Doesn’t Time Fly

My new view from our bedroom window!

I’m back people and I must say it doesn’t feel like it’s been nearly a month since I warned you all I would need to go radio silent due to the big move, which did not go as planned but we’re in now that’s all that matters, so people keep saying, I say, how do you sue a solicitor but that story is for another day! On a more positive note I’m now surrounded by the most inspiring scenery, I’ve seen my first barn owl that wasn’t in a book or on TV, in fact it likes to land on our back fence now and again!!! and I’m loving the rural life, I can’t wait to own chickens once the jungle of the garden has been sorted!!!

It’s very strange in this day and age not having the internet around all of a sudden, I mean I’ve been able to check my e-mails on my smart phone (modern technology amazes me!) but it hasn’t been the same to just sit down at the computer and surf. I do however find it disturbing how much we rely upon it, it has quite obviously become part of everyday life. We ended up using a family members computer so we could set up all our utility bills online for the new house. This was because it was the fastest way to do it, when we phoned these places you had to go through a zillion automated messages, press 1 for this press 3 for that by the time you’d finished punching in numbers you were left on hold for half an hour before you could speak to a human being, yet on the internet we’d set up all our utility bills in 20 mins. It’s almost like the company’s don’t want to speak to you anymore and set up all these barriers to force you to do it online!!

It wasn’t like I didn’t have plenty of distractions to deal with in my absent weeks from the blogging world, there was Wimbledon, where I cried when Andy Murray made it to the final and cried some more when he lost to Federer in the final. Yep I admit I cried at sports, is there a group I can attend for this??? Well there’s still the Olympics and next year’s Wimbledon!!

However as I set up this blog to promote/discuss my writing projects I guess the biggest thing I should share with you all is I now have a completed first draft of my sequel, granted it’s a little all over the place as first drafts tend to be!! but now I’ll just do what I always do put it away for a few weeks and go back to it with a fresh head ready to rip it to shreds!! I think the most difficult stage of any writing project is to be able to go over that completed first draft and be objective, I mean you’ve spent weeks and months creating this baby you’ve poured your entire soul into it and then when you re-read it in full you realise, actually chapter 6 is crap, I don’t like how that character got from A to B in chapter 12, why did I write character X into the story she has to go she’s useless and also to think about the reader as opposed to how you read it. I find this the hardest because its hard to get the balance between being a little cryptic to keep your audience intrigued and making it way to over complicated that it confuses your audience, alternatively you’ve dumbed it down so much you realise you’ve written a book for primary school kids!!!!! I’ve also managed to gather some great material for the book with extras idea I had a while back, I have several alternative endings I would like to try out so naturally they’ve all gone in the folder for that project.

Anyway, naturally now I’m back and I’ve finished my first draft, you can expect to see more posts ranting about similar things from the beginning of the year, I need to start thinking about cover design and most importantly who I can go to for editing this time around so I don’t get conned again as I did with The Break!

Happy Father’s Day…. Fix My Roof Please!!!

I know I’ve been AWOL for a while… Again! even my Mother said to me today “You haven’t blogged for ages Kerry” in that disapproving “Mum Tone”, I mean she even put my name at the end of the sentence, I hate it when people use your name at the end of a sentence it always makes the tone seem much more serious and believe me I don’t often do serious!!! So as I’ve been told off by my mother here I am!!!!

I would firstly like to point out even though I’ve been some what quiet on the blogging front I have not been completely lazy! Shortly after my last post/Rant! We finally had notice on a completion date for the house. So in a few short days we move in to our new home, oh my gosh we’re going to be home owners, how grown up! I can definitely say goodbye to my crazy, spontaneous days now!!! Anyway we have been frantically packing up the last of our belongs which always sounds easier to do than actually doing it, the reason being I found all my original drafts for The Break, I’m talking even before I decided to write a complete first draft or write detailed character bios, I’m talking random pieces of paper from about three years ago when I would jot down three or four paragraphs and say to myself “That would make a good plot twist, I’ll keep that to one side so i can use it one day” and then I would obviously lose it down the side of the couch or in a book my mad scientist better half was reading because it was suddenly a great idea to use it as a book mark!!! Anyway I would then have to stop packing to make sure this time I did put it somewhere safe as it is so becoming part of my novel with extras idea. Then knowing we now have little time before we move out, I wanted to get to a pretty safe place in my current project, the sequel to The Break, so when I went back to it I wouldn’t be completely lost. So trust me I have been working!!

