#WIPpet Wednesday –

Before I go any further, I want to apologise for not being a good WIPpeteer and visiting many of you last week. I had a super productive weekend, and usually productive weekends include visiting WIPpets, but this week it was more devoted to cleaning up the spare room so one can actually sit on the sofa in there.

amcfbannerSecondly, I wanted to say how chuffed I felt after reading all your comments about how you love Cait and Felipe and could never get sick of them. Because sometimes when I’m writing WIPpet posts, I feel like I’ve been posting from their story forever and that you’re all thinking, “Just publish the thing already!” Which you may be thinking anyway, but in a more positive way. :D Well, good news there, I finished my final round of edits last night!!! Now I just need to format it, and get back to the wonderful Kathi regarding a cover – as well as possibly splurge on some stock photos next payday – and then…! It’s not quite the August release date I had in mind, but you know, I’m really more interested in the fact that I will have published a book rather than exactly when it happens.

Speaking of that, though, would anyone who beta read a previous draft be willing to read over a particular scene and give me some comments in light of the edits Edy made on it? Because there was one part where he was saying that Cait really needed to respond in a certain way, and I was like, “… but how?” I couldn’t really figure out what she might say to give this reaction. And to me, it’s fine as it is, so I just wanted a few other opinions on it. I say people who have read a previous draft because it’s a fairly major scene so a) context will help and b) it’s also fairly spoilery.

Since I’ve been focusing on edits this week and haven’t written anything new, I’ll stick to AMCF for WIPpet Wednesday this week. This scene is early on, during the festival that’s taking place when all the visiting royals are there to find Felipe an appropriate wife. Cait and her sister Ginny have been hanging out with Ava, Guy and Bridget (Guy’s the one Cait fancies, Ava’s her best friend and Bridget is Ginny’s age). My WIPpet math was going to be 1+7 (the date) = 8 paragraphs, except I didn’t actually count properly, and it’s really only five… so… 1+4 (from 2014) = 5 will do.

It was when they were considering what to purchase for lunch that Ava and Cait ended up separated from Guy and their sisters. Ava and Cait were inspecting the options from a man selling noodle dishes, but when they turned around, Guy, Bridget and Ginny seemed to have been completely swallowed up by the crowd.

“They were just over there!” exclaimed Ava, pointing to the stall where the other three had been looking at food. “Where could they possibly have gone?”

“It’s all right,” said Cait, briefly trying to figure out a way to balance her plate of food in one hand so she could put the other on Ava’s shoulder. She gave up on that idea and instead simply said, “I’m sure they’ll be fine. Maybe they couldn’t see us through the crowd and thought we’d wandered off. Guy will look after them. And they know where to meet us at the end of the night, so they’ll find us there if not before. Come on, let’s go and find somewhere to sit and eat.”

There was an area with tables set aside nearby. As it was the middle of the day, it was crowded, but Ava and Cait timed their arrival to snap up a table just as a husband and wife vacated it. Cait wanted to savour her meal – the noodles and vegetables had been cooked in a spicy sauce she’d never tasted before and she wanted to make it last – but she and Ava agreed they should eat as quickly as possible to free up the table again. After Cait assured Ava a second time that Ginny and Bridget would be fine, they decided to go and wander some more of the attractions.

Truth be told, Cait was actually worried about Ginny, and hoped she was still with Guy. There was little chance of them running into the others in these crowds, though, so she was hoping for the best. Before they had parted ways with their parents, they had arranged a meeting spot for the end of the day’s festivities so they were certain of all making it home together. Cait simply crossed her fingers in hope that everyone would be reunited when the time came and there would be nothing to worry about.

To join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt from your current WIP that somehow relates to the date, and then link it with the rest of us here. Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. :) I’m going to head off now because it’s 9:30 and while I usually don’t go to bed til at least 10 or 10:30, I’ve had a long day of First Aid Refresher Training, so my brain is a bit fried. I did get 100% on the test at the end, so it’s likely I can keep people alive until paramedics arrive, which is comforting. Anyway. I was going.

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Spotlight and Giveaway: Slave Again by Alana Terry

Alana Terry has a new book out! And it’s really good! And there’s a giveaway! And stuff! Read on to find out more!

Special Time-Sensitive Giveaway! The first 25 readers who enter the giveaway below will receive a free audiobook from award-winning author Alana Terry. She’s also giving away a $100 amazon card, a hundred free audio downloads, and a free ebook to anyone who signs up!

About Slave Again: After escaping a North Korean prison camp, Mee-Kyong is hustled over the border and sold into the Chinese underworld. She vows to survive, but sheer determination and willpower won’t save her this time. Is she fated to remain a slave forever?
Slave Again is a Christian suspense novel from award-winning author Alana Terry, whose debut novel, The Beloved Daughter, won awards from Women of Faith, Grace Awards, The Book Club Network, and Readers’ Favorite.

