Walking A Tangled Path

img_2083I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front of late. Partly because I think I’m still recovering from the Thirty Day Writing Challenge, partly because I’ve actually been recovering from a nasty lingering cold that’s been running rampant around here (even the Queen had it), and partly because I’ve been trying to untangle the structure of Under Stone, the fourth book in my Ambeth series.

I wrote the first draft of Under Stone more than three years ago. Since then it’s undergone quite a few edits and rewrites, then was sidelined for a while as I worked on other projects. Now that A Thousand Rooms is out I’m free to roam the forests once more, but the path to this story is still quite tangled.

As the fourth book in the series, Under Stone pulls together a lot of the plot lines set out in books one to three, so I’ve had to do a quick re-read of those books and make sure that I’ve covered everything. Even though Ambeth, the characters, their motivations and their plot lines all live in my head, there are small details I’ve added here and there that I need to keep track of. So far, so good. However, the story itself also needed re-ordering, so I’ve been shuffling scenes around and, in some cases, deleting them.

Making this slightly more complex is the fact that Ambeth deals with multiple character viewpoints. I know, right? A six book series told from the point of view of multiple characters. *shakes head* Also there’s a time twisting element, which sometimes is useful and sometimes really annoying (for the writer), as I have to keep track of what is happening when in two different worlds. But oh, I love it. I love the stories and the characters, and I love it when it all comes together and I can feel the flow. I guess that’s part of the reason I write, for that feeling – it’s a little bit like joy.

I think I’m pretty close to being done now. In fact, I’m hoping I might even be able to get it out to beta readers by the end of this month. So I’ll continue to slash and burn, moving branches and reshuffling scenes, forging a new path through the tangles in the hope I reach my destination soon.

How about you? When you write a story, do you then play around with the order of events to get the best flow? And, if you’ve written a series, how do you keep track of everything? (Notes. It’s notes, isn’t it? I really ought to make more notes when I’m writing.)


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Thirty – What I Wrote

IMG_0618

The light at the end of the tunnel…

Well, here we are, folks. The final day of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. To be honest, I don’t think I’ll take on a challenge like this again. I don’t mind the shorter ones, three quotes or five days, that sort of thing, but I found this one a bit much. Perhaps I don’t like being told what to write about for thirty days in a row? However, it’s done now, and the final prompt is: What I Wrote.

So, I guess the easy response to this prompt is to look back at all the responses I’ve written over the past twenty nine days. However, I don’t want to load this post with links, so I’m just going to share a few of my favourites. And here they are:

Day Thirteen – Forgotten

Day Seventeen – Early Morning

Day Eighteen – Warning

Day Twenty Two – We Dance

Day Twenty Seven – Impatience

Thanks for reading along, and for all your comments. I’ll be back tomorrow for the end of year round-up, hopefully feeling better too.

xx


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

 

30 Day Blog Challenge – Day 29 – One Hundred Years

The misty hills of Ireland, home to James Joyce

The misty hills of Ireland, home to James Joyce

It’s day twenty-nine of the 30 Day Writing Challenge, and today’s prompt is: One Hundred Years.

It’s also the second day I’ve been in bed with a rotten head cold, which is kind of a bummer. Streaming eyes and a stuffed up head are not that conducive to writing, or much else for that matter. However, onwards and upwards!

So, for the prompt, I decided to look back one hundred years to see if anything of note happened on December 29, 1916. It was a different world then – there was still a Tsar in Russia, the First World War was raging, and women throughout most of the world still did not have the right to vote, or do much of anything else for that matter.

On this day one hundred years ago, James Joyce’s first novel, A Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man, was published. Joyce was an Irish novelist and poet, and is considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, his most famous work being Ulysses.

The other event of note that happened on this day one hundred years ago was the assassination of Rasputin, the ‘Mad Monk’ who, many say, contributed to the downfall and eventual murder of the Russian Imperial Family by Bolsheviks. Rasputin was a favourite of the Family, particularly the Empress, because of his strange ability to ease the suffering of the young Tsarevitch, who suffered from haemophilia. However, his reported behaviour, often exaggerated in the press, added to the feelings of distrust and anger against the Imperial family, and so a small group of nobles decided they needed to do away with him, in the hope of saving the monarchy.

On the evening of December 29th, Rasputin was invited to the St Petersburg home of Prince Felix Yusupov. He was fed poisoned cakes and wine, yet suffered no seeming ill-effects. He was then shot, but still refused to die. Eventually, he was thrown into the Neva, where his frozen body was found the following morning – apparently still alive when he went into the water.

The murder ended up being to no avail – the following year the Bolsheviks took power, and the Imperial Family were sent into exile and, eventually, executed. Oddly enough, Rasputin was said to have predicted his death would be followed by their downfall – a prophecy that came true.

Quite a dark note to end on, I suppose, but it has been a very odd year. Right, I’m off to bed, in the hopes I can knock this cold on the head and actually enjoy what’s left of the holidays. See you all tomorrow for the final day of the Challenge.


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Wednesday Wander – If You Could Be Anywhere…

if-you-could-be-anywhereIt’s Wednesday, so time for my usual Wander, and it’s also day twenty-eight of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. Today’s prompt is: If.

Initially, I considered the Rudyard Kipling poem If, and doing a Wander related to that. But Kipling was so well-travelled I couldn’t really settle on one place, and unfortunately I’ve not yet been to India, the place with which he is most often associated. Then I considered – if I could be anywhere, where would I be?

