Work in Progress Blog Challenge: Dark Energies

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Dark Energies

It’s sharing time again!

I’ve been invited by fellow writer/blogger Zenobia Southcombe (you HAVE to love that name!!) to take part in the Work In Progress Blog Challenge…

This is probably the most fun blog hop I’ve come across. The idea is that I post the first line of the first three chapters of my current work-in-progress, then nominate four other bloggers to do the same. And not a bucket of ice-cubes in sight.

I’ve bent the rules ever-so slightly to also include the first line of the prologue/introduction, so there are actually four lines here. In my defence, the first line of Chapter 1 couldn’t really get much shorter.

These lines come from my first full-length novel Dark Energies; a contemporary urban mystery spiced with a healthy dose of romance and quantum physics. The story unfolds from the POV of Dan Carter, who is desperately in search of something to fill the void in his life. When he’s contacted out-of-the-blue by a mysterious young woman via a social networking site, it looks like he may just have found it. But you should be careful what you wish for…

Introduction:

Edward Stretton somehow knew that neither he, nor anyone else, would ever see his wife again.

Chapter 1:

Why am I writing this?

Chapter 2:

The hallucinations didn’t begin immediately, nor were they all that strong to begin with.

Chapter 3:

Sam’s flat could only be described as cluttered.

I hope you enjoyed that micro-peek into the dark and disturbing world into which Dan finds himself inexorably drawn. If nothing else, this challenge has shown me that the first line of Chapter 3 seriously needs some work!

And now to nominate the next 4 bloggers:

Jeni Frontera

Andrew Toynbee

Dyane Forde

Lauren Sapala

Over to you comrades, enjoy!

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Testing, testing…

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Been busy writing

Hello? Is this thing on…?

It’s been a while hasn’t it? Quite a long while in fact. I have been hiding away and have neglected you all, for which I offer my most sincere apologies.

I’ve been busy. Yes, OK, I know how often I use that phrase and I know you’re all frantically busy too and still find time to blog. I really have no excuse. Oh hang on… yes I do…

I have been beavering away at the novel, cracking on with the final (I do so hope) round of edits and using the gruelling opportunity of Camp NaNo to really push toward the finish line. So there, that’s kind of a good excuse no? I dropped the blog about the writing to focus on the writing. Am I forgiven?

Anyway… thought I’d just pop by to assure you all that I haven’t succumbed to a surfeit of lampreys and I’m still extraordinarily fond of each and every one of you. I shall endeavour, in my best boy scout manner, to become a better blogger again.

And – big fanfare please (ta-da-da-da-da-da-DAAAAAAA!!) – in response to some absolutely delightful comments on my previous post (a snippet of the infamous first novel, Dark Energies) I might even pop up a few more excerpts to whet your collective whistles!

Now there’s a promise for a sunny Friday morning eh?

Must dash, the peacocks are nibbling at the peonies again, but watch this space my friends…

Dark Energies

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Writing

It’s been a rather hectic week here at JFC, which unfortunately means I haven’t had the opportunity to conjure up a proper post, far less the two I was aiming for.

Every cloud, however, has a silver lining and this particular batch of cumulo-nimbus is no exception. It’s all very well me banging on about writing and marketing and suchlike, but the proof of the pudding is in the reading, if you’ll excuse the mangling of a metaphor. It’s time to put my money where my mouth is and offer up a snippet of my own writing.

So, without further ado, allow me to introduce the beginning of Chapter 1 from Dark Energies – my soon-to-be-self-published first novel:

Why am I writing this? An excellent question. Maybe to try and make sense of the events of the past few months by putting them in some kind of order. Maybe to diminish the fear and confusion by sharing them with someone else. Or maybe just to convince myself that there is still a real, mundane world out there somewhere, by picturing you, my friends, sitting with a cup of coffee or a glass of wine on a comforting sofa, calmly and rationally reading this account. By the way, I hope you’ll allow me the indulgence of calling you friends. Because, right at the moment, I need all the friends I can get.

Another question: How did this start? Before we’re through, there will be a whole lot more. This is where I could opt for the classic opening territory of “Once upon a time…” or “In a land far far way…” If only both of those were true, then my situation would be a lot easier to deal with. Knowing how this all ends would also comfort me greatly. But it isn’t once upon a time, it’s not far away and it certainly hasn’t ended yet. So I’ll go back to where it did begin and ask you to stick with me through this.