NEW BOOK RELEASE: Slave Again by Alana Terry is hot off the press, and both the ebook and paperback are at a steep (30-60%) discount!! Prices will go up soon, so grab your copy today.

Slave Again book trailer (contains one mildly violent image):

About the Author: Alana is passionate about human-rights issues in North Korea and has devoted her writing to raise both awareness and funds to help North Korean refugees find freedom and safety. You can learn more about her work with Liberty in North Korea at alanaterry.com/link.

Check out Slave Again now before the price goes up, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

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Book Review: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

Title: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1)
Author: Jonathan Stroud
Genre: YA/Urban fantasy/Supernatural
Date Read: 07/08/2014 – 08/08/2014
Rating: ★★★★

Review:

lockwoodcoverIt’s been a long time since I read a 400+ page book in a day. Well, nearly just one day, but it was only the last 40 pages on the second. Boyfriend needed to be up early for work the following day, and a) every room except the bedroom was cold so I didn’t want to move and b) the book was creepy enough for me to prefer to remain in his company and not read, then keep reading alone.

Anyway. Last year I read Jonathon Stroud’s Bartimaeus Trilogy and adored it. This book also came out last year, and I’ve been aware of it, but trying to clear out my bookshelves rather than get things from the library, so it’s taken me this long to get to it. Given how quickly I read it though, I probably needn’t have waited so long.

Like the Bartimaeus trilogy, Lockwood is set in an alternate version of London, though in this one, Londoner (and all of England, I think) are inhibited by the Problem, that is, an infestation of ghosts. The Problem has existed for fifty or sixty years now, but no one knows what caused it. All they know is that young children have a heightened sensitivity to psychic activity and therefore need to be on the front line of defence. We follow Lucy Carlyle, who has recently joined the Agency Lockwood & Co. in London after a disaster in her hometown left her alive but the rest of her team of child operatives dead. When Lucy steals an artefact during a case, it leads to them identifying a murder victim, and beginning an investigation into her death fifty years prior. Not only that, but they receive an offer they can’t refuse from one of England’s most powerful business men, which requires them to spend the night in one of the most haunted houses in England…

While the titular Screaming Staircase job doesn’t actually come into play until about 250 pages in, the novel is fast-paced from the beginning. The first chapter throws the reader into the action as Lockwood and Lucy investigate a vengeful spirit and accidentally burn down a house. After that, we learn a bit more about The Problem, about Lucy’s past, and the Lockwood company (the third and last member of which is George Crubbins, who is kind of gross and really annoying, but he is an important member of the team). From there, they deal with a ghost somehow getting into their home, an armed robbery, a debt of £60000 with only a month to pay, and finally the most dangerous case of their lives.

The quote from Rick Riordan on the front cover says, “You’ll want to sleep with the lights on!” and there were definitely moments where this was the case for me. Stroud’s world-building is great (there’s even a glossary at the back of all the different types of ghosts); he knows how to really build up the tension, and he creates characters that you really want to see escape alive, though sometimes you’re not sure if that’s going to happen.

The characters are all individual: Lucy with her troubled past, Lockwood has boundless energy but is also secretive and mysterious (he won’t talk about his parents and the house they live in belongs to him, but don’t ask about that third door on the landing; he won’t tell you what’s behind it), and George as… well. That kind of annoying one that you wish didn’t have to be there, but you know you’d be useless without him (where Lockwood loves to dive into a case without asking any questions, George can be found down at the National Archives doing as much research as he can before he sets foot in a haunted area). There are definitely hints of a romance between Lockwood and Lucy, but I’m hoping that won’t get too overpowering in subsequent books.

Basically, I loved this book. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is because it is aimed at a younger readership and some of the actual writing itself did feel a bit young for me, and a few other little niggling things like Lucy not seeming hugely affected by the deaths of her teammates. The story itself definitely made up for that, though, and you will be able to read a review of the second book in the series, the Whispering Skull, in two Fridays’ time. At time of writing, it hasn’t come out yet, but I imagine it will be another read-in-one-night book. :D

P.S. In case you don’t want to take my word for it, here is the book trailer. I haven’t actually been able to bring myself to watch it because it’s bloody creepy!

#WIPpet Wednesday – Hungry

Hello everyone! This is my 250th post! But apart from this announcement, it is not really anything out of the ordinary because I’m pressed for time and need to keep this short.

Editing has begun in earnest on A More Complicated Fairytale. Edy has done a fabulous job, and my writing is now so much tighter because of it. I did have one moment of panic when I opened the Scrivener file and a whole scene was missing, but thankfully it was in the printout, so I have been typing it back in. I have no idea when it disappeared, though. While there are a couple of bits that I want to tweak, I’m hoping once I’ve gone through Edy’s notes, I’ll be pretty much done with the writing part.