So today is obviously Father’s Day and as I blogged about Mother’s Day it seems appropriate to only do the same about dear old Dad. So it was round to my parents house for Sunday lunch. Now, let me tell you Sunday lunches at my parents house are Amazing my mother cooks the most amazingly huge roast dinner, trust me, you have one of my Mother’s Sunday Lunches you don’t need to eat again until the following Sunday. So off we trot (actually I drove) to Ma & Pa’s. Now my dad is pretty chilled out so there we find him chilling on the decking when we arrive wearing a new top my sister had brought him, now being Father’s Day it should be a about Dad right? Wrong, it’s all about getting Dad to fix your flat roof on the utility of you new house, so out come the pictures, dimensions, material recommendations, what we need to get, when he can come over and fix it, what other cool things can he do in the new house, so naturally the least I could offer to do was take little sis to work so he could have a couple of beers with dinner!!!!

So as you can see amongst all the excitement of packing & writing and begging my dad to sort out our DIY issues I haven’t had the time to blog which seems a little crazy when I recently blogged about figuring out how to manage my time!!! But I should warn you I have no choice but to go radio silent for a while after today as we have yet to activate any sort of broadband at the new house so we will be without the internet for a couple of weeks, unless you count my phone but I don’t know about you guys but I find blogging on a mobile device just isn’t the same. Although no internet is probably going to send me insane, oh well it gives me and the better half a chance to continue our on going Scrabble championship, I believe it current score is Author 16 – Mad Scientist 19 so I am trailing at the minute maybe I can change that over two weeks!!!

WARNING: Today’s Post Will Be A Rant of Rampaging Rage….

I can see now why you don’t see any first time buyers on the property market anymore. It actually has nothing to do with the “Double Dip” recession, the problem is Solicitor’s. I would even go so far as to say our Solicitor has made Estate Agents (Re-named Hell Hounds, explanation here) look like Guardian Angels/Kind Samaritans/Heroes/Gods, you get the general picture! Since we had our offer accepted on the house we’re buying and instructed our solicitor to proceed we’ve been met with nothing but Brick Walls and silence, the word USELESS springs to mind frequently. I’m curious to know what the role of a conveyancing solicitor entails because so far ours has had two holidays in nine weeks. This brings me to my next question what do you pay extortionate rates for? I tried to work it out and managed to break it down to this:

Basics:

Our Charges:

Cost [£]

For Your Purchase

465

For acting for your mortgage lender

100

No move no fee insurance

35

+ VAT

120.00

Total:

720.00

Extras:

Communications(e-mails/correspondence etc)

200

To be able to transfer deposit for mortgage direct to their bank account

30

Holiday to theCaribbean

1500

New Jimmy Choos

2000

New Audi

30000

Manicure

50

Which roughly totals £33,900,  Ah Ha mystery solved we are actually secretly funding her social life because I can assure you we are not paying for her Amazing communication skills, advice and expertise. In fact she’s probably not even qualified and has achieve her first class qualifications from fakequalificationsneededquick.com

On the plus side all this rage makes for great creative inspiration, the fact that I feel like I’m going to quadruple in size rip my clothing and turn bright green with rage every three minutes has created impressive progression for my current project, which is what I originally found when we had Estate Agent issues (Mentioned above) these characters make for great story arcs, incidentally the character I then based said Estate Agent on has since been killed off!!!!!

Jubilee Weekend!!!

