell from the stuff she did and said. She’d once told him, ‘I really admire you. I became a goth, to be like you,’ which was mental. She was so confident and liked it when people noticed her, while he’d always wanted to shrink away out of sight. Of course, being the only kid in school who wore black—well, until The Black Charade came along—made him stand out even more. He was different, and there was no point pretending he wasn’t. If the bullies didn’t pick on him for how he looked and his musical interests, they got him for something else—his epilepsy, being crap at sport, not having a girlfriend, or whatever. In the end it didn’t matter why.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 15, 2018

Monday musings...a whole load of waffle

Honestly, this is a lot of waffle. You'd be as well to go and read something else.

I've half-written two blog posts today—it being Monday and all (my nominated blogging day). One was a rant, the other was stream of consciousness.

I guess, ultimately, I have nothing much to say. However, I read an article about Facebook algorithms yesterday, which told me nothing I didn't already know, but it did serve as a timely reminder that as an author, keeping on top of my online presence on other platforms is important. So, a waffle post it is. :D

Facebook claim they are tightening up on posts that are little more than click bait and—allegedly—prioritising more of the family/friends type posts. The action they're taking is—they claim—in response to user feedback. Short version: people are sick of all the ads. And yet I'd lay good money on the outcome being more sponsored posts at the expense of family/friends updates and posts from pages/groups we enjoy.

In other news, my spider bite is slowly going away. Today I can lean on my arm without wanting to throw up, so that's progress. Here's what it looked like the day after I was bitten, and how it looks today (12 days later):



As for the posts I half-wrote…

Rant: I wish people would stop slashing my favourite characters. I mean, sure, if you must, go and do it on whatever fanfic site you favour, but I don't want it shoved in my face. Specifically, Jesus/Hitler was so absurd it was funny; Dean/Castiel is ridiculous; Dean/Sam appals me; Harvey/Mike, nuh-uh. Of course, if we had more LGBT+ heroes on our TVs, you probably wouldn't be tempted to do this, and no, I don't think Supernatural is queer-baiting. There is some in Suits, but it ain't Harvey and Mike.

Stream of Consciousness: Isn't it awesome how we know what our animals are telling us? Nature/nurture, evolution, selective breeding, why dogs and cats not sheep and goats? etc.

Both posts were  long, and the former was contentious to say the least. I may yet say more about why I dislike slash fiction so intensely, but for now I'll just settle for having written it out of my system without getting into too much hot water.

Of course, I could've blogged about what I've been studying (social construction theory) or how my writing is going (quite well! 77k of Goth of Christmas Past under my belt, about four chapters to go!), but I didn't.

Anyway, I'm done, apparently. Now I must tend my wet cat, who is between me and my keyboard, like seau:


Thanks for reading (it was worth it, yes?) ;)
Deb x

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - The Goth Thing #amwriting #lgbtqia

The Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet numbers for 10th January, 2018:
10 sentences from Goth of Christmas Past


Sorry…again…to my fellow WIPpeteers for my tardiness. I had a spider-related mishap last Wednesday, so I’ve been, well, dopey, mostly. Antihistamines…ugh.

WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past—this is another snippet of Jay. It falls a little after last week’s snippet, and I realised, while trying to select a suitable excerpt, that this story will need content warnings.

I think people who have read my work before know I don’t write about mental health and illness for shock value. I write about what I know from personal and professional experience, but I try to tell the stories that aren’t usually told.

There’s a kind of amusing anecdote that follows on from that. When I was working as a high school teacher, the headteacher at that time called me to her office and asked if I would be willing to mentor a group of Year Eleven pupils (age 15–16). I agreed without hesitation, even before she said, “They’ve excluded themselves, really, and I thought—” she glanced over my attire of black blazer, t-shirt, bootcut black pants and Doc Martens “—if anyone can connect with them, you can.”

Yep. She wanted me to build bridges with the ‘goths’—not because I was an awesomely cool teacher (which I was ;) ), but because…I was a ‘goth’.

Or a 'goff' as the pupils would have it.
“Miss, are you a goff or an emo?”

Except my gothness began here:


And their gothness leaned more towards emo (but what do the powers-that-be know?) and was somewhere around here:


Anyway, that was the best part of being a teacher—supporting/guiding students who’d already been labelled as trouble or misfits or…emos. *sigh* Whatever the label, the system had no idea what to do with them beyond acknowledging that many of them were facing some major emotional challenges.