Since you’re all probably somewhat sick of Cait and Felipe, since I’ve been sharing them on and off for 18 months or so, I’ll keep sharing from Unicorn Love, at least until I run out of things from that. This is the scene I said I wanted to share last week, but I couldn’t be bothered finding the notebook it was in. Basically, after a few people dismissing her the way the guy in last week’s post did, Lexie tries stealing as a last resort. She sees a well-dressed woman walking alone, which is unusual, and goes for her purse. But the woman catches her.

“Are you trying to rob me?”

Lexie was not a quick thinker in these situations, and that was why she had ended up on overnight visits to the local station’s cells before. Her eyes went wide.

“No, ma’am,” she stammered. “I was just…”

“You thought I wouldn’t notice? Or that I’d be too feeble-minded to catch you or do anything about it?”

“No, I just…” Lexie’s shoulders slumped. “I’m just hungry.”

For future reference, this woman’s name is Grace Littlewood, and she’s rather important. ;)

If you would like to join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an snippet of your WIP that somehow relates to the date (I did 10 sentences for the 10th day of the month), and then link up with us here. As I said, I’m going to keep this brief, and take off now. Catch you soon!

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#MirthMusicMon – Revolting in Roald Dahl Style

I’m afraid at least the “mirthful” part of this week’s Mirth and Music Monday is not for the faint-hearted or those with a weak constitution. As anyone who grew up with Roald Dahl knows, he doesn’t pull any punches, he goes for rude, gross and, well, revolting. This recording of the version of Snow White from his “Revolting Rhymes” is no different. :D

#sorrynotsorry :D

All right, something a little more harmless, though on the same theme. One of the songs from Matilda: The Musical by Tim Minchin. This musical has the world record for most Olivier Awards won by a single production. Warning: it’s damn catchy.

Join us for Mirth and Music Monday at the linky. I’m off now, catch you later! :D

#WIPpet Wednesday and finally, a finished edit!

So after six weeks of me nagging him about it, Edy has completed the edits on A More Complicated Fairytale. I actually thought it was longer than that, but I just scrolled back through my blog posts and it was around mid-July when he started, so I guess I should take back some of my complaining. I’ve decided I’m not going to look at it until the weekend, when I can give it my full and undivided attention. But that’s pretty exciting.

For now, though, I’ll continue on with The Work Formerly Known As Unicorn Love, which I have tentatively retitled Love in a Time of Time Travel, which I like, because it basically sums up the two key aspects of the plot, but does it feel a bit clunky as a title? While I haven’t written a whole heap of new material, I did sit down on Sunday evening and type out the issues I need to figure out with the plot. My main couple are being uncooperative and refusing to reveal the exact nature of their relationship to me. I have no idea whether they were trying very hard to be “just friends” or whether they were a couple or if they’d even acknowledged their feelings for each other.

I had a grand plan this morning to get up early and do some writing. Except it was 6am and I could feel cramps coming on and it was cold and so after 213 words I went back to bed for another half an hour. I am, however, going to try and do the same thing tomorrow. 213 words each day is better than my recent track record of zero, and it would be good to get into this habit (even if the habit also includes the going back to bed again). We’re coming into spring in this part of the world, so hopefully in another month or so the weather will be warm enough that I won’t just want to snuggle down into the covers when the alarm goes off. (I say that now. Give it three months and I will be sleeping with only a thin sheet over me and the fan on and all the windows open and I’ll be wanting to know when the cooler weather is coming back.)

Anyway, I should really get a move on as it’s now nearly 10pm. The bit I was going to share, I have just realised, still only exists in my notebook, which is in another room and I can’t be bothered getting up. So I’ll share a bit before it. While Lexie and David are kind of the heads of their street gang, Lexie is on the outs with everyone else after David is sent to gaol, so in this scene she’s trying to scrounge a few pennies to get herself something to eat. WIPpet math… it’s the third so three paragraphs. It’s too late in the evening to be complicated now.

“‘Scuse me, miss!” she called out, running slightly ahead of the woman and then turning and walking backwards so she could face her. “Spare any change?”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I’m afraid I don’t -”

“Out of our way!” The woman was cut off by the older man she was with. “Be gone with you!” He swung his cane in Lexie’s direction and she jumped to the side to avoid being hit.

That’s all for tonight. By next Wednesday, I’ll have hopefully typed up the following bit, which is where another main character is introduced. I nearly named this character after a Doctor Who companion, but thankfully Googled the name to see if it was familiar or if I was just imagining things, and promptly changed her surname.

To join in on WIPpet Wednesday, simply post an excerpt of your current WIP that somehow relates to the date, and then join us at the linky. Thanks to K. L. Schwengel for hosting. Since I am now nodding asleep on my bed’s foot-board, I shall head off and visit again when I am more awake. Love to all!

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