Well I guess being English I should really blog about this Jubilee Malarkey!!!! But that’s what every Brit is probably doing today and while I appreciate that HRH Queen Elizabeth II has the second longest reign of any Monarch (the longest belonging to Queen Victoria) and she is the Queen of my home country, I am personally getting a little vexed by all the hype all the chatter and all the bloody random merchandise (NO doubt my mother has already purchased her tea towel!!!!) and then this got me thinking again about my little book merchandise query, which led me back to the idea I had about Books with special features. This concept has now piqued my interest so much so that I have become more consumed by implementing this idea than working on my current project. This, I may add is also a great distraction as this weekend seems to have sparked a lack of motivation to work, 4 day weekends make me lazier than normal!!

I forced myself to re-read The Break recently for the first time since I published and since I was informed the editor I’d hired had messed up but since my first review came back positive I though I’d brave it and as I was reading and highlighting all the fresh mistakes myself I kept thinking about this special features idea. How would it work? I mean what sort of format would it be in? would it simply be a case of re-publishing the story and adding notes about the chapter/characters or how certain scenes came about??? No that sounds pretty boring. I still have laying around whole chapters which weren’t just re-written but binned completely because I took the story in a different direction, I deleted paragraphs at a time of characters that never made the final cut, maybe I should put all that work together maybe I could release it as like a book of notes but then who wants to read someones notebook??!! Maybe I could combine the two ideas? Who knows but I do really like the idea of sharing things that never made it to the finished product with the readers because lets face it, if people like what you didn’t then that’s the start of a whole new project is it not??? Or is that a cheap get out of jail free card for a next book idea!!!!

Well I have to admit both this idea and my current project are currently on hold this weekend, we very rarely get to enjoy a relaxing four day weekend, so firstly thanks to The Queen for adding an extra bank holiday to the calendar this year!!! Thanks to ATP for putting Roland Garros on so it clashes with a four day weekend (will not be moving from in front of the TV!)!!! Thanks to the USA for exporting Budweiser to the UK however I will NOT be thanking the Great British weather!!!!!!!!! So although I will not be completely lazy with my projects this bank holiday I will be looking for other peoples opinion on how to pull off this new idea of a Book with DVDesq Special Features so if you you have any ideas of what you would like to see or you’ve always wondered how authors arrive at a certain point or how they get there character ideas let me know and I’ll see how I can work on presenting that info, the thought process is now in your hands!!!

The First Review Is In!!! (and it isn’t all bad!)

OUT NOW!

Well, well, well, my first review is in my friends and I was pleasantly surprised, strike that I’m bloody ecstatic!!! Especially after my mad panic when I realised the person I had hired to edit/check grammar/sentence structure etc was actually an idiot and I probably could’ve done a better job myself, to re-cap on the full rant click HERE!

Obviously I’m not an idiot (Depending on who you talk to!!!) I realise to counter act the good means a bad review is just around the corner but as I said it’s my first so I’m going to enjoy this happy feeling for as long as possible and continue to grin like a lunatic!!!
“The Break by Kerry Stanley is a novel which breaks all genre barriers. To begin reading the book, one might wonder whether it was a love story, mystery, romance, or thriller. As it turns out, the story is all of these. Although the story in written in present day circumstances, the style of writing is much like what one might read one hundred years ago – descriptive, dramatic and heavy on the emotions. The main characters are three incredibly strong women who are fighting evil. Each has specific powers, which will assist them and their companions in time of crisis – sort of like real life Power Puff Girls.
The main goal of the women, especially Annabelle, is to prevent a gateway, the Break, from opening into this orld which would allow death and destruction masked as natural disasters to occur and the travels of unsavory characters into our system. All three women themselves are from another world but have the characteristics of this one. The story begins with background on most of the characters and Anabelle’s protected life overseen by Jessica becomes clear. We are uncertain where the story is headed but the intrigue is there. At first thought, it seems to be a mystery – and it is. Characters such as Rose begin appearing in the story who were thought to be dead, or Christian, Anabelle’s adopted brother, who was believed to be on their side of the battle against adversity.
 Rapidly the novel turns into a thriller with many twists and turns – the supernatural powers of the young women come to light as they face enemy after enemy. How the women fight the evil forces, which threaten the world, is unique and forceful. As abruptly as the book became a thriller halfway through, it becomes a love story as the book begins to wind down. The growing attraction between Annabel and Jessica is revealed – very unexpected but not inappropriately portrayed. The story ends with many questions left unanswered and battles still to be fought and won but this endings purpose is made clear when a portion of the sequel, Concordia is made available for review at the end of the volume. It is clear that this story, although not perfect in style and structure, would make a wonderful movie. The main characters make Charlies Angels look like Josie and the Pussycats – it is a story that keeps moving and definitely would keep an audience, as it does the readers, on the edge of their seats waiting for the next shoe to drop.” – GoodbooksToday.com Reviews
So if this as piqued your interest further and want to know where you can purchase a copy of The Break just follow this link