Continue reading

Now We Are One

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Happy Birthday Jumping From Cliffs

It’s just over a week since a landmark passed me by unnoticed.

Jumping From Cliffs turned one year old this month! I published my first ever post on the 23rd of May last year.

It’s quite extraordinary where the time goes isn’t it??

It set me to thinking about what, if anything, I’ve achieved in my writerly ambitions in that time. And you know what? Actually quite a flippin’ lot thank you very much!

*grin*

  • I have finished the first draft of Dark Energies
  • I have made my first pitch to a real-life baby-eating literary agent
  • I have courageously shared a sample of my writing with the unsuspecting public at large (yep, that’s you lovely people)
  • I have won awards (thank you all again!) – some of which I have taken up, others of which I simply had to put on a back-burner due to lack of time and a dearth of captivating facts to impart about myself

And the list continues…

Well poke me with a fish-fork if that isn’t really quite a lot for 365 days. Who would have thought it when that first tentative post staggered and stumbled its newly-born way into the spotlight glare of the internet?

However, two things in particular stand out as the finest and proudest moments of my journey so far…

1) I have learned a truly STAGGERING amount about the art and craft of writing which drives all of us through every waking – and many a somnolent – moment. It has been said far more eloquently by far greater writers than I, but immersing yourself in creativity and surrounding yourself with talented people really does teach you far more than you ever thought possible.

Which leads me, in customarily long-winded manner, to the other Most Important Thing:

2) I have met the most incredibly supportive, encouraging, talented, enthusiastic, creative and utterly unspeakably wonderful (and, of course, terribly beautiful) bunch of fellow blogging writers that any man could wish to have yomping along by his side.

Yep, that’s you lot again.

Your blogs, along with your comments on mine, have taught me, encouraged me, motivated and inspired me beyond measure.

So grab yourself a piece of cake and a fancy party hat (mine’s the pith-helmet) and join me in celebrating! And, unless I get eaten by a Tyrannosaurus, I’m thoroughly looking forward to continuing this amazing adventure over the next 365 days.

The Ton-Up Club

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ImageIt’s been a very exciting week here at Jumping From Cliffs.

My little blog officially gained its 100th follower!

What can I say?? Apart from “Woooooooo-hoooooooo!! How terribly splendid!”

100 eh? Goodness. Actually 104 now, as I’ve been a little lax in posting about it – put that down to a birthday, a house falling into the sea, woolly mammoths and a spot of pirating.

Scarce did I imagine when I made my first-ever post on the 23rd of May last year that even one single solitary soul would ever take the time to read it. Now there are over 100 in under a year.

To say that I am highly honoured and flattered would be an understatement of some magnitude.

I’d like to say a gigantic Thank You to each and every one of you. I’d come round to each of your houses in person with a cup of tea and a piece of cake if I could.

Whether you’re a Lurker & Liker who pops in, has a read, nods appreciatively then scampers wordlessly off again, or a Committed Commenter who takes the time to engage with the posts and leaves me encouragement, inspiration and motivation, I love you all.

This journey would have got nowhere near this far without all of your support and I would never have met some of the truly outstanding talents and all-round bloomin’ lovely people that I have.

You lot are ace, you know that?

Give yourselves all a hug from me and, on the count of 3 chant in unison: “We’re splendid!!”

Ready? 1, 2, 3…

Not the thumbscrews!

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Writer meeting agent

Hello gang, remember me?

It’s been almost two months since my last post, due to an unfortunate boatload of Crazy that beached at my door. Not only has it kept me from this fine endeavour, it has also entirely scuppered my New Year’s resolution of writing every day.

Ah well, c’est la vie I suppose. Anyway, back now and I have some exciting news.

Thanks to the wonderful crew at Authoright I have secured a 15-minute slot to pitch my first novel to a literary agent at the London Book Fair!!

I am extremely excited.

And not a little terrified.

A real-life fire-breathing literary agent, with the terrible fangs and horns and everything.

What on Earth am I going to say?? 15 minutes? I can barely talk about the book for 15 seconds without tripping over my own syntax. And that’s when I’m not quaking in fear at the potentially life-changing opportunity sitting before me mopping my fetid sweat off their desk with a fine damask handkerchief.

Being the well-versed bunch that you are, I’m sure you must have some tips to impart on… well… anything about what to say in a pitch! Anyone??