The content warning, then, is for reference to self-harm. There are no graphic details. I’ll issue the full set of warnings in the blurb when I release the book.

Here’s the blurb for further context:
Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

That day, eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one of them is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Worse still, it’s Christmas—happy joy joy everywhere! Yay. >.<
* * * * *
And here’s the snippet:
It was better than it used to be. He was better. Not fixed—he didn’t think he ever would be—but since he’d opened Black Hole, he’d felt less at odds with the world. His dad, eventually, when they started speaking again, told him he was proud of how Jay had coped, although he hadn’t coped at first, because it was a sh*tload of money. But becoming a millionaire overnight didn’t make him feel any more of a freak than he was already.

‘The goth thing’ wasn’t just a fashion statement for him; it was a state of mind, a way of life, his identity. Like Krissi, a lot of those people who’d mocked him at school had gone through a ‘goth’ phase, which was hilarious and ironic—trendy kids kicking off when their school banned military drummer jackets—the establishment is crushing our right to self-expression. Yeah, not really. They were trying to stop kids cutting themselves because it was ‘cool’. They had no idea.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 08, 2018

Monday Moan #amwriting ...sort of

Sheet Weaver (Money) Spider's Web
It's not really going to be a moan, but I liked the alliteration, and I am starting off with a grumble.

Seriously, who gets bitten by a spider in England? Me, apparently, so said the nurse at the Minor Injuries unit in our local hospital. I'm on the mend, with the help of antihistamines and, subsequently, more sleep than I've had in months.

I didn't see what got me, but there are only a few bitey spiders in the UK, one of which is a tiny thing we call the money spider, also called the sheet weaver spider (the photo shows why). There's an old wives' tale in the UK that if a money spider runs across your palm, you'll come into money, but the little buggers stick with you. They'll abseil on a strand of web, which you think you've successfully attached to something else only to find you're still carrying a miniature passenger.

*Image credit: Sheet Weaver (Money) Spider's WebWatchduck (aka Tilman Piesk)

For the above reasons (bite+drowsiness), this is a very short post—an update on what I'm working on and where you can find me online.

What I'm Working On:

Waiting In The Wings:
  • No Filter (Hiding Out #2)
  • Precious (HBTC novella)
  • Checking Him Out At Home (CHO #3.1)
  • Spread Your Wings (sequel to Champagne)

Might Never See The Light Of Day:
  • Meredith's Dagger: written for NaNoWriMo in 2011; this is a historical/contemporary novel with supernatural elements. Alas, I dislike one of the main characters so intensely I barely get three chapters into reworking this before I give up.
  • The Pastor's Last Drop: historical supernatural thriller-ish novel that is proving impossible to write (read on Wattpad).
  • Love's Folly: an abandoned attempt at Mills & Boon style romance. I made a cover for it, so I guess I ought to finish it at some point.


Where To Find Me:

Website:
debbiemcgowan.co.uk • hidingbehindthecouch.com • beatentrackpublishing.com

Newsletter:
http://eepurl.com/b8emHL

Blog:
http://deb248211.blogspot.co.uk

Facebook:
ProfileAuthor PageFiction is TherapyHiding Behind The CouchChecking Him Out • Publisher Page

Twitter:
Author Profile (@writerdebmcg)Publisher Profile (@b10track)

Pinterest:
https://www.pinterest.co.uk/b10track

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/user/deb248211

Goodreads:
http://www.goodreads.com/DebbieMcGowan

I'm also on Instagram, LinkedIn and Tumblr, but less frequently.


Thanks for reading. :)
Deb x

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

#WIPpet Wednesday - Goth of Christmas Past - To Be a BFE #amwriting #lgbtqia



WIPpet numbers for 3rd January, 2018:
3 paragraphs from Chapter 3 (which happens on 1st December) from Goth of Christmas Past


WIPpet Context:
I’m still snipping Goth of Christmas Past which is finally taking shape.

This week, I’m switching from Krissi to Jay—the other main character. They’re the two people pictured on the cover (the magificent work of Emma Pickering). Here’s the blurb for further context:
Black hair and band hoodies had a lot to answer for.