The Haircut Worked!!!

For weeks maybe even months I’ve been whining about needing my hair cut, I do this all the time, I get a really cool haircut and then leave it to grow wild for a year and then around six months in I moan about how it needs to be hacked off because I’m starting to look like I’m auditioning for a part in a Duran Duran tribute band. So today I actually did it, I got a hair cut I then had the intelligent idea of booking an appointment for a trim in a few weeks therefore not allowing it to grow a mind of it’s own and turn in to the forest of dean again. Which leads me to my next point, I think it really did have a mind of it’s own or at least was siphoning from my brain cells because since the delicate operation I haven’t been able to stop writing, in fact I now have another idea for a third book completely unrelated to my debut novel and it’s sequel, it’s like the crazy hair has released my inspiration it’s been holding hostage and it can’t wait to get out.

As liberating as this new found inspiration is it now concerns me a little, can one person really work on two projects at the same time. At this stage I have only been jotting down a few ideas, an opening paragraph, character background a brief lay out of plot etc but I’m worried, I’m engrossed in my current story too and as I’ve said before I have grown quite attached to it’s characters. So maybe it’s best to keep new ideas in my back pocket for now at least I know I can have new ideas!!!!!!

Who????What book????

I know I’ve been a little radio silent this last week I won’t bore you with the details but it’s been MENTAL!!!!

Needless to say because of my crazy week there hasn’t been much time for writing but I have to say taking a break from my current project has been some what refreshing. I never really understood authors who get books out really quickly one after the other but I think, especially now, it’s easy to feel like you should rush a second book. Not intentionally rush it because there’s a particular demand for it but because you can get so caught up in its momentum and in the excitement of wanting to complete the story, do you know what I mean? As you know by now there is a sequel on the horizon to The Break and I have already been asked by a few people when can they expect it but after my little week of no writing I’ve decided I’m going to take my time with it, I’d like to develop my characters in to memorable people and that won’t happen if all I’m focused on is how quickly I can finish.

Everyone has characters that stay with them, when I was little and was naughty my mother would tell me I was as naughty as Amelia Jane from the Enid Blyton books (I loved those books) as a teenager it was all about The Hardy Boys or the Point Horror series and through my 20’s there were too many to keep count but every book I read at least one character would stay with me, someone to relate to, someone you could compare others to, when my sister was little she was so Hermoine Granger it used to freak me out! You could have the most amazing narrative with the most surprising twists but if your characters are boring then it doesn’t even matter.

So if my little break has taught me anything, it’s taught me to look more closely at my characters, it’s not that I ignored this key element to story telling in my first book but because of the nature of the story these people are thrown together pretty quickly and have to deal with the situation the best way they know how but now the sequel will show them, hopefully in a little more depth and explain why they behaved the way they did in the beginning…… Well that’s the plan!!!