This was a tough question to answer. At the moment, I’m pretty happy where I am. And if I did go anywhere it would be somewhere I’ve not visited before, so I couldn’t post about it anyway. I decided to look back through my posts for inspiration, and realised I’ve taken 54 Wednesday Wanders so far – just over a year’s worth of posts! So, as it’s the last Wander of 2016, I decided to look back at the top ten most popular posts, based upon the number of likes, and leave the answer up to you. If you could be anywhere, where would you be?

Starting with the tenth most popular, here is the list of favourites for the year:

The Lion Monument, Lucerne, Switzerland

The Twelve Apostles, Australia

Surfers Paradise, Australia

Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England

El Morro, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Manyana Beach, Australia

Stonehenge, England

Paris, France

Ancient Rome, Italy

And the number one post was:

Niagara Falls, Canada

Thanks for coming along with me on my Wednesday Wanders – I’ve seen a bit of the world but there’s still a lot for me to see, so I’ll keep posting as long as I have places to share

See you next year! xx


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

Too Many – 30 Day Writing Challenge

img_4590It’s Christmas Eve, and also day twenty-four of the 30 Day Writing Challenge. Today’s prompt is: Too Many

Now, the obvious thing to write about today would be presents- as in, is there such a thing as ‘too many’? If you asked my daughter I’m sure she’d say no. However, when I cast around for an idea, I only had a fragment come to me:

‘I love snow.’ I rested my chin in my hand, dreamy, watching spiraling white flakes fall against the dark trees. Outside it was cold, the sky a swollen grey, but inside all was warm and cheer. The fire was crackling, a blanket was tucked around me and the smell of baking – really, the only thing that could have made it more like a Christmas card would have been a small child singing carols.

How would you end it? I had a vague idea of the snow turning to a storm, the power going out and the idea that there was such a thing as ‘too many’ snowflakes. However, it seemed a bit of a stretch and so I’ve left them as is, comfortable and warm in their living room, watching the snow fall.

And perhaps that’s where I’ll leave you all too, as night falls and Christmas beckons. Wishing you all a wonderful holiday season, however you choose to celebrate xx


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

 

 

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day 23 – Wrong Way

IMG_1099It’s day 23 of the 30 Day Challenge, and today’s prompt is: Wrong Way.

As there really is no wrong way to respond to these prompts, I’ve decided to post a quotation by Louis L’Amour:

We are, finally, all wanderers in search of knowledge. Most of us hold the dream of becoming something better than we are, something larger, richer, in some way more important to the world and ourselves. Too often, the way taken is the wrong way, with too much emphasis on what we want to have, rather than what we wish to become.

A little something to think about on a Friday 🙂

As I’ve chosen to undertake this challenge, I’ll be blogging through to December 30th, then I might take a little break. Or I might not. You never know when the muse will strike. Happy Holidays, everyone!


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.

30 Day Writing Challenge – Day Twenty – Supermarket

img_1205It’s day twenty of the Thirty Day Writing Challenge, and today’s prompt is: Supermarket.

I was going to write a little piece about how I have to go to the supermarket tomorrow, and how at this time of year it’s heaving with people pushing overloaded trolleys and looking perplexed, as though they’ve never been in a supermarket before. But then it dawned on me that I may also be one of those people tomorrow…

So instead I’ve decided to set a timer again and see what happens. Twelve minutes. Here we go:

‘Christ,’ I mutter under my breath, as I see the last packet of carrots being scooped up. ‘Bastard.’ I shoot daggers with my eyes at the broad back ahead of me, pushing my trolley faster, the wobbly wheel screeching in protest.

‘Sorry, sorry!’ I smile, although it’s more like baring my teeth as I manoeuver past two old ladies, trying to resist the urge to shove their trolleys out of the way with mine. But there is no way I’m letting him get the last packet of Extra Fine Baking Potatoes. I need those potatoes. He’s already got the damn carrots.

Victory! I screech to a rattling halt, breathing hard as I grasp the corner of the packet with my outstretched hand, managing to flick it into my trolley. ‘That’ll teach him,’ I thought, as I glimpsed a cable-knit jumper clad arm reaching around me. ‘Too late, haha!’

Not very Christmassy, I know. But really, it’s every man (and woman) for themselves in the supermarket at this time of year. The chocolate aisle looks as though it’s been attacked by locusts, the few sad roasts remaining puckered in their plastic wraps, as though they’ve been prodded by many hands.

And I only have one thing left on my list to get. Executing a skillful manoeuver, I manage to dodge around two trolleys, then bypass a third, sliding through a gap between two young men and a pile of boxes to emerge in the baking aisle. There they were.

Eggs. There weren’t many left, and those that were left were the eye-wateringly expensive organic free range kind, but I don’t care. Six eggs are all that stand between me and victory. I surge forward, reaching out, when a hand comes down, claiming a box. A hand at the end of a cable knit jumper clad arm.

‘Dammit!’ I may have shouted that out loud. Heads may have turned. But I was so close! Then I heard laughter, felt arms come around my waist, a trolley bumping gently against mine.

‘Too bad, darling. Looks like you’re paying this week. And so close to Christmas, as well. Well-played, though.’ He laughed again, but a nice kind of laugh, as he came around to survey the jumbled mess of groceries in my trolley.

‘Well, I don’t care,’ I said. ‘And, did I tell you how nice you look in that jumper?’

‘Flattery,’ he said, ‘will get you nowhere.’

‘Just wait till next week’s shop’, I thought.

Well, there you have it. Twelve minutes done. Not sure what to think of it, though.


If you enjoyed this post, you can find me on Twitter @AuthorHelenJ,  Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Plus my latest book release, A Thousand Rooms, is now available on Amazon.