That day, eleven years ago, when Gothboy mooched into their business studies class for the very first time, Krissi had taken one look at him and thought, What a freak. He’s so cool!

Now in their mid-twenties, Krissi Johansson and Jay Meyer are successful businesspeople and still best friends. But while one of them is moving forward with their life, the other is sliding ever backwards…revisiting the past and wallowing in regret.

Worse still, it’s Christmas—happy joy joy everywhere! Yay. >.<
* * * * *
And here’s the snippet:
The year they’d turned twenty-one, Jay had been away at uni. It was only when he’d come home for Krissi’s birthday party that he’d discovered she’d done what she’d been threatening to do for five years. She’d finally asked about her biological father. Her mum had always been up front and said she didn’t know who he was, but she’d given Krissi her blessing—that was overstating it a bit—to try to hunt him down. The fallout had been epic, and regardless of what he said to Krissi’s face, Jay thought it probably had caused the breakdown of her parents’ marriage.

He’d known them almost as long as he’d known Krissi, and he liked them. They were good people, totally in love—the kind of couple he’d always imagined being together forever, and when one died, the other would throw themselves down on their grave and pine to death or take poison so they could reunite in the afterlife. When Krissi told Jay they were separating, it had come as a serious shock, and he was secretly devastated. If Mr. and Mrs. Johansson couldn’t make it work, there was no hope for anyone else.

So he understood why Krissi had taken it so hard, but he also got why she’d needed to know who her ‘real’ dad was. It was one of the many confidences they’d shared when they first became friends, and one of the few things they had in common. Not that Jay had known about his parents back then, but he’d always felt something was off, like a piece of his life was locked in a trunk, waiting until he came of age, though he doubted his parents would have willingly told him if it hadn’t been for that stupidly massive inheritance.
* * * * *

What is WIPpet Wednesday?
WIPpet Wednesday is a blog hop where authors share from their current works in progress - expertly organised/hosted by Emily Wrayburn - and the excerpt has to relate to the date in some way. For links to other fabulous authors' WIPpets, visit: http://www.inlinkz.com/wpview.php?id=355404


Thanks for reading
Deb x

Monday, January 01, 2018

Last Words of 2017 #amwriting


Well, I planned to hit a milestone before the end of 2017, and I thought I’d missed it (damn you, Deb, and your rubbish record-keeping), but in the process of writing this blog post, I discovered I didn’t miss it at all. Hurrah!

What am I talking about?

This…

3,003,924

…is how many words I’ve clocked up since I started writing ‘for real’.

Which is rather good, as I was aiming to hit three million, and I did.
However…my annual word count has dwindled over the past four years:
  • 2001: 105,342
  • 2003: 8,600
  • 2005: 1,062
  • 2007: 111,813
  • 2008: 122,414
  • 2009: 66,735
  • 2010: 52,771
  • 2011: 101,820
  • 2012: 183,373
  • 2013: 515,840
  • 2014: 486,425
  • 2015: 474,692
  • 2016: 399,912
  • 2017: 373,125
😞

New Year, New Me? Hahahahaha. No.
If I was the kind of person to make New Year resolutions (which I’m not—you can set a goal any time you like. Pretty radical, huh?), I’d be setting one to hit 400k words in 2018.


Last Words of Last Year…
Anyway, here were the last words I wrote in 2017, because it’s Monday, and I needed to post something. :) This excerpt is from Goth of Christmas Past:


It was only a couple of minutes later when the door opened, and a voice called, “Are you all sitting down?”

“We are,” Kris confirmed. Krissi clenched her hands in her lap and watched the door, expecting a boisterous crazy thing to come bounding through it at any second. Instead, a kennel assistant stepped into view, followed by a quiet, shy and completely gorgeous yellow Labrador.

“Here’s your new family, Duke.”

With head bowed, the dog advanced on each of them in turn, his tail wagging low and slow the whole time.

“He’ll be a bit wary of you at first,” the kennel assistant said. “As you know, he’s already been to two new homes. He’s good with basic obedience, and he’s house-trained, but he’s only young and likes to chew.”

As for those titles up there? My MSc tutor’s fault, and my editor’s, for being amused the last time I did it, but I think they might help. *shrugs*

Thanks…always…for reading. Have an awesome 2018. :)
Deb x