The Block

So I’ve let my imagination run riot for the last two days and have come up with a few rather interesting narrative developments my problem is I’ve kind of written A and B but have no idea about the journey, that’s right I’ve been attacked by “The Block”. I’ve read a lot of writers think writer’s block is a myth, I myself have on occasion concluded that if you have writer’s block then your original idea was never that great in the first place and more often than not scrapped the idea in favor of a new direction. Which I’ve decided is the key, direction. Now I find myself stuck as I refuse to believe this time “The Block” is a result of a bad idea, I quite like this idea but the direction in which to take to get from A to B is what’s causing the block. I think the reason for my most recent conundrum is introducing new characters, in The Break there are six major characters who carry the story and obviously you have a few narrative devices thrown in to move things along and help you get from one place to another, yep that’s what we’re calling the irritating under age drinker at the bar in chapter 11 a “narrative device”!!!! But whilst working on my current project the narrative has been blown wide open and to get from A to B our main characters are going to need a little help, now the readers have had a whole book to get used to The Big 4 (this is what we’re calling them to avoid spoilers!!!) and I have to say I’ve personally become quite attached to them but I find myself writing new main characters for this particular part of the story and neglecting the others which I hate doing.

Basically it’s hard trying to find a balance between keeping my main characters interesting and feeling so inspired to write the new ones that I’m giving them all the action. I guess like I said though, the reader has had a whole book to get used to the others the trick is trying to give a handful of new people depth in half the number of pages but how do you do that? I don’t want my reader to get caught up in the same trap I have and start to forget about The Big 4 and draw the attention away from the main story line but I guess you always have favorites in a story, whether that be the main characters or not or maybe your favorite is the bad dude but hence “The Block” do I continue with my current newly inspired story line or do a attribute “The Block” to just another bad idea???? Oh Decisions, they’re so not a strong point of mine!!

Are You In My Book?

So a little vexed I’m completely without internet at the moment, especially as it’s now only a matter of weeks until the release of The Break.

But I’m here now and I have a question. What are the rules on developing a character based on someone you know? Is it insulting? Flattering? Is it a big No, No? I only ask because admittedly I managed to write The Break with completely original characters and I can honestly say not one person resembles anyone I know, not consciously anyway!!!! But as I start to contemplate my next project, I’ve started to realise that without knowing it, one of the new characters have developed a personality similar to about three different people I know, seriously if they were one person they would be my new character!! Is this wrong?

When you take a writing course (which I did for a day about ten years ago, hated it, waste of time, a day of my life I’ll never get back!!) or something you’re told to write what you know, to draw on your own experiences for inspiration. Firstly unless your life is REALLY exciting, where is the fun in that? And secondly does that go for people? I guess it would depend on the context of the characters within the narrative or if it’s quite obvious who this person is meant to be and you’ve made them the bad guy!! The thing is now I’ve started writing this person, I can’t help myself but compare, I’ll get to a point where the character would need to make a decision and I’ve started to think “What would ????? do?” it is making for far more interesting decision making I must admit and I am finding it kind of fun but I don’t want to go down this route if it’s going to get me in trouble. Maybe I’ll have a word with ????? and just say look I’m basing this character on you, but I don’t think you’re going to like it!!!!! Or maybe I’ll just do it and deny all knowledge when ???? says to me one day “Am I in your book?” Also is it really wrong that the idea makes me grin slyly to myself!!!

Well I’m sure I’ll figure it out but if you guys have had similar incidents with the same dilemma I’d love to hear about them!!

The Secrets Out

Out Spring 2012

So my second proof arrived today and guess what, it’s perfect! So all that’s left to do is OK it then it’s back to waiting but this time waiting for it to come out for real!!

I guess at this point I should really start by confessing that it’s not really a big secret I need to reveal but as I draw closer to the launch of my book, The Break, I feel I must explain something to you guys. This book is being published by ME!! I have ventured in to the realm of self publishing, a realm I must admit I was very sceptical and apprehensive about especially considering the stereotype and reactions that go with self publishing.