The Next Big Thing

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Way back at the start of December (where does the time go??), I was very kindly tagged in the Next Big Thing blog hop by Kristina over at The Bitter Sweet.

I’ve mentioned before that, whilst I’m always hugely honoured to be nominated for blog awards, blog hops and so on, I tend to pick and choose between the ones I take up, simply because many of them are about the blogger as a person rather than their work. I don’t want to use this blog as a forum to chunter on about what style of cravat I favour or the number of times I’ve been mistaken for Margaret Thatcher. It’s about writing, publishing and all that jazz.

That’s why I love TNBT – it’s a series of questions about a writer’s latest work, plus the opportunity to showcase other writers they admire. So here we go…

What is the working title of your book? Originally it was “Dark Energies”, but I feel that mis-represents the story and sounds too sci-fi. So I changed it to “Jumping From Cliffs” and I’m not comfortable with that either. So it’s back to “Dark Energies” as a working title for now.

What genre does your book fall under? It doesn’t really fall neatly into any single genre and, like many ‘new’ writers, I’m wary of getting pigeon-holed and missing out on a part of my potential audience, so I describe it in one of two ways:

A contemporary urban mystery

or

A quantum love story

One day I’ll combine those into a genre which takes less than 45 minutes to elaborate on.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book? I wrote a really good one and then sort of lost it somewhere in the Internet. Hang on, I’ll have a rummage… Ah, there it was, down behind the virtual sofa (of course!)

Dan Carver is a man in his mid-thirties, in a relationship that is going nowhere and is looking for something to fill the gap in his existence. When he finds it, in the form of an unexpected contact from a mysterious stranger on a social network, it will prove to tear apart everything he thought he knew about reality…

Technically two sentences thanks to that full stop bang in the middle, but you get the gist.

Where did you get the idea for your book? From real life. Sitting at home one wet, grey, miserable March Monday, I logged into Facebook and hey presto, there was a ‘poke’ from a complete stranger. This was back in the days when you could still friend-surf before FB sorted out its privacy settings. There was just the poke and a profile picture of the most beautiful and intrigue-filled pair of eyes I had ever seen. I decided to reply…

Who or what inspired you to write this book? My muse, also known as the beautiful stranger who Facebooked me on that extraordinary evening almost 5 years ago.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It took almost four years to reach a full first draft with no gaps. As so many other aspiring authors find, it can be impossible to get enough time to write, what with daily life happening all around you and the need to pay bills while you scribble your thoughts down.

What other books would you compare this story with in your genre? Wow, that’s a good one. I’d love to compare it to the work of Iain Banks (not his Iain M. Banks sci-fi novels, the ‘normal’ ones…) But that would imply I have an over-inflated sense of my own talent and give everyone just cause to point at me and laugh. Still, the mix of real-world characters and situations with an undertone of mystery and darkness is what I’m aspiring to, which is why I draw the comparison.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Oh, I’m so rubbish at knowing who’s who in the film world these days. I’d go with a young Richard E. Grant for Dan, the male lead in the book. Bizarrely, I’d have to choose Nigella Lawson for Kate, the mysterious stranger who leads Dan into a world he never imagined existed. Yes, I know Nigella’s not an actor, but she has the right kind of look and character. And as I said, I am really terribly ignorant of current film stars – I think I get so wrapped up in the story that I just see them as the characters rather than actors. Failing the two above, could I maybe choose Bogart and Bacall??

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? In an ideal world it would be represented by an agency. However, given the current climate and the agony of going the traditional route, probably self-published. My day-job that pays the bills is digital marketing, so I figure if I can market someone else’s products I should be able to market my own book, right?

What else about your book might pique your reader’s interest? It contains a cat who can be in two places at the same time…

And now it’s time to play tag… I’m sure some of these wonderful people will have been tagged already but they inspire, entertain and motivate me on a daily basis, hence their inclusion. And if I haven’t included you, please accept my sincere apologies, I’m only allowed 5!

Andrew Toynbee: Andrew Toynbee’s Very Own Blog
Nicole Bross: Unravelling My Mind
Kisa Whipkey: Nightwolf’s Corner
Kurt R.A. Giambastiani: Seattle Author
Pat Wood: patwoodblogging

I hope you get as much pleasure from their work as I do – the connections I’ve made so far in my journey through the depths of the blogosphere have been of inestimable value to my writing. I look forward to encountering more of you in due course…