I guess there’s two pinnacle moments that has lead me to this point in time, the first is way back in the day when my thirst for writing began and the moment when I was eighteen years old and had some success with a screenplay I had written, which piqued the interest of a casting director, a producer and a commissioning editor at Channel 4. I couldn’t even begin to describe the rollercoaster ride I continued on, which unfortunately lasted all of four months as the project fell through due to funding. What I can describe to you is the devastating effects something like that has on the soul of an eighteen year old, to have all your dreams handed to you in a stroke of fate only to experience a mere smell of them before they’re whisked away just as quickly as they arrived. With the exception of journalism pieces for the student magazine of which I was editor of whilst at college I didn’t write a single thing for four years. I think this is why I get so annoyed at reality shows like the X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and American Idol etc because some of the contestants are too young, you can’t possibly comprehended the manipulative ways of the entertainments industry at the ages of fifteen to eighteen. Grown adults seem to find it amusing to play with kids hopes and fears. Anyway that’s a different rant for a different day! So once I started writing again I still couldn’t find my “Mojo” I was continuing to write screenplays still because that’s what I had had success with before but none of those projects felt right. Incidentally, I now have a huge pile of them I now use as a door stop!

Then the second pinnacle moment occurred just after I turned thirty, I started to lose my hearing. Now without meaning to sound incredibly clichéd but it is incredible what we take for granted. I never expected in a million years to hit thirty and start going deaf, over the course of a year I completely lost the ability to hear out of my right ear and now wear a hearing aid in my left, without out which I’m a little useless to you!! It was in this moment that I sat down and started writing, writing an actual story, a novel, not a screenplay. Why do people need life altering moments to motivate them to do something they would never have dared try? I’ve always loved crazy, wild, unbelievable stories based in imaginary worlds and fictional crazy characters ultimately the fantasy/Sci-fi genre so that’s where my crazy imagination took me, to a complete fantasy.

After finishing my first completed draft, I went back and started to focus on the first three chapters and formatted them in accordance with “industry standards”, I wrote a covering letter and started sending them to literary agents, I figured I didn’t need to know the ins and outs of the world of publishing I’d get an agent and they’ll do it all for me. I was so naive back then I look back and I’m convinced that attitude belonged to a different person. The thing is everyone said no but the annoying part was it wasn’t because they didn’t enjoy the work. I think it was because of the genre I was writing in. I think nowadays if you’re writing a fantasy novel and you’re not on Team Vampire you don’t stand a chance.

It seems in this current economic climate nobody wants to take a risk everybody wants a sure thing. I was on the verge of scrapping the idea completely to attempt perhaps something more main stream a romantic comedy maybe!! Or to conform and throw in a vampire or two but I’d grown a little attached to my characters and to not see it through to the end would’ve reminded me of how close I’d come before and writing and telling stories is the only thing that has stayed with me since I learnt to read, write and draw, it’s the only thing I’ve never kept changing my mind about, I’ve always wanted to be an author. Then somebody suggested self publishing and to be honest I turned my nose up. I spent about an hour Googling and realised it consisted of dodgy looking companies with dodgy looking websites asking you to give them about fifteen hundred quid and they’ll print your book and get it in the shops (yeah right), it just all looked like one big SCAM. Then my partner suggested I do some more research “Buy a book about it”. So I did I purchased a book called Self Printed: a sane person’s guide to self publishing by Catherine Ryan Howard. I think it was the “Sane” part that was the biggest selling point for me! Anyway as I read it, it just all made sense and there wasn’t a dodgy looking Scam company in sight, it’s become my bible and the biggest thing it opened my eyes to was, self publishing in this way is much like running a small business, basically you have a product you would like to sell and that was my problem before, how could I expect literary agents and publishers to take a chance on me financially if I wasn’t willing to do it myself. So I have taken a leap of faith, for the experience, for the understanding, for the business woman in me, for the creative woman in me, for the deflated eighteen year old still left in there somewhere. I will always continue to go down the traditional publishing route (this is the dream after all!)  but now, I’m better armed with better knowledge, I am my own boss and I’m not scared of the hard work, the hard work I’ve already put in and the hard work that’s still to come, I’ve got a strong stomach and thick skin and I can’t wait for the new challenges around the corner, I’m not delusional, I’m not going to suddenly quit my day job and expect to be in the top 20 of The Times best sellers list in The Saturday Review but I’m up for an adventure and I hope you guys will come along for the ride.